Learning with Play

Gingerbread Babies!


Gingerbread Baby
 


Today was a busy day here! I have a cookies exchange tomorrow with my sister in laws, so it was baking day here! The girls wanted to make gingerbread so badly! So I decided that it would be fun. After lots of taking about it, shopping for just the right sprinkles, we made our batch. The hardest part of it was waiting for the dough to chill. While we waited, the girls traced cookie cutters to make paper cookies. I pulled out all of the glitter bits and the girls decorated to their hearts content. After that we watched some videos of our favorite Gingerbread Boy story on Jan Brett’s website. Jan Brett wrote a very sweet and beautiful version of this story and it is by far my favorite! On her website, she has some videos of her reading the story to some children and of her cooking gingerbread babies! What I thought was really cool was that she decorated the cookies before she baked them! What I thought was brilliant was that it saved me the trouble of trying to frost them, and the kids got to have all the cookie fun right away instead of waiting for the cookies to cook and cool first! It was the most relaxing and fun time I have had making cookies with the kids! I rolled, they cut, and then they decorated! Simple and fun!

 

 
Yummy! I love days where we are having fun together! I really hope that you are all enjoying the season of love and joy! I know we are! Happy Holidays!
 


Learning through Activity!

Today was one of those days if you know what I mean! I started out the day with grand plans for doing lots of school work and about half way through the morning I was about to give up on all of it! It is Thanksgiving week and we really only have a couple of days to do school work so I figured that if we didnt do anything, it would be ok. So I let then go off to playing in their own little world. And what a world it was. I heard a restaurant that served people and politely asked for orders! I heard about little babies that needed care and pets that needed fed too!



 As they played, their interest slowly switched. Bunny pulled out her sewing machine and made a small pillow (with a tiny bit of help) and Pup found some stickers she wanted to make into a book. So they did!



Next thing I knew they WANTED to do school and dragged me downstairs! They went to work and did a great job! Pup tried the sewing work I put out. She was super frustrated because she couldnt get it, but after showing her a few time she got it! And when she did, the smile on her face and the swinging feet we a sure sign of her pride! 🙂 Bunny wrote a book about Ballet and said she was working really hard on the coloring since that was the hardest part (except the writing of course). She also went on to work with the snake game and she read a book with more then one sentence to a page! Wow! Who knew!



This led me to think a bit today about what was different. I let them go. They were really self motivated today. I didnt say “lets do school”, they chose to do it! Now, it is not practical to do that everyday! If it were up to them, they would only do things hit and miss. So what else was different? Practical Life! Bunny sewed, Pup sewed! They were working with their hands and maybe it helped to focus them. This has me thinking about what Maria Montessori said:

“We found individual activity is the one factor that stimulates and produces development”

“Growth comes from activity, not from intellectual understanding”

They created, worked, and in turn were ready and excited to learn intellectually! So I am thinking that maybe we need practical life to start off our work day. I dont know about you, but I have a tendency to ask Bunny to do her “hard” work before she does the “fun or easy” work. I am thinking that this is something that I need to change! Maybe something easier is a good way to ease into harder work. I am sure that there is alot of research and expert knowledge all about this, but there is something about observing for yourself that makes it so much more real! Work….real work! Has anyone else found this out in their homes or classroom? Do you want to see more Montessori fun? Be sure to visit Montessori Monday! I am linking up over there! Happy Schooling!

Montessori Monday~ The Hand Chart

Today we did a follow up to the third great lesson, the hand chart. This is a long piece of black material (about 10 ft) that has a strip of red materials at the end and the picture of a hand in the middle. The point of the material and the discussion is to give the child the impression of how long humans were living, learning, working, and changing, before they even began to write things down! This led to some discussion about the tools and things that the early humans created and learned about. There were some pictures drawn and some reading done! After a little bit, Bunny had the idea of going outside and doing things a prehistoric man may have done. All the kids thought that was a fun idea. I offered to find something for them to try building a shelter with branches (I needed to trim the Butterfly bush anyway)! They thought about how to build a fire out of stick, but I drew the line at that! So off they went to build a shelter and make a camp! They had a hard time putting something together and it was interested way for them to understand just how hard it was for the early humans to live with whatever they could find!

