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DIY ☀️Solar 🌎System Craft From ❌♨️No-Cook Natural 🏡Homemade Play Dough 

As a tribute to National 🚀Space Day, which is held annually on the first Friday in May, we are making a DIY Solar System craft from homemade no-cook natural play dough.

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 To explore our solar system and the planets, we read National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Space which is kids' absolute favorite Space book with colorful illustrations and simple text, explaining basic concepts of the universe as well as its wonders!
DSC_0122First, to resemble Space, Adrian made black play dough. ( See the recipe and details on how to make this natural play dough here ~in a post "No-Cook Homemade 🌈 Play Dough Recipe.")
DSC_0122Next, apply glue to a large cardboard piece and spread the black playdough over it.
DSC_0122Leave empty the space for the sun as it will be easier to glue the Sun to the cardboard rather than over the play dough. 
DSC_0122To resemble our universe and the sparkling twinkling stars, galaxies, and supernovas, we are adding glitter to our black play dough.

DSC_0134 We are using this iridescent and this chunky-holographic glitter.
DSC_0134Did you know that stars come in different colors and sizes? From blue to orange to red!

DSC_0134Making the Sun from our natural no-cook play dough. 
DSC_0134Yellow glitter adds shine and sparkle to our yellow Star.

DSC_0134Next, trace planets on a cardboard. We are using this book for size-reference.

DSC_0134Glue the Sun to the part of cardboard that has no play dough. 

 Earth Play DoughMake each planet (by spreading the play dough over the cutout cardboard piece) according to planet's characteristics, such as size, color, surface.

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Finally, arrange the planets in order: 1) Mercury, 2) Venus, 3) Earth, 4) Mars, 5) Jupiter, 6) Saturn, 7) Uranius, 8) Neptune. Discuss the four terrestrial planets, separated by the asteroid belt from the four gas giants. Bring child's attention to any distinguishable planetary detail: such as The Great Red Spot on Jupiter (a huge storm raging on for hundreds of years) or Neptune's The Great Dark Spot (a huge spinning storm in the southern atmosphere of Neptune which was about the size of the entire Earth). 

DSC_0160You can also discuss the solar flares and winds and how the Earth's magnetic field interacts with the solar wind and acts as a shield to protect Earth from damaging solar particles.  See a video from NOVA’s Sun Lab here

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We also watched an amazing series NOVA - Origins which presented some startling new answers to questions such as "Has the universe always existed? How did it become a place that could harbor life? Are we alone, or are there alien worlds waiting to be discovered?" Both, Julia ( 8 yo)  and Adrian (4 yo) were absolutely intrigued and engulfed in this miniseries ~an absolute must-have DVD for any inquisitive child (or an adult)!

Please, see our entire Space and Universe round up here ~ in a post "🌌Cosmos 🚀Space ☄️Universe Inspired Themed Unit Study."

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DIY 🌌Galaxy Baking Soda Borax-Free 🏡Home-made ❌Non ♨️Toxic Slime • Kids 🙌🏻 Sensorial ⚗️Science Experiment

Inspired by the approaching 🚀National Space Day, which is observed annually on the first Friday in May, we are making galaxy slime. Trust me, your kiddo will love this no-mess sensory glittery stretchy goo, and so will you!  This DIY version of slime can be easily made at home with materials you probably have handy. And, we are making a non-toxic version of the slime, so no borax is needed!

DSC_0030First, we research how does the galaxy appear from space. Did you know that stars come in different sizes and colors? Blue stars are the hottest and red are the coolest. And, in between, you have yellow stars (our Sun), orange and white. So, although to us, the stars look like twinkling white diamonds, the galaxy is actually sparkling with a rainbow of colors! For our reference in creating our galaxy slime, we are reading the National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Space (buy here) which is our absolute favorite Space book! 

DSC_0067What you will need for this super easy home-made 🌌Galaxy slime:

  • 1/2 cup of liquid clear glue (buy in bulk here) or use this purple washable glue,
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda which helps firm up slime,
  • food coloring (add more of blue and purple if you are using a clear glue) and glitter,
  • *[last step] add 1 squirt of saline contact solution ~ please, do not add too much as the slime will not be stretchy! You can always add another squirt of the solution, but start with just one ~ for a 1/2 cup of glue, it is generally enough! 
  • Note: we do not add water! Contact solution is enough! And, add your contact solution last (after you have added all your glitter and food coloring) since once the chemical reaction of bonding and changing the composition begins, it will be difficult to mix the ingredients!)

