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

Triangle Exploration- Making Hamentashen

Hamentashen Triangles Banner

March 24 is swiftly approaching, and with it comes the happiest day on the Jewish calendar: Purim (pronounced POUR-im)!  If you’re looking for a way to expand your Montessori Culture activities, look no further.  Montessoribox has a terrific way to introduce your toddler or preschooler to this fun, engaging holiday AND learn about different types of triangles all at the same time!

The Purim story is a favorite of children everywhere, and it’s easy to tell why- it includes a king, a beautiful palace, an evil villain, and a brave queen who saves her people from destruction!  Jewish people everywhere read the Megillah (the Book of Esther from the Bible), shake groggers (noisemakers) to “boo” the bad guy, deliver baskets filled with goodies to friends and family (often containing hamentashen), and give charity to help the needy on this holiday.  If you’re interested in learning more, Aish.com has articles, videos, and plenty of family-friendly resources about Purim.

Purim Symbols Banner.png

The quintessential Purim treat is a delicious triangle shaped cookie filled with jam called hamentashen (HAW-men-tosh-in).  Using craft foam, you and your Littles can have a hamentashen bakery right on your very own Montessori shelf!

Hamentashen Triangles Supplies:

  • 1 sheet beige craft foam
  • 1 sheet colored craft foam (for “filling”)
  • Triangle Template (PDF)
  • scissors
  • pen or pencil (for tracing)

Hammentashen Supplies Banner.png

Directions:

  1. Print the Triangle Template (this template contains a large and small version of an equilateral, scalene, and right-angle triangle).
  2. Cut out the triangles from the template.
  3. Lay the large triangles templates on the beige craft foam and trace.
  4. Cut out the large triangles.
  5. Lay the small triangle templates on the colored craft foam and trace.
  6. Cut out the small triangles.

Triangle Exploration Supplies:

  • Work mat
  • Large “cookie” triangles
  • Small “filing” triangles
  • Tray (optional)
  • Bowl (optional)

Hamentashen tray.png

Triangle Exploration Formal Presentation:

This activity is designed for Littles 22mo and up.  Since my Little has just turned 2, we were simply working on the basic shape “triangle.”  However, if your LO is older, you might wish to introduce some of the triangle vocabulary (equilateral, scalene, right-angle) as a foundation for future work with the Montessori geometric cabinet.

Now the point of this Montessori box is to “make hamentashen”- that is pair up the matching triangles- the small equilateral triangle centered on top of the large equilateral triangle, etc.

I like to put the “cookie” triangles on a tray and the “filling” triangles in a bowl for the presentation.

Hamentashen presentation.png

Remove the cookie colored triangles from the tray and lay them out in a line on the mat in front of the child. Then, remove the filling triangles from the bowl and law them out in a line above the triangles, matching.

Tell your child this activity is called “Hamentashen Triangles.” If your child is unfamiliar with hamentashen, tell them any pertinent details you want to share now.

Using two fingers, outline the shape of the first cookie triangle on the mat. Then outline the corresponding filling triangle. Say “Let’s see if they match”- and lay the filling triangle centered in the middle of the cookie. Say “They match.” Repeat with the other triangles.

Take the filling triangles off the cookies and mix them up, laying them back out in a line. Repeat with one example, outlining a cookie triangle and then outlining it’s corresponding filling, repeating “let’s see if they match.” Allow the child to complete the rest of the triangles.

Even though this is not specifically a fine motor activity, your movements should still reflect elegance and beauty. Try to perfectly center each triangle in its cookie as well as outline each triangle smoothly.

If you are presenting this activity to an older child, you may want to tell them the name of each triangle as you first present it. Your initial presentation will look like this:

hamentashen labeled triangles

The setup remains the same. As you outline the triangle say “This is an equilateral triangle” Then outline the corresponding filling triangle. Say “Let’s see if they match”- and lay the filling triangle centered in the middle of the cookie. Say “They match. They are both scalene triangles.” Repeat with the other triangles.

As a bonus- if you’re interested in baking up some real, edible hamentashen, I have posted our family recipe here.

Let me know how this activity went for you and your Little in the comments!  Check out gorgeous pictures of other Montessori inspired activities on our instagram, follow us on Twitter @montessoribox, and like us on Facebook!  Also, feel free to leave comments about other activities you’d love to see in the future.  Thanks for visiting!