Here is Bunny’s Picture of a prehistoric family and wooly mammoth.

 
Their early humans camp didnt work out like they wanted! So later on in the afternoon, Bunny and I went out and built another one with the sticks! It worked out with some clever arranging and with the old railroad spike as a tool. When it was done, Bunny said that the wind still came though and it was cold. I asked her what she thought the early humans would have done. She said they would have covered it will furs. Since I dont have furs laying around the house, we settled for some old sheets! It worked out. It helped block the wind and, as Bunny mentioned, it would help keep the rain out too! I also offered her some brown towels to use as furs to dress it! It was pretty cool! She had a lot of fun with it, and was so excited to show it to dad!
 

Using her tool to help make the shelter!

She is so excited that it worked!

Here are out added “furs”.

She even had a spot for her tools. That way they were easy to reach and they didnt hurt anyone.

My little cave girl!

Pup of course wanted to play too!
 
It was alot of fun exploring the way early humans may have lived! I planning on asking Bunny if she would like to make a story about them this week too! Next Monday I am planning on presenting the First Timeline (as long as the timeline I ordered comes in)! I am linking up over at Living Montessori Now, so be sure to stop over there for more Montessori fun! Happy Schooling!


Working away….

Work is continuing on here! Today I showed her the first presentation of the geometric strips. She has been begging to learn them, so I let her go for them. We talked about what a polygon is and how a triangle, and quadrilateral are also polygons. We also learned that a polygon needs to be closed in order to be a polygon! She loved it!

 
While Bunny worked, Pup explored the new trays I made before school started. I made a tray where she scoops a bit of Baking Soda into the tray and they uses the dropper (which has vinegar in it) to create little explosions! She LOVED it and concentrated on it for a long time!
 

 
Bunny also did some more bead frame work, and Pup and I learned some more sandpaper numbers. She loves to “do her math” and she know all the numbers up to 6. 7,8,9 are a little confusing still! Plus both girls got to explore the continent boxes. Pup loves them!
 

 

 
 
Later, Pup and I did some geometric solids. I showed them to her three at a time and she liked it! I asked her what they looked like to her! She told me that the ellipsoid looked like an egg, and the sphere looked like a ball, and the triangular prism looked just like a tent!
 

 
Finally, Bunny and I worked on some more rock work as a follow up to the first great lesson. We read a story about how a rock is formed in the earth and how it goes through a couple of different layers and millions of year until we find it! Then we made a model of the layers of the earth using playdough! She LOVED it (once I promised to buy more playdough since we used most of our stock) and it turned out really cool! Plus she was talking about the lave and how it comes out of the crust later on, so I guess it left an impression! 🙂
 

 
So once again it has been a great day! I love that our work time so far has been smooth and easy! I have really tried so hard to let the kids go on their learning path. It is hard to let go, but they really are learning alot and I need to keep holding back with my “wisdom”! 🙂 They are going to discover things if I give them the space and let them find thing out instead of just telling them! I hope your new year is going well too! Happy Schooling Everyone!


Taking Time Tuesday~ Fort Building in the Park!



Welcome to our second Taking Time Tuesday Party! Last week was awesome and I am so glad that I had so many wonderful links! It is so much fun to see everyone’s ideas! I really hope you take a second to link up here again! I cant wait to see what you too time to do this week!

Today we had a playdate with some friends at the park and I thought it would be fun to pack some stuff to make forts while we were there. The idea was a hit! There was so much brainstorming, laughing, helping, and fun going on all over! After our amazing creation was built, the kids played there all morning! They played house (I think) and since I had brought dishes, there were alot of interesting dirt/ grass creations made! What I loved the most was seeing all them happy, in their own imaginary world working together! Since we set up really close to the playground, I noticed there were alot of curious glances and a few of the other kids even wandered up to see what was happening! Nothing inspired more then a world of fun right?

