"By the Pond" is a wonderful theme to explore. Have you held a week on the topic yet? If not, I truly hope this will inspire you to do so; especially if you live...by a pond! :)
Math & Outdoor Play : Polka Dot Mushroom Hunting
Well the polka dot mushrooms are out again. When I take time to make something like this, I make sure to use it over and over again as you can see! :) These polka dot mushrooms were originally purchased on Etsy.com from a seller who sold them as natural unpainted drawer pull knobs. They were already sanded and ready for painting so I simply painted them red with white polka dots. I numbered them 0-10 because back when I first made them, Adrian was only 3 years old but they are still fun to have around. Every time he sees them, it's the first thing he goes for. I usually hide them in the yard for him to find with a basket. Gives us a reason to get outdoors and do math at the same time. Sometimes I let him find them in whichever order, sometimes I "spy" a certain number, other times, he must find them in order from 0 to 10. When Adrian is ready, I'll set them out to practice oral addition and subtraction. He could then find the mushroom corresponding to the sum of 2 + 2 and so forth.
One of our snails in the front yard; we have at least a dozen roaming about in the morning
The afternoon snails: made with play dough! :)
Adrian loves watching the snails in the grass in the morning. He knows they'll be gone by the time he is back from German school. He's picked some up before too but has since been told he probably shouldn't as snails prefer to go their own way...As such, I thought we'd make some play dough snails. There are plenty of snails by our local pond so it fitted our theme perfectly. We used colorful play dough, goggly eyes and small nails for antennae. Since the weather was nice, we made them outside and sat them in the grass for a quick picture when we were done. Adrian loved the activity so much that he asked for many colors of dough. I kind of wish he would have rolled his dough as well as he usually does instead of running to get more colors but the excitement got to him I guess! :)
Having gathered some natural objects we once again did a "sink or float?" activity. This time, prior to having the items put into the water, I asked Adrian to separated them into two groups: the ones he thought would float and the ones he thought would sink. He actually thought pretty much everything would sink so it was fun to see his reaction when they were put in the water bowl. Later, Adrian went around the yard and tried to found more objects to try out. He tried very hard to find other items that would sink since we had only one (the river rock).
Life Cycle of a Frog
I actually wanted to use one of those little kits they sell to illustrate the life cycle of the frog but it would not have been here on time so I settled with the cards. I got mine for free at The Helpful Garden. If you haven't visited that blog yet, it's a great resource with lots of free materials for Montessori educators. You'll also find the 3-part cards of the life cycle there.
Frog Spawn (goggly eyes) Stuck in a bed of Mud (Theraputty)
After having studied the frog's life cycle, Adrian remarked that the spawn looked like eyes. I had to agree, especially knowing I had prepared a little bowl filled with goggly eyes and Theraputty to represent frog spawn stuck in the mud! The idea was the strengthen Adrian's fine motor with the theraputty whilst linking it in with our pond theme. Besides, Adrian had been asking for weeks whether we'd be using the Theraputty in school again soon. He just loves working with it. Theraputty is a bit like Silly Putty but it comes in different strengths and is used by occupational therapists to strengthened fingers and hands. For this activity, I hid the goggly eyes in the putty and Adrian simply had to pull them out which seems very easy but isn't since the putty sticks to the eyes and surrounds them. Adrian loved the activity. We also did the variants below.
Another version of the spawn in the mud
This time, I spread the theraputty on the table and hid the goggly eyes in it, pushing in and almost completely covering half of them in the theraputty. It was a lot more challenging to get them out this time but Adrian still managed to pull them out and loved the extra challenge. His fine motors most definitely got a work out on that one.
Adrian hiding and finding the frog spawn in the mud by himself
Eventually, I let Adrian hide the goggly eyes himself and pull them out himself as well. This activity was thus a progressive one that completely involved him.
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Today, I'm happily linking up to
Montessori Monday, The Kids Co-Op, Show-and-Share Saturday, Link & Learn, TGIF, Share it Saturday, Mom's Library, The Sunday Showcase, Sun Scholars's For the Kids Friday, Stress-Free Sunday, Thursday Toddler & Preschool, Tuesday Tots, Preschool Corner &5K, Hammock Tracks' Look What We Did, Life's Little Adventures, Artsy Play Wednesday, Serenity Saturday, Virtual Montessori Sharing Fair, and We Made That.
If you would like me to link up with you, please don't hesitate to ask, it might take me a week or two, but I generally do!