Here are a few ideas from the classroom and my home. For the record, I can’t take credit for all these ideas (thanks to my lead teacher at Bellevue Montessori School). I know Montessori teachers and teachers in general are always looking for fresh ideas so here are a few that might be of interest to you:
Pumpkin Scrubbing – Get a “washing tub” and place a small pumpkin or gourds in with a bit of water. Have the children scrub off the dirt. Pumpkins are a wonderful learning tool this time of year. I wrote about Pumpkin activities in this post. Explore the seeds and the “flesh” of the pumpkin with magnifying glasses and place these items in a plastic bag for sensory fun. If you are really bold, cut open the top of the pumpkin and allow children to explore the innards. There are also some great pumpkin activities in this Halloween post including lacing and patterning. This post is a fun one on pollination and the lifecycle of a pumpkin.
Pumpkin Pounding – Pounding golf tees into pumpkins is a sure winner in your home and classroom.
Spruce Cone Transfer – I collected Spruce cones from my backyard. These cones are great for Practical Life because they are very small. Grab two bowls – one for the pinecones and leave one empty – and a part of tongs to transfer.
Acorn Counters – A twist on the traditional Montessori Card Counter work. Grab a set of numerals and a bowl of acorns (real or fake will do, although nothing beats the real thing)
Nut & Bolts Tray – This work you’ll see fairly often in Montessori classrooms. So simple. Really easy and inexpensive to put together. Plus I love the simple colors and the fact that the children get to work with real materials.
Taking Care of Your Body Cards – The overarching theme of the year is the human body. I found these human body unit three part cards from Montessori Printshop on taking care of your body. The images are real and great quality. My lead used these cards in a circle to introduce, remind and emphasize the basic things we need to do to take care of our bodies. The images are of children doing these things so the class enjoyed studying them. We’ll put them on the shelf in the next week.
Pre-Sensorial Additions – We were a little short in the pre-sensorial area and several children were really craving more here. We added Melissa & Doug Wooden Magnetic Pattern Blocks, MindWare Imaginets, Twig Building Blocks and MindWare Pattern Play Blocks
Sensory Gloves – We have a few children that are very “hands on” and love sensory tubs and texture generally. I pulled these gloves from my cabinet. I made them a year ago but they are still in great shape. These hands are great for Halloween too! I put beans, corn starch, sugar and lentils in the gloves for varying textures.
Books We’re Reading & Songs We’re Singing
Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes – sweet and simple picture book that your children are sure to love –
Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed – a story about an unlikely friendship that will break your heart and lift you up
Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington – a classic fall book that teaches children about the lifecycle of an apple, cooking & business
I Am the Music Man with Safari’s Musical Instruments Toob – a fun song for children and especially fun to integrate instruments
– Orca Whale (I don’t know the source but it is a popular one here in the Pacific Northwest)
Orca whale (move one arm in a leaping motion)
Orca whale (move the other arm in a leaping motion)
Little sea scallops (both hand open and shut like shells)
And an orca whale (leaping motion)
Little sea scallops
And an orca whale.
Sea otters (sung while pounding fists on chest in motor boat fashion)
Little sea scallops
And an orca whale.
– One Little Hammer by Deborah Stewart is a huge favorite in our classroom this year
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