When all things considered this was a really simple idea that didnt take too much thought! In fact you could do it anywhere really, so long as there is something to hold your fort up! So why dont you make a fort building kit for your next trip to the park? Here are somethings you need:
~ Sheets or tablecloths can can get dirty
~ Twine or thin rope
~ Clothes Pins
~ Safety Pins (Wish I would have had these)
~ Scissors (to cut the twine)
~ A Hammer (this would have made things ALOT easier)
~ Some little play dishes to make it all come together
See how simple? A great day of fun and learning is right in your closet! 🙂
Now its your turn! What did you do this week with your kiddos? Did you do a craft, take a trip, bake a cake, read a book? Link up and share your ideas! And spread the work! Dont forget to link back here in your post! If you want my adorable button, you can grab the code on the top left sidebar of my blog! Happy Tuesday!


Taking Time Tuesday~ A Year of Crafts~ Bubbles

Well today I am resurrecting the Taking Time Tuesday posts and I turned them into a linky party! This is the very first linky party I am hosting! I really hope that some of you link up here with me because it will be alot of fun! The party is a collection of all the fun we took time to have this week with our kids! I have noticed that I always forget to make sure I have time to be with my kids and have fun! Do you? Well in this linky party I want us all to remember the good time we had when we took time to be with out kids!

For my first Taking Time Tuesday day, we had another fun Year of Crafts day! Our theme was bubbles! Who doesnt love bubbles? I had great plans for all kinds of fun bubbly things, but the rains sort of put a stop to some of it! But the kids laughed and got messy and had fun anyway! Since that was the point, it was a smashing success! We started off with the ever so fun bubble prints and then I had all manner of bubble wands for the kids to play with, and of course there was unlimited bubble solution! We set everything up outside (for obvious reasons) and got right to work!

Lunch was a bit trickier since it is rather hard to find bubbly food! So I found some clear plastic Christmas ornaments in my stash that were perfect to put all their favorite food in! It was perfect! They loved it and it was easy! 🙂 For dessert there were mini cream puffs! Talk about yummy!

How is that for a great day? The kids had a blast, I had a good time, and most of all there were memories made! 🙂 Now its your turn! Link your fun below and let us know what you did that was special for your family this week! Happy Summer!
I also linked up with Its Playtime!


Finding Fossils!

That’s right, we were out fossil hunting today with friends!!!! Near where we live is an old quarry that is “what is left of the shallow sea that covered Ohio during the Devonian period, 375million years ago”! (I took that quote directly from the hand out they have). Basically they turned it into a park where you can go and hunt for fossils that are left over from the mining. They are chunks of shale that are in piles for you to dig in to your hearts content! How wonderful is that? While we were there we found a bunch of Brachiopods (shelled animals). Some of them were still intack with both shells. We also found some bits of Bryozoans, Crinoids, and Aulopora! What that translates into is lost of shell shapes, some coral bits, and some bits with a linen pattern! It was super fun and the kids had a great time getting really dirty!

Here are the fossils we found:

After all this work in the sun, the kids were all hot. So my friend suggested some ice cream and this suggestion was met with great joy (obviously)! With cones and cups in hand, everyone had a pure summer experience!

Summer is a wonderful time and since the heat has finally gone back to normal, we are able to be out there! I really love that we were able to do something as unique as dig for fossils and I know we will be back! Especially when we start the Great Lessons! What a perfect going out! Thanks for stopping by! Happy Summer Learning!


Montessori Bedroom for Bunny!

As promised, I have pictures of Bunny’s bedroom for you! This room is hers in every little place! She really loves to be there and everything decorating it is something special to her. She loves nic nacks and there are a lot of them! Another area that we added, was a desk area for her to use for her projects! She is a very crafty person and for a long time I dont know that I really realized how important the opportunity was for her create things with her hands. So with the desk came a craft box full of crafty things that she can use at her leisure for whatever she wants to create! I also have put her sewing machine in there too so that she can pull it out to practice when she wants! This freedom to create was given with some very strong guidelines however. She is to keep her craft box and desk clean after working. If she cannot keep things clean, she will loose her craft box. She has not only kept things put away, she also kept things really organized!!!! It has been really great not only for her confidence, but also for her behavior! She has been calmer, more peaceful, and happier! It appears that I met a need deep within her that I didnt even know she needed! Everything that Maria Montessori says about meeting the inner need of a child was true with this. When she had what she needed so much of the mean words, the screaming, and grumpiness, disappeared! I was shocked and so happy! It has truly become a special place for her that she uses daily! But enough chit chat! I think you all want to see the world!

