Monday, April 12, 2010

Montessori in a Bag – Looking Back on Our Side of Our First Activity Bag Exchange



Some time ago, I got excited by a post on one of the yahoogroups I belong to which proposed an Activity Bag exchange based on the ideas at ActivityBags.com. I quickly responded, knowing that the exchange would motivate me to get going on fall planning for more formal pre-homeschooling with the kids. Within days, I was paired up with an energetic homeschooling mom of toddler twins. Together, we decided to begin our trade by making 24 bags each – a dozen to keep and a dozen to share.


Since, at the time, I had been dabbling in Montessori-inspired activities with my children for a couple years, I decided to focus on putting together the activities for my half of the exchange with Montessori in mind. And, in the spirit of environmental and economic awareness, I opted to limit my materials for use in the bags to mostly things I already had around the house that could be repurposed. These parameters, along with a wish to pay attention to some descriptors the mom I was paired with used to introduce her children, set me on my way.

The result? Here are the activities I came up with:

Activity Name: Tweezing Pom Poms (Practical Life)


Aims: eye-hand coordination, concentration, learning to use tweezers, preparation for writing (pincer grasp), etc.
Activity Directions: Use tweezers to transfer pom-poms from small rectangular containers to large circular one. Then, re-transfer, sorting pom-poms by colors.
Extensions/Variations: (1) Swap out tweezers with tongs, strawberry huller, or small spoons. (2) Swap out pom poms with other small objects. (3) Swap out containers with attractive bowls and baskets.
Control of Error: No pom poms left in rectangular containers. Unable to make tweezers work.
Bag Includes: 2 lidded rectangular plastic containers, 1 open circular plastic container, 5 black pom poms, and 5 orange pom poms
Montessori Source Inspiration: Practical Life album from amontessorimarketplace.com and Mommy, Teach Me! by Barbara Curtis, page 92-924
Swap Partner’s Descriptor Inspiration: “Fine motor skills is always on my mind...” (Work with tweezers is great for developing fine motor skills.)

WARNING: Although intended for children to use somewhat independently, this activity includes a plastic bag, which may pose a suffocation hazard if placed over head, and may include small parts, which may pose a choking hazard if ingested. Adult supervision is required.

Activity Name: Sound Canisters (Sensorial)


Aims: sound discrimination, grading sounds, order, concentration, independence, ability to make a choice, one-to-one correspondence, etc.
Activity Directions: Shake the canisters to try to find two with matching sounds. For the first few times, use only the canisters with black and white lids. Then, try using all of them, color side down.
Extensions/Variations: (1) Guess the sound and, then, hold canisters up outside to see a shadow of what’s in them. (2) Use only canisters with the same color top and grade them from softest to loudest sound.
Control of Error: End up without a match for the last canister. Paired canisters have sounds that do not match.
Bag Includes: 2 canisters with white lids, 2 with black, 4 with orange and 4 with yellow.
Montessori Source Inspiration: http://www.infomontessori.com/sensorial/auditory-sense-sound-boxes.htm, Sensorial album from amontessorimarketplace.com and Mommy, Teach Me! by Barbara Curtis, pages 103-104
Swap Partner’s Descriptor Inspiration: “Lu...loves music...” (He should enjoy the sound and rhythm of shaking canisters.)

WARNING: Although intended for children to use somewhat independently, this activity includes a plastic bag, which may pose a suffocation hazard if placed over head, and may include small parts, which may pose a choking hazard if ingested. Adult supervision is required.

Activity Name: Yoga Cards (Practical Life)


Aims: control of movement, balance, calming oneself, concentration, body awareness, etc.
Activity Directions: Place all cards on a plate, face up. Pick up a card and attempt the pose. Then, place card, face down, on the other plate.
Extensions/Variations: (1) Make up your own poses based on animals, vehicles and other things of interest. (2) Switch out cards with other yoga pose cards. (3) For poses with animal names, find picture cards or toys to match the names. Put them in a bag or basket and draw one out to decide which pose to do.
Control of Error: Unable to perform pose to own satisfaction.
Bag Includes: 25 yoga pose cards and 2 plates
Montessori Source Inspiration: http://montessoribyhand.blogspot.com/2007/06/yoga-in-classroom.html and http://www.newchildmontessori.com/yoga.html
Swap Partner’s Descriptor Inspiration: “I have a hard time doing physical things- except chasing after them!” (Maybe this activity will help the kids direct some of that physical energy of theirs!)

WARNING: Although intended for children to use somewhat independently, this activity includes a plastic bag, which may pose a suffocation hazard if placed over head. Adult supervision is required.

