Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Montessori-Inspired Brain Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

Young children love to learn more about their bodies. The brain is so important that it's a great theme when adapted for the child's age and ability level. 



This unit will be for preschoolers through first graders, although older kids could love some of the activities as well! At Living Montessori Now, I have a list of free brain printables. The free printables include my latest subscriber freebie (a Montessori-inspired brain pack). Here, I'm sharing ideas for using free brain printables to create Montessori-inspired activities for preschoolers through first graders. 

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).

Montessori Shelves with Brain-Themed Activities

Montessori Shelves with Brain-Themed Activities  

These themed shelves have human brain-themed activities. (On another shelf, I'll have a few growth mindset activities throughout the month.) You’ll also find Montessori-inspired brain numbers, letters, and and more (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

I always have related books available throughout a unit. I have How Does Your Brain Work?, Think, Think, Think, and Young Genius Brains in addition to lots of growth mindset books. (I'll publish a post about those at Bits of Positivity.) 

The open book on the shelf is the DK Smithsonian Picturepedia, which I love to have for a variety of themes. (It's actually for ages 8-12, but it has great pictures and lots of information that can be shared and adapted according to the interest and age of the child.) 

In addition to the brain model, I have the Hape Your Body 5-Layer Wooden Puzzle Girl on the shelf. (There’s also a boy puzzle.) This is to give a general overview of the human body and show the brain with the other organs of the body.It was interesting that a week before we started this unit, Zoey asked me to get out this specific puzzle because she loved it so much when we used it for a mini skeleton unit last fall.

You could mix your brain-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special brain-themed area something like the one pictured. My shelves this month have a mixture of skill levels, although most are for older preschoolers and kindergartners. Many of the activities can be adapted for a variety of levels. If you’re a homeschooler, just choose the activities that work for your child’s interests and ability levels. If you don’t have room for all the activities you’d like to do, simply rotate them.

Human Brain Model with How Does Your Brain Work? Book

Human Brain Model with How Does Your Brain Work Book How Does Your Brain Work? has an amazing amount of information for such a simple book!  
I got the Learning Resources Brain Model for this unit. It seemed to be the best inexpensive brain model. It is small, but I don't have a large amount of shelf space. So the size is perfect for us. Of course, the directions for assembling it could be much better. My son-in-law put it together with my 4½-year-old granddaughter, Zoey. Zoey loves the brain model and really liked that her Uncle Tom showed her where the different brain parts were inside her own head.

"Brain" Spelled with Movable Alphabet Letters and Brain Page for My Body Systems Book

Brain Spelled with Movable Alphabet Letters and Brain Page for My Body Systems BookFree Printable: My Body Systems Science Booklet from Totschooling 

Zoey and I often analyze words, so I spelled the word "brain" with the small wooden movable alphabet letters on the tray with the brain page for My Body Systems booklet. Zoey and I will be adding the other pages to the book, too. We'll read a bit about each body system during this unit.

Brain Addition with Miniature Brains and Bead Bars

Tray for Brain Addition with Miniature Brains and Bead Bars Free Printables: 1-10 Spinner plus Skull and Brain Numbers (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

This activity uses a piece of felt for a table mat (I used the Montessori Services felt table mat) and bead bars from the decanomial box in a Multicraft tray and a Bambu condiment cup (what I used here) or  Montessori Services basket. (My bead bars, which I love, are from Alison’s Montessori. You can get bead bars on Amazon, although I haven’t personally used materials from those companies.) 

Zoey is totally in love with the miniature brains from the Bag O' Brains (There are 25 brains in the bag, but I used 20 for this activity). 




 Zoey had so much fun with this addition activity! She used the spinner to choose the numbers, counted out the brains, found the matching number cards, and then placed the correct bead bars at the end. She did the activity a number of times. For a younger child, you could use the number cards for DIY cards and counters or another type of counting activity.

B Is for Brain Sand Writing Tray with Left and Right Brain Writing Cards

B Is for Brain Sand Writing Tray with Left and Right Brain Writing Cards Free Printable: Montessori Sand Tray Writing for Left and Right Brain from Jana (This is a cool printable and very useful for a variety of ages.) 

Free Printables: Cursive "b" brain card for constellation writing tray (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

For the sand tray, I used the wooden tray from the Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Shapes. You can use whatever tray or container work best for you, though. I had gotten some lovely white sand (for making kinetic sand and other projects), which works perfectly for the sand tray. 

If you would like help with introducing phonetic sounds, introducing objects with sounds, or beginning phonics in general, check out my DIY Beginning Montessori Phonics with Preschoolers.

Brain Movable Alphabet

Free Printables: Brain Movable Alphabet (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

The brain letters can be used to match to sandpaper letters or movable alphabet letters and place letters in alphabetical order. You can also use them for traditional movable alphabet word-building work.

Brain ai Phonogram Card and Booklet

Brain ai Phonogram Card and Booklet Free Printables: “ai” brain font card (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

Free Printable: Green Series ai Letters from MontessoriSoul (Print two sets if you want to use the pictures for movable alphabet word building.) 

This is so easy to prepare, yet it isolates the ai phonogram very well. 

