Unit Study Feed

DIY ☘️Shamrock Addition 🔢Counting Activity

St. Patrick's Day is around the corner, and we are continuing the ☘️themed week today with this simple DIY addition activity. Hands-on concrete learning with visual counters is more accessible to children than the abstract mathematical concepts. So, this DIY is an invitation to count, perform addition, feel the counters, trace the sandpaper numbers and make numbers with pipe cleaners! We are using shamrock cutouts (these glittered ones) and lucky Leprechaun gold coins as counters. 

DSC_0026TIP: for a DIY, cut out shamrock shapes yourself from green cardstock (two smaller identicals for addends and one larger for a sun), and use any green counters you have handy: pom poms, buttons, beads, marbles etc.

DSC_0026You may download the Addition worksheet here

Once the child calculates the sun, offer to make that number from pipe cleaners and also offer to trace it using Montessori Sandpaper numbers

DSC_0028As a variation, offer to practice counting and adding styrofoam balls (we are using recycled tomato cardboard container to hold the balls). I placed each addend into a shallow smaller bowl and the "sum" bowl I chose a little bigger to emphasize that the bigger bowl ~ the sum~ will combine the two smaller ones. (For a detailed lesson on Addition, see links below).

DSC_0034Tonging is a wonderful way to practice and strengthen fine motor control.

DSC_0037Also, offer your child to "trace" the sum sandpaper number with marbles, as well as trace the number in the sand tray.  (I lined the tray with green cardstock in a spirit of St. Patrick's. See below how to make a Montessori Sandpaper Tracing tray.)


If you would like to ✂️ make sandpaper numbers, see here a video-tutorial 🖐️Sandpaper 🔢 Numbers (Montessori 🔢 Math 101 🎥 Series 🎇 Curriculum), and see here how we made sandpaper letters "DIY Sandpaper Letter "S" (Montessori 🔠 101 Language).
DSC_0037Finally, ask your child to determine whether the sum-number is an odd or even number. For a detailed lesson on Odd and Even, see here a post "🍁Fall-Inspired Odd and Even (Numbers & Counters)" which has links to other Odd/Even lessons. 

DSC_0052Taking it up a 📈notch by adding three addends (instead of two in a regular equation) since a ☘️shamrock has three leaves! This simple math addition DIY is super easy to set up: all you need is a 🍀paper puncher and pipe cleaners to make numbers to reinforce 🔢number recognition and proper tracing. Buy a similar shamrock here (same size as we are using ~ 1") or buy a smaller 5/8" clover puncher here.

DSC_0033-001 See here🎥 video of Adrian making Montessori Sensorial Tracing Tray using a polenta filler.

For more on St. Patrick's Day inspired math activities, see here ☘️Shamrock ✂️DIY ♻️Recycled 🍡Popsicle Puzzle Skip Counting by 🔟s. Also, see our entire unit study here ☘️St. Patrick's Day Kids Activities.

For more addition math lessons, see below:

DSC_0005 See here a video post "➕Addition Strip Board (Montessori 🔢 Math 🎥 Lesson)."

For more on addition, see a post 🎥 here "Montessori Math Simple ➕ Addition using Marble-Counters" which also has an intro What is Montessori Math? Also see here an Extension to Strip Board: "➕Addition Strip Board Making 🔟’s (Montessori 🔢 Math 🎥 Lesson)."

For more on math, see here a post 🎥 video "Beginning ➖ Subtraction 🎥 (Montessori 🔢 Math Lesson)."

See links to previous math lessons here.

🌈Rainbow Alphabet 🔡Lower to 🔠Upper Case Matching

To continue with our rainbow theme, I made this DIY Alphabet matching activity. First, I drew a rainbow using these pastels. Then I laminated the rainbow painting since the pastels do transfer to hands. 

DSC_0093I wrote with this Sharpie upper and lower case alphabet on these dot sticker sheets. 

I then arranged twenty-six of these self-adhesive magnets on the rainbow to represent the upper case letters, securing them to the rainbow by removing the backs.
DSC_0093To make sure that the upper and lower case magnets attack, stick the upper case dot sticker to the "face" of the magnet already secured to the rainbow.

DSC_0093With lower case letter magnets you will NOT be removing the backs, but rather placing a lower case letter sticker ON the back, which is white and will remain on the magnet. This will ensure that lower and upper case magnets will attack.
DSC_0100Offer your child to match the loose lower case magnets to the upper case magnets already adhered to the rainbow.
DSC_0100This language matching activity is also a great fine motor and hand-eye coordination exercise.

