Saturday, October 30, 2010

Montessori Boxes!

Our homeschool group had a mom's book club this spring, where we studied some of the writings of Maria Montessori. At the end of our study, we decided to do a Montessori Box Exchange where we each created a certain number of identical projects and then traded with the other moms.

Here are photos of the different Montessori Boxes/Trays that were created:

1. Flower Arranging
This box came with silk flowers sorted for the different seasons, greenery, seasonal accessories, foam and vases. The kids have really enjoyed putting together some arrangements for the house!

2. Animal Counting
This included 10 each of 10 different animals along with jar lids ("boats") and a felt "lake." The kids can work on counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc.

3. Nut matching
This includes about 8 different nuts, along with felt squares to put the nuts on to match them. My friend says her 2 year-old just loves this activity!

4. Felt storyboards
Each of us got 2 identical boxes with felt backgrounds (sky, grass, lake, sun, moon, stars, clouds, etc) and a variety of animals. The children play it similar to the game Battleship, where they face each other and tell their partner where to place the different felt pieces and animals. Then they check to see if they got it right. The girls really enjoy this one!

5. Baric blocks
These are 12 different types of wood cut into cubes. The children try to figure out the matches while blindfolded. They can also explore the different smells, textures, weights, and looks of the different types of wood. The company my friend was working with (Got Wood?) got really excited about the project and ended up cutting and donating all the wood!

6. Touch boards
This box includes matches of 4 different grades of sandpaper (glued on small pieces of wood), along with one board that has sandpaper (rough) on one half, and smooth on the other, and a last board with alternating rough and smooth sections. The children match the sandpaper while blindfolded and learn to use their sense of touch to identify the different textures. She also included a zipper bag with crayons and sandpaper to do an activity where you draw on the sandpaper and then iron it onto paper to see how the crayon bleeds.

7. Letter Object Box
This was the one I created. It includes 25 small dollhouse-sized objects along with their matching laminated words and first letters. Children can match the word to the object and also sort the objects by first letter.

One last box that another mom is still completing is a fabric box of different swatches of fabrics with all sorts of textures. The children will try to match them while blindfolded.

We are excited to use these special activity boxes throughout the year. Many of them will be great skills for Steven Joseph and (later) Thomas to work on. It was quite an investment since we all spent around $90 on making these projects. But our goal was to have boxes that will stand the test of time, and special Montessori-type activities for our children to use for years to come!

Our group did a Nature Craft Exchange last year, and I hope we will do more exchanges in the future! It's a great way to have some fun activities for our children without having to do all the work ourselves!


Jill said...

Neat! I enjoyed looking at all of the different boxes. They are so appealing that I would love to dive in and explore!

Lindsey said...

Wow, those are all really cool! So each mom made several of the same box, one for her family and one for each other family? Did you each spend $90 or was that the total spent by all the moms on all the boxes?

I'm impressed! Did these ideas come explicitly out of her writings, or did you have to create them yourselves? I never would have thought of any of those creative little kits. Lovely.

Rachel said...

Wow! This is a great idea. I need something like this to keep Annalise busy while we are doing school. Thanks for sharing.

Blair said...

Lindsey, yes each mom made 6 identical boxes, and we each spent about $90. We made one for ourselves and one for the 5 other moms. One mom actually made 3, because the wood ended up being free so she made two other small boxes. So in the end we'll all have 8. Some of the ideas came from the book "Teaching Montessori in the Home," some were made up, and my idea was from a Montessori-teaching nun I heard speak at the homeschool conference in the spring!

Stephanie said...

I'm so bummed out I missed this, those look amazing!

Anonymous said...

I thought you needed approval when your budget exceeded $25 ;)


The Principal

Julia said...

I am head over heels about this idea. It is so expensive to acquire Montessori materials, we've been fortunate to inherit a few from my husband's Mother's school. We just started a small Montessori "center" in our living room and I have grand visions of changing out the jobs. If you have the time, please keep posting on this!!!! :)

Pie Mama’s said...

I'm so inspired by this, Blair! Thanks for sharing!

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