Plastic Easter Eggs 3 Ways

This is the first installment in our series “Plastic Easter Eggs 3 Ways.”  Easter is this Sunday, March 27, and chances are you have plenty of these guys hanging around your house!

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If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly fighting a battle against sugary treats and your Littles.  If you want to host a fantastic Easter egg hunt that doesn’t require 10 pounds of pastel colored candies, our first way  to use those plastic Easter eggs is for you!

And, even if you want to stick with your traditional Easter egg hunt (candy included), this activity is a fantastic way to use those eggs after the hunt is through rather than letting them gather dust in your closet for a year.  Instead of stuffing eggs with sweets, why not fill them with beautiful spring bird figurines?!!  Without further ado:

Nomenclature Cards with a Twist

Montessori nomenclature cards are a fantastic way to increase your Little’s vocabulary and feed their natural curiosity.  My Little is constantly asking “what’s dat?” and I bet yours is too! You can use nomenclature cards in any subject area and with practically any set of objects.  See:

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Typically nomenclature activities are presented using 3-part cards.  However, in order to make this activity toddler friendly, in our house, we only use the control cards (the ones with the label attached) and will focus on matching a physical object to the picture.

In keeping with the spring theme of Easter, we will be making Backyard Bird Nomenclature cards!!!  Your Little will be learning and identifying 7 common birds you probably  have flapping around your neighborhood right now!

Backyard Bird Nomenclature Cards Supplies:

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Directions:

I created two sets of nomenclature cards within the same document (link above).  One set is just the control cards for younger Littles (18mo-3 years) and the other set is the typical 3-part cards for older Littles (3 years and up).  Print which ever set you  plan on using, and cut them apart.  If you’re using the 3-part cards, make sure to leave the control card in tact, but cut the label off the other card.  Put one bird figurine in each egg and snap shut.

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I like to store the birds inside the eggs in a bucket and the nomenclature cards in a small wooden box.  I purchased both at Hobby Lobby.

Backyard Bird Nomenclature Card Formal Presentation:

Invite your Little to see a new activity.  Bring a workmat and the tray containing the birds in their eggs and the cards to the floor or a table.  Tell them this activity is called “Backyard Bird Nomenclature Cards.”  Remind them that you will have a turn first while they watch, and then they will get a chance.

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Presentation for 18mo-3 years:  Remove the cards, one by one, from the box and place them on the workmat in rows.  Then, remove one egg from the bucket and open it.  Using a pincer grasp, remove the bird from the egg.  Compare the bird to the first picture.  If it does not match, move on to the next picture.  Continue until you have found the matching picture.  Place the bird on top of the matching picture.  Open the next egg and repeat until your Little grasps the concept, then allow them to complete the activity.

Once they have finished, remember to show them where this activity is kept.  Foster independence by having your Little clean up and put the materials away properly.

Presentation for 3 years+:  Remove the control cards (the ones with the labels attached) and place them in vertical rows on the workmat.  Take the first picture card (without the label) from the box and compare it to the first card.  If it does not match, move on to the next picture until you have found it’s partner.  Set the card down to the right of the control card.  Continue in this way until all of the picture cards have matches.

Next, open an egg and remove the first bird.  Find it’s match using the same protocol described above.  Continue until all the birds have been matched.  Last, take the top label card and find it’s match in the same way, laying it beneath the correct picture card.

I can’t wait to hear how this activity went for you and your Littles.  Please let me know in the comments along with any other fun Easter egg activities your family does!  Remember to follow us on Twitter to get updates about our blog.  Check out our gorgeous photos of other Montessori inspired materials on Instagram.  Like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel- we put up videos every week.

 

 

 

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My Family Hamentashen Recipe

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As a bonus addition to my Montessori inspired Hamentashen Triangle Exploration activity, here is my  family’s tried and true classic Hamentashen recipe!

Ingredients

1/2 c. shortening

1/2 c. butter or margarine

1 1/4 c. sugar

3 eggs

1/4 c. orange juice, milk, or almond milk

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

4 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

Filling of your choice (jam, Nutella, etc.)

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Stir flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer or with a hand beater, cream the shortening, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and beat until combined .  Add milk and vanilla and continue beating until incorporated.

Fold in flour mixture until just combined. Shape dough into a ball.  Cover and let rest 10 minutes.  Divide ball and roll into 3 disks.

Using a biscuit cutter or the top of a glass, cut dough into rounds.  Place rounds on a lined cookie sheet and fill with 1 teaspoon of filling.  Do not over fill!

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Shape into triangles by folding up and pinching the circle into 3 corners.

Bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown.  Enjoy!

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Can’t wait to hear how your Hamentashen turned out in comments!

The Montessori Method

Montessori Method Page

What do you love most about your toddler or preschooler?  Is it watching them experience our world for the first time?  Is it their boundless energy, curiosity, and persistence?  Or is it the look on their face during that magical moment when they accomplish something on their own for the very first time?

The Montessori method values, fosters, and respects each of these natural toddler tendencies.  As an educator and mom myself, I have never found a pedagogical style more in tune with a  child’s innate mode of learning and discovery than Montessori.

This month, in addition to my regular Montessori Inspired Activity posts, I will also be posting a series on the Montessori Method.  Before I start, however, I want to ask you- What’s your favorite part of Montessori?

For me, it is definitely the child-centered, child-led nature that permeates all of Maria Montessori’s writings.  It is something I definitely need to work on more, but I love observing my Little go about her day, listen to her self-chatter, and then design specific activities based in Montessori to reach her at today’s exact and unique needs and interests.

What do you love most about your Little?  What Montessori approach most speaks to you as a parent, an educator, or both???