I recommend following Marissa at Missy Montessori as she shares lots of classroom activities that can be used at home - without needing specific Montessori materials. Lots of her classroom ideas use printables from her online store. Many of these activities can also be DIYed, especially if you are good at illustration. Here are some of the Missy Montessori activities we've been using recently with our preschooler (4yrs).
Weather Chart - we can use this every day as part of our daily rhythm or as a part of a weather unit. The child cuts out the weather icons and selects an icon each day that represents the weather that day.
Each day we look outside and select the most appropriate weather icon. We put glue on the weather chart. I find the blue glue sticks work best for preschoolers, they can easily see where the glue is.
Then stick on the weather icon. It's fun to look back on the week and see what the weather has been like. ☀️⛅️🌧
Movable Animals - this requires the child to colour in the animal, cut the animal out and then assemble the animal using a hole punch and paper fasteners. Uses lots of fine motor skills.
My preschooler loves to make and play with animals and shapes like this. You can see a previous activity using paper fasteners here. We use Groove Triple and Woody colour pencils and small Noris Club scissors.
Handwriting Cards - these are not needed by all children, and I plan to use them with the letters my child is struggling with. While I've printed many of the letters, I've only laminated s, a, m, e, and b. I recommend using sandpaper letters and a sand tray first.
We use a colour marker that wipes off, but a dry-erase marker might be best.
's' is super tricky for young children to master. Missy Montessori also has similar number writing cards.
Animal Lengths - this is a fantastic idea! The cards feature various animals and are labelled with the animal's length in real life. We print and cut out the animals and then attach string/ribbon/yarn the length the animal would be in real life.
I presented all the animals at once but we could also present them one at a time if we were looking at one animal/region.
This was also a huge hit. My child could not believe how big some of the animals are. This activity could be taken outside, so there is more space to measure out the animals. I would love to do this with dinosaurs too. There are lots of extension ideas for this activity, we initially looked at which animal is shortest, longest, second shortest etc.
Insect Tracing - I've presented this with colour markers, paper clips, and white paper to be used on a light table. However, Missy Montessori demonstrates this using tracing paper, mini pegs and without a light table.
We put the white paper over the butterfly image and secure it with paper clips. The child puts the paper on the light table (similar light table here, we used a TickiT light table in the UK) to trace. My older children loved tracing but at around 5-6yrs. Surprisingly Otto loved tracing this at 4yrs. He was surprised when he took the image off the light table and could see his own work!
The child traces the image.
Here is the magic! The child can see their own drawing!
Read/Draw/Write - this was a bit of a risk as my four-year-old is very much a beginner reader, and it ended up being a huge hit. He can almost put together c-v-c words with a bit of guessing. So we used these read/draw/write sheets together, and he absolutely loved it. I slowly read the words, and he read/guessed the words that he could. He is really into drawing, so he was happy to draw the word underlined.
There are a few activity pages and a blank page in this set, and I know this will be an activity we will enjoy for a long time.
Most of these activities are presented on an Ikea bamboo tray. We use these trays a lot for art and kitchen activities, they nicely hold A4 sheets of paper. While the tray edges are low and don't have a handle, they are affordable and easy for the child to work in.
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