Below I will share our summer inspired activities and hands-on learning.
June 21~ First Day of 🌞Summer ~ Summer ☀️Solstice
🎉Happy 🌞Summer Solstice! Today, we are making DIY Montessori Movable 🔡Alphabet from ♻️recycled 🍾 bottle caps! Just use dot stickers and write letters on them with a Sharpie. Also, in a Montessori language curriculum, vowels are color-coded 💙blue and consonants ❤️red for easier identification. (Buy Montessori Movable Alphabet here.) You can also offer your child to spell his/her name, count how many letters are in the name, make sentences and so forth. We are also using Montessori Colored Globe to explain the tilt of the Earth's axis and why we have seasons and why today, June 21st is the longest day of the year. For more DIYs, see here ✂️DIY, Crafts & Materials.
Spelling with nature finds is a great way to sneak in a spelling lesson while making learning hands-on and fun. We walk around our yard and children collected different leaves and then they had to spell each letter with just one type of the plant. Happy Summer my Friends!
Shadow ✏️Tracing/Drawing ~ ☀️Solar-Powered Crafts and Activities
Happy 1st Day of ☀️Summer! And since today is the longest day of 🗓a year, we are taking advantage and ✏️shadow-tracing! On a regular day, either in the morning (8 a.m.) or late afternoon (4 p.m.), set up a table in a sunny spot where long shadows will be cast. Let the shadow be your child’s guide and offer your child to trace the outline of the shadow.
I offered Adrian 💚green paper since the animal he picked is a zebra (from Africa), and in a Montessori curriculum, continents are color-coded: for example, 🌍Africa is always 💚green. Adrian is using these extra large thick core coloring pencils by Lyra which are his absolute favorite!
Have you tried Sun Art? It is a type of "shade art" and is super fun to do with your little ones. First, decide what objects would you like to have the imprint of? We have collected fallen leaves and flowers and I offered children to arrange them on a special SunArt paper.
Expose your arrangement to direct sunlight (1 - 5 min depending on the sun's strength). Then, slide the acrylic sheet that held everything together. The SunArt paper will turn light blue, while the shadow of the objects will turn darker. A MUST: quickly rinse with water or your image will eventually fade(to obtain a darker image, add a few drops of lemon juice to the water). Frame your Sun Art. We used this washi tape to give our art a frame.
See all our ♻️Recycled 🖼Arts and Crafts here.
Teachers Appreciation 🌺Gift
Summer is officially here, and Julia had her last day of school this week. We gave out to teachers these 🌺flower pots with her🖐🏻🖐🏻 handprints as a token of appreciation for all the hard work they do in helping our children 🌸bloom! Julia used jumbo washable ink pads to make the prints (just interpose one handprint over the other to give the flower more "petals"), and she then colored the popsicle sticks ~ ala "stems" with tempera paints which dry super quick and we simply inserted the hand-print into the pot. Make sure to laminate your handprint for long-lasting durability.
🍡Craft Sticks 🐞Counting DIY
How about this super easy craft sticks DIY to promote fine motor control, color recognition, and 2️⃣numeral to 🐞🐞quantity association. We did it in a ladybug theme, but you can skip the embellishment part and just have simple colored pegs matching. How: place the corresponding amount of dot stickers on each craft stick and have a child match same color and quantity of pegs to each craft stick.
Punched-Out🍃Leaf 🔢Counting ~ Montessori Math
Montessori math curriculum focuses on numeral to quantity association, making abstract learning concrete and hands-on. Here, we are using Montessori Sandpaper numbers and matching the numeral to quantity with punched out clovers from the leaves we have gathered during our nature walks.
See here detailed instructions and how to make DIY Sandpaper numbers
Learning About 🌿Leaves 🔬
Buy our Microscope here
Find more details about our Microscope ~ see here 🔬Our First Microscope
Today, we are comparing the anatomy of a regular flower with that of an orchid. To learn about orchids, we are referring to Eyewitness Plant book which features stunning real-life photographs of flowers, fruits, seeds, and leaves, offering young readers a unique eyewitness view of the fascinating world of plants. But first, Julia drew parts of the flower inspired by Nature Anatomy book, which an absolute must for any curious mind. A trick I told my children to remember stamen vs stigma is that Mama is in the middle "stigMA" and the male part surrounds it "staMEN." See here our🌱🌼Botany Unit Study for details.
Also inspired by the Plant book, we are learning parts of the 🌸flower hands-on by making a plant using natural play dough and labeling it (download the labels here). I know there is nothing like a home-made play dough (see our recipe here), but when we found this one made from wheat flour and colored with all natural pigments, we had to give it a try! Adrian also got to practice his fine motor skills by tracing the parts of the flower labels. Download the "All About Plants" booklet by Montessori For Everyone here.
