Materials and Toys Feed

DIY Mega Blocks Multiplication 1️⃣✖ with LEGO DUPLO Friends

After observing Julia doing multiplication exercises, Adrian expressed an interest, so we have been doing some multiplication work this past month. To illustrate the process concretely, we are using these mega building blocks to introduce the simplest concept ✖ 1️⃣~ one times. 

DSC_0084"Times" ✖ means how many times you repeat ~ add~ that number. E.g. 1 x 3 =1+1+1

DSC_0084I have written simple multiplication equations on pieces of paper as well as their products (answers). Single mega building blocks illustrated 🙌🏻hands-on how to convert 🤔confusing multiplication into simple➕addition work, which is very familiar to Adrian.

DSC_0084In English to "commute" means to travel or to change location. Similarly, in math, the commutative property of multiplication means that two numbers can be multiplied in either order, allowing us to change the places of factors in a product. This means that 1 x 3 = 3 x 1 ~ The product remains the same, despite the factors changing places.

DSC_0084 Our LEGO DUPLO friends help us multiply. (Buy similar figures here.)

DSC_0076Introducing terminology: Factor x Factor = Product

DSC_0084Adrian placed the correct "product" sticker (answer) on its LEGO friend's head. 

DSC_0005-2For more on math & LEGO, see here 🔢Math Simple ➕Addition & ➖Subtractions with LEGO.

DSC_0002For fractions work, see here Learning Fractions with LEGO.

✂️Scissors 🎥•DIY 🚗Car Wash

Today, Adrian got to practice his scissor skills while making a DIY♻️car wash. All you need is ✂️scissors, cardstock, ruler and a pencil, a ♻️recycled cardboard📦box, and a sprinkle of imagination. 


First, using a rule, Adrian drew straight lines and then he started cutting, making strips.  It is very important to instill the proper scissor grip from the beginning since the longer the child uses an incorrect grip, the more difficult it will be to unlearn such habit.


Just like a proper pencil grip or a pincer grip (holding small items with a thumb and a pointer finger), the proper scissors grip must be actively taught since it is completely unlike any other grips a child has used. The proper scissors grip requires a child to rotate his hand so that the thumb faces up, while the pinky points down. A child has to spread his thumb and pointer finger as far apart as possible while using his palm to help stabilize the scissors. Cutting can be challenging for little ones, and the only way to become comfortable with cutting activity is frequent practice.

DSC_0065Turn the cardboard box upside down and cut out a square for a door and few squares for the windows. After Adrian finished cutting straight lines, he wrote "CAR WASH" and glued the paper with cut-strips to the cardboard box.

DSC_0067The car wash is open for business!
DSC_0067This DIY toy offered hours of practical pretend play ~ we all like our cars cleaned, don't we?


 Do you make DIY toys with your children?

DSC_0069.JPG   A trick to learn a proper scissors grip~ offer a child to shake someone’s hand! 

For more scissors practice, see here a lesson on simple strip-cutting on my blog "Proper ✂️Scissors Grip 2 Yo."

DSC_0077See here ✂️Scissors • Primary Colors 🍝Pasta Cutting.

DSC_0016-3Also see here DIY ❤️Valentines Heart Stickers ✂️ Scissors 🎥Cutting Activity.

For more about the toys we are loving, see here Educational Materials, 📚Books and Toys 🎥 Review.

Sticker 🚀Painting •Kids 🔢Math Puzzle Craft

Today, Adrian is making a completely new craft: creating pictures, one sticker at a time, while using a Paint by Sticker Kids book (buy here). 

DSC_0021The illustrated templates are printed on perforated card stock, and there are ten pages of stickers to fill in and create the artwork. The fun, vibrant images are rendered in “low-poly,” a computer graphics style using geometric polygon shapes to create a 3-D effect. Each template is divided into hundreds of spaces, each with a number that corresponds to a particular sticker. 

DSC_0021 We are using this lion (not included with the book).

These graphics style images also act as template-puzzles: the child reads the number (a great lesson on teens and tens!), then finds the matching number place on the picture while rotating the geometrical piece to have it fit exactly. Add the next, and the next, and the next and voila!

DSC_0011 It’s a rocket ship blasting through space! Adrian decided to cut it out, practicing his scissor skills.

DSC_0023Adrian loved watching his sticker-creations come to life!

DSC_0021Once fully assembled, he cut each picture and asked me to laminate them.

DSC_0025Adrian then secured the ice-pop stick to the back with a scotch tape, creating a puppet!

DSC_0025   It is a friendly toucan flying through the sky.


While the assembly is very meticulous (some pieces are very tiny), this activity is awesome for advancing fine motor control. Also, this process is tedious since there are generally around a hundred stickers to be matched. Despite all, Adrian really enjoyed it, and he kept going until he completed the entire image. Watching his painting, made out of hundreds of geometrical shapes come to life was a reward worth working for!

Have you ever painted your masterpiece with stickers?

See here for other educational materials, books, and toys we have been enjoying.

