A half term DIY nature explorer kit!

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So with half term just around the corner I thought I would share a little DIY activity box that I put together for Theo. Inspired from a while ago by Lia's wonderful classroom in a box I decided to make Theo a nature explorer box, full of everything he might need to go on a little nature hunt in the woods or wherever!

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- I downloaded some great little nature hunt cards with lots of pictures of things to spot and tick off, which my sister kindly laminated me making them weather ready for our adventures. I thought that these would be great for inspiring us what to look for and are great as they have changable cards from season to season. 

- I included a paper bag to bring home any treasures we may find, such as feathers, seeds, leaves, flowers, sticks etc. 

A compass just for fun, to get into the spirit of finding our way and pretending that we're real explorers. 

- A bug viewer to study the creatures close up (without touching!)

- A magnifying glass to peer under logs and stones and look at the details of the things we find

- Some pens and a notebook to perhaps do some drawings of stick in some of our treasures that we find

- A bird spotting book to try and identify any birds we see (I'm planning on adding a tree and flower spotting book too!)

- and finally a pair of binoculars, because no nature kit is complete without them! 

I mostly found these objects from what we already had lying around the house, but picking up a few items here and there! 

On Sunday we took the opportunity to test out the kit and explore a woodland near by to us that we only recently discovered. We had great fun trying to spot some of the items from the cards and searched through the woods for hidden treasures. 

I hope this half term gets you out and exploring, and perhaps you could make your own little nature explorer kit! 

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and of course I made a little video of our walk! 

A half term DIY nature explorer kit!

 photo IMG_5447_zps6djd4krk.jpg

So with half term just around the corner I thought I would share a little DIY activity box that I put together for Theo. Inspired from a while ago by Lia's wonderful classroom in a box I decided to make Theo a nature explorer box, full of everything he might need to go on a little nature hunt in the woods or wherever!

 photo IMG_5467_zpsudvvipve.jpg

- I downloaded some great little nature hunt cards with lots of pictures of things to spot and tick off, which my sister kindly laminated me making them weather ready for our adventures. I thought that these would be great for inspiring us what to look for and are great as they have changable cards from season to season. 

- I included a paper bag to bring home any treasures we may find, such as feathers, seeds, leaves, flowers, sticks etc. 

A compass just for fun, to get into the spirit of finding our way and pretending that we're real explorers. 

- A bug viewer to study the creatures close up (without touching!)

- A magnifying glass to peer under logs and stones and look at the details of the things we find

- Some pens and a notebook to perhaps do some drawings of stick in some of our treasures that we find

- A bird spotting book to try and identify any birds we see (I'm planning on adding a tree and flower spotting book too!)

- and finally a pair of binoculars, because no nature kit is complete without them! 

I mostly found these objects from what we already had lying around the house, but picking up a few items here and there! 

On Sunday we took the opportunity to test out the kit and explore a woodland near by to us that we only recently discovered. We had great fun trying to spot some of the items from the cards and searched through the woods for hidden treasures. 

I hope this half term gets you out and exploring, and perhaps you could make your own little nature explorer kit! 

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and of course I made a little video of our walk! 

Montessori at home : planting seeds

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Since the weather has started to be so lovely we have been getting out in the garden a lot more. This weekend was a good chance to get out and get Theo involved with the gardening and planting some seeds. Last year we grew a sunflower together and he loved checking how tall it was growing.

I bought some seed packets from Ikea, probably not the best quality but I was drawn in by the packaging! My sister also sent us up some "magic beans" to plant!

We found an array of pots in our garden and set about planting with help from my friend!

Firstly we put some stones at the bottom of the pots to help with drainage then the boys filled them up half way with potting soil.

They then added the seeds and pushed them into the soil before adding a little more soil on top. Lastly we gave them a little water, firmed down the soil and made sure we marked out what seeds went where!

We've left them in a sunny spot under a clear cover to protect them from the wind, but hopefully they'll start sprouting soon and we can do the next stage of planting!

It was a lovely easy little exercise, and hopefully they'll grow!

