Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Going, going, gone - Transportation Part 2

Transportation units are fun: there are just so many possibilities in terms of work for the children. I always try to include a lot of choices involving fine motor skills, art, math, language, and all. Here is a sample of the rest of our transportation week...

Spray painting a new coat of paint on a car
Looking for a way to develop your child's fine motor skills? This might just be it. Using a spray bottle is not easy for children but it works the muscles needed for handwriting so give it a go by suggesting your child spray paint a new coat of paint onto a car. In the summertime, I usually draw a HUGE car and send the kids to spray paint outside. In the colder months, a small sheet of paper with a plastic tray does just fine.

Hammering a new train track
In terms of practical life, hammering is a good one. Most people will pick up a hammer at some point in their life so it's useful to know how to hold a nail and how to hit it right. To make it fun, I proposed an egg carton, golf tees and a hammer too in order to build a makeshift train track. It wasn't easy to hold the nail and hammer in the right place but my daughter got through it proudly. 

Drawing an airplane using the oval inset
We've worked a lot with the circle inset and it is going well so I added the oval inset this week. Instead of simply tracing the inside, I suggested we make an airplane out of it. Tracing just to trace has become a bit boring for my 3 year old so adding "a design" makes it more enjoyable.

Various transportation mode puzzles
We have an impressive collection of peg puzzles and floor puzzles here but they seem to be accumulating dust lately. In honor of transportation week, I thus decided to bring some out! Some made sounds, some helped with the ABCs, some were pattern matching ones, and so overall, it provided a good variety.

Blocks on the truck
I saw this cute printable a year ago or so on The Measured Mom (who, by the way, is terrific at creating  free and original printables!) and saved it for later days. You see, my son, who is 6, would find this work way to easy so I waited patiently for my daughter to age so I could print it and offer it on her shelves. Well, here it is! I provided numbers 1-5 and several girly blocks for the truck. She'd pick a number and put that quantity of blocks on the dump truck.

Vehicle snack
Well, this is something we've done before...at least, I did make this for my son's Cars birthday party a few years ago. It was easy to make so this time, I thought the kids could do it themselves...and they did. I had a model car of course and one ready for assembly. Easy peasy!

Red Rod Maze for mini vehicles
So we don't own a full size set of red rods. Hey, we home school so sometimes, I prefer to invest in other things. We made our own set of red rods (a miniature set) and it works just as well, believe me. My daughter has mastered sizing up the rods so to offer an extension, I showed her how to make a maze with the rods. She loved it and built it several times. We added mini Cars vehicles and it made it even better!

Hot air balloon folding and gluing
Although not a major type of transportation, I always feel like the hot air balloon is forgotten! :( I precut 4 shapes resembling a hot air balloon and all that needed to be done was a fold in the middle of each and then each fold had to be glued to another one until it came full circle. I looked for a string but of course, they were all gone so we used a pipe cleaner to suspend it. The original post suggested more than 4 shapes by the way and theirs looks much more colorful for for my youngsters, I felt this would be plenty!

Fully assembled hot air balloon ready for flight!
Language: Get them talking
Unable to find a picture of my daughter in or close to a vehicle, I picked one of her brother sitting on a motorcycle. My goal: to get her talking about the picture by asking open-ended questions that get her thinking. Of course she started with who was in the picture and what he was sitting on but she had to think more about the weather that day or the season for example. She required clues for those (look at the clothing. Any shade anywhere?) Questions such as : "Why is he sitting on this motorcycle?" were easier for her since they were more speculative. I got her cracking when I asked her if it was Adrian's motorcycle! :)

Tire rolling
Fun times. How far can little tires go? Zahavah rolled each one and we discussed which one was furthest/closest. Which one was first and last in the tire race and such. Fun, easy, wordy. 

Materials for race down the ramp
Race down the ramp - Science!
Transportation offers such good simple science activities! This one is of of my favorites. We inclined a plank of wood so a car could roll down. We varied the incline using different props to see if the car would go further or not and as a pièce de résistance, we modified the plank itself by adding components on top to see if some materials would make the car roll faster/slower. Needless to say, it created quite a ruckus in the "classroom". It was fun to see what the kids thought would accelerate/decelerate the car too. As you can see, tape did not help Lightning McQueen win THIS race! :)

Science : Air, Land, Water
First time exploring air, land, water is always a bit "prickly". Water is quite easy to understand and identify, land is well, quite allright too but air? Always a tough concept for the kiddos. Thankfully, with the Montessori approach, it's a lot easier. More "tangible" if you will. Although at first sight, there is "nothing" in the first jar, there actually is and it's all around us: air! I presented the jars and cards and we    talked about about how our lungs fill with air and we can feel our ribcage moving as such. 

Following up on air, land, water
A quick follow up for the previous activity can be done with different types of vehicles: namely planes, boats, cars, etc. Zahavah's job was to sort through the vehicles and match them to the appropriate card. No trouble here! Concept was learned!

Air, land, water cards
Reinforcement for the air, land, water concept is always nice (so is revision of course!) so I printed these cards to match with the air, water, land cards. Once again, Zahavah confirmed that she understood the difference in between all three.

Engineer a ship with straws, foil and a plastic cup
Hmm. These challenges, although fun are hard to my daughter. I offered a bundle of straws, a long sheet of foil and a plastic cup. The goal: Make a boat for the the Lego man using the materials provided. At first, she didn't know where to start. I prompted her with a "do boats float or sink?" She knew they floated so I asked her to look for materials that floated. She started with the foil. It floated but  was it strong enough? The straws floated too but they scattered. Not good. The man would fall through; the foil would get water on. She decided to combine both. She wrapped a bunch of straws with the foil. It worked...for a while. Water started to get in the straws! That's when the cup got handy for the man. To make sure it wouldn't sink though, she re-wrapped her straws so the endings would be covered in foil too. Success!

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  1. Oh my goodness I just found your blog and I'm floored by your amazingness! This is by far the best Montessori blog I've found! I have a 21/2 yr old daughter I'm getting ready to homeschool with Montessori. I just bought a basic class package of materials from Montessori Outlet and have the NAMC manuals. One thing I was missing? Direction on how to organize our days. Your blog has given me great direction and inspiration with your themes and how you implement them! Thank you so much and I think you should write a book!

    1. This is by far the most flattering comment I have ever received on my blog. Thank you so much Jodi. You truly made my day. I don't think I'll ever get around to writing a book but I love sharing my ideas here when I have some time! :) Montessori outlet is a wonderful and affordable resource for us homeschoolers so I am glad you found them. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! :)