Today, we are learning hands-on about the desert environment with one of our favorite series Cat in the Hat's Learning Library ~ Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?: All About Deserts book. I set this sensory bin to resemble a desert using yellow felt, cereal, and nuts. I also hot-glued craft sticks together to resemble sand dunes. We talked about different animals that live there, their habits and diets. Children also learned new words such as mirage, dunes, and oasis. We are also using these bugs that reside in a desert environment; however, we focused on the Komodo dragon and a Kangaroo in particular.
Komodo dragons are relics of prehistory and an example of reptilian “megafauna”. Komodo Dragon is the largest living species of lizard, growing to a maximum length of 3 metres (10 ft) in rare cases and weighing up to approximately 70 kilograms (150 lb). Currently, these lizards are found only on a handful of islands in Indonesia, including the island of Komodo which gives them their name. So, you might ponder, why is the Komodo dragon alongside a kangaroo, an Australian native? Well, scientists now find that the world’s largest living lizard species, the Komodo dragon, most likely evolved in Australia and dispersed westward to its current home in Indonesia, rather than developed from a smaller ancestor isolated on the Indonesian islands, evolving its large size as a response to lack of competition from other predators. Over the past three years, an international team of scientists unearthed numerous fossils from eastern Australia dated from 300,000 years ago to roughly 4 million years ago that they now know to belong to the Komodo dragon. (Read more here.)
Kangaroos, on the other hand, belong to the animal family Macropus, literally "big foot" and possess powerful hind legs, a long, strong tail, and small front legs. The word "kangaroo" comes from the language of the aborigines, Australia's indigenous people, which means "I don't understand" ~ the answer given to British Navigator James Cook when he asked what the animal was. These marsupials have a kind of rubber band in their hind legs, which propels them upwards with each jump. The faster a kangaroo bounces, the farther the animal is "catapulted" forwards, and the less energy it consumes.
More on Komodo dragon: it prefers hot and dry places, and typically lives in dry, open grassland, savanna, and tropical forest at low elevations. It is most active in the day. Komodo dragons are solitary, coming together only to breed and eat. They are capable of running rapidly in brief sprints up to 20 km/h (12 mph), diving up to 4.5 m (15 ft), and climbing trees proficiently when young through use of their strong claws. To catch out-of-reach prey, the Komodo dragon may stand on its hind legs and use its tail as a support. As it matures, its claws are used primarily as weapons, as its great size makes climbing impractical. For shelter, the Komodo dragon digs holes that can measure from 1 to 3 m (3.3 to 9.8 ft) wide with its powerful forelimbs and claws. Because of its large size and habit of sleeping in these burrows, it is able to conserve body heat throughout the night and minimize its basking period the morning after. Komodo dragons are carnivores. Because of their slow metabolism, large dragons can survive on as few as twelve meals a year. After digestion, the Komodo dragon regurgitates a mass of horns, hair, and teeth known as the gastric pellet, which is covered in malodorous mucus. After regurgitating the gastric pellet, it rubs its face in the dirt or on bushes to get rid of the mucus, suggesting it does not relish the scent of its own excretions. Although they have been considered as eating mostly carrion, they will frequently ambush live prey by suddenly charging at the animal at high speeds and going for the underside or the throat. Komodo dragons make no attempt to deliberately allow the prey to escape with fatal injuries, but try to kill prey outright using a combination of lacerating damage and blood loss. They have been recorded as killing wild pigs within seconds. Observations of Komodo dragons tracking prey for long distances are likely misinterpreted cases of prey escaping an attack before succumbing to infection. Although previous studies proposed that Komodo dragon saliva contains a variety of highly septic bacteria that would help to bring down prey, research in 2013 suggested that the bacteria in the mouths of Komodo dragons are ordinary and similar to those found in other carnivores. Unlike people have been led to believe, they do not have chunks of rotting flesh from their meals on their teeth, cultivating bacteria. Nor do Komodo dragons wait for prey to die and track it at a distance, as vipers do; observations of them hunting deer, boar and in some cases buffalo reveal that they kill prey in less than half an hour, using their dentition to cause shock and trauma. The observation of prey dying of sepsis would then be explained by the natural instinct of water buffalos who are not native to the islands where the Komodo dragon lives, to run into the water after escaping an attack. The warm, feces-filled water would then cause the infections. (Read more here.)