DSC_0067Slime is made when the activator ~ contact solution mixes with the polymer chains in the glue, creating strong but flexible bonds between the molecules. 

DSC_0067What is the ⚗️ science behind the slime?  Baking soda makes slime firm and the saline solution is the slime's activator which helps slime get its rubbery texture. Please note, that some recipes use Borax (white, powdery, naturally occurring mineral often called sodium borate), which also has boric acid but we avoid using Borax since it is toxic; and we use contact solution instead. Please note that Borax and boric acid are not the same, although they are from the same boron family. Contact solution, on the other hand, has both boric acid and sodium borate (all members of the boron family) which are the best slime activators, helping to form the stretchy slime your kids love so much!

DSC_0067The slime forms when the mixture of boric acid and sodium borate ~ cross-linking agents both present in the saline solution ~ begin to bond. These two "magical' ingredients create your awesome slime! The last step is to mix your slime with the fork and then knead with your hands. The slime is ready once it starts to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl.

DSC_0067And, of course, Adrian had to make blue SKY slime, as blue is currently his favorite color. 

DSC_0067The ⚗️mystery of glue: glue is a polymer made up of long, repeating identical strands of molecules. These molecules generally freely flow past one another keeping the glue in a liquid form. However, when you add the borate ions to your slime mixture, they begin to connect these long polymer glue strands together, tangling and mixing until the substance is thicker and rubberier like slime and less like the liquid glue you have started with.

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This simple slime recipe is an ultimate guide on how to make galaxy slime at home with just a few non-toxic ingredients! And, the best part, this slime is re-usable! Just store it in an air-tight container (like those recycled jam jars) and use it over and over again! We are still using slime that we made six months ago! 

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I hope this glittery, sparkly, stretchy slime will keep your child stimulated and entertained for hours! Enjoy this sensory fun and don't forget to let your kiddo have a turn (you might get carried away playing with it yourself!)

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We also made slime during Christmas holidays, see here ~ 🎅🏻 Santa ❤️ Red Slime DIY Jar (Science 🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇).

For more 🚀SPACE inspired activities and materials, see here our 🌌COSMOS Unit Study.

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👣Feet 🐣Egg Transferring 🌈Color Matching 💪🏻Gross Motor 📽Game

This is a super fun DIY: use recycled eggs (I am sure we all have tones of them after Easter) or use balls and let your kiddo have fun with this color recognition gross motor game. 

DSC_0082     I did not have either black or red egg, so using Sharpies, I colored them.

DSC_0094Besides exercising those little feet, this is also an awesome color matching activity, and if your child knows all the colors, use this opportunity to learn colors in a different language!

DSC_0060You would call out a color, and the child, using feet only, would transfer that color egg to a different container.

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We are also using traditional Montessori color tables (see links to posts below), but you can use paint samples from your hardware store for this color matching (see examples below). 

DSC_0094Also, use this activity to grade colors! 

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It is through appropriate work and activities that the character of the child is transformed.  Work influences his development in the same way that food revives the vigor of a starving man.  We observe that a child occupied with matters that awaken his interest seems to blossom, to expand, evincing undreamed of character traits; his abilities give him great satisfaction, and he smiles with a sweet and joyous smile. ~ Dr. Maria Montessori (San Remo Lectures, p. 28.)

DSC_0094If you have a color chart, offer your child to match the eggs to the chart. 

Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside. Through movement, we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas.  ~ Maria Montessori.

If you have siblings or a kids' 🎉 party, grab ⏱a timer and turn this game 🏁 into " Who can do it fastest!"🏆


DIY Color Matching + Fine Motor Pegging

This DIY resembles matching Montessori Color Tablets ~ similar to Color Box 2 ~ a traditional Sensorial material introduced to toddlers starting at 2 ½ years old. 

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With this activity, besides simply matching color samples from your local hardware store, offer your child to practice fine motor skills by matching colored clothespins and also graduating pegs in order from smallest to largest or vice versa. And if you have plain wooden pegs, just color them either with Sharpies (what we used) or use tempera stick paints which are awesome too!

IMG_1020 To learn more about Montessori 🌈Color Boxes, read here a detailed post with presentations on boxes one through three on my blog Montessori Color Box 1, 2 & 3 (Color tablets).

For more DIYs, see here our ✂️DIY, Crafts & Materials.

For more holidays inspired activities, see here our 🐣Easter 🐰Inspired Themed Unit Study.