Activity Name: Walking the Line (Practical Life)


Aims: poise, balance, concentration, developing coordination of body movement, etc.
Activity Directions: Tear a long strip of crepe paper off, lay it in a line on the floor and try to walk along it, balancing.
Extensions/Variations: (1) Walk on the line while carrying a bell, trying not to let it ring. (2) Walk on the line while carrying a full glass of water, trying not to let it spill. (3) Walk on the line carrying something on head, trying not to let it fall. (4) Use the shape control cards to make different shapes to walk on. (5) “Write” letter and number shapes with the crepe paper to walk on. (6) Use painter’s tape or ribbon instead of crepe paper.
Control of Error: Feet not on the line. Losing balance.
Bag Includes: roll of crepe paper, control cards for line, triangle, circle, rectangle, oval, diamond and square
Montessori Source Inspiration: http://www.infomontessori.com/practical-life/control-of-movement-walking-on-the-line.htm and Practical Life album, p. 30 from amontessorimarketplace.com
Swap Partner’s Descriptor Inspiration: “I have a hard time doing physical things- except chasing after them!” (Again, maybe this will help them direct their energy in a positive way.)

WARNING: Although intended for children to use somewhat independently, this activity includes a plastic bag, which may pose a suffocation hazard if placed over head and crepe paper, which may pose a choking hazard if torn small and ingested. Adult supervision is required.

Activity Name: Fabrics (Sensorial)


Aims: tactile discrimination, visual discrimination, one-to-one correspondence, weight discrimination, classification, concentration, etc.
Activity Directions: Divide fabric squares between two plates, so the pile on one plate matches the pile on the other. Mix up the pile on each plate. Then, take the first piece of fabric off Plate 1. Look at it. Feel it. Find its match on Plate 2. Place the matching pair on Plate 3.
Extensions/Variations: (1) Use a blindfold, close eyes or place fabric in a bag so that only the sense of touch may be used. (2) Swap out fabrics with other fabrics. (3) Swap out fabric with different textures of sandpaper or wallpaper samples. (4) Find matches for and classify fabrics by visual patterns – stripes, solids, flowered, etc. (5) Order fabrics by heaviest to lightest. (6) Order fabrics by darkest to lightest.
Control of Error: The color, texture and design of fabric. Ending up without a matching pair.
Bag Includes: 8 pairs of matching fabric swatches, 3 paper plates
Montessori Source Inspiration: http://www.infomontessori.com/sensorial/tactile-sense-fabrics.htm, Mommy, Teach Me! by Barbara Curtis, pages 107-108 and various activities in Sensorial album from amontessorimarketplace.com
Swap Partner’s Descriptor Inspiration: “They are just starting to show interest in how to dress/ undress...” “Le...loves manipulatives” (Clothes are made of all sorts of fun patterns and fabric weights. Manipulating cloth might be of interest.

WARNING: Although intended for children to use somewhat independently, this activity includes a plastic bag, which may pose a suffocation hazard if placed over head. Adult supervision is required.

Activity Name: Color Grading (Sensorial)


Aims: visual discrimination, appreciation of color, color names, order, concentration, etc.
Activity Directions: Take the color cards of the envelope. Separate by color first. Then, put each set of colors in order, top to bottom, from lightest to darkest. Match these with the strips on the tri-fold control card.
Extensions/Variations: (1) Use only black cards first to get the concept of lightest to darkest. (2) Use primary colors only. (3) Use two primary colors and the secondary color they “mix into”. Then, use water and food coloring to explore the colors further. (4) Look at rainbow pictures or a real rainbow. Use the color cards to make a rainbow pattern, which moves from darkest to lightest or lightest to darkest. (5) Use color cards for mosaic patterns.
Control of Error: Order of cards does not match control card.
Bag Includes: envelope of 6 shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and black cards and tri-fold control card
Montessori Source Inspiration: http://www.infomontessori.com/sensorial/visual-sense-color-tablets.htm,Mommy, Teach Me! by Barbara Curtis, pages 102-103, pages 91-98 of in Sensorial album from amontessorimarketplace.com
Swap Partner’s Descriptor Inspiration: “They love colors, so we are working on naming them.” (This will help them extend their color vocabulary using “dark” and “light”, etc.)

WARNING: Although intended for children to use somewhat independently, this activity includes a plastic bag, which may pose a suffocation hazard if placed over head. Adult supervision is required.

