Friday, April 30, 2010

Free Montessori Cards

I noticed that there are free "guess what" cards at For example, there's a close-up picture of a sunflower and one picture from farther away. These cards would probably be appropriate for 2-4 year olds.  It's probably only available for another day or so, but thought I'd mention it here.

Also there are some new free cards at  showing the food and its product (tomato and ketchup, for example).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Addition Math Games for Number Families 9-18

I spent some time making some cards and games to work with
LD on his addition facts the 9s through 18s families (so 4+5=9
or 11+7=18, etc.). Each game set works with three families
(so pictured below are the games for the 9s, 10s and 11s families).

Addition Bingo (below):
In the board below, the cards for 9s, 10s, 11s should be
upside down in a pile. Each player takes a turn picking up
a card and placing it on their own board. The first player
to make a row (or to fill their board) wins.

Addition Spinner Game (below):
I glued the spinner board onto cardboard before placing the
brad and arrow on it.

To play the game: The cards are actually spread out
upside-down. Then the players take turns spinning the
spinner and then choosing a card to see if they get to keep
it. The first player to five wins.

Addition War with a Spinner (below):
Divide the addition cards into two even piles. Each player
turns over a card and determines the answer to their card.
Then, they spin the spinner and see who won that round.
They place the cards they have won in a separate pile.
If there is a tie, new cards are turned over, the spinner is
spun again and the winner takes all the cards in the pot.

After all the cards have been played, the winner is the
person with the most cards.

I got the spinner template below at
and just wrote in the words.

I uploaded these files to Click here to see the various
pages you can download. Sorry I wasn't able to put them into one
convenient download. I barely have time to post let alone time to
learn more about making the blog look tidy and lovely! Still, I hope
someone finds them of use.

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Preschool Games

In this game, I made a number of dice with the numbers
Each player chooses the mouse they want to be. Then
each player choose one die for that round. Both/all
players roll their dice and pick up that number of
cookies for their mouse.

Spin the spinner for that round and see who the "winner/s"

cookies were from:
other cute activities relating to If You Give A Mouse
A Cookie from Belinda Mooney are at:
I especially like her cute alphabet cards

The butterfly net catcher game is just the same.
Each player chooses a die, rolls it and then someone
spins the spinner to see who was the winner.

Pretty butterflies were from
In the printer options I chose "multiple copies per
page" so that the butterflies would be small enough.

Squirrel Grid Game:

Each player takes a turn rolling the die and
covering the squirrel with acorns (the acorn counters
were from, a paid site I really enjoy).
The first player to cover their board wins.

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Preschool - Tot Bag Activites

As you probably know, we're getting ready to leave
Australia. The packers come next Tuesday, so
I've been quite busy. Our suitcases are mostly
packed with the things we'll need/use for the
next 3-4 months. I thought I'd share this
bag of preschool -tot activities I put together.
We'll be spending a week here, a week there
for a couple of months, so this should be a good
collection of small things to pull out when in
need in small hotel rooms and so forth. I've used
them to throw into workboxes, so they're really
nothing particularly new, but seeing them all
together might give you a new idea or two.

So here's the bag and the pictures that follow
explain what's inside.

I took pieces of construction paper and
put lots of dots on them in various designs
(letters, butterflies, numbers, space ships
etc.). The kids were so excited that they insisted
on doing a half-dozen while I was taking photos!

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Preschool - Tot Bag Activities

Paper strips, swirls for cutting

Pom-poms for sorting

Opposites puzzles

Find the word, clothes pin activity
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Preschool - Tot Bag Activities

The kids place the hair barret onto
a rubber band and snap it closed.
I first saw this idea at

Pony bead counting activity

A bag full of finger puppet animals

Sewing with a large embroidery needle
and huge buttons.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Preschool - Tot Bag Activities

Matching: I made this using foam boards,
matching foam animals/shapes and covering
it with contact paper.

An inexpensive wooden teddy bear puzzle.

Frog/Dragon Fly Color Matching Game

Marbles, golf-t and suction cup the golf-t
and marbles are for doing balancing "relay"
races trying to walk keeping the marble

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Looking Back over the Year, 2009-2010

This year (2009-2010) our main units included natural disasters,
China,  biomes/animal habitats, ancient Greece (we did ancient
Egypt just before this school year officially started and before I
started this blog), flowers and apples (the last two  were geared
more towards my preschooler).  We also enjoyed lots of science
experiments (almost weekly) and the younger kids really enjoyed
the theme time tables. 

We did a lot with geography throughout the  year and really
enjoyed doing  country/continent swaps with families
in Singapore, China, France, and the US.  The kids were really
thrilled to see what was sent to them and we enjoyed hitting the
tourist shops to send examples from our region of the world
(aboriginal art, Australian flag stuff, a few coins, a few plastic
Australian animals, postcards, books,  and tourist brochures from
our region and things like that.)  It's been a good experience for us!