I would love to hear what you think ... And, please, spread the 💖 love & SHARE our journey! CLICK one of those buttons 👇🏻below! 📍SAVE, 💌SUBSCRIBE & 📲FOLLOW

♻️Recycled 📦 Cardboard 🔢Numbers & Counters ✋🏻Tactile 📽DIY✂️

This recycled DIY from cardboard will help your child learn the shape of the number by hands-on making numbers from pipe cleaners. Then, through the sense of touch, the child will reinforce numeral vs quantity association by counting pom poms, thus developing sensorially tactile understanding of quantitative measure of number, which is an otherwise abstract mathematical concept.

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What you will need:

  • recycled cardboard cut into squares
  • pipe cleaners
  • pom poms
  • and a glue gun.

DSC_0072Julia first makes a number from a pipe cleaner.

DSC_0072She then glues a corresponding number of color-matching pom-poms to the cardboard.

DSC_0105Offer your child to trace each number and count pom poms.DSC_0095Triggering child's tactile senses enriches the learning experience.Behind the scenes video of how Julia made these tactile number boards. 


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 Also, take this opportunity to talk about odd and even numbers. See a detailed lesson with the video on Odd/Even presentation here in a post ❤️Valentines Odd & Even • Montessori 🔢Math 101 🎥 Series 🎇.

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Sensorial exploration is extremely important during the child's first six years of life. Dr. Maria Montessoi described the First Plane of Development (birth to 6 yrs) as a period of the Absorbent Mind which is characterized by "young child's behavior of quickly and effortlessly assimilating the sensorial stimuli of his or her environment, including information from the senses, language, culture, and the development of concepts." The child is self-observed, has a self-centered viewpoint, is focused primarily on the sensorial exploration of a factual world. Materials are prepared mainly for individual use by a child. Dr. Montessori believed that this power is unique to the first plane and that it fades as the child approached the age of six. So, triggering sensorial exploration during the first six years of life proves to be most beneficial to child's development. Read more here in a post "Dr. Maria Montessori's Planes (Stages) of Development."


DSC_0105A child three to six years of age has a conscious absorbent mind.  “It is as if the child, having absorbed the world by an unconscious kind of intelligence, now ‘lays his hands’ to it.”   Now it is the hand, as a ‘prehensile organ of the mind,’ not just the senses, which move the child through a period of constructive ‘perfectionment’ – refining the acquisitions already made." ~  explained Dr. Montessori.

Below are our DIY numbers up close.

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Dr. Montessori also defined a psychological state she termed  "normalization" (in children from three to six years old) which arises from concentration and focus on activity which serves the child’s developmental needs, and is characterized by the ability to concentrate as well as "spontaneous discipline, continuous and happy work, social sentiments of help and sympathy for others... A child who concentrates is immensely happy." ~ Dr. Montessori observed.

 DSC_0105 So, by creating a prepared environment full of tactile stimuli, triggering the child sensorially, we hope to offer the child a rich learning environment and instill a lifelong love of learning. 

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For more on DIY materials and activities, see here ✂️DIY, Crafts & Materials.

I would love to hear what you think ... And, please, spread the 💖 love & SHARE our journey! CLICK one of those buttons 👇🏻below! 📍SAVE, 💌SUBSCRIBE & 📲FOLLOW

DIY ♻️ Recycled ✂️Materials for Homeschool

Montessori materials can be 💰costly,  so I love finding an alternative. Below I will show you some of the DIYs I have created to substitute some of the materials you would generally purchase. 

DIY Color Matching + Fine Motor Pegging

 This DIY resembles matching Montessori Color Tablets ~ similar to Color Box 2 ~ a traditional Sensorial material introduced to toddlers starting at 2 ½ years old. 

IMG_1019
With this activity, besides simply matching color samples from your local hardware store, offer your child to practice fine motor skills by matching colored clothespins and also graduating pegs in order from smallest to largest or vice versa. And if you have plain wooden pegs, just color them either with Sharpies (what we used) or use tempera stick paints which are awesome too!

IMG_1020To learn more about Montessori 🌈Color Boxes, read here a detailed post with presentations on boxes one through three on my blog Montessori Color Box 1, 2 & 3 (Color tablets).


DIY Montessori Sandpaper Numbers:

Sandpaper Numbers are also easy to make at home.
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What you will need:

  • green cardstock to resemble the traditional Montessori Sandpaper Numbers
  • sandpaper from your local hardware store,
  • scissors (children are also using a paper cutter for more precision)
  • and glue.

 Having your child make or help you make these DIY Sandpaper NUmbers will only ignite the excitement, promoting interest and engagement.

