Wednesday, September 7, 2011

ED's 3 yr old preschool activities

We still start out our week with a scavenger hunt. This is a HUGE hit with all three of the kids.  This week it had to be down in the basement since it was raining outside.  As you can see, each child has his/her own set of cards to hunt down (letters for ED, addition for DD and multiplication for LD). As they find each card I have them run back to me and shout out the answer. It's a rapid movement, high volume activity, that's for sure!
I've been adding the letters in as I go, but if you're interested in the letters we've done so far, I've made the "Mailing Letters" accessible here

Later in the morning we mail ED's letters in the little mailbox I made a month or so ago. Today I introduced the sand tray activity for the first time (see the pictures below).  ED did about a half-dozen letters before losing interest. The others jumped in and had their turn, though!

For those of you who don't know much about the Montessori method, I actually sat down with Elora and "presented" this activity to her.  I show her each and every step...
  • take out the blanket and spread it on the ground
  • take the tray with two hands and lift it down and place it on the blanket
  • lift up the lid 
  • sketch the letter in the sand
  • mail the letter
  • take the sand tray with two hands and shake it back and forth
  • repeat until done
  • put the tray away
  • fold up the blanket
  • put the blanket away
I think arming ED with EACH step has really made a big difference to how successful she is at doing the various activities and then repeating them on her own.

Pouring with a Funnel: This was tricky at first for ED because she had to stop pouring well before the test tube was full.  We had this out for about a week and again all three of the kids took turns on this work.  I had them carefully hold the test tube and twist the lid on as well (pictured below).
As with the sand letter activity above, I showed ED each and every step on how to do this activity from taking out the blanket and placing the tray in the middle to holding the funnel in place as she poured and stopping well before the test tube was full.  I poured little bits and said to myself as I presented it to her, 'now let me look at the water level. Hmmm... yes, I'll add a bit more water.'
ED really enjoyed leaf rubbing and chose to use several different colors.
I had the test tubes full of colored water. She took the eye dropper and dropped dye onto the coffee filters. Again, all the kids took a turn with this activity.
Squishing paint in a bag.  I actually didn't present this per se -- I just had it on the shelf for her to discover on her own.  The other kids were fascinated too and were excited to see the colors and asked ED which colors she made.  It was a great team discovery/learning experience!

Once again ED shocked me with her long attention span. She spent nearly two hours doing these beadings. She made a star, butterfly and teddy bear!

I linked to Montessori Monday, hosted by Living Montessori Now and One Hook Wonder!
Montessori Monday


  1. Hi Liesl
    I have tagged you for a homeschooling meme!
    April :)

  2. I love all the hands-on activities you have your kiddos doing! I would love to have more of that available for mine. Thank you for posting all of these great ideas! How do you find the time to do all the prep work?

  3. I have a permanent spot for ED's pouring/transferring activity. I change that out every couple of days. I have a running list of activities to pull in (and have the next activity planned out on my head, if not on paper!) She also has a few other trays which I try to change out fairly often.

    My older kids have notebooks for various subject where I've stashed things (for example, they are studying the human body and I had the skeleton pages ready for them in their 3-ring notebooks. They cut out the pieces today, but it's been ready for a while now.) Oh and I also bought these great scrap booking containers that lock like flat tupperware sort of, so I can have cut up bits of stuff (activities, games, file folder activities) stashed there.

    The biggest help was that this summer I did a lot of thinking and planning. I typed up a general framework for the week so that I can just look at the list and pull our new activities. You can glance at my 3 yr-old's general plans here if you'd like ( That just helps so that on Wednesdays, for example, I know to rummage through our board games and pull out some new games from the cabinet. Or on Thursdays I try to remember to do a geography related activity (we've been working on her basic understanding of the world first and are doing a big paper mache project).

    I also have a general framework for my older kids as well and at least keep my eye on what my goals are. I never do everything I have written down (for example, Wednesdays are supposed to be clocks/money for math but we didn't get to that today. Instead we worked from their textbooks and played Zap (and addition game) and Bump (that I created over the weekend). But at least if I were drawing a blank on what to do I could glance on my planning page and then pull in some activities.

    Anyway, that's a long-winded explanation, but I hope there's something in there that helps. I just have an underlying framework and then pull things in from there.


  4. Great activities, Liesl! I love the way you used a Montessori-inspired presentation for your "mailing letters" activity! Thanks for linking up with Montessori Monday. (If you could add the Montessori Monday button,that would be awesome!) I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page:

  5. Thanks Deb,
    Oh, I never got back to posting the links back, did I?! Thanks for such an inspiring blog. You really have a terrific resource for us!