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Montessori on a Budget: Holiday Edition Gift Guide!

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Montessori Fall Round Up of Activities & Free PDFs Printables Downloads With Lisa & Carolyn of Montessori on a Budget

Who doesn't love fall! The seasons are changing from warm summer days to cool Autumn nights, pumpkins are getting fatter on the vine, and leaves are falling in colors of brown, red, orange, and yellow. There are endless seasonal and holiday projects, recipes, and activities... What's a parent to do?

7 Fun Fall Montessori Leaf Activities (an oldie but goodie)! Montessori Practical Life Care of the Environment: raking leaves is a favorite Fall activity, suitable for three-year-olds and up.Art: Fall leaves are also great for art projects, including making a leaf collage.Language: Make sure that you and your child/ren KNOW THE NAMES OF THE LEAVES before you pick them, some plants are poisonous and harmful.Fine Motor: Montessori Metal Insets... If you don't have access to a lot of dry leaves, or safe plants, or you have a child who enjoys drawing, the Montessori Metal Insets are great! If you don't own any, another fine motor leaf project is leaf rubbing.Math Counting to 9 o…

Introduction to Montessori Art, Music, and Poetry Plus Planner PDF

My Introduction to Montessori Art, Music, and Poetry Plus Planner PDF is designed for parents who want to incorporate Montessori art, music, and poetry into their home environment with children age birth to nine. This 112-page PDF includes an organizer and a three-month planner, as well as:
The rest of this page has move here! Photo credit: ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevisser via / CC BY

The Montessori Organizer

The Montessori Organizer is designed for moms who are beginning their journey into incorporating Montessori in their home environment! It is over 90 pages long, printer friendly, black and white text, easy to use, go at your own pace, and created by a trained Montessori teacher and mom! It includes a list of must-haves for two- and three-year olds, and a “how to” on giving a Three-Period lesson. It is ideal for preschool-age children, but can also work for toddlers age 24 months and up (they grow fast)! We will have a 6-9 homeschool organizer in the coming weeks.

The Montessori Organizer will organize by 1) Montessori subjects, 2) months of the year, 3) seasons, and 4) themes. You will be able to list 1) materials including DIY and printables, affordable, and expensive, 2) list Montessori sellers, 3) list lessons you have given, 3) list YouTube lessons to watch, 4) list rooms in the home environment, 5) list Montessori blogs, books, groups of interest, and much more! The rest of this pa…

Read and Write the Montessori Way

Read and Write the Montessori Way is designed for parents who want to incorporate Montessori language, reading, and writing into their home environment with children age two and one-half to five! This 135 page PDF includes: The rest of this page has move here! Photo credit: ThomasLife via / CC BY-ND

Montessori in the Home PDF for Birth to Age Nine

Montessori in the Home FAQs for Birth to Nine is a 130-page, text-only, printer-friendly ebook PDF that was created by Lisa Nolan, a 3 to 6 and 6 to 9 Montessori-trained teacher with over 25 years of experience. It addresses the many challenges that parents face when implementing the Montessori Method in a home (or homeschool) environment with children age birth to nine.
The book is divided into several sections:
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Tinkerlab by Rachelle Doorley: A Book in Review by Carolyn Wilhelm of The Wise Owl Factory

The Montessori on a Budget book club read Tinkerlab by Rachelle Doorley. We discussed it on the Facebook page. The full title is actually A Hands on Guide Tinkerlab for Little Inventors, 55 Playful Experiments that Engage Thinking, Curiosity & Creative Thinking. This book explains Tinkerlab for the young learner and is perfect for the home environment. Tinkerlab is for all ages, and the focus for this book is how to introduce and use the ideas with younger children. Materials can be free, DIY, inexpensive, and recycled -- and then reused in many cases! Science and engineering sound difficult to teach, but the author makes it easy and practical with specific ideas that can be replicated with the helpful and clear photos. Interested? Continue reading here . . . 

Loose Parts: Inspiring Play in Young Children: A Book in Review by Carolyn Wilhelm of The Wise Owl Factory

Loose Parts: Inspiring Play in Young Children by Miriam Beloglovsky and Lisa Daly is an organized approach for helping children with constructive play ideas. The authors have dozens of "stages" set with materials as a place to begin each idea. However, any DIY, nature objects, small items collected,  and recycled materials may be used and reused in this approach.  Stages may be set similarly to what the authors used with different supplies. A questioning approach is used to help the children think and construct ideas. Continue reading here . . .

Greater Than, Less Than, Equals Activity Cards

Greater Than, Less Than, Equals Activity Cards: This post has a freegreater than, less than, and equals printable.  The first picture is the activity in use on a tray. Just the number cards, object cards, and/or the glass buttons could be used as desired.  The printable is in color and in black and white for printing options. Continue reading here . . . 

