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.
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)
- pen or pencil (for tracing)
- Print the Triangle Template (this template contains a large and small version of an equilateral, scalene, and right-angle triangle).
- Cut out the triangles from the template.
- Lay the large triangles templates on the beige craft foam and trace.
- Cut out the large triangles.
- Lay the small triangle templates on the colored craft foam and trace.
- Cut out the small triangles.
Triangle Exploration Supplies:
- Work mat
- Large “cookie” triangles
- Small “filing” triangles
- Tray (optional)
- Bowl (optional)
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.
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:
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!