Thursday, January 15, 2015

Montessori-Inspired Valentine Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

I have so many great memories of valentine activities as a Montessori teacher and homeschooler! I also have lots of fun Valentine's Day memories from when I was a child. 

So I had a great time searching for free valentine printables for this post. There are lots and lots of awesome valentine printables available, so I limited my post at Living Montessori Now to free valentine learning printables. 

Free Valentine Learning Printables and Montessori-Inspired Valentine Activities 

I shared my list of free valentine learning printables in my post today at Living Montessori Now. Here, I've created some valentine activities using free printables for preschoolers through kindergarteners. 

You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing. You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities

At Living Montessori Now, I have a post with resource links of Free Printables for Montessori Homeschools and Preschools.  

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  

Heart Button Sorting and Counting

  Heart Button Sorting and Counting For this activity, I used the free Blank Ten Frames at Teachers Pay Teachers. I found these heart-shaped painted wooden buttons on Amazon. They arrived quickly and are very cute. I love the feel of them for sorting activities. They would be awesome for a Montessori-inspired sewing activity, too. 

I used a medium-size tray from Montessori Services. I found small heart-shaped bowls at my grocery store a couple of years ago, but I'm not sure if they're still available anywhere. 

The button-sorting activity is wonderful for visual discrimination skills, and I used the ten frames to add a math activity. I typically use one design or color of material for a counting activity (see "Isolation of Quality"), but I wanted to include a sorting activity to make the activity more challenging. 

Young preschoolers could lay out the ten frames on a rug in any order. (I used a Montessori Services rug for my layout.) After the buttons are sorted on the ten frames, the child could line up the ten frames as shown below. 

Older children could focus on addition by using the ten frames to see which number could be added to the number shown buttons to get a sum of 10. 

Heart Button Layout  

Heart Patterning Activity 

  Heart Patterning Tray This activity uses the free Heart Patterning printable by Two Preschool Gals at Teachers Pay Teachers. There are 4 different patterns. 

I used the same type of tray and bowl along with pipe cleaners cut in half and heart-shaped pony beads in the colors on the printable. 

Children could use as many beads as they wish to continue the pattern on a pipe cleaner. They could make a bracelet following the pattern, too. 

Heart Patterning Layout  

Valentine Transportation Count and Match Puzzles

  Transportation Valentine Count and Match Puzzles 
I like the printable for this activity for vehicle lovers who might not be interested in traditional heart activities. It's the Valentine Number Puzzles from I Love Trucks, a Free Valentine’s Pack for Boys by Our Little Monkeys. 

The activity was very easy to prepare. It only required printing, laminating, and cutting the puzzle pieces. I used a Montessori Services basket (the small willow basket, which is my go-to basket for many card materials). 
Valentine Addition 

  Heart Addition Activity This activity uses the Valentine Addition printable from the Valentines Pack (part 3) by Cassie from 3 Dinosaurs along with the numbers from part 2 of the pack. 

I used iridescent heart-shaped pony beads that I thought were very pretty for this. The tray is the Montessori Services large plastic tray, which I use for many types of activities. I found the round container at a craft store a couple of years ago, so I don't know if it's still available. (Note: I really like the beads and buttons I found for these activities. They can be used for a variety of activities over a number of years.) 

You could add small tongs or tweezers for a practical life activity, although I think using fingers is great for fine-motor skills when working with the heart-shaped beads. It might detract too much from the addition work to use a tool with this activity since there are a number of addition problems in the printable. I counted out 10 of each color of bead so the child could complete any of the problems. 
Heart Addition Layout  

"Letter in the Mail" Beginning Sounds Activity 
  "Letter in the Mail" Beginning Sounds Activity 

I used the "Letter in the Mail" printable from the Valentine Pre-K/K Pack {Updated and Expanded} by This Reading Mama. I cut apart the letters and pictures and added a valentine mailbox to make the activity extra appealing and hands-on. 

I think the valentine mailbox was from the Target dollar section a couple of years ago, but you could use any valentine mailbox that has a slot big enough for the cards in this activity. 

I added paper clips to the activity so the child can clip the matching picture to the letter. He or she could then "mail" the letter (letter with letter-sound picture). Continue until all the letters are mailed. 

You can learn more about introducing beginning sounds in my DIY Sandpaper Letters post

Here's the link to my favorite laminator ... inexpensive and great for almost any activity that needs to be laminated!
More Free Valentine Printables and Montessori-Inspired Valentine Activities

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to valentine learning freebies from around the blogosphere: Free Valentine Learning Printables and Montessori-Inspired Valentine Activities.
Montessori at Home or School - How to Teach Grace and Courtesy eBookIf you'd like to focus on manners with children, please check out my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy! It's written for anyone who'd like to feel comfortable teaching manners to children ages 2-12.

Have fun preparing for Valentine's Day!
Deb - SigantureLiving Montessori Now Button 
Deb ChitwoodDeb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego with her husband of 39 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and baby granddaughter live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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