Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

With Easter just one week away, I wanted to put together some Easter activities for Alexander (age 2 years, 9 months). I looked around online, through Google images, Instagram, and mostly just in my own head. Finally I came up with more than 15 different ideas that are Easter-themed but also have a learning aspect. I wasn’t able to use all of them because (a) I ran out of eggs! and (b) I ran out of space on my schoolroom shelves.

In a post later this week, I’ll share a few more Easter things:

  • Breakfast and Lunch (served in eggs, in an egg carton… I’ll repurpose eggs for that!)
  • What’s in Alexander’s Easter basket
  • Some ideas for egg hunts for toddlers

Here are 15 Montessori-inspired Easter activities for toddlers. I’ve got some links along with each picture and description if you’re interested in buying the products to do it yourself. If you use that link to buy something, it doesn’t cost you anything extra; but I get a tiny bit of commission from Amazon, which helps me fund future projects and activities.

Sound Matching Eggs

This is a great sensory activity that involves hearing, which isn’t always an easy sense to work with. In each pink/green pair of Easter eggs
, there’s a different object. For example, one pair has a little bit of rice. When you shake the egg, you hear the sound of the rice inside. So the object of this activity is to shake each pink egg and find a green egg that sounds the same. Here are the things I put inside my 6 pairs:

  1. about 1 teaspoon of rice per egg (I taped over the holes, on the inside of the egg)
  2. about 1 teaspoon of instant oats per egg (I taped over the holes as well)
  3. 2 tiny pom poms per egg
  4. 1 tiny plastic turtle per egg
  5. 1 small crumpled piece of paper per egg
  6. 2 rubber erasers per egg

The sounds are distinctive enough but can still be confusing for a toddler. The rice and oats are similar. The felt balls are nearly silent, as is the crumpled piece of paper. And the plastic turtle and erasers sound a bit similar.

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

Double Digit Number Matching (10-19 only)

This idea is fairly simple and can be used for lots of things. I took the numbers 10-19, since they all started with the number 1, and I put one number on each half of an egg. So 1 and 2 make twelve, for example. I put all of the egg halves into a bowl along side some tracing cards. He will pick a card, then find the halves that go together to make that number. NOTE: You’ll want to use more than just a regular Sharpie (or you can paint over the Sharpie with some clear fingernail polish); otherwise it will rub off. I used this Sharpie Pro.

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

Count and Match

For this activity, I used jumbo Easter eggs. Inside each egg, I placed 1-9 little rabbit erasers. I found a cardboard egg container that was going to be thrown away, and I cut it down to a 3×3 grid. I labeled it with the numbers 1-9. Alexander’s task is to open each egg, count the erasers, close the egg, then place the egg in the corresponding hole.

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

NOTE: All of my bowls, I found for under $2.00 at the local thrift store (Goodwill specifically).

Upper and Lowercase Letter Matching

The image below shows most of the activity but not all. All together, there are 52 egg halves that can be matched! In order to make it not so overwhelming, I simply separated these by color. Now, a bigger challenge would have been to swap all the colors around, but I decided to keep the colors the same (for the top and bottom halves). On the top half, I wrote the uppercase letter, and on the bottom half, I wrote the lowercase. Alexander’s task will be to find the matching letters and combine the egg halves.

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

Open and Empty

This was easy! I took some of the tiny pom poms and put them inside of some eggs. He just has to open the eggs and dump out the pom poms. (I got this idea from Busy Toddler!)

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

Melty Bead Kit

I bought this from Hobby Lobby, and all I did was put the beads in a little bowl next to the egg shape. This is a great practice for fine motor skills. There are a TON of beads, though, and I’m not sure if I want to leave them all out for him or just have about 20-30 at a time. I can imagine a lot of little beads all over the floor… Anyway, he’ll create a pattern, and I’ll heat the final product to set it. This can be done and redone, using the egg shape as the base. It should make a pretty little activity!

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

Window Clings

Window clings are simply stuck to a window. But in order to get to the cling, you have to first peel off the front and back plastic layers! So Alexander will have to peel open each cling, then press it to the window.

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

Carrot Patch

This was a super simple little craft. I saw it somewhere, a little while back, and had to recreate it myself. When I saw it there were no instructions, so I did my best! I used orange and green pipe cleaners plus half of an empty egg carton.

  1. Trim the egg carton so that when you turn it upside down, it lays flat.
  2. Poke holes in the tops (the bottoms, really) of each little cup. I just used a pair of scissors to stab it into an X shape.
  3. Cut two orange pipe cleaners and two green pipe cleaners into 3 equal segments each.
  4. Fold one orange piece in half and twist the ends shut. The twisted part becomes the bottom of the carrot.
  5. Thread one green piece through the top of the carrot and twist to secure it.
  6. Take the loose ends of the green piece and fold them toward the orange, to create two leaves.
  7. Shove each carrot through an X-shaped hole.

The task here is to simply tug on the carrot and pull it. I made some carrots a little fatter than others so that they’d be a little tougher to pull out. And once finished, push them back in!

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

Flower Arranging

This is a classic Montessori practical life activity. I really should have fresh flowers and water and a watering pitcher and all that. I do want to do that in the future, but for today, for this week, for this theme, it was easier to opt for the fake ones. I found 3 little bouquets of flowers at the Dollar Tree (for $1 per bunch). I cut off each individual stem (they were connected). THAT was a task… if you have some wire cutters, it will be easy. If you do not have wire cutters (like me) it will be more tricky! I used scissors, clamped them shut, and just twisted each stem around and around about 10 times. Then I released the scissors, bent the stem back and forth a few more times, and it finally broke off. It took about 10 minutes to cut all the individual stems.

I stuck some of the flowers into a mason jar, and I placed some extras next to the jar. I’ll show Alexander that this is what a bouquet looks like and ask him to make an arrangement for himself. There are 3 colors of flowers. I anticipate that he’ll put all 3 colors together, but he may choose to stick to just one color for his arrangement.

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

Pom Pom Color Sorting

Here are those pom poms again! And I used a divided tray that I found for $1 at the Dollar Tree. Here’s a set of them, though, if you just want to get some for future sorting practice (but if you have a Dollar Tree, check there first since it’s cheaper!). I put 4 colors of pom poms in the center, and Alexander simply has to separate the 4 colors into the 4 sections. This isn’t totally Easter-related, but I didn’t have any more tiny Easter-y things! You can use small crosses, or rabbits, or chicks, or eggs. The pom poms are Spring-y, at least.

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

Tweezer Practice

I found these felt egg pouches at Target and these tiny colorful chicks from Hobby Lobby. I matched up the colors, placed the chicks inside the matching egg pouch, and I put a set of tweezers inside the 4th egg pouch.

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

DIY Nesting Eggs

I found a giant egg filled with jumbo eggs, at Target. I had some regular sized eggs, but I bought more regular eggs as well as some miniature eggs at the dollar store. I matched colors to make 4 sets of nested eggs! I placed them inside of the base of the giant egg.

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

Simple Egg Puzzle

I was really excited about this idea. If we had a router, I would have cut these from a thin piece of wood, sanded them, and stained them. But alas, I used scissors and heavy card stock. I cut 5 eggs to be the same size. Then I cut them in half in 5 different ways. Alexander simply has to match them. If it proves to be way too easy, I’ll make a new set that is a variety of similar jagged cuts.

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

Tong Practice

I saw these bunny tongs at Hobby Lobby. They are perfect for picking up the tiny eggs!

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

Easter Stickers!

Stickers are good for fine motor skills! I make it a little easier by peeling away everything but the stickers.

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers

OUR SETUP

Since I came up with more than I expected, I’ll leave these trays available for two weeks instead of just one. I found some bunnies that I put in our frames for the time being.

Montessori-Inspired Easter Activities for Toddlers


What About the Meaning of Easter?

We are Christian. And I do have a few crafts related to the Easter story planned. One big project I hope to finish this week is a children’s book of the Easter story that is in the style (of writing and illustration) of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I have the text written. I just need to work on the simple illustrations and put it all together!


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A Tour of Our New School Room!

school room for instagram

We moved!

Last week, we moved into a new house, and of course I really wanted to unpack and set up the school room. Let me back up a little… we were in a large 4-bedroom house where I didn’t make a school room at all. Now we’re in a smaller 3-bedroom! And one room is the dedicated school area, which I’m super excited about. It’s got enough space and flexibility that I can add a few areas for the new baby (coming in 2-3 weeks). That means I need to find out what the heck “infant Montessori stuff” is. I’ll get on that.

I had a few basic ideas for this room. I didn’t want to spend much money since we just moved. And we’re having a baby soon. And hubby got a new (to us) car. And it was just Christmas. I knew I wanted a reading area — my initial idea was a tent with a floor pillow. Or maybe a beanbag. Or maybe just a cute chair. I also knew I wanted some tiny wall-mounted bookshelves (where books lean). I had a mirror and a chalkboard already that I wanted to hang somewhere. I wanted to get a plant (or two). I wanted to organize extra supplies and papers in the closet of the room. And finally I knew I wanted to hang some stuff on the walls — art and more, though I’m not good at that sort of thing.

The shelves are the same (one of them broke, so we’re down to 3!). And Alexander got a few awesome new toys that I added to the shelves.

Still missing: a little more art on the walls, a rug (maybe), and curtains! If you’ve got ideas for me, please share!

Without further ado, here’s a tour of our new school room:

READING AREA

Montessori School Room Tour

We got a swing from IKEA. It’s a little high for Alexander, so I added a stool underneath. Alexander hasn’t tried sitting in it yet! In the middle is a chalkboard with a bucket of chalk next to it. And on the right are a few book shelves and a basket of some more books. The shelves are spice racks, from IKEA.

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Montessori School Room Tour

LOW SHELF

Montessori School Room Tour

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On the top shelf, I’ve got some tong practice set up where he transfers beads from one bowl to another. On the bottom there’s a Tower of Hanoi and a puzzle.

THE MIRROR! 

I got this at a thrift store a long time ago, then I sanded it and painted it white. Of course it got slightly damaged in the move. I’m okay with it for now! One day I may repaint the tiny spots that need fixing.

4

TALL SHELVES

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I found the little tree at IKEA. There are 3 prints above the shelves: a lemon, an orange, and a blueberry. I put the fruit on a white surface and took the pictures. Then I printed and framed them. I will switch out the prints from time to time! For now, I wanted something simple and nothing distracting.

Montessori School Room Tour

The left shelf:

  • A – musical instruments
  • B – fake fruit (for some reason, he likes them!)
  • C – a balance activity: the boat stands up, and there are wooden animals that you’re supposed to balance on top of each other. BONUS the animals are all endangered animals, which can be used at some point in the future.
  • D – spelling boards with wooden letters
  • E – size/height matching activity
  • F – wooden clock with removable numbers
  • G – sock matching

12

The right shelf:

  • A – cloth rags that are for practice folding in half
  • B – snap practice using a cloth diaper
  • C – a magnadoodle
  • D – scissors practice with cardboard and paper
  • E – lacing activity
  • F – the PVC + wooden dowel matching game I made
  • G – a fire truck puzzle
  • H – squishy giant “legos”
  • I – plastic linking rings; he likes putting them together and taking them apart

PAPER STUFF

Montessori School Room Tour

Here I just have some construction paper and wipe-off cards I made. I’m not sure what will go there in the future.

THE ENTRANCE

Montessori School Room Tour

There’s a chair for Alexander to use to turn the lights on and off.

I’ve also got a calendar and a clock, which I’ll use to start talking about time in different ways. It will be his responsibility (I think…) to draw the X on the calendar each day.

Montessori School Room Tour

If you’ve got any questions or suggestions, let me know! I’d be happy to provide links to products if anyone is interested. I also need to start focusing on curriculum a bit more. I plan to buy the Keys of the World before this baby comes. That way, I’ll have some light reading for when I’m nursing. 😉

 

Classroom Setup #5 December 2015

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I decided to redo all the shelves, late at night, and then take pictures late at night. So I apologize for the yucky pictures! You’ll get the point of everything anyway. 🙂

This month I really wanted to focus on what Alexander has been enjoying recently. He has been into numbers, so I wanted to keep some numbers in there. I got him a recorder recently (the musical instrument), and he’s been obsessed with it. So I brought back out his musical instrument set. Finally, he has been into zippers and pouring and other practical life tasks. So I made a whole shelf for practical life.

Oh, and finally finally, he’s started to climb up on a chair, open the refrigerator, and ask for specific snacks! So I made him a snack shelf in the refrigerator! I’m most nervous about that because it’s not really easy to access each component. It will be a work in progress, for sure.

See pictures and more descriptions below!

1He likes these plastic blocks a lot, so I kept those out for this month. Additionally, I included some books he’s been enjoying, like a Montessori numbers book.

2This shelf has a few random things, but I’m going to break down each shelf for you.

3On top, there are some colored sheets of paper and a tiny spray bottle of water. I think he will enjoying using the spray bottle, and I’m hoping that spraying water on paper will create darker spots. And he can see the effect of the water on the paper.

Next to the paper and water is a bowl of fake fruit. It’s odd, but he showed some interest in it the other day. I’ll leave it there to see if he does anything with it!

I want to try cutting paper… again. He has tried many times and has never been quite ready. I’m hoping this month is the month when he masters using scissors!

Finally, I’ve got a box of colored pencils plus a single white sheet of paper. (I may add coloring sheets to the tray.) I know Montessori setups are usually open containers, but he has been into opening containers recently. So actually opening the container will be fun for him, I think.

4On the left, there’s a bucket of buttons, 5 different colors. The other section of the tray has pipe cleaners that are the same 5 colors. He will likely match the buttons to the pipe cleaners and string them together.

In the small box in the middle are two nuts and two bolts. The box is held closed via a magnet, so he will like opening the box as well as twisting the bolts onto the nuts.

The wooden bowl has tracing cards (numbers 1-10) and a dry erase marker.

The yellow box at the bottom is shape matching eggs. Again, he’ll like figuring out how to open the box itself.

In the middle is a set of nesting dolls that he used to enjoy. I took it away for a month, so I think he’ll like seeing and playing with them again.

Finally in the blue bowl, I’ve got some PVC pipe scraps that are 4 different sizes. I’m wondering if he will do anything interesting with those. They may be put away in a week if he doesn’t show any interest in them.

5(Ignore that cord. I didn’t even notice it! I’ll move it before I go to bed!) The low shelves stayed mostly the same. I moved the puzzles to the bottom shelf and the floor. On the top of this, I’ve got a bunch of musical instruments.

6This is the other low shelf. More puzzles are on the bottom shelf and floor. On the top left, it’s a water pouring station. He’s been really into water pouring recently! Top right is a PVC pipe + wooden dowel matching activity. I’ve got a blog post coming soon that explains that project.

7The other shelf is practical life stuff. You’ll see there’s still a small stool on the floor that allows him to turn his light on and off.

910On top, I’ve got two stuffed animals. On the bear, I have a cloth diaper that uses Velcro to close it. He’s also wearing a bow tie that has a different sort of closure. The rabbit is wearing a cloth diaper that uses snaps to close it. I figured he can practice using Velcro and snaps. He may even figure out how to put on a diaper! That’s a stretch… but wouldn’t that be nice if he could change the new baby’s diaper when he/she comes in January!

12This is an old wipes box. (That label is not a sticker! I can’t figure out how to remove it!) Anyway, I’ve got some cloth wipes stacked inside. He can open the box in two ways (the button on top and also by opening the whole lid). He can also leave it closed and pull wipes out of the top.

11I marked two cloth wipes: one of them is marked down the middle horizontally and the other diagonally. I want him to practice folding things in half!

13Here are two practical life activities. The left shoe requires pushing the shoe string through the holes. And the sandal has a Velcro closure with a twist. Basically you have to push the strap through a slot, THEN Velcro it closed.

14This is basic sock matching. There are 4 or 5 pairs (I forgot!) of socks that are different patterns. He will not be able to fold them, I’m sure, but he can match them. These socks are too small for him now, so it’s perfect for matching.

1516Finally it’s the snack station in the refrigerator.

There is a paper plate with two halves of bread and a dollop of peanut butter. He can make himself a little sandwich. He has never tried spreading before, so this will be fun for him!

In the back there are some blueberries that I already rinsed. There’s a small glass of milk, a banana, and a little bowl of organic animal crackers. I figure, that’s enough snack options for one day. He may not get the concept and want to eat them all at once. If that’s the case, we’ll try again the next day and I’ll just put 2 things in the fridge at a time (so at least he has some sort of snack option).

I’m pretty pumped for him to wake up in the morning and see all the new trays and setup!

Classroom Setup #4 November 2015

Classroom Setup #4

We are busy around here, so the past few weeks have been slow in the school area. Alexander has been practicing letters and numbers, putting together puzzles, and playing with his new animal figurines most days. We’ve been reading more as well.

But I was feeling the urge to change things up, especially since I’ve been thinking about the curriculum ideas I’ve had rolling around in my brain. So I moved forward with that, and it made sense that the shelves would change up too.

Here’s a tour of our shelves for November! We still have two tall shelves and two short shelves, a bin for train tracks and trains, and a table with two chairs.

Classroom Setup #4

The Shelf on the Left

Classroom Setup #4

Shelf One

On the top I still have lowercase cursive letters (split into A-M and N-Z) along with matching uppercase print letters. One set is magnetized, and he seems to like that one better. I just haven’t gotten around to magnetizing the other set yet. (It could also be that he is more confident with A-M.)

Shelf Two

This shelf is still a few puzzles he likes. The first is just stacking rings (The Tower of Hanoi). Sometimes he puts them large to small, sometimes dark separate from light, and sometimes it’s seemingly random. In the middle is the Melissa & Doug owl puzzle that he really likes. And I added a small mirror with a small flashlight that he is able to turn on and off.

Classroom Setup #4

Shelf Three

This shelf is some animal stuff. I have his animal figurines in the basket. And in the 3-compartment bin, it’s silhouettes, animal skin/fur, and the animals themselves.

Classroom Setup #4

Classroom Setup #4

Shelf Four

Down here, it used to be a few trucks and cars, plus a book about things that go. But he lost interest in that. Now, it is number stuff. The little jar has 10 lollipop sticks and a dry-erase marker. In the middle is a set of wipe-off cards for tracing the numbers 1-10. And on the right are some more cards for tracing; they are random lines, some curved, some straight. The lollipop sticks are for quantity. I’m going to see if he can use the cards in the middle and then match up the proper number of sticks to each card.

Classroom Setup #4

The Shelf on the Right

Classroom Setup #4

Shelf One

The top of this shelf is more animal stuff. It’s the salt dough animal tracks I made, plus a set of matching cards. One set is images of animal tracks in real life. The second is images of the actual animals. That blog post is forthcoming.

Classroom Setup #4Classroom Setup #4

Shelf Two

Here, it’s the gradient tiles with matching cards. And it’s also pipe cleaners plus some beads. The pipe cleaners work very well for this. Soon we’ll try a regular string again, but for now, this works for him.

Classroom Setup #4

Shelf Three

The pouring station is still there; it’s got two little pouring pitchers and felt balls for the actual pouring. We tried water for a while, but it was a mess every time. Since I can’t always watch and help, I switched to the small balls so he can do that activity without me. Next to the pouring station is cutting! I took away the scissors about a month ago, and I’m bringing them back. We will see how he does with them this time.

Shelf Four

This is fun stuff. It’s two colors of Play-Doh on the left. And on the right, it’s some pieces of cardboard plus stickers. I’m not sure how those are teaching him anything, but they are at least helping him with fine motor movements.

Classroom Setup #3 October 2015

classroom setup 3

We got a second bookshelf! Yay! It’s the one on the right. And it quickly filled up. Oops. I want to keep things simple, with just 2 items per shelf.

I like that he can see outside during the day, but I feel like the broken blinds are a distraction. They are pricey to replace! I should really just invest in some cheap curtains, something that will brighten the “room”.

Another note…. I haven’t done it yet, but I really want to hang some pictures next to the left bookshelf. I also have a pile of books on the floor there, which I don’t like! I want to put up a tiny shelf for books. Or get a sweet little basket for the books. Either way, that needs to change soon!

The Left Shelf

classroom setup 3

classroom setup 3

Here you can see some of the cursive work we’ve been doing. I hand-wrote A-M and N-Z on two pieces of paper. Then I created some uppercase letters for him to match with. He gets A-M 100% of the time now! And N-Z is what we’ll work on this week. The green thing behind some of the letters is a small dry erase board.

classroom setup 3He still loves the Tower of Hanoi (the light/dark rings), the stacking owl puzzle, and the robot nesting dolls. That’s his favorite shelf, if I had to guess!

The third shelf is animal stuff: animal matching cards, 3 animal books, and a wooden “toy” that opens and shows a different bird on each side. It’s a bit young for him, honestly, but he likes to open it and say “bird” or “chick”. We’ll leave it there for now!

classroom setup 3

The bottom shelf is still “things that go“! He loves trucks, and we are learning the different types of tricks, like dump trucks and rigs and excavators and more.

The Puzzle Shelf

classroom setup 3

I don’t think much has changed with the puzzle shelf! I took away the foam letter blocks that were underneath. It makes it a little simpler on the eyes.

Also, you can’t quite see, but on the far right of the second shelf, there are some matching puzzle cards. They are numbered 1-5 and they match with the quantities 1-5. For example, “2 airplanes” matches up with the number 2 piece. It’s simple, but I want to expose him to quantity as much as possible.

The Right Shelf

classroom setup 3

classroom setup 3I wasn’t sure what to do with the top shelf, honestly. I want to frame a few things and have them displayed since he can’t really reach or see this shelf. The left is some coloring sheets and colors. (I love that wooden tray and would like to better use it!) The right tray is the leaf matching game.

classroom setup 3classroom setup 3

In a little basket, I’ve got some bendable wires, beads, and buttons. Alexander is able to string the wire through the beads much easier than a string. So it’s a good transition for us. He also tends to match the beads/buttons by color to the colored wires.

In the left bowl, there are some colored cubes. I don’t know what to do with them just yet. I thought he might stack them, but we can also work with quantity some more and do a “what’s out of place?” game. In other words, I’ll put 5 red blocks and 1 yellow and ask him which one doesn’t belong. I’m not sure if he’s ready for that, but we can try!

classroom setup 3You can see I’ve added a pouring station. Instead of leaving water out, I have some wool balls. He loves pouring! And this is easier for cleanup.

classroom setup 3I printed these flashcards from Mr Printables, and I added some 3D objects for him to match. For example, a small yellow ball matches with the SUN card. I don’t like this activity very much, but I can’t figure out how to make it better.

classroom setup 3On the bottom left, there’s a bin of empty bottles and their lids. He has to match the lids and also practice screwing the lids onto the bottles. He can match them easily and he can mostly unscrew them. But screwing them on is still a bit of a challenge.

classroom setup 3Finally it’s a few sheets of paper with a few different clothespins. He may not be strong enough to use the clothespins, but we are working on it!


I’m still trying to figure out this whole Montessori thing. This is the 3rd time I’ve arranged the classroom, and I know it will change over and over and over. I’m slowly learning as we go, and it is a blast!

Classroom Setup #2 September 2015

Please check out the other classroom setups to see shelf ideas, activity ideas, and the way our setup has progressed.

After some research and feedback in some great Facebook groups, we got a little more shelving and got rid of some of the color. I also took cues from Alexander and moved some of the items that he didn’t find interesting. So far, all of the unused materials are stacked in his playroom closet! We’ll get a closet/cabinet of some sort, but that’s down the road.

Let’s take a tour!

02 entire area

Here’s the whole area now. There are some new shelves under the window. And he has a table. The table came with 2 chairs, but right now, he is more interested in pushing the chairs around instead of sitting in them. We’ll bring them out again in a week or two. The two chairs plus table were $25.00 from IKEA. Not bad! And I like that the shelves and table/chairs are white. That’s something we can keep throughout. White shelves are easier to find than wood-colored ones.

02 shelf station

02 shelf one

The top shelf. The first two items are all about numbers. I’ve got a few books that deal with numbers or counting. Then there are his number stick “flash cards”. And in the bowl are a selection of beads plus a string for stringing and de-stringing the beads. I need to find a better string for that activity! With this one, most of the beads just slide right off, so it’s hard for him to string them himself.

02 shelf twoShelf two has a wooden hammering toy. And then there are some puzzles that he’s really into. I have a Tower of Hanoi puzzle. It’s a logic puzzle, but he just stacks the rings (generally separating them dark from light). The owl puzzle is still there because he likes it. And I have a collection of nesting dolls, so I’ve left two of them for him to explore. So far, he loves them, but he doesn’t nest them. He just puts them together separately.

02 shelf threeThe third shelf is animal stuff. First, it’s a touchy-feely book of wild animals. In the back are two finger puppets (a duck and an elephant). And then there are some animal flash cards that I made and laminated. There are 3 of each animal: a daddy, a mommy, and a baby. Many animals, the mom and dad look the same (to me anyway), but it’s still something fun to match. And finally, it’s the wooden dog pull toy.

02 shelf four

The bottom shelf is things that go. There’s a book filled with trucks and tractors and construction vehicles. And then there are some actual things that go, like a wooden truck, fire truck, and mail man. The mail man is his favorite! I put them on a tray so they couldn’t roll off.

02 booksI updated his book box. We read all of the books that were in the box last time, and there were several he just didn’t enjoy. So those are put away for now, and the ones he did enjoy are left here in the box. I also removed the connecting rings from the wall.

02 building blocksI cleared out the toy chest, and all that’s left is some colorful building blocks. These are painted wood. They’re good for sorting colors and also building. The chest is way too big for them, though, so I’m considering donating the toy chest.

02 puzzlesFinally, his puzzle area. You can see he has 11 puzzles now. And the foam floor letters are stacked underneath. Funny enough, he hasn’t pulled them out at all, so I may move those upstairs to storage for now. That will also give me more room for puzzles. There are a handful of jigsaw puzzles, and the rest of very simple ones (where a piece fits perfectly into a single slot, you know?). He really prefers the jigsaw style now, so I’d like to start accumulating more of them.

One cool thing that has happened in just a few weeks is that, about 75% of the time, Alexander pulls 1-2 toys off of a shelf, takes them to his table, and then puts them back onto the shelf when he’s done with them. A bit of repetition and modeling, and he’s already starting to clean up after himself!

Another thing is a snack station. There’s no place where I can leave a cup of water and a snack for him. I would like to incorporate that somehow, but I need to find a table or surface that’s an appropriate height. I don’t want to use his little white table because (a) it will get messy and (b) I don’t want him to confuse snack time with learning time. Like, I don’t want him to start thinking that table is for eating. It’s for school stuff, and snack time is a separate thing, in my opinion.

Classroom Setup #1 September 2015

When we first started out with Montessori, I knew I wanted to include hands-on items and activities. I knew I wanted to limit (or omit) things that were electronic. I just didn’t know exactly what to include. This first attempt was a noble effort! Let me give you a tour.
The school room (I’ll call it that from now on) is located right outside of the kitchen area. The shelves are positioned under the bar.
01 books and rings
The first thing you’ll see is a box filled with books. And on the wall, I added a hook for who knows what… I put some rings on there. They are hard to push together and pull apart. Turns out, he was not interested in them at all. (NOTE he doesn’t touch electrical outlets anymore, so I am not worried about the one that’s exposed there.)
01 shelves setup
01 shelves from front
You can see the general setup of our shelves here. At this time, we had just one bookshelf. It was purchased at Wal-Mart for about $15.00. Let me show you what’s on each shelf!
01 shelf topThe top shelf has a cutting station with two types of child-friendly scissors. (NOTE Neither pair of scissors was successful at this age.) Also, I had a bowl of pine cones that we collected on a walk one day. They simply sat there.
01 shelf twoHere, there’s a bowl of plastic fruit, a rubber snake, and a wooden dog pull toy. I saw lots of images of Montessori shelves online, and I saw a few of these things. I’m not sure what their purpose is! Alexander wasn’t interested in the fruit or the snake, but he does like pulling the dog.
01 shelf three
Alexander loves letters. I had made two sets of wooden stick “flash cards”: one set is larger with uppercase letters, and the other set is smaller with lowercase letters. I found out later that it’s best to start with cursive letters! We started with print, but I hope to move onto cursive very soon. Next to the sticks are some wooden blocks that are colorful, have letters and numbers on them, and also have various images (animals and more). And then there are some cars. This shelf is a bit too colorful. It’s overwhelming, and Alexander was only interested in the cars (though normally he loves his letter sticks).
01 shelf fourThe bottom shelf has a sticker box (sticker sheets plus some plain paper to put them on). Next to the stickers are some building blocks. I found a miniature Jenga set at the Dollar Store. And finally, it’s a stacking puzzle that’s shaped like an owl when completed correctly.
01 letters blocks and puzzles
01 letters and blocks
This toy chest is also too busy and too colorful. There’s a bag of Mega Bloks that Alexander likes a lot. And then there are some floor letters that form a giant mat. Underneath, there are about 8 puzzles, separated into bags.
01 music makingThis cloth bag has musical instruments. Alexander didn’t look into this bag a single time!
01 window areaHere’s a shot of the window area. As you can see there’s a plastic tool station set up. It has since been moved because it was more of a toy, and he didn’t really play with the tools anyway. The chair was there for me because we didn’t know where else to put the chair!
01 train setupHere is a small rug plus trains and train tracks.
01 snacks and water01 snack stationFinally, the snack station. I have a cup and water jug, plus a bowl with dried fruits. We couldn’t find a table of the appropriate height, so we used a step stool. The problem is that Alexander tries to use the table to pull himself up onto the stool. The table nearly fell over several times! We need a new idea for a snack station!
So there is setup #1, and tour #1. Please check out setup #2. You can see a bit more organization and some new shelving.