Activity Name: Color Matching (Sensorial)


Aims: visual discrimination, appreciation of color, color names, one-to-one correspondence, concentration, etc.
Activity Directions: Take out all cards. Make two columns of cards, so the first card in Column 1 matches in color to the first one in Column 2, and so on.
Extensions/Variations: (1) Use only primary colors. (2) Use only secondary colors. (3) Find an object in the room that matches each of the colors and place object on the corresponding card or the corresponding card on the object. (4) Turn cards over and play Memory with them. (5) With a partner, play a simple version of “Go Fish” with cards. (6) With a partner, lay all cards face up. Take one away. Ask partner to discover which one is missing.
Control of Error: Row 1 and Row 2 do not match. One card does not have a pair.
Bag Includes: 2 cards each of red, yellow, blue, orange, green, purple and black
Montessori Source Inspiration: http://www.infomontessori.com/sensorial/visual-sense-color-tablets.htm, Mommy, Teach Me! by Barbara Curtis, pages 100-101, pages 91-98 of in Sensorial album from amontessorimarketplace.com
Swap Partner’s Descriptor Inspiration: “They love colors, so we are working on naming them.” (This will help them name the different colors and explore primary and secondary colors.)

WARNING: Although intended for children to use somewhat independently, this activity includes a plastic bag, which may pose a suffocation hazard if placed over head. Adult supervision is required.

Activity Name: Color Clips (Sensorial)


Aims: visual discrimination, appreciation of color, color names, one-to-one correspondence, concentration, shape names, shape concepts, fine motor skills, preparation for writing (pincer grasp), etc.
Activity Directions: Use only the squares. Lay them out in a line. Match the colors of the paper clips with the cards, laying the paper clips on the cards.
Extensions/Variations: (1) Do the same as above, but try to push the clips onto the square, one on each side, and begin noticing that a square has four sides. (2) Do the same, but with the triangles, noticing that the triangle has three sides. (3)Using the same colored clips, triangles and squares, make a pattern row. Have a partner try to copy it. (4) Match the two triangles, puzzle style to corresponding colored square. Clip together with corresponding colored clips. (5) If you have a magnet string, “fish” for specific colored paper clips and then lay “catch” on the corresponding color cards.
Control of Error: Paper clips and color squares don’t match.
Bag Includes: 1 pink, 1 blue, 1, orange, 1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow and 1 white color card, 2 triangle cards of each color, 4 paper clips of each color
Montessori Source Inspiration: http://www.infomontessori.com/sensorial/visual-sense-color-tablets.htm, Mommy, Teach Me! by Barbara Curtis, pages 100-101, pages 91-98 of in Sensorial album from amontessorimarketplace.com
Swap Partner’s Descriptor Inspiration: “They love colors, so we are working on naming them.” “Le... loves... manipulative.” (They will likely extend their color and shape naming skills with this game while enjoying manipulating the cards and clips.)

WARNING: Although intended for children to use somewhat independently, this activity includes a plastic bag, which may pose a suffocation hazard if placed over head, and small parts, which are a choking hazard if ingested. Adult supervision is required.

Activity Name: Color Lacing (Practical Life)


Aims: eye-hand coordination, concentration, fine motor skills, colors, etc.
Activity Directions: Lace chenille strings through corresponding color cards.
Extensions/Variations: (1) Try to lace color cards from lightest to darkest, using three-color cards as control cards. (2) Sew chenille strip in and out of three-color color card. (3) Make creative constructions with chenille strips and color cards. (4) Replace chenille strips with yarn, wire or shoelaces. (5) Punch holes in pages of defunct board books to make new lacing cards. (6) Lace chenille strings through non-corresponding color cards. Then, have partner correct “mistake”.
Control of Error: Chenille strings won’t go through holes
Bag Includes: 2 blue, 2 orange, 2 yellow, 2 green and 2 pink chenille strips, 5, three-shade cards (blue, orange, yellow, green and pink) and 15 small color card (3 blue, 3 orange, 3 yellow, 3 green and 3 pink)
Montessori Source Inspiration: http://www.ehow.com/how_5141365_make-montessoriinspired-developmental-toys-cardboard.html and Mommy, Teach Me! by Barbara Curtis, pages 117-118.
Swap Partner’s Descriptor Inspiration: “They love colors, so we are working on naming them.” “Le... loves... manipulative.” “Fine motor skills is always on my mind.” (They will likely enjoy using their fine motor skills to lace colorful strings through equally colorful cards.)

WARNING: Although intended for children to use somewhat independently, this activity includes a plastic bag, which may pose a suffocation hazard if placed over head, and chenille strings, which may have sharp ends. Adult supervision is required.

Activity Name: Sorting Buttons (Practical Life)


Aims: eye-hand coordination, concentration, control, preparation to write (pincer grasp), order, counting, visual discrimination, etc.
Activity Directions: Transfer buttons from small rectangular container to ice cube tray sections, one button per section.
Extensions/Variations: (1) Pair the buttons by putting two that are the same across from each other in the ice cube tray. (3) Switch out buttons for other small objects. (4) Count buttons as they are transferred. (5) Sort buttons in the ice cube tray from darkest to lightest.
Control of Error: One ice cube tray section does not have a button in it. More than one button is in each ice cube tray section.
Bag Includes: 12 buttons (2 of each kind) in a lidded rectangular container and 1 ice cube tray
Montessori Source Inspiration: Mommy, Teach Me! by Barbara Curtis, pages 73-74 and http://www.ehow.com/how_2065543_use-montessori-develop-fine-motor.html.
Swap Partner’s Descriptor Inspiration: “They are just starting to show interest in how to dress/ undress...”“Le...loves manipulatives.” (With learning how to dress comes an interest in buttons. Buttons make great manipulatives!)

