Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wintertime Playdough

Ahhh...peace and quiet. 

The girls and I mixed up a batch of fresh playdough a little while ago, hence the peace and quiet.  While scanning Pinterest the other day I came across "Sparkly Snow" playdough.  It's simply homemade playdough with glitter added rather than a color.  For added sensorial enjoyment we added some mint extract.  The girls incorporated the glitter into the warm dough for at least 30 minutes (peace & quiet) and then we found a reusable plastic container for it to be stored in.  I picked up a clear & glitter tray at Walmart the other day for $1.97, so the playdough is located on it along with a basket of Christmas cookie cutters and a rolling pin.

Sparkly Snow Playdough

  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • one small container sparkly white glitter
  1. In medium saucepan, and with burner OFF, combine dry ingredients and stir.
  2. Add liquid ingredients and stir again.
  3. With burner on LOW, stir until the mixture is VERY thick, about two minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.
  5. Add glitter and then knead dough until smooth.
  6. Store in ziploc bag or plastic dish with lid.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"Let's Do Messy Art"

The girls were a bit disappointed about getting out of the pool due to thunder today.  To appease the moods all around I said we could do some new art project, the next thing I know it must be "messy art" because it's a girls afternoon.  While the girls waited patiently, I gathered the art smocks (that did not help much in the end), the paint, brushes and a canvas.

We went to the driveway...

Dipped the brushes into the paint, gingerly at first...

Notice the feet, I should have photographed our feet, legs, and clothes at the end...

Our masterpiece...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Movement (part 1)

Preparing to teach Montessori Movement to future Montessori teachers tomorrow. 8 hr class...topics include; What Maria Montessori thought about movement, How Movement is incorporated into the Montessori classroom, Fundamental Skills, Games, Literature & Movement--this incorporates about 7 hours of movement...


Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook, Maria Montessori, pg 52

“The education of the movements is very complex, as it must correspond to all the coordinated movements which the child has to establish in his physiological organism.  The child, if left without guidance, is disorderly in his movements, and these disorderly movements are the special characteristic of the little child.  In fact, he “never keeps still,” and “touches everything.”  This is what forms the child’s so-called “unruliness” and “naughtiness.”

The adult would deal with him by checking these movements, with the monotonous and useless repetition “keep still.”  As a matter of fact, in these movements the little one is seeking the very exercise which will organize and coordinate the movements useful to man.  We must, therefore, desist from the useless attempt to reduce the child to a state of immobility.  We should rather give “order” to his movements, leading them to those actions towards which his efforts are actually tending.  This is the aim of muscular education at this age.

The Essential Montessori, Elizabeth G. Hainstock, pg 102

Montessori felt that gymnastics programs in the regular schools were inadequate, and she objected to the disciplined regimen used in presenting it to children.  She felt that this repressed their spontaneous movements.
We must understand by gymnastics and in general by muscular education a series of exercises teaching to aid the normal development (such as walking, breathing, speech), to protect this development, when the child shows himself backwards or abnormal in any way, and to encourage in the children those movements which are useful in the achievement of the most ordinary acts of life; such as dressing, undressing, buttoning their clothes, and lacing their shoes, carrying such objects as balls, cubes, etc.  If there exists an age in which it is necessary to protect a child by means of a series of gymnastic exercises, between three to six years is undoubtedly the age. (MM, 130)

Once again, through observation, Montessori worked out various exercises to aid the children in muscular control and coordination of movements, while exercising different parts of the body.  There were also “free” gymnastics, the normal childhood games played with balls, hoops, bean bags, etc., and preferably done outdoors to take advantage of the fresh air.  She felt exercises pertaining to correct carriage, the respiratory system, speech habits, and exercise for fingers were all of equal importance.  Naturally, the exercises for practical life are the sensory materials aided her plan for muscular education.
The educational value of a movement depends on the finality of the movement; and it must be such that it helps the child to perfect something in himself; either it perfects the voluntary muscular system; or some mental capacity; or both.  Educational movement must always be an activity which builds and fortifies the personality, giving him a new power and not leaving him where he was…(D, 142)Physical education was an integral part of developing the total child.  Apart from gymnastics it also emphasized the hygienic aspect of fresh air, through visits to the park or beach and walks within the city.  Not restricting the child’s movements with excessive clothing was something that Montessori also stressed.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day

It's that time of the year again--hearts, flowers, candy, pink & red, and the thrill of making "Valentine's" for classmates.  Last year I gave Humphrey pre-cut paper and had her sign her name to them.  After each one was decorated with her name she added heart stickers to her liking.

This year I got a little more ambitious.

A few weeks ago, I purchased the neatest crayons on  I got crayons shaped like koi, fortune cookies, snowflakes, flowers, and butterflies.  The crayons are pretty cool.  I decided to invest in a silicone heart muffin mold for a $7.99 and have the girls and I have been melting down old crayons into heart shaped crayons to pass out as valentines at school.  I happen to have some stamps that are crayon shaped and also look like they are drawn in crayons, so we were sure to stamp the card with this--hopefully this will ensure no one takes a bite out of the crayon valentine they receive. 

All told, we've spend lots of time peeling the paper off of old crayons, breaking the crayons, baking the crayons and making the labels.  However, this was time spent together over the past couple of weeks...

I would have spent at least $7.99 on silly cartoon valentines that come in a box.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Congratulations Montessori Print Shop on your 8th Birthday!  This is a great site to find materials to make for school or home.  I also love reading the blog...sometimes using them to foster discussion at staff meetings.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

North America

Humphrey learned the names of the countries in North America over the past couple of months.  Today she spent a better part of her morning tracing the puzzle pieces onto a large piece of paper, only to be disappointed that she could not stay at school all day and complete her work.  After nap, we got out the watercolors and she was able to paint her map...thankfully I know the correct colors (or at least know the web site to reference:).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Soup's On

chopping carrots & celery for soup

all dressed up to chop veggies...there was a lot of dancing going on too.