Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Falling for Fall for Toddlers - Part 1

Do you happen to live in a part of the world where the trees change color as the fall approaches? We do and always look forward to it. For the last three years, I've timed my "Fall Week" so it would mesh with the peak of foliage as I try to include natural materials on our shelves. See here what Zahavah (turning 3 years old in December) did during our Fall Week...

Fall Sensory Bin
Sensorial - Mini Fall Sensory Bin
Zahavah really liked the first sensory bin I made during Farm week so I went ahead and prepared a fall one for her. I made a much smaller one though and did not put as many sensorial elements either but this activity was well enjoyed and explored everyday nevertheless. As a bin, I used an empty Melissa & Doug wooden crate (small one from a bead lacing toy), filled it with green split peas, added mini red pompoms (apples), tiny acorns Z has been picking up for the last few weeks, a small pinecone she also picked on one of our walks, a small rake (Montessori Services), a small foam tree (Target dollar section, a few years ago), and a wood box (Montessori Services) for the pleasures of filling and dumping. A small red measuring spoon was added on Day 2 to make things more interesting and finally, on Day 3, Zahavah brought in her small Safari Ltd. cat "to play in the yard"...By the way, Adrian got the "full version" of this bin last year (a bigger bin). Both of these were inspired by Pink and Green Mama's.

Fall Leaves Garland
Practical Life - Leaf Garland
This is an activity Adrian did last year and the year before (before Sorting Sprinkles was even online). I kept it and got it out for Zahavah. It's basically just silk leaves and a ribbon. I cut a hole in each leaf so they could all be threaded on the ribbon. I made sure the ribbon was thickly knotted at one end to prevent the leaves from falling off once they had be put on. Overall, Zahavah loved the challenge. Holding the ribbon and a leaf plus the threading action was a lot at first but she learned quickly. I originally grabbed this idea from the now defunct My Montessori Journey blog.

Squirrel Grid Game Acorns
Math - Squirrel Grid Game (1:1 Correspondence)
These little games are great for teaching 1:1 correspondence. I printed this one with only 10 squirrels because the last times we've done this, Zahavah had a grid with 20 and it seemed liked it was too much for her. Then again, maybe she just doesn't care for the paper concept of the 1 to 1 math readiness! :) 

Green Puzzle
Math - Fall colored puzzle: smallest to largest/darkest to lightest
Kid-O makes very nice wooden materials. I've acquired two of their puzzles and felt quite happy with the concepts they teach. I took this one out this week because it's green and I felt it fitted nicely into our fall colored theme. :) This one is great for color awareness (going from darkest to lightest), and for spatial awareness (smallest to largest).

Apple Play Dough
Art & Fine Motor: Play Dough Apples
Another "recycled" idea you might have seen on my blog last year. Adrian had this activity on his shelf last year and liked it so I prepared it for Zahavah. Z loves play dough lately. She took this off the shelf pretty much everyday. The sticks are from a freshly trimmed bush we have outside (kept a stick and broke it into several pieces), and the leaves are from a small aquarium plant I cut up. Last year, I couldn't find them so we used real leaves from a small shrub and it was nice but they didn't poke the dough as well as these plastic ones...This activity was also sourced from the now offline My Montessori Journey.

Fall Poetry Basket
Fall Poetry Basket
Our poetry basket was once again not a big hit, although it was much more popular than last time I presented a poetry basket but it still was not something that was adored. Maybe she is just getting used to the concept! :) I picked this poem for its concrete fall symbols, found clipart to go with it and four objects to go along. Z's favorite part is to pick the objects out of the basket when she hears me mention them. P.S. I abbreviated Field's poem as I found it a bit too lengthy for my toddler...

Apple Picking
Outdoor & Fine Motor: Felt Apple Picking
Who doesn't like apple picking? When we lived in New York, we went every year and the kids always had a blast. While we still haven't found a place to go here in Germany, that didn't prevent us from picking apples in our own yard...Felt apples that is. I made these felt apples a few years ago and thought Zahavah would have fun picking those from our bushes and small trees. With the winter approaching, I sometimes feel like I have to be creative to get the kids to go outside because it is getting chilly! :) I hung 10 apples with clothespins at Z's height and gave her a basket. "Zahavah is apple picking today", she kept saying...

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  1. Great activities. I've pinned some so I can use them with Sunshine next year. I love the garland idea!

    1. Thank you! Zahavah loves helping with house decorations so it was her way to help decorate for fall! :) I guess it's a grown up version of a button snake in a way. :)