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Montessori at home : planting seeds

 photo IMG_4847_zpsmhrox8qm.jpg

Since the weather has started to be so lovely we have been getting out in the garden a lot more. This weekend was a good chance to get out and get Theo involved with the gardening and planting some seeds. Last year we grew a sunflower together and he loved checking how tall it was growing.

I bought some seed packets from Ikea, probably not the best quality but I was drawn in by the packaging! My sister also sent us up some "magic beans" to plant!

We found an array of pots in our garden and set about planting with help from my friend!

Firstly we put some stones at the bottom of the pots to help with drainage then the boys filled them up half way with potting soil.

They then added the seeds and pushed them into the soil before adding a little more soil on top. Lastly we gave them a little water, firmed down the soil and made sure we marked out what seeds went where!

We've left them in a sunny spot under a clear cover to protect them from the wind, but hopefully they'll start sprouting soon and we can do the next stage of planting!

It was a lovely easy little exercise, and hopefully they'll grow!

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Montessori at home: Days of the week and simple addition

montessori at home days of the week

So it's been a very long while since I've posted one of these, so today I'm going to do two! 

Ever since we bought Theo some days of the weeks pants and socks he's been obsessed with asking what day it is and trying to figure out the order so I thought it would be a good idea to practice with him. He's getting really good at recognising letters to and learning to read and sound them out so this was a pretty good exercise in phonics and reading too. It's a pretty simple game, and could obviously just be used as a matching game with the colours for younger children too. 

I just asked him to find the matching stick and then we sounded out the letters and talked about what came next! 

montessori at home days of the week
montessori at home days of the week
montessori at home days of the week

Theo's also very into counting. He loves counting everything, from people to paving slabs to food to toys etc. We showed him how to add two values together by using objets to count and then add them altogether so I thought I'd try it with marbles and different figures written on the cards. He picked two values at random and then counted out each separate value into a bowl and then we added them together at the end. When we found our answer we searched for the correct number card. 

montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition

Montessori at home: Days of the week and simple addition

montessori at home days of the week

So it's been a very long while since I've posted one of these, so today I'm going to do two! 

Ever since we bought Theo some days of the weeks pants and socks he's been obsessed with asking what day it is and trying to figure out the order so I thought it would be a good idea to practice with him. He's getting really good at recognising letters to and learning to read and sound them out so this was a pretty good exercise in phonics and reading too. It's a pretty simple game, and could obviously just be used as a matching game with the colours for younger children too. 

I just asked him to find the matching stick and then we sounded out the letters and talked about what came next! 

montessori at home days of the week
montessori at home days of the week
montessori at home days of the week

Theo's also very into counting. He loves counting everything, from people to paving slabs to food to toys etc. We showed him how to add two values together by using objets to count and then add them altogether so I thought I'd try it with marbles and different figures written on the cards. He picked two values at random and then counted out each separate value into a bowl and then we added them together at the end. When we found our answer we searched for the correct number card. 

montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition

Montessori at home

montessori at home lower case alphabet

So I thought I would revive the slightly neglected Montessori at home. It sort of got left at the wayside as we moved and christmas was upon us. But I thought it was time to bring it on back! 

We have been doing little things here and there, but this is the first real 'project' I've set up for him to do recently, so of course I thought I'd document it to share!

I've mentioned recently about wanting to encourage Theo to draw more and be able to express himself that way too, so anything that involves using a pen grip and practicing mark making is good in my books. He's always shown an interest in letters, and has been able to write his name for a while now but that's about it. Also these tend to be in the upper case so I wanted to try and get him used to words and letters in the lower case. 

I have no idea at what age kids start to really write for themselves, and I'm sure it all differs from child to child. So whilst I'm not expecting him to start writing full sentences it would be nice to see him want to branch out from his own name. All in his own time though! 

So I thought this simple exercise would help him to practice tracing the letters, and help practice the pen grip.

I just simply drew the alphabet on our chalk wall and asked him to draw over them with water and a paintbrush! We talked through the directions and starting points when writing the letter, and he had fun watching the chalk disappear. 
montessori at home lower case alphabet
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall

So there you go! 