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By sensorily feeling the number, the child is able to perceive the symbol through senses other than just visual. For more on Sandpaper Numbers, see here 🖐️Sandpaper 🔢 Numbers (Montessori 🔢 Math 101 🎥 Series 🎇 Curriculum).


 ♻️RECYCLED ✂️ DIY PUZZLES
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Do you have an old magazine? Recycled old books? Expired calendars? How about turning them into homemade DIY puzzles!

DSC_0221-2Cut out a picture, laminate it (if you don't have a laminating machine iron works great too) and cut it in as many pieces as you think your child can handle. For smaller children, just cut a picture in half; for older in quarters or even eighths. 


DSC_0221-2And why not turn this ♻️RECYCLED ✂️DIY puzzle into a 🐋matching animals game! 

  IMG_1146See here DIY 🍂Fall Inspired Puzzle.

I am using a double-sided 🍂Fall picture I found in a catalog. With this type of DIY puzzle, you can adjust 📈📉the level of difficulty based on your child's age. With smaller children, 📉choose a bright image with many objects and cut in fewer pieces (2 or 4 squares) or simply cut the picture vertically, for easier assembly. 📈With older children, the smaller the pieces, the harder it will be to assemble the puzzle😉so cut it accordingly to your child's level.


♻️DIY TIC TAC TOE

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Do your children play tic tac toe? It's a 🤗fun game and an easy ♻️✂️DIY if you have 💦water bottle caps and 🍡ice pop sticks (any craft sticks will do), and a glue gun.

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♻️DIY 🍡Pop-Sticks, Pegs & Dot Stickers 🔴 ➕🔵 Addition Activity

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This is a super easy and fun ♻️ math 🔢 ➕addition DIY where I ✍🏻️wrote ➕equations on 🍡pop-sticks, and as a control of error, a child can flip that same 🍡 and confirm the answer by counting the 🔴🔵dot-stickers. See here a 🎥video of Adrian solving all the ➕equations as well as how to make this ♻️DIY in a video post ♻️DIY 🍡Pop-Sticks, Pegs & Dot Stickers 🔴 ➕🔵 Addition Activity (Montessori 🔢 Math 🎥 Lesson).


 DIY ♻️Paper Towel Roll 🔤Alphabet Matching Activity

DSC_0109I wrote with a Sharpie upper and lower case alphabet letters on dot stickers, making sure that lower and upper of the same letter were color-matching. 

IMG_1149Since lower case letters are more prevalent, I had Adrian match lower to upper case letters which were sporadically arranged on a paper towel roll. He would simply stick the lower case on top of the upper case.  For some introductory language lessons, see here our Letter Series post. To learn about Montessori Phonetical Sets of Presenting Alphabet letters,  (see here) Set 1:     First set: c  m  a  t  . For early reading, see here "Montessori CVC Picture Word cards with wooden Clothespins (💗Pink Series 🎥 Early Reading)."   Also, see here "Montessori 💗 Pink Series  "e" sound (Language 101 🎥 Series 🎇 Curriculum)."


 ♻️DIY Montessori🍡Popsicles Spindle Box
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In a Montessori Math curriculum, at around two years of age, after introducing Number Rods and Sandpaper Numbers you would introduce Spindle Box (buy here), which teaches a child the difference between the numeral (a 🔢 number/symbol written on a wooden box's slot) and quantity (substance, like when a child is holding actual spindles in his/her hands). The box has numerals zero to nine written on separate slots, and a child concretely learns that one is not a much, while nine is a lot! See here a detailed post "Spindle Box & Sandpaper 🔢Numbers Extensions (Montessori Math)."
DSC_0237Montessori Spindle Box is also an easy DIY activity using any compartments (like utensils organizer), and anything substantial representing quantity a child can hold with the whole hand such as pens, crayons and why not 🍡 popsicle sticks. (Montessori materials need Not be 💸expensive.)


 DIY ♻️Recycled 📦 Cardboard 🔢Numbers & Counters ✋🏻Tactile DIY  DSC_0097

First, the child learns the shape of the number by making it from a pipe cleaner, then through the sense of ✋🏻touch, the child reinforces numeral vs quantity association by counting pom poms.

For more DIYs, see here ✂️DIY, Crafts & Materials.

I would love to hear what you think ... And, please, spread the 💖 love & SHARE our journey! CLICK one of those buttons 👇🏻below! 📍SAVE, 💌SUBSCRIBE & 📲FOLLOW