Here’s a repost of a post from 2010:). If you have preschoolers, check out these Montessori ideas for use in December. Remember, not for kids who put things in their mouths or noses!
I’ve neglected my Montessori activity shelf this fall, but it’s come back in full force in December. I like to put holiday themed activities when I can and this of course, is a perfect month for that. I borrow ideas from My Montessori Journey, a Christian Montessori teacher with a great website. The link is to her December 2009 activities. I think you can go to the archives and see December 2008 as well. Here are some of our activities. The second grader also enjoys some of these activities as a break from her seat work. They are great motivators for students who need ummm…an extra boost to finish up some work:
I found the bowl at a garage sale or thrift shop after Christmas. The red and green clothes pins were from Michael’s, again after Christmas. The kids can choose a pattern, or I can, to repeat around the bowl. Fastening them to the bowl helps strengthen little hand muscles to ready them for writing later on. When they are happy with the pattern and shown it to me, they remove all the pins, put them in the bowl and return it to the shelf.
This is an activity to practice counting. I made paper bells and wrote the numbers 1-9, one on each paper bell. There are exactly the correct number of jingle bells to put on the paper bells, so 1 jingle bell on the paper bell with number one and so on. On the back of the paper bells, I put a little star sticker to represent the correct number of jingle bells. That way children who aren’t sure of their numbers can simply put a jingle bell on each star sticker to practice their numbers. The box was an unpainted one at Michael’s that I painted green and put a Christmas tree on it to make it fun. You could use a plain box or a basket–whatever you have.
These are bells you put on pipe cleaners in a vase. The kids really like arranging them like flowers. Here’s the finished product
The last one is pouring colored rice. I don’t know why kids love this but they do. The rice is red and green. I have one small flask and a small bowl with a spoon. Back and forth. Great for muscle control in the hands. Plus it’s fun. You can color white rice (pretty much the only thing white rice is good for!) with a bit of food coloring and a small amount of alcohol in a Ziploc bag. Then spread it on wax paper to dry overnight. The color won’t come off.
Now that my preschooler is in kindergarten, I’ve added a couple of new activities. Doodlebug is learning his math facts this year, and the first activity is always to make sure he understands what he is doing with concrete objects. The objects depend on the season and what I have on hand. Today I used the little colanders I got through Montessori Services. I used some decoration lightbulbs–note these are not real light bulbs! I put more than enough light bulbs for each equation in the Christmas tree bowl. Then he looks at the first equation on his worksheet, in this case 2+5. He puts 2 bulbs in the first colander and 5 in the second colander. Then he “adds” them both to the third colander, counts them to get the correct sum, and writes the answer on his paper. Before he could write I let him use a stamp set to stamp the answer on the paper. I still do sometimes because he thinks it’s fun.
Now, please use common sense with these. If your kids put everything in their mouth, these are not appropriate for independent use. You can tweak these for your own kids and what you already have at your house. Or take a stroll down the holiday aisle at your Michael’s, Target, Dollar Tree or Thrift Smart and see what you can put together. If you’re as thrifty as I am, wait til the clearance sales begin and start planning for next year!
BTW, if you have family members who are asking for gift ideas, I’ve added many new book suggestions in my neverpictureperfect picks store. There are some lovely books in the Beautiful Books section that would be perfect gifts!