Passover Matzah Puzzle

Passover is coming!  Passover is coming!  Whether or not your family celebrates Passover, 2-piece jigsaw puzzles are a fantastic Montessori inspired activity to introduce to your Little!  This is especially true if they’ve already mastered the simple shapes, knobbed puzzles typically introduced first.

Matzah Puzzle Banner.png

During the festive Passover meal (called the “seder“), three matzos are used.  The inspiration for this Montessori Box comes from the moment in the seder when the middle of the three matzos is broken.  The larger part become the “afikoman” and is hidden.

This is almost every small child’s favorite part of the seder as it becomes their job to find the afikoman!  Once they find it, they can ransom it to the adults for a prize.  The afikoman is the very last thing eaten at the seder and marks its official conclusion.  The seder cannot end without the all important afikoman!  Therefore, I felt it  especially appropriate, to create:

2 piece puzzle banner.png

2-Piece Passover Matzah Puzzles:

And the best part?  They’re kosher for Passover and year round!

Supplies:

Matzah Supplies Banner.png

  • 1 piece tan-colored craft foam
  • 4 colors of sharpie or felt-tipped marker
  • Scissors
  • Matzah Puzzle Templates
  • Ruler/tape measure/measuring tape
  • Straight edge (optional)
  • Tape

Directions:

The typical craft foam I’ve come across is a 12″ x 17 3/4″ rectangle.  We want to make it into a perfect square.  To do this, measure 12 inches along the longest side (the 17 3/4″ in side) and draw a line straight up, parallel to the 12″ side (perpendicular to your measuring tape).  Cut along this line.  Hooray- you have a square!

Directions Banner.png

Using one color of sharpie or felt-tipped marker, draw a “matzah” design across ONE side of your foam.

Next, print out your matzah puzzle templates.  Cut them into 4 squares, but don’t cut the middle, “puzzle,” line.

Tape these templates onto your large matzah square.  Use them as the outline to cut the 4 smaller squares.

Matzah Directions 2.png

Using 4 different colors of sharpie or felt-tip pen, draw a different colored matzah design on the back of each of your 4 squares.  This will serve as the “self correcting” aspect of this Montessori Box- an important principle of the Montessori Method.

Last, cut along the middle puzzle line to finish.

BOOM!  You’re done!

Presentation:

Feel free to share any tidbits about Passover or Matzah that you  want to share with your Little before the presentation.  This could serve as a great addition to your culture curriculum!  If you’re interested in learning more about Passover, Aish: Passover Collection has some fantastic resources for your entire family!

Call it kitschy, and maybe not strictly “Montessori,” but I really love presenting this activity in an empty matzah box on a tray.  If you want to be more traditional, you can present the matzah puzzles in a basket or open top box on a tray.

Matzah Presentation.png

Invite your Little to sit in front of you, and tell them this activity is called “Matzah Puzzles.”   Lay out the puzzle pieces, in no particular order on your workmat.  Decide beforehand if you will be presenting the puzzles to your Little with the matching color side up or down.  It will be more challenging if the matching colors aren’t showing.

Select a piece and place it in front of you.  Then, select the first piece from the workmat.  Lay it alongside the initial piece you chose to see if it’s a match.  If so, push them together and tell your little “They fit!”  If not, continue selecting pieces, in order (right to left, up then down) until a match is found.

Repeat, this time allowing your Little to chose which piece to set in front of you.  Continue until all the matzah puzzles are assembled.

Matzah Match Banner.png

Take them apart, mix them up, and lay them along the workmat again.  Allow your Little a chance to complete the puzzles themselves.

When they’re finished, show them how and where to put this Montessori Box away.

All done!

Hopefully this activity will keep your little busy while you get some much needed Passover cleaning done…

Chag kasher v’sameach!

Remember to follow us on Twitter @montessoribox and Instagram, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Youtube channel!  Let me  know how this activity went for you and your family in the comments.

 

Advertisements

Montessori Inspired Salad Bar

A big part of the Montessori philosophy is creating a “prepared environment”- a setting which fosters a maximum amount of independence for your child.  A perfect example of this principal is allowing your child to (help) make their own meals and snacks.  A fantastic place to start is with our Montessori inspired salad bar!

Salad Bar Banner.png

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • Soft veggies for slicing (like tomato and avocado)
  • Leafy green mix
  • Protein of your choice (we used pesto grilled chicken)
  • Dressing of your choice
  • Plate
  • Egg Slicer
  • Measuring cup/scoop

Presentation:

Creating your prepared environment will be determined, in large part, by the age and independence level of your Little, as well as your personal comfort with your Little using certain kitchen tools.

Personally, I do not allow our 2 yo to use sharp knives.  Therefore, I sliced the tomato and avocado into pieces that would fit into the egg slicer.  Your objective is to find the point where you maximize your Little’s independence and minimize your involvement.

In our home, this means I slice the avocado in half, but my Little removes the peel.  She rinses the tomato and removes the stem, but I cut it in half.  She can pour the leafy green mix into the bowl, since it is  hard for her to scoop out of the bag, but I measured a few teaspoons of dressing into a bowl because I wanted to limit the amount of dressing she could use.  Use your own good judgement.

I make salad.png

One kitchen tool we purchased from Montessori Services that we use over and over again  is the white egg slicer.  From slicing strawberries to avocados (and also hard boiled eggs), my Little has a use for this tool on a daily basis.  She loves using it, and it is safe enough for her to prepare her own snack  with  minimal interference from me!  I feel like this is a fantastic (super affordable) investment for anyone who wants to bring Montessori into their kitchen.

I  laid out the soft vegetables first along with the egg slicer.  If this is your child’s first encounter with this tool, demonstrate it’s proper use and show your Little the wires.  Explain that they must keep their hands out from under the wires and only push down on the slicer with both hands (insuring they won’t have any fingers underneath).  The wires themselves are not sharp, but it would be painful to get a finger caught.

Next, I placed the leafy green mix with a 1 cup measure.  I instructed my Little to take 1 careful scoop.  After that was the small bowl of dressing, which was able to pour over the salad (thank you Foundational Pouring activities!) quite accurately.  Last, I had the plate of cooked chicken, which I’d already cubed.

Finishing Salad.png

The most challenging part of this activity for my little was scooping the  lettuce.  This lets me know we need to add more scooping exercises to our Montessori shelf!  Which part do you anticipate, or did you  find  out, is the most difficult for your Little?  Let me know in the comments!

Check out photos of other Montessori inspired activities on our Instagram, follow us on Facebook & Twitter, and check us out on Pinterest!  Thanks for visiting, and please leave me your comments!