I was thinking that I might try and see if anyone else wanted to link up any crafts or home school type activities so we could take inspiration for new exercises? Let me know what you think! 


Montessori at home

montessori at home lower case alphabet

So I thought I would revive the slightly neglected Montessori at home. It sort of got left at the wayside as we moved and christmas was upon us. But I thought it was time to bring it on back! 

We have been doing little things here and there, but this is the first real 'project' I've set up for him to do recently, so of course I thought I'd document it to share!

I've mentioned recently about wanting to encourage Theo to draw more and be able to express himself that way too, so anything that involves using a pen grip and practicing mark making is good in my books. He's always shown an interest in letters, and has been able to write his name for a while now but that's about it. Also these tend to be in the upper case so I wanted to try and get him used to words and letters in the lower case. 

I have no idea at what age kids start to really write for themselves, and I'm sure it all differs from child to child. So whilst I'm not expecting him to start writing full sentences it would be nice to see him want to branch out from his own name. All in his own time though! 

So I thought this simple exercise would help him to practice tracing the letters, and help practice the pen grip.

I just simply drew the alphabet on our chalk wall and asked him to draw over them with water and a paintbrush! We talked through the directions and starting points when writing the letter, and he had fun watching the chalk disappear. 
montessori at home lower case alphabet
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall

So there you go! 

I was thinking that I might try and see if anyone else wanted to link up any crafts or home school type activities so we could take inspiration for new exercises? Let me know what you think! 


Montessori at home

Continuing with Theo's number obsession of late I thought we'd try and really simple pattern making game. He quite like things in order, and counting seems to fit in with that nicely as well as noticing patterns. I find it difficult to engage him in 'arty' activities, he certainly isn't one to sit and colour for hours, and is yet to really start drawing his own pictures instead he prefers to just write his own name. I guess all children have different skills and interests and I hope I can encourage him to follow what he enjoys doing. But a little gentle prodding to try and get him to enjoy using pen and paper doesn't hurt either right?

So I created an incredibly simple pattern sheet, used a key with numbers and its corresponding shape stamp and let him figure out the rest. I started with two rows of an easy pattern, to see if he got the hang of it, then changed it around a bit. You could obviously make it easier or harder by changing the patterns or adding more numbers and stamps. It's one that we can go back to again and again for a little bit of stamping action, which helps to recognise numbers and predict patterns. 


We used these great little stamp pens from Ikea  but homemade stamps or any others you have lying around would work well too! 

Montessori at home

Continuing with Theo's number obsession of late I thought we'd try and really simple pattern making game. He quite like things in order, and counting seems to fit in with that nicely as well as noticing patterns. I find it difficult to engage him in 'arty' activities, he certainly isn't one to sit and colour for hours, and is yet to really start drawing his own pictures instead he prefers to just write his own name. I guess all children have different skills and interests and I hope I can encourage him to follow what he enjoys doing. But a little gentle prodding to try and get him to enjoy using pen and paper doesn't hurt either right?

So I created an incredibly simple pattern sheet, used a key with numbers and its corresponding shape stamp and let him figure out the rest. I started with two rows of an easy pattern, to see if he got the hang of it, then changed it around a bit. You could obviously make it easier or harder by changing the patterns or adding more numbers and stamps. It's one that we can go back to again and again for a little bit of stamping action, which helps to recognise numbers and predict patterns. 


We used these great little stamp pens from Ikea  but homemade stamps or any others you have lying around would work well too! 

Montessori at home : In the kitchen


So I thought I'd do a little mini series, inside this mini series...

Theo and I like to spend time in the kitchen and I'm keen for him to be comfortable using a number of different tools and equipment. So in a few posts we'll try and cover the things we use regularly, and the way I try and encourage the 'practical life' element.