It's been a wonderful year musically. LD has come quite far with
the piano and had the wonderful great fortune to have two
months of trumpet lessons with "Uncle Peter," the French horn
player  in the wind ensemble in which I play (oboe). We played
lots of music games (see the elementary music category) which
reinforced some basic music theory for LD.  We also enjoyed
dancing, singing and playing instruments together  using the
kindermusik program (we did two different units, one for ED and
one for DD and LD). Oh, I just thought I'd add that DD was
begging to go to trumpet lessons too.  We told her she'd have to
learn a bit of piano first and she has been sitting down at the
keyboard and demanding lessons!

DD enjoyed a fully year of dance classes, swim lessons,
kindergym and gymnastics.  LD enjoyed  a season of soccer,
T-Ball, swim lessons and gymnastics. He's now enjoying the
new soccer season, but will only have three more games before
we leave.  ED enjoyed a full year of Kindergym.

Finally, we really thoroughly enjoyed the Outback and Australia
in general which has been our home these past twelve years. Feel
free to look through the photos of our area (as well as Sydney and
Adelaide) in the Where We Live category.

Workboxes: Set to Go!

This is probably not the typical workbox picture, is it?!
As you can see, we've broken down the workboxes and
stacked them, ready for the movers. Now all school
supplies that I've chosen for the next few months are in
the green bag there. (Ignore the blue tray; it has manipulatives,
workbox subject labels and other random things that have
yet to be packed and put away.)
These days, school is considerably less "hands on" since
we haven't done any new units lately. The school stuff
I'm bringing for LD consists of

**Singapore Math
**Generic Math practice book
**Math manipulatives/Montessori math stuff
**Add It and Subtract It (Erica's new games at Confessions of a Homeschooler. Thank you, Erica!!!)
**HWT--cursive handwriting practice
**Piano/Trumpet practice books
**Some Montessori science/3-part cards

Independent Reading

I did a lot of ebay bidding and sent a lot of books to my
sis-in-law. You can get a "lot" of books for less than a $1
(US) per book most of the time. So, we won't be bringing
any of our books with us and instead have "new" (to us)
books waiting for us.

Just let me add--if you've never bid on ebay for children's
books, here are a few things I've learned.  I've found some
great "lots" of books if I searched under "Hello Readers" or
"Step Into Reading" (great for beginning readers who are
doing  independent reading),  Caldecott (children's books that
have won awards),  Newberry (chapter books that won awards
for the 8-12  year old crowd or good for reading aloud to the
5-7 year old+ crowd depending on the content of the book) or
under the author of your choice such as Tomie de Paola,
Steven Kellogg or whomever.

And on another note--I'm SOOOOoooo happy!  We've
now sold both our truck and car as well as all of the
outdoor play equipment, baby stuff that we've moved
beyond, 220V appliance etc. etc.  It's been such a LOT
of work getting for sale lists up, having people over to
buy things and all that.  We have a few more small things
to get rid of, but I'd say the majority of the stuff we had
to sell is taken care of! Whew!
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Workbox Area--The Way It Was!

Like many people, we were short on space. Our workboxes
were set up between the kitchen and hallway doors. I
made the red book display case to fit under the hanging
baskets which held some of the bigger books that we used
regularly. The hard plastic files (to the left of the red book
display shelf) helped keep things organized for the work-
boxes. They held things like Montessori math manipulatives
cut up "science-take it to your seat centers), worksheets
and things like that. The last picture shows some of the
subject labels that hung on the front. I found that much
easier to keep things organized if I knew what was in each

It'll be fun to set up a new homeschool area three or four
months from now. Maybe we'll have more space?!

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Craft Table

We'll also be bringing the beloved craft table because it's
long (fits three kids comfortably) and is the perfect height
for them. A friend made it and it's been wonderful for
setting up our weekly science experiments and theme time tables.
You can have a browse of what we did this past year if you look
through the tab at the right.

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Craft Table -- pic 2

As I said, the table was quite long and we permanently
had the dulcimers (there's a kids dulcimer not pictured
that we used this year), composer pics, etc. So, while it's
probably not valuable it sure is functional for us!!
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Bike Trail

The kids have been real troopers as we pack
up, sort, break down furniture, sell appliances,
outdoor play equipment, and everything that
moving entails. Not to mention the endless
errands around town. We were also stuck at
home as ED was sick all night a couple of nights

Today, we dedicated the morning to some plain
outdoor fun. We packed up the kids' bikes and
had a really fun ride along the local bike path. It's
really pretty and we all deserved the lovely
morning out!

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Five Foot Spider's Web

Golden Orb Spider:


When we stopped for a water break, we spotted this huge
spider. It's web was at least five feet across. The main
portion of its body was as big as the first joint of my big
toe (it was probably 4 inches across if you count the legs)!
Glad it was off to the side; it'd be horrible to ride our
bikes into that web!!

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