Here is her bed area. At the foot of the bed is the quilt that we made together after her birthday. I made she some matching pillow for the bed as well! The horse at the end of her bed was mine when I was little! She loved it, so it made its way to her bed!

This pillow I made after being inspired by PB Teen ! It was so pretty and I loved the message! So I made it using my digital scrapbook program and printed it on printable fabric! You can download this file at the end of the post!

Above her bed are the shelves that hold the pretty things she loves!

I added this frame with some words I want her to remember! I made this printable too and you can get it at the bottom of this post!

Next to her bed is her book shelf with all her favorite books! On top of it is some of her willow tree figures and the elephant she made in a pottery class!

Here is her dresser. All of her clothes and hair things are here!

This printable I made since it went so well with the creative theme of her room! I love it! If you want this printable it is at the bottom of the post too!

Here are the jars where she sorts out the money she earns. I want her to learn early on to give some money, save some money, and of course spend some! 🙂 This give her a visual for working on that!

Here is her desk where all her creative magic happens!!!!

Pencils, her eraser collection, and some buttons to add color!

Next to her desk is her closet. Inside is many things she loves and lots of things that need to be stored. There is also a black basket with materials scraps for sewing, and her craft box!

Material Basket and Craft Box

Inside her craft box is:
~ Paper (Colored and plain)
~ Ribbon
~ Beads
~Craft Sticks
~ Googly eyes
~ Bells
~ Rhinestones
~ Tape
~ Paint Markers
~ Letter Stamps and stamp pad
~ Scissors
~ Fancy Scissors
~ Glue (craft and sticks)
~ Envelopes

So that is her room! Like I said she LOVES LOVES LOVES it! I love that she has the freedom to create and learn at the same time! She also has the responsibility to keep it all clean! It is her place and I think that it is just what she needs! As a Montessori child she loves her freedom and as a creative child she loves her art supplies! It think I have managed to pull that together for her! Let me know what you think! I love to hear your thoughts!!!! Happy Montessori-ing!
I am linking this up to this party!
If you want any of the printables I made, here are the link! Please be respectful and share the link with others not the file! Let me know how you used them! I love hearing about your projects! Enjoy!

Bunny’s Sewing Project!

Today I finally put some more thread on Bunny’s sewing machine! I really havent done too much with her with her sewing since she was still having some problems, so I just let it go. However, when I remodeled her room, I added a craft area and it was a perfect place for her to have her machine where she could try it out when she wanted. Today was the day she pulled it out! I expected her to try sewing some of the material scraps she has together, but no! She had some big plans! She asked if she could sew clothes with her machine and I said yes, she could sew anything. She wanted to make a skirt! WHAT?!?! She pulled out a piece of what fleece that she wanted to use. It was really short. So I found her a bigger one. She and I worked out where to sew and how to make it fit around her waist. We decided that adding some elastic would be necessary. I helped her sew the elastic in, but she did the rest herself! When she put it on, she was so happy! She made a skirt! It was really hard to let her go once I helped her see what she needed to do. I wanted her to feel like she did it herself. She did a great job and I think you will see alot of it in the photos! It was also a great learning experience for her as she learns to use the machine, control the fabric, and correct the speed of the presser foot. She did a great job and I know she will only get better!

Didn’t she do a good job? I see more sewing the near future! I am afraid I may never see her again! 😉 I am promising you a great tour of Bunny’s room hopefully tomorrow! I have been working on it and I finally think that I have all her favorite things and some of the things that tie the colors together! So be sure to stop by and see what a Montessori inspired room looks like for an older kiddo! Happy Summer!

murriel_nlx@mailxu.com schoeneman-nlx@mailxu.com