Monday, September 17, 2012

What we did last week

I work days so the time I get to spend with my kids is precious to me. I want then to have fun and if we can mix in a bit of learning in the process, all the better. My approach to learning is a mix of Montessori and Play Based Learning (which I personally think overlap quite well). I try to mix in some specific skills each week and watch them for the sensitive periods they are in or approaching.

This week in our time together we covered areas of fine and gross motor skills, letters/phonics, counting, numbers and math, sensory, art and expression. Here are some of the things we did in pictures. While some of these look like work to us, to the kids they are all fun.

We worked sensory and fine motor skills with the Montessori themed knobbed cylinders. I have the mini set and while each will often work with all 4 at once, if they both want to use them, they each take a pair, work them, then I'll switch one for each. Nathan can often sit with the activity for more than an hour, although in this session both wanted to move on after 30 minutes.

I finally found a board game I liked enough to try. It's our first real turn taking and structured game. It was a huge hit. While playing they work on turn taking, colors, counting and even fine motor skills (not pictured is the squirrel that they use like tweezers to pick up the acorns). 

I used some of our Discovery Toys manipulatives for color matching and patterns. If you don't know about Discovery Toys, keep an eye out for my friend over at as she'll be having a giveaway later this month of one of their best products (which we also have).

More patterns and fine motor with a connect 4 type of game.

We also started working on phonics this week. I'm basing this on the Montessori Method, but since my guys already "know" the alphabet, I'm modifying it a bit. We started with 'm' and 'a' this week. Corwyn LOVES the sandpaper letters and will trace them any moment he gets (I let him!). Nathan was a bit meh about those but both loved one of the games we played. In it, they put the big and little m/a on the fridge. I sit in the living room and ask them to bring me the sound that starts the word monkey/apple/mommy/astronaut/montorcycle etc. They played and played and played, getting winded in the process. So much fun. Why did I start with these letters? I'm following one of the recommended letter introduction orders in Montessori. This is a good write up about it at Living Montessori Now. I picked this specific one because I have the Bob level 1 books that go with it. Two more letters and they will have enough to read an entire book on their own. We'll round these 2 out with s and t.

We did painting and gluing and drawing for art. I also got a mini spirograph type of set and they are using it and the geometric templates it comes with for tracing and drawing.

They are loving their bikes and get out whenever they can. We're still working on road safety, but after showing Corwyn some mangled bikes and telling him this is what happens to a bike that gets hit by a car, he is much better.

The weather has been great so there has also been lots of playground and beach time. I'll miss this when it starts being dark before I get home from work.

I'm linking this post to Montessori Monday. Check out some of the other links there. This is where I get the base for much of my inspiration.

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K J and the kids said...

Such a good mom.
I'm going to go find a mangled bike and show it to my boys too. Love that idea :)

Lulu said...

Came via Living Montessori Now`s facebook page. I use a mix of Montessori and play based learning as well so it is nice to see others doing the same and seeing how they intertwine it in their lives.

I think my older son would love connect 4- will have to look to see if it is available here {Japan}.

Deb Chitwood said...

I love reading about how families are using Montessori at home! You have some great activities! Thanks for linking up with Montessori Monday. I was happy to feature your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page today:

Margaret said...

Great idea to use Connect 4! My son is too young to understand the game, but the components would be great fine motor skill work plus it incorporates colors and patterns!