Project-Based Homeschooling: A Book in Review by Caroly Wilhelm of The Wise Owl Factory

Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners was written by Lori McWilliam Pickert. This book is very useful as it has many lists, suggestions, explanations, and information about what to do to teach with a project based method at home. Management of materials while maintaining living space is discussed, as well as financial considerations. There are pictures to visually help comprehend the information. Please continue reading at this link.

Smart Moves: A Book in Review (Part Three) by Carolyn Wilhelm of The Wise Owl Factory

Did you know Einstein was left handed? This fact is shared in chapter 13, along with the information that forcing right handedness can lead to stuttering. I remember more people stuttering when I was growing up than I see now, and I'm thinking they used to force right handedness so much more. The author explains dominance profiles -- about being right or left brained, right or left hearing dominant, right or left eye dominant and provides examples of how it affects a person.  She was right on the button for me! Scary! However, this is so important for us to know about ourselves and our students.
Heather Goodmanson is a third grade teacher in Hawaii. She had her students figure out their own dominance profiles.  The students organized themselves according to their easiest sensory access such as right eat dominants on the left side of the room. This helped all the learners in the class. They also did Brain Gym exercises five minutes a day. The class had their highest academic scores…

Smart Moves: A Book in Review (Part Two) by Carolyn Wilhelm of The Wise Owl Factory

Smart Moves: Learning is Not All in Your Head by Carla Hannaford PhD, regarding chapters 6-11: It is difficult to break this book into sections, and I really want to post the entire book as it is so enlightening. This book supports the Montessori method in so many ways. *Note: See also the review of chapters 1-5. Recently there has been a "Prince George" effect causing a surge of interest in Montessori education as Prince George is now attending The Maria Montessori Institute in London. I think there should be a surge of interest from reading Smart Moves, too! Continue reading here . . . 

Smart Moves: A Book in Review (Part One) by Carolyn Wilhelm of The Wise Owl Factory

Smart Moves, Why Learning is not all in Your Head by Carla Hannaford. This post has a few of my favorite quotes and thoughts from chapters 1-5. Smart Moves was actually first published in 1995, but has since been updated as new research has been made available. It is amazing how well this book fits with Montessori learning! Carla Hannaford has a PhD and has provided facts and details to help everyone understand why "locked ocular" learning (staring) is not actual learning, and why the body much be engaged. This one fact explains why electronics and traditional teaching methods do not provide much learning. Learning needs to be active and hands-on as in the Montessori method.  She recommends children not watch TV until age 8. Children should be active (not passive) participants in their learning. Learning does not happen only in the brain as many people assume.  Continue reading here...

Matching and Graphing Colors and Horses

This post has an activity using realistic plastic horses as manipulatives for graphing. It also has a free printable to use for tray activities. The color words like red, yellow, and blue are easier to teach as their use is common in the children's experiences. However, the words black, brown, white, gold, and gray are less frequently used and therefore require an intended effort for practice. I realized the Toobs horses by Safari Ltd have exactly the colors children need more time with. I've made a free printable for you to use.  I do think many other little plastic horses might work for this activity, as well. First, this is a "color corral" and a paper cube to use as a tray activity.  Either the horse body color, mane color, feet color, or tail colors could be designated as the one to match when the cube is rolled. Interested in free printable? Keep reading at this link.

Montessori at Home Affordable Online Course for Ages 0-24

Montessori at Home Affordable Online Course for Ages 0-24
As I am going to become a grandma this winter, I did some preparation by taking a course by Lisa Nolan about ages 0-24 months.  She has affordable Montessori at home online courses with a wealth of information. For the price of one single toy, you can learn dozens of ideas and how to up-cycle common household items to create a Montessori environment for your child or grandchild. Most of the items can be made at home, saving money and making this wonderful environment affordable and possible. Click here to continue reading this post . . .

Free Sorting Cards for Holiday Needs and Wants

This post has free sorting cards for needs and wants, perfect for the holiday seasons when wants multiply on a daily (or hourly) basis.  There is a description of the activity, picture sorting cards, as well as label cards for use near the end of the lesson.  For this activity, it is best not to explain exactly what is going on during the first portion. The above photo of the activity in use with a Montessori rug. Perfect for under the tree?  Maybe. If you would like the free printable,please continue reading here

Introduce Poetry to Your Children Using the Montessori Method

At the preschool age you can share your love of  language and literature by reading poetry out loud to your child/ren. You will enthuse their interest in poetry if you yourself are enthusiastic and interested in it. As it states in my Montessori training manual: "Assess yourself and your attitude. Remember, the child who is still in the absorbent state of mind [from birth to six] absorbs your attitudes.You are not just giving concrete experiences [by reading poetry], you are giving children exposure and a love for [poetry], which they will study, in depth, later on."

Then, when the child is reading comprehensively (by third grade or age eight) you can introduce the poetry basket. But first, let me review the several levels to reading (quoted from my Montessori training manual).