I needed to make Theo's packed lunch for nursery and Theo always wants to be involved, so we decided to make egg mayonnaise! After boiling the eggs for him (not really confident about the boiling water part yet!) and cooling them down he set about peeling them, then using the egg slicer (his favourite tool) to chop them up. Then a little seasoning and mixing. I then supervised the use of the sharp knife to cut his roll, then he buttered it. Finally he spooned out the egg mixture into his roll! It was a simple task that used a variety of skills, and produced something that he was proud of and could tell his friends at nursery that he had made himself! 


Montessori at home : In the kitchen


So I thought I'd do a little mini series, inside this mini series...

Theo and I like to spend time in the kitchen and I'm keen for him to be comfortable using a number of different tools and equipment. So in a few posts we'll try and cover the things we use regularly, and the way I try and encourage the 'practical life' element.

I needed to make Theo's packed lunch for nursery and Theo always wants to be involved, so we decided to make egg mayonnaise! After boiling the eggs for him (not really confident about the boiling water part yet!) and cooling them down he set about peeling them, then using the egg slicer (his favourite tool) to chop them up. Then a little seasoning and mixing. I then supervised the use of the sharp knife to cut his roll, then he buttered it. Finally he spooned out the egg mixture into his roll! It was a simple task that used a variety of skills, and produced something that he was proud of and could tell his friends at nursery that he had made himself! 


Montessori at home

I mentioned recently that Theo has become obsessed with numbers and counting recently, and it's definitely an obsession I want to encourage! He counts everything he see's, such as floor tiles, pieces of food, legs...just about anything! So when thinking about a montessori activity we could try I thought we'd try a simple game of matching and counting. We have an abundance of conkers lying around not doing a whole lot (I mean what can you really do with them, except a conker fighting championship?!) and to keep up with being seasonal and all that I decided they would be great to use as our counters. 

I quickly whipped up some number cards and just let him loose. He didn't need any explaining of what he needed to do, just starting to pick up and count out the right amount of conkers for each number. He'd count out the right amount from the bowl then count them onto the number card. He can recognise digits well, and liked counting the dots too. 



To make things a little harder we then mixed up all the number cards, placed them face down and picked two at random. I wanted to introduce very basic adding, so asked him to count out conkers for each number, then count how many there were in total. It's something I hope that we can continue to build on! 



Montessori at home

I mentioned recently that Theo has become obsessed with numbers and counting recently, and it's definitely an obsession I want to encourage! He counts everything he see's, such as floor tiles, pieces of food, legs...just about anything! So when thinking about a montessori activity we could try I thought we'd try a simple game of matching and counting. We have an abundance of conkers lying around not doing a whole lot (I mean what can you really do with them, except a conker fighting championship?!) and to keep up with being seasonal and all that I decided they would be great to use as our counters. 

I quickly whipped up some number cards and just let him loose. He didn't need any explaining of what he needed to do, just starting to pick up and count out the right amount of conkers for each number. He'd count out the right amount from the bowl then count them onto the number card. He can recognise digits well, and liked counting the dots too. 



To make things a little harder we then mixed up all the number cards, placed them face down and picked two at random. I wanted to introduce very basic adding, so asked him to count out conkers for each number, then count how many there were in total. It's something I hope that we can continue to build on! 



montessori at home

Yesterday I had my first morning of solo parenting since this all happened, as Rob returned to work. I was dreading it a little as you get used to having someone else around so quickly. So to fight the dragging time make the most of our time together before preschool I concocted a little sensory game. 

I ran around the house collecting objects that I thought would be interesting textures and shapes to feel, then managed to convince Theo to let me blindfold him and asked him to try and find a matching pair that felt the same. It was hard work trying to get him to keep the blindfold on (also note to self, with more planning try and find something a little more suitable than a silk headscarf...) We had to take it in turns, and I tried to encourage him to describe what he was feeling; whether the objects were hard, soft, squidgy, cold, smooth, rough etc. 

Once we found quite a few pairs Theo then decided to play the 'what's missing' game, and again we took it in turn to hide the objects. Theo made sure he counted all the different sets of objects before remembering what was missing. 