🏖Beach ✨Inspired 🐚Nature Play
Have you tried spelling with shells? Inspired by all the seashells we have collected during our vacation, I set this simple white rice sensory bin invitation to play so that we can learn hands-on about different shells. We are referring to a beloved Nature Anatomy book. See details here ~ in our 🏖Beach ✨Inspired 🐚Nature Study.
We also did a simple numeral to quantity association with our shells, "pearls" and Montessori Golden Beads. This is a very concrete math lesson for smaller children ( 2- 3 yrs).
A close-up... See details here in 🏖Beach ✨Inspired 🐚Nature Study post.
🐢Turtle Inspired Study
To make learning hands-on, I set this sensory bin from cereal and DIY blue rice and marbles. We are using this set to learn about the lifecycle of the green turtle. (To color the rice, simply add few squirts of vinegar to dry rice along with the desired food coloring.)
Learning about the land turtle, also called a tortoise. Fun Fact: A tortoise does not have any teeth. Carrying its shell on its back, a tortoise can be spotted in hues of brown or green.
Lastly, I offered children to make a chart noting the differences they learned about the sea turtle and a tortoise. For Adrian, I drew the pictures and offered him to color them in, and then answer the questions on a chart.
We also read the Amazing Sea Facts book, boasting with beautiful illustration and interesting facts. We learned that turtles return to the same breeding places called rookeries ~ sometimes swimming more than 1,400 miles ~ to reach the beaches where it lays its eggs. They may even use the very same beach on which they hatched!
Stay tuned for more Turtle inspired activities...
🌊Ocean ✨Inspired Study
Today, we are learning about whales while reading our favorite My First Discoveries Series ~ Whales book. I also set this simple colored rice sensory bin to represent the ocean for our whales to swim in. (To color the rice, simply add few squirts of vinegar to dry rice in a ziplock bag and add the desired amount of food coloring). Julia is sketching a whale using Dual Tip Watercolor Brush Markers, which are amazing!
Did you know that the Blue Whale is the biggest of all whales ~ twice as long as a bus? In fact, the blue whale is the largest mammal on the planet. Its tongue alone weighs as much as an elephant, and when it opens its mouth, up to 90 tonnes of water can fit into it. It also has the biggest heart in the world, weighing 180 kg and making it about as large and heavy as a gorilla.
We also learned about the Sperm Whale and the Orca. The Orca is a large, toothed whale that belongs to the dolphin family. Its black and white coloring makes it unmistakable. Animals swimming under it don't recognize it because the surface of the water is just as bright as its belly. And from above, you can hardly tell its apart from the sea floor, thanks to its black back. The Orca ~ also called "killer whale" is the tiger of the sea. When killer whales are around, penguins have to watch out! They tip penguins off icebergs and eat them whole!
The sperm whale has set several records. It is the largest toothed whale and has the biggest mouth of all whales. (The Sperm Whale and smaller whales have teeth.) They mostly eat squid, diving down into the depths of the ocean, and fish. Some also eat sharks, seals, dolphins, and birds ~ it could even swallow a person whole. However, it is not dangerous to people because it is only interested in attacking squid, of which it consumes around 1.5 tons a day. Its brain weighs 9.5 kilograms and is thus the heaviest of all mammals. It navigates through the seas using echolocation. You can hear it whistling, squeaking, and groaning under water from several kilometers away.
The Humpback Whale is smaller than Blue Whale. They like to leap out of the water to signal danger, to show their strength, to attack a mate, or just for fun. Despite its massive size, the Humpback Whale eats plankton, krill, and small fish using its baleen teeth to filter them out of the water. Adults can grow over 50 feet long and migrate up to 16,000 miles every year.
We also explored the ocean layers/zones with Oceans Atlas book. Inspired by Momducator, I layered felt sheets on top of each other to represent layers of the ocean (Sunlight, Twilight, Midnight, Abyss, Trenched ) and positioned Coral Reef TOOB as well as Baby Sea Life animals to make this activity hands-on. the Sunlight zone receives the most sunlight and is the warmest of the ocean zones, so subsequently, more marine life thrives there. As the ocean depth increases, less sunlight penetrates through the water, so it gets darker and colder with less marine life. Still, despite dark and cold conditions, there are myriads of organisms present at the deeper zones where they thrive, some having quite unique adaptations.
Ocean Layers/Zones: There are 5 layers that make up the ocean:
- Epipelagic Zone (Sunlight Zone)
- Mesopelagic Zone (Twilight Zone)
- Bathypelagic Zone (Midnight Zone)
- Abyssopelagic (The Abyss)
- Hadalpelagic Zome (The Trenches)
Read more here
We will also be conducting a science experiment, creating "Ocean Zones in a Jar" where children would be able to see how the layers of the ocean get darker as you go deeper.
