Plastic Easter Eggs 3 Ways- 2nd Installment

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Sound Eggs Banner

This is the second installment in our series “Plastic Easter Eggs 3 Ways.”  Easter was this past Sunday, so you’re probably just cleaning up and putting away your Easter decorations and that probably includes quite a few of these!

This sensorial activity focuses on auditory memory and discrimination.  It is officially called “Sound Boxes” in traditional Montessori theory, however for our purposes we’ll call it:

Sound Eggs

Listening comprehension and auditory memory are both critical skills in  early literacy development.  This is a fantastic and fun way to begin honing these skills with your Little, and you can probably create it entirely out of what’s in your home right now!

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Sound Egg Supplies:

  • 12 plastic Easter eggs-standard size (preferably 6 in one color and 6 in another color)
  • Glue gun or super glue
  • Tape (any type will work)
  • Uncooked rice
  • Dried beans
  • Dried barley
  • Dried lentils or peas
  • Course sand and fine sand OR
  • Course sand and flour

Directions:

This activity  is designed for Littles 36 months and up, however, scroll down to the bottom of the presentation for some modifications if you’d like to present it to a younger Little.

Before you begin, check your Easter eggs.  Many plastic eggs have holes poked into them.  Use your tape, on the inside of the eggs,  to tape up the holes.  I use about a 1 inch piece to cover both holes in the bottom of each egg.

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I chose to use yellow and blue eggs, but this activity typically uses cylinders with red and blue tops.  Go as “traditional” as you’d like.   I’ll be referring to “yellow” and “blue” eggs from here on out.

Add 2 teaspoons of rice to a yellow egg.  Close the egg and use your hot glue gun to run a thin bead of glue along the outside seam, sealing the egg closed.  For super glue, keep the egg open and run a thin bead along the inside of the egg.  Close to seal.  Repeat these steps with a blue egg.

Next, add 30 beans to a yellow egg and seal as above.  Repeat with a blue egg.

Continue in this fashion adding 2 teaspoons each of barley, sand, and/or flour and 60 peas to 1 yellow and 1 blue egg.

Sound Eggs Formal Presentation:

Supplies:

  • 12 sound eggs
  • Egg carton
  • Workmat

Traditionally, this activity is stored in two boxes.  Since these are eggs, I think it’s more fun to store them in an egg carton!

Arrange the yellow eggs so that the loudest one (the beans) and the softest one (the flour/fine sand)  are in a place you remember within the carton.

Call your Little over, have them sit next to you, and tell them this activity is called “Sound Eggs.”  Then, no more talking during the presentation.

Carefully and gracefully pick up the loudest yellow egg and place it on the workmat in front of you.  Show your Little the proper way to hold the sound egg- with index finger and thumb on top and bottom of egg.  Holding it a few inches away from your ear, give the egg 2 sharp, downward shakes.  Then hold the egg near your other ear, and repeat the 2 shakes.  Place the egg back down on the mat.

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Invite your Little to shake the loudest egg in the exact same manner as you just demonstrated.

Place this loud yellow egg on the left side of the workmat.

Carefully and gracefully pick up the softest yellow egg and place it on the workmat in front of you again.  Repeat the shaking routine described above and have your Little do the same.

Repeat with each of the other yellow eggs, creating a cluster, in no particular order, on the left side of the mat.

Show your Little the blue eggs remaining in the carton.  Tell them, “These sound the same as the yellow eggs.”  Arrange them in a cluster on the right side of the workmat.

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Choose any yellow egg and put it in front of yourself.  Then take any blue egg and set it to the right of the yellow egg.  Shake the yellow egg as described above followed by the blue egg.  If they sound dissimilar in pitch or sound, place the blue egg back in the carton.  Repeat until a blue matching egg is found.  Say, “These sound the same.”

Line up the matched pair inside the carton.  Remove the unmatched blue egg(s) from the carton and place them back in the group on the right side of the workmat.

Allow your Little to choose a yellow egg.  You continue to demonstrate the process until all eggs have a match.  After a match is found, have your Little shake and  listen  to them one at a time and place the set inside the egg carton, creating two columns.

Sound Eggs Finishing

When every egg has been  matched, shake each pair in turn, one egg at a time, starting with the eggs furthest from you.  Then, invite your Little to do the same.

Mix up the eggs, and allow your Little a chance to complete this activity independently.

Remember to show your Little how to clean up this activity as well as where it is stored.  Independence and care of the environment is just as important a part of this activity as the egg matching itself!

Modified Presentation for Younger Littles:

My LO is only 24 months.  Obviously, this activity would be way too challenging for her.  Instead, I chose to present only three sets of eggs which showed a great variance in sound and pitch. I presented flour, beans, and rice.  You could also choose to present a smaller number of eggs but with sounds which are more similar. Select the level of modification which is right for your Little!