With a little more time I figured there could be quite a few variations of this game, and the potential to use a wide range of objects to create different sensory games. These could include sound, taste and smell as well as touch. I think I've discovered one that we will be building on from now on! 

montessori at home

Yesterday I had my first morning of solo parenting since this all happened, as Rob returned to work. I was dreading it a little as you get used to having someone else around so quickly. So to fight the dragging time make the most of our time together before preschool I concocted a little sensory game. 

I ran around the house collecting objects that I thought would be interesting textures and shapes to feel, then managed to convince Theo to let me blindfold him and asked him to try and find a matching pair that felt the same. It was hard work trying to get him to keep the blindfold on (also note to self, with more planning try and find something a little more suitable than a silk headscarf...) We had to take it in turns, and I tried to encourage him to describe what he was feeling; whether the objects were hard, soft, squidgy, cold, smooth, rough etc. 

Once we found quite a few pairs Theo then decided to play the 'what's missing' game, and again we took it in turn to hide the objects. Theo made sure he counted all the different sets of objects before remembering what was missing. 


With a little more time I figured there could be quite a few variations of this game, and the potential to use a wide range of objects to create different sensory games. These could include sound, taste and smell as well as touch. I think I've discovered one that we will be building on from now on! 

Montessori at home

So, guess what's back! After a long spell of no posting I thought I'd better give myself a kick up the bum and remind myself why I like to blog and what my favourite things to post about are. So of course, my montessori post's were the first thing I thought to bring back, mainly because they motivate me to actually do things with our mornings. But to ease us back in gently I thought we'd try this easy and fun task of making our own marble run/maze.

All you need is a cardboard box or shoe box lid etc (an old cereal box would do the trick!), some lolly pop sticks and some glue! We didn't really have a plan in mind of where to stick the sticks, but perhaps if we made any more a template would be a good idea, but I kind of liked making it up as we went along! 
Theo dipped the long edge into the glue and we placed it in the box together, we also broke some in half to give us different lengths. Then we left it to dry, and this requires quite a lot of patience! An hour or so later we were ready to play!

It was great to teach Theo how to use movement and control to make the marbles travel in the right way, and above all good fun! 

Montessori at home

So, guess what's back! After a long spell of no posting I thought I'd better give myself a kick up the bum and remind myself why I like to blog and what my favourite things to post about are. So of course, my montessori post's were the first thing I thought to bring back, mainly because they motivate me to actually do things with our mornings. But to ease us back in gently I thought we'd try this easy and fun task of making our own marble run/maze.

All you need is a cardboard box or shoe box lid etc (an old cereal box would do the trick!), some lolly pop sticks and some glue! We didn't really have a plan in mind of where to stick the sticks, but perhaps if we made any more a template would be a good idea, but I kind of liked making it up as we went along! 
Theo dipped the long edge into the glue and we placed it in the box together, we also broke some in half to give us different lengths. Then we left it to dry, and this requires quite a lot of patience! An hour or so later we were ready to play!

It was great to teach Theo how to use movement and control to make the marbles travel in the right way, and above all good fun! 

Montessori at home

Following on from our little exploration of leaves and seeds a few weeks ago I thought it would be fun to try and create some trees of our own. I wanted to talk about the way trees change during the seasons, and try and recreate them using different colours and materials. 

We mixed up some paint together, creating some different colours we might find in the seasons and used cotton buds (a pencil with a rubber would work well too!) to create the leaves, encouraging fine motor skills. We also tore up tissue paper to create blossom and painted apples. It was a fun little activity! 



(Sorry for the terrible quality photos, I only had my phone to hand!) 

Montessori at home

Following on from our little exploration of leaves and seeds a few weeks ago I thought it would be fun to try and create some trees of our own. I wanted to talk about the way trees change during the seasons, and try and recreate them using different colours and materials. 

We mixed up some paint together, creating some different colours we might find in the seasons and used cotton buds (a pencil with a rubber would work well too!) to create the leaves, encouraging fine motor skills. We also tore up tissue paper to create blossom and painted apples. It was a fun little activity! 



(Sorry for the terrible quality photos, I only had my phone to hand!)