Stay tuned for more ...
🏡Homemade Cloud Dough 🚜Construction Zone Sensory Bin
Adrian is currently obsessed with tractors and construction vehicles. He is fascinated with the human capacity to build bridges, subways, skyscrapers and more with the help of mighty machines. He also likes to observe the building process on a smaller scale such as diggers moving dirt or cranes lifting cement blocks. So, today, we are exploring hands-on with this 🚜Construction Zone Sensory Bin.
As a sensory filler, I made chocolate cinnamon cloud dough which smells divine and is amazingly crumbly and soft to handle. Cloud dough is beautifully soft, wonderfully moldable and is absolutely silky soft to touch. And the best part is that it could not be simpler to make. The general recipe is to combine 1/2 cup of vegetable oil with 4 cups of flour. You can use baby oil, but I prefer to use vegetable oil so that it is taste-safe. For older children, you can add spices, essential oils, and small objects (note the choking hazard). Most importantly, follow your child and create the bins that will ignite their interest!
How to make this Chocolate/Cinamon Cloud dough:
- 3 cups of flour
- 1/2 cup of cinnamon
- 1/2 cup of chocolate
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
We are also using kinetic rock from this set, marbles and stones, and this Plan City Road construction set along with some other tractors. Ready, set, go! Adrian was happily playing and manipulating cloud dough and stones for a good hour!
See here Mighty 🚜Machines ~ Big 📚Book of Big Machines
🐝Bee Unit Study
See here our 🐝Bees Unit Study
DINO UNIT STUDY
How about rescuing our Dinos from mud! See our entire unit study and our "mud" recipe here Dinosaur Themed Unit Study.
See here Dino Frozen 🎈Balloon Eggs Kids ⚗️Science Sensory 💦Water Play
See here Exotic North America Animals ~ Hydrogels Sensory Bin
Today, we are making muddy cloud dough that looks totally like mud but is absolutely taste-safe (in case you have little ones.) Simply keep adding vegetable oil to your flour base (we are using Hemp Protein Powder that had survived its expiration date ~ so that is how our cloud dough got its brown color). If you are using plain flour, simply add brown/black food coloring. We are using a Scheich sow, a farm feeder set, and farm animals. I am taking this sensory bin outside now and let the child take over from here in a stimulation pretend sensory-messy play.
💧HYDROGELS + SHAVING FOAM
Hydrogels are amazingly squishy, slippery, and bouncy to sensorily explore, but when you add shaving foam and food coloring, your MESSY PLAY takes on a new level of fun! See here a video-post "Shaving Foam & 💧Water 🌈 Beads 🙌🏻Sensory Play.
EARTHWORM Unit Study
To learn about the parts of the earthworm hands-on, we made an earthworm from air-play dough and we also made some of the internal organs and parts. Did you know that Earthworm has 5! ❤️hearts😱And Yes, it has a brain too although no eyes! And only adult earthworms have a Clitellum- ~ a wide band in the middle! And in the winter, earthworms burrow down below the frost level to keep warm with other wiggly friends! Find out more here in our Earthworms Unit Study.
💫Magic Paper💦 Water 🌺 Lily Flower Trick See here DIY 💫Magic Paper💦 Water 🌺 Lily Flower Trick • Kids Science Experiment 🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇
See here DIY Walnut Shell ⛵Sailboats 💦Water Science 🔬 💡⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇
🎈Balloon 💦Water Play
This is an awesome summer fun activity! Kids get to be outdoors and exercise those gross motor skills; they can splash and get wet on hot summer days, and most importantly ~ they get to have fun!
🏡Homemade Scented Play Dough
See our play-dough recipe here ~ No-Cook Homemade 🌈 Play Dough Recipe
"P" is for play-dough ~see here Letter P • 🔠Letter Series • Letter Hunt
We finally mastered our home-made play dough recipe and now we are experimenting with scented dough batches! Here, we are using botanical 100% organic fruit juice to color our play dough and we also added cinnamon and 🍫 chocolate to our brown dough and 💛turmeric spice to our yellow batch. Sooo good! We used these botanical paints to color our playdough, and we also added turmeric spice to our yellow batch and cinnamon and chocolate to our brown batch. We are also using these wooden dough tools.
See here play dough in action ~ Invitation To 🌾🌿 Create a Nest • 🐦Bird Unit Study
See here DIY ☀️Solar 🌎System Craft From ❌♨️No-Cook Natural 🏡Homemade Play Dough
Also see here 🎄Holiday Inspired No-Cook 🏡Homemade 🍩Play Dough
Stay tuned for more ☀️summer-inspired activities ...