As always, thanks for visiting!  How did this activity go for you?  What do you think  will be your Little’s favorite part?  My little loves placing the eggs into the carton and closing the lid after every match!  Can’t wait to hear how this went for you and your family!

 

 

 

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.

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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)

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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.

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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!

 

 

Rainbow Rice: Foundational Pouring

Rainbow Rice Banner

Happy Friday everyone!  Looking to kick off your gorgeous spring weekend with a bang?!  Create this week’s engaging Montessori Box- Rainbow Rice: Foundational Pouring Skills.  Your Littles are guaranteed to love it, and you only need a handful of materials.  Don’t feel like dying rice today?  Scroll down to the Pouring Activity which can be done with plain, white rice.  Don’t let your Little miss out on this fantastic fine motor practice!

Rainbow Rice Supplies:

  • 1 cup white rice per color (uncooked)
  • 1/2 tsp. white vinegar per color
  • container with tight-fitting lid
  • assorted food coloring
  • baking sheet (or other flat surface, lined with wax paper/parchment paper/plastic wrap, where rice can dry)

Ingredients

Directions:

Get ready to have your mind blown over how EASY this is.

  1. Pour 1 c. uncooked rice into your container.
  2. Add 1/2 tsp. vinegar and several drops food coloring (the more you add, the more vibrant your colors will turn out).
  3. Tighten that lid
  4. SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE- until color is evenly distributed over the rice                      ****If your Little is 18mo or older, they can help you with this part.  They’ll love the noise the rice makes and love seeing the color spread!***
  5. Pour rice onto baking sheet or flat surface and spread into a thin layer to dry (several hours or overnight).  The vinegar smell will completely dissipate over time.
  6. Rinse out your container and repeat steps 1-5 until you have as many colors as you’d like!

Foundational Pouring Activity Supplies:

  1. Work Mat or Tub (a large, plastic tub will keep the rice contained for easy cleanup)
  2. Two Measuring Cups with Spouts
  3. Rainbow Rice (or regular rice, beans, or lentils all work great)

Foundational Pouring:

This activity is designed for Littles 18mo and up.  Of course, you can go as “Montessori” as you’d like or just let your Little explore and figure it out for themselves.  The traditional Montessori method dictates you wordlessly demonstrate each step, deliberately and with perfection, for your Littles.

When I first introduced pouring to Rosie, she was only 17 months.  I knew she’d never sit for a presentation, so I didn’t try.  I just laid out the materials as described below during her nap, so it was all ready in her playroom when she woke up.

She figured it out all on her own, though without the “beauty” and precison Maria Montessori would have liked.  When she was a few months older, I did a formal pouring presentation.  We are definitely in the “sensitive period” for pouring now!

Rainbow Rice Setup

Formal Presentation:

Arrange the two measuring cups on the Mat (or in the Tub).  Fill the one on your Little’s right with rice.  Leave the other empty.  Invite your little to watch a new presentation.  Tell them this activity is called “Pouring Rainbow Rice.”  First they will watch while you have a turn, and next they get to try.  Then, no more talking.  Remember- we don’t want Little to be listening to your words, we want them watching your actions.

Deliberately and s l o w l y pick up the cup filled with rice.  Center the spout over the middle of the empty cup.  S l o w l y pour the rice until the cup is empty.  Gently and silently place the cup back onto the mat (or tub).  Pick up the newly filled cup and repeat.  Invite your Little to give it a try.

Remember to only observe.  The whole theory behind Montessori is that you are not a teacher you’re a director.  Don’t jump in and yell CUT if you can tell your Little has the cups lined up wrong and is bound to pour rice all over the mat.  Just let it happen.  They will learn way more by seeing the result of their mistake.  This is so hard, but just step back.

Make mental notes of what movements could be corrected.  Perhaps Little isn’t centering the spout.  Perhaps Little is pouring too fast.  Next time you or your Little want to do rice pouring, you can lead another presentation emphasizing the areas they’re struggling with.  Remember to stay silent while you present so they can really watch.

After your Little is finished tell them you will now show them how to put their “tools” away.  (Remember, Montessori activities aren’t toys- they’re tools.)  I love a 3-compartment box for this activity.  I pour all the rice into a little plastic tub in one of the compartments and place the measuring cups in the other two.  Then, carry the box with two hands to the shelf or area where it will live.  From here on out, encourage (*cough* demand *cough*) Little to clean this activity up and put it away each time they’re finished.  Depending upon their age, of course, your Little might need help cleaning up.

Leave comments on how this activity worked for you, and which skills or activities you’d love to see more of!  Also, remember to follow us on facebook, twitter @MontessoriBox and  check out the videos of this activity on YouTube.