Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Woodland Fairies - Part 2

How's the fairy unit inspiring you? Gathered some ideas already? It was quite a fun time for us to explore such a fascinating topic. Best of all, some of these activities will remain available for further play now that the unit has come to an end (i.e. the fairy garden play dough and the house you see below).

Handmade Fairy Tree house
Granted this was not entirely produced by my preschooler, she'll gladly boast to having painted every single cloud and tree you see here. The rest of the credit goes to an idea seen (but no longer seen...) on Disney.Family.Go website and to me for the cutting of the cardboard. The idea was to provide entertainment sure, but also to show how to play gently with items. Too often, children are rough with their toys and this one was most definitely not going to sustain such rough play...The house did not take nearly as long as I expected to cut and assemble (even without the free templates the website used to provide!)...especially considering how happy my little girl was in helping making it, seeing the final result and letting her new fairies try it!

The Cardboard Fairy Tree House...So cool
even 6 year old boys will enjoy them!

Sorting & Counting Butterfly Gems
Butterflies are somehow likely to be associated with fairies so I took this opportunity to get out my beautiful butterfly gems. It made for a great activity of sorting. The blue and dark purple butterflies were so close in color that at first, they were grouped together! Once the final sorting had taken place, we switched to a counting activity. Zahavah loves to count everything so she was very happy to see how many winged creatures were in each group.

Butterfly & Water Beads Transfer
More butterflies? Why not? Using a bathtub anti-slip applique, Zahavah transfered and balanced her favorite new school material : water pearls. It wasn't easy but she delighted in being allowed to manipulate the beads (and seeing them roll off of course!).

Making & Eating Fairy Bread
Hmm. Non-healthy snack in sight? Well, while exploring Oceania with my eldest, we did a lot of Montessori-style activities to keep him engaged. One of those was to make "fairy bread". Needless to say, it also happened to be perfect for Zahavah's thematic week so she was also allowed to make her own fairy bread too...and enjoyed it thoroughly! :)

Fairy Printable Pack
This unit also included a bit of "paperwork", courtesy of 1+1+1=1. I didn't print too many pages since little Z doesn't enjoy worksheets much but for the times where she wants to mimic her big brother, it was helpful and fun.

Chalkboard & Chalk: excellent for handwriting practice

In preparation for handwriting, Zahavah also got to "write" on her own chalkboard with colorful chalk. She's used it before but each time it comes out, she is so happy to see it.

Patterning with flowers from the fairy garden (aka flower buttons!)
Well this was rather hard. Somehow when she is using a worksheet, discovering what comes next is always easy but building a pattern sequence was awfully hard for my little one. Analyzing what came next was also difficult. Hmm. Maybe she was just having an off day...

Grace & Courtesy:
Opening and Closing doors quietly like the tooth fairy
A fairy week would of course not be complete without a grace and courtesy lesson! How does the tooth fairy come in our bedroom to exchange a tooth for money without being seen? She knows how to open and close the bedroom door super quietly of course! We pretended to be fairies with our doors and it seems the lesson has been learned...

Matching butterfly game
These are always fun! Printed off PreKinders, I got for free this nice set of real butterfly photographs for matching. 

Picture Story time!
Writing has been quite fascinating for my daughter. Her brother writes the longest "books" so she's quite wanting to "put down her own words" too. Unfortunately, she isn't quite there yet but to show her that those written symbols do carry a meaning, I printed off this picture for her and asked her to tell me the story that goes with it. I wrote it down for her and showed her each word as we went. She's asked me to read her story several times since.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Woodland Fairies - Part 1

Like most little girls her age, Zahavah loves fairies. Nevermind that they are mythical creatures rarely (if ever) seen in Montessori classrooms...Despite the fictional theme, I still tried to keep in line with some work you'd see in Montessori environments. Here's what my littlest has been up to last week...

Fairy Garden - Hands on Play Dough Moment
Playdough is practically a necessity with preschoolers. I used to always buy the pre-made cans but I've now switched to making my own. Based on an idea seen a while back on Fantastic Fun and Learning, I decided to offer Zahavah the opportunity to create her own fairy garden by providing brown glittery play dough, small twigs, fresh leaves, glass gems, silk flowers, shiny rocks and a Safari Toob of Fairies. Needless to say, this was a very popular activity and it came out every single day.

Fairy Bells Matching by Sound
I have been told that fairies can make a jingly and beautiful little noise when they move about. I thought it'd be the perfect time to introduce Zahavah to a homemade version of the Montessori sound canisters. I used empty Kinder Surprise egg shells and three different sizes of bells. My daughter quickly discovered that shaking the container slowly and close to her ear was the best way to discern the sound and allow for a great match. Shaking hard made them all sound the same! :)

Sweeping fairy dust is magical!
Has the tooth fairy come by your house already? My eldest has been visited twice already and sometimes, the fairy leaves a residue of fairy dust (really just salt and glitter). I had the chance to collect some and used it for an activity here: sweeping fairy dust. Not an easy task!

Spooning "Fairy Water Pearls"
Water beads are a newer material in our "school". I bought it last year and ended up forgetting about it. Whilst cleaning during the summer, I found them again and made sure they'd get our of their bottle this year! :) How perfect are these for a fairy activity? I only had blue on hand but an array of colors would have been delightful. We called them "fairy water pearls" to add some appeal to this transfer activity. It was very much loved and "Z" transferred and transferred over again. She especially loved how the last 1-2 beads would sort of flee when the spoon came near by!

Counting and Hunting Mushrooms
Polka dot mushrooms are fun! I made these myself a few years ago and they've always been well received. This time, we chose to count the dots on each mushroom. It was easy until it got to 9 and 10 (my little one would count up to 16 dots at times!) :) We also scattered them for a wild mushroom foraging activity. Mushroom foraging is very popular in our area and the kids desperately want to go pick their own food in the forest every time they see neighbors come back with a basket full of cool mushrooms. As such, I announced that the famous Amanita Muscaria is a toxic mushroom and that although it can be found in our local forest, it should not be eaten (well, some people swear it can but only with proper prep)! :)

Handmade Fairy Bubble Wands
A crafty little idea that I've seen on so many different blogs this summer and last. Children love blowing bubbles and well, mine are no different. I've made my own bubble solution countless times now but had never made my own wand. In this activity, Zahavah made her own fairy wand using pipe cleaners and decorative beads. They can be shaped any way really and of various sizes as well. I'm not sure what she enjoyed most: the making the wand or the "using" of the wand! :)

Fairy Color Mixing Class
How do fairies make all these rainbow colors? They mix them of course. Using translucent "tokens" in the primary colors, we discovered how two colors put together could give use secondary colors. This was nothing new to Zahavah who has mixed her own paint colors a while ago but it was a different, mess-free, approach.

Cylinder Block 1
Of course, I had to keep up with "regular" stuff too. We revised our "S,m,a,t" sandpaper letters and added other non-thematic elements such as the mini cylinder block 1.

Parts of a Plant - because a good fairy loves plants!
Now, fairies spend a fair amount of time in the garden so it's only normal they should know about plants, right? 3 part cards, booklets, wall chart, puzzle, any of these can be helpful in presenting/reinforcing this kind of learning. I chose to present a real plant: my beloved orchid and a set of 3 part cards provided graciously by The Helpful Garden (which by the way provides the most amazing and beautiful FREE Montessori materials by the way). 

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