Christmas Around the World and Hanukkah Too: A Montessori Approach

The words "Christmas," "Hanukkah," and "World" are abstract to a young child. Montessori activities from birth to six years are primarily "Sensorial": they are hands-on concrete activities and experiences: smell, touch, taste, hear, feel, and see. The child then abstracts from these concrete experiences as he or she gets older. So before we can introduce the abstract concepts of Christmas, Hanukkah, and the World, we need to build a sensorial foundation that can begin in infancy.


A Children's Montessori HOLIDAY Top 10 Gift Guide!

The holidays are just around the corner and the Montessori moms at Confession of a Montessori Mom are sharing their favorite Montessori-friendly activities and books with you to help you make that all-important decision: What should I get my family for Christmas? (You can also share our suggestions with grandparents, aunts, and uncles who are giving gifts to your children this holiday season!)


Make Montessori Christmas Clay Beads

Make Montessori Christmas clay beads as gifts, tree decorations, or just for fun! Materials needed: clay, paint, confetti or glitter glue. To make clay beads you need some clay. I bought a small, 5 pound bucket of Crayola white 'air-dry clay' at a local Michael's craft store on sale. You can order it on here. It is best to order small amounts at a time because the clay dries out after so many months. (When it does dry out, add 1/4 of water over the clay and let sit over night.)

We used an ice cream scooper for the clay to scoop it out. If your child is too young for the ice cream scooper, make several scoops and place them in another container for the child to access.

See full gallery here!

After you scoop out the clay, roll into a small ball (but big enough to poke a hole in with a pencil or paint brush end). If your child is too young to roll clay, make several pre-rolled balls of clay in a separate container.

Poke a hole in the clay on both ends w…

Montessori Sensory Holiday Tea Activities

DIY Montessori sensory holiday tea activities including matching, tasting, pouring, and tea parties! You will need four to six holiday tea boxes, tissue paper, and tape or matching holiday stickers (tissue paper/tape is optional), and a tray or a wicker basket.

How to make:

1. You can use just the tea bags and boxes for matching, or wrap one set of tea bags in tissue paper. You can even place ribbon around the wrapped tea bags. One set can be green, the matching set can be light green or tied with ribbon. Cut the tissue paper in sections, one for each tea bag. (Wrapping is optional.)
2. Once the four to six tea bags are wrapped, set inside the correct tea boxes.
3. You can add holiday stickers on the wrapped tea bags instead of tape.


1. Bring activity to a table or a rug; remove tea boxes and tea bags, line up the four boxes from top to bottom or make two rows of three from top to bottom.
2. Take one tea bag and smell it, then smell each tea box until you find a mat…

Winter-Themed Montessori Treasure Baskets

Create a special Montessori treasure basket for the holidays! Use objects from your holiday storage boxes, you know the ones in which you store old holiday wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, nick nacks, photos, cards, gifts you want to re-gift, and goodness knows what else!

I went through three of my large holiday storage boxes. I took objects out that I thought my son would enjoy looking at and interacting with. I then placed them in a wicker box. (Mind you, he is seven years old.

The Study of Aesop's Fables for Your Montessori Environment

The Study of Aesop's Fables is a wonderful addition to your Montessori curriculum. And the best part is that you can find them free online and in the library!

Why Is Exposure to Aesop's Fables Important to Children's Character Development?

Here some activities you can do/make:

1. Tell stories/fables at circle time
2. Read fable story books at story time
3. Put on fable puppet shows
4. Make fable characters and puppets. Recommended: Hand Puppets: How to Make and Use Them by Laura Ross; Look What You Can Make With Paper Plates.
5. Draw the fable characters (younger children can use the metal insets or stencils)
6. Write the names of the characters, make labels, flash cards (younger children can copy them)
7. Write a fable or write about a fable (younger children can tell a fable or do a puppet show)
8. Put on a play. Recommended: The Tortoise and the Hare: Fables (Building Fluency Through Reader's Theater); The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse: Fables (Building Fluency T…

Free DIY Montessori Inspired Textured Letters a guest post by Carolyn of The Wise Owl Factory

This post has a free printable which will help make free DIY Montessori inspired textured letter cards. The PDF printout along with some instructions for making the cards will help create a set of textured alphabet letters.  To make these, first the printable alphabet is required.  This link will open a free PDF (here) and pages desired may be printed.  A D'Nealian alphabet as well as a Century Gothic alphabet is included, with both lower and upper case letters.  Select only the pages needed for your teaching situation.  It would be good to print the letters on cardstock for durability.


DIY Bedtime Box With Day and Night Matching and Sorting, a guest post by Carolyn of The Wise Owl Factory

I recently purchased Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness: Mom Stories from theTrenches, Lisa Nolan's mom lit parent humor anthology with forty contributing mom bloggers. Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness is very funny and poignant while describing the experiences of the sleep deprived mothers who contributed the chapters. Any young parents needing some comedic relief about their situations would feel less alone and more understood by reading this book. I've already sent it to a young mom who I know will enjoy the writing. The writers are all very talented and many have written other books and/or blogs. They are introduced at the end of the book with links for future reading and enjoyment.

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