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Monday, May 31, 2010

Montessori Geometric Insets - Part 1

The Montessori Geometric Insets are really a gem, in my eyes.

If you don't believe me hear it from the woman herself:

‘These drawings perfect a child’s skill in that they oblige him to draw lines of different lengths and make him ever more skillful and sure in the use of this hands… I do not believe that any means could be found more efficacious in gaining such a victory in less time and which could afford so much amusement to a child. " Discovery of the Child, Maria Montessori

What are they?

10 geometric shapes in plastic or metal. They each have a frame, like individual puzzles.

What is the learning objective?

- To teach differences in shapes
- To develop the child’s muscles for holding a pencil correctly.
- To develop control and precision of movement with flexibility.
-Indirect preparation for art development of pattern and use of colour.

You can buy these Insets made of metal or plastic or you can make them on your own for much cheaper using heavy duty poster board. I bought a plastic set on Ebay for a great deal (Ebay is GREAT for Montessori deals!) since I wanted mine to last through many children.

Part 1

This exercise is very simple and I believe can be done with a very young child:

1. Using one shape at a time, take inset and frame to the child's table and remove inset from frame.

2. Going clockwise, trace with the index finger the outside of the inset and the outline of the frame's inside edge. (this is a great exercise for refinement of small motor skills and concentration)

3. Tell the child, " This is a circle," etc.

4. Ask the child to point out objects in the room that are circles

5. Proceed in this manner with the remaining geometric shapes, using Step 1 to 4 for each, as well as using the three period lesson.

6. Show the child how each inset fits into its own frame.

7. Finally present the full tray of insets and frames, remove all the insets, and have the child replace them.

Control of Error: Insets will fit only in their correct frame.

In the book Teaching Montessori in the Home, the Pre-School Years (great book and investment!) the author suggests that the ages for this activity is from 2 1/2 - 5. However I believe a child of MUCH younger could accomplish this Part 1 activity of the Geometric Insets.

Part 2 of the Geometric insets gets a little more challenging and fun....I just started it with my own daughter so I will be writing a post on it soon.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Colors in Nature Walk

My daughter loves taking walks.

She would walk for hours if only I wouldn't wear out.

I made up this Colors in Nature sheet for her to use on the walks we take, you can download it here.

I laminated the sheet for durability and added pockets for each color out of laminated paper as well.

My daughter really loved looking for different colors in the environment and putting them in the corresponding pockets.

I think it really helped her to open her eyes a little more to what her surroundings are made of.


Vinegar Cleans Dish Brushes!

See this dish brush?

Beautiful, clean, spotless....

And it's probably only one time in the life of your dish brush that it will EVER be that clean again.

The worst is when you're scrubbing cheese off dishes and the whole thing just gets covered in a gooey mess and you are very tempted to throw it out cause, gosh you wouldn't want to scrub any more dishes with it looking like that! (especially when you have dairy allergies in the household like I do!)

BUT I have a solution for you! Aren't you thrilled? :)

Honestly, it is the small joys in my life that keep me going.


My favorite new cleaning solution :)

How to:

-Put your Dish Brush in a cup

- Fill it up with vinegar (enough to cover the brush)

- Wait an hour or two, or overnight

- Rinse with HOT water

If all the gunk doesn't completely come out just use a fork to get between the bristles.

And voila!

You can feel content again scrubbing dishes with your now clean as new Dish Brush.