WARNING: Although intended for children to use somewhat independently, this activity includes a plastic bag, which may pose a suffocation hazard if placed over head, and small parts, which may pose a choking hazard if ingested.. Adult supervision is required.

Activity Name: Animal Numbers (Mathematics)


Aims: counting, sort, numbers 105, preparation for writing (pincer grasp), sorting, etc.
Activity Directions: Turn plates to side that animals are drawn on. Take foam animals out of container and put them on matching plate. Count how many animals are on each plate.
Extensions/Variations: (1) Take foam animals out of container and sort by type of animal. Use side of the plates with numbers and circles written on them. Match the animals to the type of plate that has the number of animals written on it. Turn plate over to self-correct. (2) Swap out foam animals for other things. (3) Use foam animals to make a number book.
Control of Error: Animals on plate do not match each other.
Bag Includes: 8 pairs of matching fabric swatches, 3 paper plates
Montessori Source Inspiration: http://www.infomontessori.com/mathematics/numbers-through-ten-cards-and-counters.htm
Swap Partner’s Descriptor Inspiration: “Le...loves manipulatives...” “They love...animals...” “Le...tries to count on her fingers with me...” “Fine motor skills is always on my mind...” (Using fine motor skills to pick up the animal counters should be fun for them!)

WARNING: Although intended for children to use somewhat independently, this activity includes a plastic bag, which may pose a suffocation hazard if placed over head, and small objects, which could pose a choking hazard if ingested.\. Adult supervision is required.

Activity Name: Sorting Shapes (Mathematics)


Aims: matching, shapes, sizes, sorting, order, concentration, preparation for writing (pincer grasp), etc.
Activity Directions: Take shapes out of bag. Lay them on the card with the corresponding shape outline on it.
Extensions/Variations: (1) Match small shapes with large shapes. (2) Match small shapes with small shapes and large shapes with large ones. (3) Find objects in room that have the shapes and place shapes on them. (4) Make patterns with the shapes.
Control of Error: Foam shapes do not match shapes on cards.
Bag Includes: 2 larger and 2 smaller foam hearts, circles, squares and triangles.
Montessori Source Inspiration: http://www.infomontessori.com/sensorial/memory-games.htm
Swap Partner’s Descriptor Inspiration: “They love ... crafts.” (Foam shapes are often used in crafts. These colorful ones may be fun for them to play with.)

WARNING: Although intended for children to use somewhat independently, this activity includes a plastic bag, which may pose a suffocation hazard if placed over head, and small objects, which may pose a choking hazard. Adult supervision is required.

And, what did get in return? A plethora of fun and learning, which I will post about tomorrow or Wednesday.


I just realized I never actually linked this post to One Hook Wonder, the wonderful blog that hosts Montessori Monday.  So, I am doing so now.  Please be sure to check out links at One Hook Wonder for lots of great Montessori inspiration.

9 comments:

Angi said...

fabulous ideas, love the write ups & photos you've shared! thanks so much!

Trudie said...

Love all the ideas! Thanks for the inspiration!

Bamboo said...

I saw your link on MMakers. Thanks for sharing - Great space saver idea for works.
Beth

Anonymous said...

These are really great!! I am very inspired to tweak some of these ideas for my upcoming Montessori Toddler class. Thanks for sharing.

Discovering Montessori said...

You have a lot of good activities. I'll have try the practical life bag with the walking the line. Thank you for sharing.

Holly Gomez said...

Just coming back for a visit to get ready for another bag swap with local home school moms with toddlers. Just had a thought for Montessori teachers...giving a bag as a home extension weekly. Each child can choose from a box and enjoy a Montessori activity at home or the week.

Martianne said...

That would be fantastic, Holly. Love the idea!

Mommy of Many Hats said...

I LOVE the yoga and walk the line activity ideas and am definitely going to incorporate them into our human body unit next month! Thank you so much for sharing. You can check out all the Montessori fun we're having at http://everystarisdifferent.blogspot.com.

Deb Chitwood said...

I loved revisiting your post, Martianne! These are such great activity bags for Montessori families! I featured your post and Walking on the Line Activity Bag photo in my Traveling with Kids - Montessori-Inspired Activities post at http://livingmontessorinow.com/2013/07/16/traveling-with-kids-montessori-inspired-activities/

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails