Hands on and creative learning-no lesson plans needed!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was wonderful,  filled with family and a few pre- Christmas festivities.  Last week,  Thanksgiving week, I had a busy schedule at work and decided we all needed to just take it easy as far as lessons go and just learn through play, games,crafts and books! Somehow, when it’s not labeled “school” my oldest is on board with all my ideas ;).  A few times he even made up a few of his own activities and told me what he was learning, see mom I’m doing some math right now, etc.

I did spend a fair amount of time on pinterest last week searching for some Montessori ideas for my 2yr old. I found quite a bit and tried a few of the ideas with him. I  love the Montessori method/concept as well as Reggio Emilia! Here are a few tluke 010hings we tried;art 022

Pom poms and chop sticks for fine motor development. He counted and filled up the entire bottle.







I found foam snowflakes at the dollar store and used them for patterns and counting.



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Math Fun!

A tray filled with colored water, sponge and measuring cups kept him busy for a long time! He instinctively used the words: more, less, half, and full.


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Using colored popsicle sticks, he made shapes and used lots of imagination as he spotted a rocket and a robot within the formations and ran to get a couple of his books to match up the pictures.

– My goal is to get some small circle velcro tabs to stick on to each end of the sticks, so he can really build and they’ll stay in place for him, love to see what he’ll come up with!

We also did some cooking; here is our butterscotch and chocolate popcorn.

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Using the geo board, we matched the shapes in the book to the board and he named them all, traced the elastic shape with his finger; pre-writing and math all in one! He also used our geometric shapes to fill in the negative space on the page itself.   luke 006luke 005











As we jumped back into a slightly more planned week this week, Liam started with some Christmas list math. I asked him to write a list of his family members, provided some magazines and gave him a budget to stick within as if he were actually shopping. We used play money to “buy” the items and he added and subtracted/adjusted the items as needed and really had fun doing it. He even asked if we could do it again some time.luke 009








We continued to study the Arctic and read two great books; Welcome to the Ice House by Jane Yolen and Ice Bear and Little Fox by Jonathan London. Both have beautiful illustrations and factual information within the story.

We did go a bit off track on science this week too as we viewed these great underwater science videos/lesson plans included, as I was emailed this fantastic,  site.

Geography, we read Ben’s Dream by Chris Van Allsburg. A mostly illustrated book about a boy visiting great monuments of the world as he falls asleep while studying for a test. I was pleased to see that he recognized and could name most of the structures and we discussed the location of each as well.

Polka-Bats and Octopus Slacks by Calef Brown was a fun poetry book we read this week as well. Liam chose one poem to copy for his copywork writing lesson. He chose Skeleton Flowers and even volunteered to do his own illustration! luke 007







In our History studies, we’re still heading westward! I read a bit of The Oregon Trail by Mel Friedman each day this week. The beginning of the book asks T or F questions to think about before reading the story, at first he just listened and then yelled, Mom!, I know all the bold face words are clues! Let me write them down as you read!……Uh, Sure! I knew they were vocabulary words and not necessarily clues, but who am I to argue?! 😉







Reindeer Do Wear Striped Underwear by Marcia Thornton Jones and Debbie Dadey was a fun read-aloud book this week as we head towards the Christmas season, he loves this book series! (The Bailey School Kids) All quick, easy reads that are just for fun!

That’s our week in a nutshell! Time to get ready and head to library for more books this morning and then my husbands Birthday celebration this afternoon, followed by decorating the Christmas tree tonight! Have a great weekend!







The I hate Mathematics! book

Today’s math lesson was taken from The I Hate Mathematics! Book by Marilyn Burns. 

In keeping with our new routine of two Living Math lessons a week I have already noticed improvement in my son, as far as  understanding concepts, and better outlook/attitude all around as he seems to be actually enjoying math?! He even asked yesterday if we could do one more math lesson…What? I almost fell out of my chair. This is a significant turn around for him. So glad I did some research and have incorporated more story form math lessons as well as hands on, seems like we’re heading in the right direction.

Today was CUTTING SIDEWALKS.  We headed outside to the sidewalk and began following along with the book using chalk to cut up the sidewalk rectangles into pieces. Starting with one line, How many pieces are made? How about three lines?

Do the same number of lines drawn always have the same amount of segments? He tried drawing 5 lines in different ways to find out!

After gathering his data. We headed inside and I asked him to write down a few definitions as we talked about a Line, line segments and partitioning.

Next in keeping with the topic of partitioning, we used popsicle sticks and a round tray to begin cutting it up.  I asked questions like: If you had 4 guests how could you cut the cake evenly for all your guests? How about 6 guests? Ok, even numbers are pretty easy to divide. What about 11 guests? And so on….

Preschool Play with Math and Language

  Living Math is a great introduction to the world of math and mathematical concepts. I find the younger years so easy to incorporate those skills, but we’re doing great using Living Math for my older son as well.-Ideas and books are listed under the Living Math tab.

In the preschool years most of the math is actually done through play.  Counting, stacking, sorting, and balancing, patterns and matching are all fun activities that develop mathematical reasoning.  Several times over the last couple of days, my two year old has been busy with math and language skills! I have math mats that I have printed out with various “counters.”  He loves the glass mancala beads and matches up the number dots with his counters. I count aloud as he places down each bead, and more times than not, he will repeat.

After he had filled all the cards, he dumped out the entire jar, filled with beads and buttons, etc.! But, it gave me the next math idea…. I spy game! I took out a big piece of contact paper and poured them all on top (just to keep them still) and then said “I spy three green buttons, can you find them?” We counted them out together. And so on… pointing out colors, shapes and sizes.

I spy one large white button with a hole in the middle!

This morning I pulled out a file folder game made with number cards from the dollar store. Easy math match game! Contact numbers 1 to 10, and let him match the numbers! Again, I say the numbers out loud for repetition!

Early Language and Literacy games:

Well, even though the previous were math games, literacy is involved through speech and general conversation! However, with a bit more structure and focus on pre-literacy- I am continuing to introduce letters to him each week. The letter A is still fun for him and empowering him at the moment, since he can now recognize and say A is for Apple with a proud look.  Today I printed out cards Aa and we played hide and seek with the letter Aa. I hid them all around the living room and he was thrilled to go looking for them. I repeatedly (on purpose) yelled A! Where are you?

A great site for early language is Starfall– fun, interactive and focuses on phonics.