🔢Math Simple ➕Addition and ➖Subtractions with LEGO

Recently, 👦🏼Adrian really got into LEGO building: he builds every day, and he would build the entire day (if I let him😉). So, we are LEGO ❤️️fanatics here! This Snow ❄️ Resort Kit (buy here) is actually the 1st LEGO Friends set 👦🏼Adrian built completely independently (without 👧🏻Julia's help and he loved the process!) Aside from allowing a child express creativity and ingenuity, there are so many things you can do with LEGO! 


Once Adrian was finished, to add a twist to a traditional LEGO building, I wrote down some equations and asked Adrian to reproduce them with LEGO pieces.


The  "worksheet" (download here) had several basic addition and subtraction equations on it. Adrian would have to build the equation on the board and solve it. 
DSC_0005-2For symbols, I used flat "bumpless" LEGO pieces and simply drew the sign on them with a Sharpie (permanent marker).
DSC_0005-2To provide a control of error, I made sure that each equation sing had the same color, adding a sensorial aspect to this activity. Also, Adrian can sensorily feel little bumps on the pieces while counting to self-correct, triggering tactile learning!

For our Math work: see here a 🎥 video- post "Beginning ➖ Subtraction (Montessori 🔢 Math 🎥Lesson)." For Addition Math work, see here "Montessori Math Simple ➕ Addition using Marble-Counters" and here a 🎥 video-post "➕Addition Strip Board (Montessori 🔢 Math 🎥 Lesson)." Also see here an extension to Montessori Strip Board: "➕Addition Strip Board Making 🔟’s (Montessori 🔢 Math 🎥 Lesson)."

For Holiday posts, here  "🦃Thanksgiving 🌽Inspired DIY Simple ➖ Subtraction Math Lesson."

For more on LEGO, see:

  • here "Learning Fractions with LEGO"
  • here "Julia's Christmas Gift: LEGO Creator Expert Santa's Workshop"
  • here "LEGO Juniors Demolition Site Building Kit"
  • here "Dropper Writing Letter M with LEGO (Language 101 🎥 Series 🎇 Curriculum)"
  • here "LEGO - the Best Investment in a Toy"
  • here "Julia's 7th Birthday Gifts: LEGO Friends"

 Do your children like LEGO? Leave a comment! I love hearing from you!

☮️PEACE Education• Have you Filled a Bucket Today? 📚 Book

One of the six main categories of Montessori Practical Life activities are social lessons on Grace and Courtesy which include developing social skills such as saying please and thank you, learning how to take turns and listen to others, proper table manners, how to interrupt someone, how to speak with an inside/outside voice, or how to turn the page of a book. The emphasis is always placed on the personal dignity of the child and the respect of individual rights. Dr. Maria Montessori strongly believed that a natural companion to Grace and Courtesy is Peace education, having great confidence that if we are able to raise peaceful children, they will, in turn, grow up to be respectful and peaceful adults. “Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future. ... Within the child, lies the fate of the future,” she said. 

So, to promote ☮️ peace education, we love 📖 reading Have You Filled a Bucket Today? 📚book (buy here). While the book encourages positive behavior by alluding to an invisible bucket to show children how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love by "filling buckets," I had set up an area with a real bucket, scrap-paper, 🖊pencils, and ✂️scissors. 

DSC_0026After reading the book, my children naturally wanted to be "bucket fillers," and to become mindful of that, they would ✍🏻️write daily one thing that filled another's bucket (or their own). Filling one's invisible bucket can be a kind word, a smile, or a hug. Being caring and sharing, being patient and learning to wait a turn, helping each other in play or work also counts as "filling a bucket." There are so many ways to enrich someone's day! 

DSC_0028This had become a beautiful tradition to come to the bucket and retrospect about the day: "What have I done to make another's day brighter? Have I filled someone's bucket today?" These thoughts bring the child to the primary act itself, strengthening the connection between the deed (e.g. a hug) and the result (e.g. happy Mommy). 

So, our bucket is filled with love notes, hearts, drawings, colorful bookmarks for Mommy and so forth. As such, our bucket helps us be mindful, considerate and compassionate. 

DSC_0028"Adrian filled my bucket by giving me a smile," Julia. 

Dr. Montessori described education, as a "help to life" which starts at birth, feeding a peaceful revolution and uniting all in a common aim, attracting them to a single center. She encouraged Mothers, fathers, and politicians to "combine in their respect and help for this delicate work of formation, which the little child carries on in the depth of a profound psychological mystery, under the tutelage of an inner guide. This is the bright new hope for mankind.” (The Absorbent Mind, p. 15).  So, when my children come to the bucket, they stop, think and reflect: about the day and what they did, mindful qualities which are the core of Montessori espoused Peace education. Thus, I hope that by building a peaceful core, it will prove to be a strong pivoting center for a peaceful adult. And our peaceful education needs not be elaborate: it can be as simple as reading a book and "filling one's bucket" with happy thoughts and happy deeds. 

For more about our ☮️PEACE Education, read here "🕉Mindfulness with Children" and how to introduce it.