Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Home School Chronicle – Productive Tuesday

Tuesday was a very productive day in class (I know, I’m a little behind). It was our first day back in class after four days off so the kids were eager to enter the classroom. You will notice that our classroom doesn’t have typical Montessori materials. There are so many great materials that I wish I could have available for CC and RJ, unfortunately purchasing pricey Montessori materials is not in our budget at the moment. So I’ve had to get creative. Here are some of the activities CC and RJ worked on.

After an extra jolly and musical rug time, CC first chose to work on my version of the Spindles Activity. THIS is a description of a typical Spindle Box and its function.
Ours is not so much a box with compartments and has pencils instead of spindles, but it still serves its purpose. CC usually likes to work on this activity together, however today she pulled it out and worked on it correctly all by herself=).

Here is a close up of the box. To make this box, I cut down and resized a larger cardboard box, cut out the openings and wrapped the box with the brown paper (left over painter’s roll). The cylinders are cut from a roll that our ‘Rug Time’ rug was wrapped around. All the materials needed were found around the house, I only had to purchase the pencils so the total cost of this activity was $3.

After watching CC work on the Spindles for a while RJ chose to work on the Bowl of Clothespins. This activity is meant to help with fine muscle control and strengthens the three finger grip. You’ll notice that there are numbers in the bowl. This is not necessarily Montessorian but I added the numbers to give CC an extra challenge when she chooses this activity from RJ’s shelf. When CC works on this activity she clips the clothespins in numerical order while saying the numbers out loud.

Here is CC working on a Color Sorting activity. CC completes this activity using tongs very easily. I have been trying to work on colors with RJ, but he still does not show much interest in sorting by color. The tongs aren’t available for RJ with this activity, when he works on this activity he uses his hands to randomly place the small toys in the compartments.

This Coins In the Bank activity is very simple, but RJ and CC both like it. You can see how much RJ focuses on this picture. RJ repeated this activity a number of times before moving on. When CC works on this activity she tries to name the coins out loud. Although she still doesn’t quite understand the value of money, she is learning the difference between quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies.

I have been thinking about removing this shape sorting activity because it has been ignored lately, but I recently added the blindfold to help CC work on her sense of touch. It is going well, so this activity will get to stay in the classroom a few more weeks.

After CC and RJ got a little distracted and had some fun blindfolding each other I suggested that they do one more activity before ending class. CC chose to cut paper and as usual RJ joined her. CC’s cutting is improving while RJ doesn’t yet have the hang of it. I also just noticed on this picture that he was cutting with his right hand... RJ is left-handed. That reminds me, I need to go out and find some left handed toddler scissors.

We usually end our class session by reading some books. On this day we read the latest issue of Little Kids National Geographic. This is such a cute toddler magazine designed for three to six year olds. CC gets excited when it arrives in the mail.

Here is a peak at one of the activities found in this issue which helped CC practice on Sounds. RJ doesn’t know letters yet but he enjoyed pointing to the animals that CC named. I would highly recommend this magazine.


  1. What amazing activities! I love them. I need to do more of these type of activities with my kids. Thanks for your inspiration! I will be checking back!

  2. Wow! You need to start your own school. I will be your first client hahaha. What the kids are doing is amazing. The quality of your instrucion surpasses any pre-school. If I ever run into free stuff at my school (sometime teachers give way things they no longer use) I will think of you. What kind of manipulatives are you looking for?

  3. I just learned so much from reading your entry and from Edison´s beautiful shortfilm.
    I have a 19-month old who´s very physical, high-energy, loud and adorable. Edison inspired me to include her more and let her be. Thanks for posting this!
    I´m glad to have found your blog.

  4. Giselle,
    Thanks for your kind comment. By the way, I'll take any hand-me-downs from your teachers. Since our little homeschool is just getting started we don't have much yet. I'm sure I can find a use for whatever you can get. Thanks!

  5. I absolutely love your spindle box, great creativity! Can't wait to read through the rest of your posts.

  6. That is absolutely the best homemade spindle box I've ever seen- great design!