DSC_0100  In the process, the child also practices color recognition and rainbow color sequencing since the upper and lower case of the same letter will have matching colors.
DSC_0100Once the child completes the activity, offer to "run" on the rainbow singing the ABC song. 
DSC_0100Magnets are great since this assures you will not have tiny dot letters all around the house!.

For more on rainbows, see here our ☘️St Patrick's Day Kids Activities.

For some hands-on fun science experiments on "walking water" and capillary action, see links below:

DSC_0067See here 💛💙❤️Primary Colors, 💦Water & Paper Capillary Action ⌛️Timelapse ⚗️ Kids Science Experiment (🌈 Rainbow Walking Water).


IMG_0549Also, see here 🖌Markers ☕Coffee Filters 🌈Rainbow Walking 💦Water ⌛️Timelapse Kids ⚗️Science Capillary Action.

DIY ❤️Valentines Heart Stickers ✂️ Scissors 🎥Cutting Activity for Kids

Fine motor skills involve the coordination of small muscles in hands and fingers and are advanced by frequent practice. Strong fine motor control is essential in completing tasks such as writing, cutting with scissors or a knife, manipulating puzzle pieces, threading beads, zipping, buttoning, and many more. Without well-developed fine motor skills, a child may have difficulty learning other critical tasks presented in the preschool and kindergarten classrooms.

Below is a super easy ❤️Valentines Inspired DIY ✂️ Scissors Cutting Activity, which took about⏱two minutes to set up. 

DSC_0014-2You will need ~ strips of paper, stickers, a Sharpie, and scissors.

DSC_0016-3 Use stickers and draw various kinds of lines in between the stickers.

DSC_0019Adrian is used to cutting straight across, so curves and zig-zags will hopefully provide him with some challenge, spiking an interest.

DSC_0002Just like the proper pencil grip, the proper scissors grip must be actively taught since it is completely unlike any other grip your child likely used. Most children explore with their hands outstretched and their palms facing downward or hold small items with their thumb and pointer finger ~ the pincer grip.

DSC_0004The proper scissors grip, on the other hand, requires a child to rotate the hand so that the thumb faces upward and the pinky finger points at the floor. Then the child must spread his/her thumb and pointer finger as far apart as possible while using his palm to help stabilize the scissors.

DSC_0006Your child must also rely on his/her non-dominant hand to stabilize the paper while his dominant hand uses the scissors. 

DSC_0006When learning to use the scissors, the non-dominant hand will simply hold the paper in a stable position as the dominant hand moves the scissors forward. 
DSC_0006But, as your child begins cutting more complex designs such as zig-zags or curves, his/her non-dominant hand will be responsible for twisting and turning the paper as the dominant hand operates the scissors.

DSC_0015Asymmetrical bilateral integration is the ability to simultaneously move both hands in different motions to complete a single task. Nearly all fine motor activities, including cutting and writing, require a dominant hand (being left-handed or right-handed) and a non-dominant hand. Hand dominance can be seen as early as age two, although it may not be firmly established until a later time. Once a child becomes comfortable with one hand as the dominant hand, the remaining hand becomes the non-dominant hand by default, and while the dominant hand performs tasks such as using a pen or scissors, the non-dominant hand acts as the “stabilizer” by holding and moving the paper while the dominant hand holds the scissors during the cutting.

A Trick to Learning The Correct Scissors Grip: Ask your child to shake your hand, and while shaking, your child will naturally rotate his/her hand so that the thumb goes top and the fingers extend below (pinky finger is closest to the floor). After shaking hands, pick up a pair of scissors by the closed metal blade and place the end of the scissors with the finger holes into his outstretched palm. Help the child put his/her thumb in a large circular loop on top and one or two fingers in the larger loop on the bottom. (Ideally, you would want your child to place the middle finger in the larger bottom loop and the index finger be a "helper" in closing the scissors.) ~ “Nice to meet you, Mr. Scissors!” ~

DSC_0015Most children become interested in using scissors around age two and a half or three. When you notice your child’s interest, direct your child to spread his index finger and thumb as widely as possible, explaining how this motion makes the blades of the scissors open really wide. Then encourage him/her to close the scissors in one smooth motion. This will help make long, smooth and efficient cuts rather than short, choppy ~inefficient ones. 

For more on ✂️scissor practice, see below:

DSC_0065See here a fun scissor activity ~ ✂️Scissors 🎥•DIY 🚗Car Wash. 

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

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

DSC_0077Also, see here ✂️Scissors • Primary Colors 🍝Pasta Cutting.


Once the pasta dries out and can not be cut anymore, put those little 🙌🏻hands to use while practicing fine motor skills by threading! For more on Valentines Inspired activities, see here ❤️Valentine's Inspired Activities for Kids. 

