Monday, September 21, 2009

We love Masterminds... Beads well, that's another story

Eons ago my husband and I bought a puzzle game called "Super minds" thinking it would be good for the future. I can't even remember where it came from. I got it out the other day to see what it actually was and got very excited when I looked at it. It is for kids age 5-9 but after looking at their marketing materials in the box I realized they have a version for "3-8" year olds called Mighty mind. As they state in their description of Mighty Minds;
Starting with the simple concept of manipulating two wood half circles, the child builds a full circle. Then by following a logical numerically programmed sequence of patterns, the child learns how to manipulate 32 wood geometric shapes to build pictures of increasing complexity.
So since we had bought the advanced set, I had to glean from the ads for Mighty Mind how to set up some puzzles from beginner to advanced. All I needed was some cardstock, a pencil to trace around the tiles and some colored felt pens. The mighty mind set has little colored spaces to first put the tiles that you need to use to build a particular puzzle. You then use those tiles to build the shape of that puzzle.
Here's some of the beginner puzzles I made from the absolute easiest to a slightly harder one.
The difference between these puzzles and a normal puzzle of course is that there is no picture scene being put together with the pieces. You just use geometrical shapes, each piece one whole color, to make shapes. A.-girl isn't interested in doing puzzles very often but as soon as she saw this activity she was hooked! They even have a magnetic set for traveling. We will be getting one before the next long trip!
We also tried sorting some beads by color. Well, that went well for about 5 minutes. A.-girl was so focused and then....beads everywhere! On the second and third attempt sthe following day the beads just went straight onto the floor so this activity has been "shelved" so to speak!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Real life and practical life

Have you ever truly seen a little worm poking its head out of an apple? It is of course a common image in children's books but an elusive one in real life! A.-girl was so delighted to see this little guy peeking out of his appledom. If only it had been a caterpillar, we would have read Eric Carles "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". Maybe I should have anyway!
After 2 weeks of sitting in it's crock, our batch of spicy garlic sauerkraut was ready. MMMM! So A. and I put it into jars to keep in the fridge. She stuffed the jars using her tonging skills (not! She does not like tonging activities) and then used her little fists to pack it in. She then poured in the juice to cover the kraut and after I cleaned and dried the jar she put the lid on. We then bottled the leftover juice to drink. Spicy Acidophillous coctail!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Recongizing a Pattern Sequence

My husband was delighted to discover while reading a childrens magazine to A. that she could recognize a pattern sequence and determine what object would come next in the sequence. I was excited to make this activity to further her skills in that area!
I started out by making four sequences out of foam silhouettes, each with 5 objects in a pattern. One sequence has only 1 object but in 2 different alternating colors (c/c/c/c/_, 1 sequence has 2 different objects in alternating order (A/B/A/B/A/_, 1 sequence has 2 different objects in the order of: A/A/B/A/A/_, and the last sequence has 3 different objects in the order of: A/B/C/A/B/_. I provided only one answer for each sequence on a separate blue foam square. She then has to put the foam answer square in the spot where the blue box is located at the end of the sequence.
I first introduced the activity by laying all of the pattern sheets out at once and the answer squares in a basket on the work mat. I made it both a cognitive and language activity because it seemed to me that in order for her to understand the sequence she would need me to demonstrate by naming each object while touching it as I went along the pattern from left to right. "barn, barn, pig (pause) barn, barn____" " I wonder what comes next". I soon realized that with all of the sheets out at once it was too chaotic and she had trouble recognizing the pattern. As soon as we did only one at a time on the work mat she had no problem deducing the pattern sequence.
I can see almost endless possibilities for extensions of this activity. I plan on next adding in too many answer squares so that the probability of guessing correctly is very small. I will combine more than one object with more than one color for each object and also increase the number of objects and the length of the pattern so as to make the patterns more and more difficult. I wonder if introducing new words by making new patterns with objects that are new to A.-girl would be good, or would I be combining too many things into one activity?!
Here's A.-girl doing a classic old favorite; her nesting/stacking boxes. She probably brings these out on a regular biweekly basis. They are a regular fixture in the living/montessori room (yes the montessori area is in the living room, we live in a VERY small area!) even though they take up a lot of room as when the are stacked up they make a beautiful sculptural piece. realized after introducing the Recognizing a Pattern Sequence activity that this activity actually incorporates pattern recognition because the boxes are colored in a certain sequence which is repeated. ie: orange, red, purple, dk blue, lt. blue, green and repeat. I now wonder if she was paying attention to more than just the size of each box when fitting them together or was she also looking for the correct color in the sequence? It couldn't have hurt in preparing her for her new Recognizing a Pattern Sequence activity!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Have You Seen This Man?

"Emergency" alert: purple skinned male of unknown ancestry, standing 7cm tall with dark purple hair and blue eyes. Has a penchant for red and purple clothing and lives in bathroom walls. Last seen accompanying a little girl to a doggy park. He may frequent the produce section at grocery stores. Only certain people can see this man; usually people between the ages of 2-4 but he is thought to make himself visible to some older individuals.
If you see this man, please comment to this blog as a little girl named A.-girl claims he has befriended her and due to his strange interstellar pimp-like appearance has caused some concern. ;0)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

She made a boot!

It's "A. and Daddy day" Yay! You may remember we started having the weekly special day for them as inspired by the "Pee Pee Protest". So I'm home alone (relaxing sigh) and I just remembered that A. made a boot. Maybe it's just our household which includes extended family (A.'s Mama and Papa); and what grandparent isn't impressed with everything a grandchild does) but we were blown away by what she did. She was doing her cutting activity which involves just getting out the scissors and cutting away at the paper I have provided at that time. It usually degrades into paper tearing but oh well. She says to me "Mommy I'm going to make a boot". Well, I just thought Ok, sure that probably won't happen because you aren't even 2.5 years old yet, but of course I said " OK, I can't wait to see it!" So a few minutes later she excitedly is trying to get my attention (because I admit I find it hard sometimes to observe her doing her activities at all moments) "Mommy look at my boot, I made a boot". And here it is. I was shocked! She was so proud she went to show everyone and they were all shocked as well. It's so cute that little green boot!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Summer Holiday: glimpse #1

This is totally out of chronological vacation order but... well to be honest these are the only pics I can access at this time so you get to hear about our choke cherry picking expedition. A short drive from Grandpa J's house and we were in Choke Cherry Heaven. They were hanging from the branches like grapes! There was evidence that the bears had been dining recently so we kept an ear out in case they decided to come back for dessert. Aa.-girl picked them directly into her mouth and then experienced that mouth drying effect as only choke cherries can do and then decided she would rather put them in the bucket! It's not often you can get a kid to pick and put them in the bucket; woo hoo!
After tiring of picking, after about oh... 5 minutes! She started to explore around and found a birds nest. I swear she's a birds nest diviner/dowser! How often do you find a birds nest on the ground? Once every few years? Maybe once every year if you're lucky? Well she has found 6 this year! I'm kicking myself for not getting a photo of the nest with the beautiful little red cherries that she nestled in it.
Of course being Aayla-do she wouldn't be a happy girl if she couldn't at least help carry the bucket! Maybe I'll have to change the name of my blog to "I would like to do it- Montessori" as she no longer states her emphatic "Aayla do!"
Quite a haul, it was easy pickings!
Once we got these glistening beauties home they were gently heated until the skins split and then the juice was squeezed out and put into the fridge. What resulted was a nice thick pink jelly-like "pudding" with none of the dry mouth effect. Yummy, all natural, sugar free pink Cherry pudding makes little girls happy. (And big girls too) ;0)