❄️Winter Favorite 📖Reading 📚Collection • Kids Books

Below are 📚books we have been enjoying reading during the cold❄️Winter months. We love snow and winter, and we love creating fairy-tale settings for our children to play out their imagination. (I wrote about the importance of imaginary play in child's development here.) So, we love bringing books to life through small world play by creating scenes and incorporating the characters from books to let our children role-play, explore the plot and its characters.

DSC_0230Below are 🔍 some of our favorite❄️Winter books:

  • The Mitten book ~ our absolute 🌨Winter🐰🐻🐭 favorite book! (buy here) ~ see a📎 link to a blog post 👇below or here,
  • The Hat book (buy here) ~ see a📎 link to a blog post 👇below or here,
  • Ice Is Nice!: All About the North and South Poles, Cat in the Hat's Learning Library (buy here),
  • Winter, First Step Nonfiction (buy here),
  • Winter Wonderland, Picture the Seasons (buy here) is an amazing book written by Winter with humorous text and gorgeous photography,
  • The Secret Life of a Snowflake book (buy here) ~ read a post about it here or see👇below,
  • The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice book (buy here) and see 👇below,
  • The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice (buy here) and see 👇below.

DSC_0316See here The Mitten Book •❄️Winter Favorite 📖Reading 📚Collection.  

DSC_0018See here The Hat Book  ❄️ Winter 📖 Reading Collection.

DSC_0007See here 📚Learning About 🌨Snowflakes •❄️Paper ✂️Craft.  

IMG_0310Also here see ❄️Snowflake Paper ✂️Craft. 


Do you 🎉celebrate The ❄️Winter solstice — also known as Yule, Midwinter, the Shortest 🌅Day of the Year and the Longest 🌌Night! This holiday, (which lands usually on December 21st) is a great opportunity to bring out a 🌏globe and a 🔦flashlight and discuss the sun, the seasons, the tilt of the 🌏 Earth and so much more!  

🌬Winter 🌅 Solstice Books:

  • The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice book (buy here) has lots of fun activities you can do with your kiddo such as determining the positioning of the ☀️ on the 🌅horizon by measuring a shadow, 🖍sketching the positioning of the sun ☀️ by using a compass and more;
  • The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice (buy here) is a wonderful collection of stories honoring the winter solstice, but for an older child - 8 yo and up.

For holiday-inspired reading, see here 🎄Christmas 🎅🏻 Inspired Holiday 📚Books.

For fun hands-on Winter activities, see here ☃️ Winter Inspired Unit Study.

🌬Frozen 🌀Hydrogels Icy Arctic ❄️Snowy Sensory Bin•☃️ Winter Inspired Unit Study

Today, we are freezing clear hydrogels and creating an icy Arctic ❄️Snowy Sensory Bin. For the first time, you can buy this sensory bin through my new Etsy store ~ order here. (5% of profits will be donated to fight global warming.) Limited time ONLY get 10% off your Arctic Set~ shop here

DSC_0318First, grow hydrogels: pour water over dry gel beads and wait for about an hour.
DSC_0318 Wait until hydrogels are fully expanded. 

DSC_0331Put hydrogels in a freezer for a couple of hours: they will change from clear to white as snow!

DSC_0342     I also added glitter styrofoam balls, pom poms, pearl beads, crystals, and glitter.

DSC_0342 We added Arctic figures to learn about them through play.
DSC_0342To make the "ocean" I poured some hot water over the hydrogels, defrosting them.

The result: hours of small world sensorial play. We also learned about the Arctic animals, their diets, and prevalent characteristics.  We talked about Inuits and how their land was restored to them by the Canadian government. Finally, as the ice and hydrogels started to melt, we discussed the global warming and its negative effects on the entire ecosystem. You can PRE-ORDER this sensory bin through my Etsy store ~ buy here. (5% of profits will be donated to fight global warming.)

DSC_0314For more on hydrogels, see here 💫Magical 🌀Hydrogels • Kids ⚗️Science Experiment 💦Trick.

To observe how hydrogels grow real sped up time, see here a 🎥 video of how we "made" hydrogel beads in Sensory Exploration with Hydro Gel ❤️️ Water Beads.

IMG_9745For more sensory bins, see here 🎅🏻 North vs 🇦🇶South 🌎Pole 🌬Frozen 🙌🏻Invitation to❄️ Explore.

I wrote in details about the Polar Region's animals here in a post "❄️Polar 🌎Regions Unit Study • 🎅🏻 🇦🇶Land 🌊Water 🌬Air."

For more fun❄️winter 🙌🏻 hands-on activities, see here ☃️ Winter Inspired Unit Study.