I have a post and video on how to introduce words starting with phonograms, even with very young children.

Tray with Parts of the Brain Puzzle and Identification Tray with Parts of the Brain Puzzle and Labeling

Free Printables: Brain Puzzle and Brain Center Learning Materials form The Crafty Classroom 

This was amazingly easy to prepare, yet is colorful and appealing to young children. You could have a control page for the puzzle, but I placed it on the tray so that the printed page could be the control even though it's too small for the child to build the puzzle right on it. 

For a younger child, I would have a printed control page the same size as the actual puzzle. I just printed the puzzle on cardstock, although you could always trace around the parts on felt to make a felt puzzle if you prefer. 

I printed out the page that's shown in quarter size and made a small control chart for the labeling activity.

Brain Functions Activity

Brain Functions Layout

Free Printable: Brain Functions Cards from Noor Janan Homeschool 

These couldn't be easier to prepare. I simply printed and cut them out and then placed them in a Montessori Services basket

This is a simple way to reinforce the functions of the parts of the brain.

Making a Brain Hemisphere Hat (shown in lower right of the bottom shelf)

Free Printable: Brain Hemisphere Hat from Ellen Mchenry's Basement Workshop (This was designed for ages 10-14, but it can be adapted for a variety of ages.) 

I have this on the shelf, but I'll be doing a number of other brain activities first. This will help consolidate the knowledge from our unit.

More Free Brain and Anatomy Printables

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free brain and growth mindset printables from around the blogosphere: Free Brain and Growth Mindset Printables and Montessori-Inspired Brain Activities. And be sure to subscribe to my email list if you'd like to get an exclusive free printable each month (plus two more awesome freebies right away): Free Printables.

Growth Mindset Resources

I have lots of growth mindset resources at Bits of Positivity. I'll be adding more each week during this unit study, too.

More Anatomy Activities and Resources

If 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. I'm also one of the coauthors of the book Learn with Play – 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning!

Have a great start of the school year!
Deb - Siganture
Deb Chitwood
Deb 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 43 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Dancing from STEM to STEAM to STREAM!

Hello!

Dancing to stories is one of the main activities that young children have enjoyed in my creative movement classes over the years.  Reading a book or story, then using verbal prompts to encourage the children to relive the story through dance and music, is also a wonderful way to incorporate the all-important "A" for Arts and the "R" for Reading into STEM. 

STEM to STEAM to STREAM -- let's go!  

Recreating the story with movement helps children to understand the concepts in the book and learn about them kinesthetically.   This process also helps children identify with settings, characters, plot and themes of the story, and helps with sequencing, comprehension, and vocabulary.  Most of all, though, this activity makes story time lively and even more fun.

Here is a dance story that I have created based on Eric Carle's classic book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Along with instructions for presenting the dance story, I have included photos of a visit I made to a school in Nicaragua.  I had the Spanish version of the book, La Oruga Muy Hambrienta.  

I often supplement a dance story with props.  In this case, I used colorful scarves which become the wings when the caterpillar becomes a butterfly.  

The materials you will need for this activity are:

1.  The book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
2.  Colorful scarves or fabric scraps, about 12" square 
(2 per child)













3.  Two lively instrumental musical selections, one of which has a conga rhythm



Now you are ready to begin!  Gather the children together and read the story.


Explain the dance story, and tell the children that you will be giving them movement prompts so that they will be retelling the story with dance and music.  Make sure to give the children plenty of time to respond to each of your movement suggestions.

Play the music softly in the background.  

Begin:  

You are a little egg on a leaf, in the moonlight.


Pop out of your egg!

You are so hungry.  Where would you find some food?     Proceed through each day in the story as the caterpillar finds new things to eat.

Eat as much as you can and become a great big caterpillar!

Your tummy hurts! Eat a nice green leaf to make you feel better.

Now it is time to spin your cocoon! Turn, turn, spin, spin, spin!  Wait inside your cocoon while you make your amazing transformation.  

While the children are waiting, use a clothespin to attach a scarf to each of their shoulders.

Nibble a hole in your cocoon, and push your way out. Push hard.  Push with your feet, your wings, and look, you are a colorful butterfly! Your wings are still wet.  Try to flap them up and down, very gently.  Now, flap harder, and fly.  Fly around the room, beautiful butterflies!


Now we will finish our story by making a giant caterpillar! Form the children into a line, and put on the conga music.  

Play the conga music, stand at the front of the line and introduce the conga step:  one, two three, touch heel to one side (rhythm:  one, two, three + four), repeat to the other side, and continue all around the room.


Caterpillar Conga line.  One, two, three, and four!

Happy dancing -- 
from STEM to STEAM to STREAM!


Keep on dancin',

Connie


MOVING IS LEARNING!


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Montessori-Inspired Constellation Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

Stars and constellations make a fabulous unit for almost any age. This unit will be for preschoolers through first graders, although older kids could love some of the activities as well! 




At Living Montessori Now, I have a list of free star and constellation printables. The free printables include my latest subscriber freebie (a Montessori-inspired constellation pack). 

Here, I'm sharing ideas for using free constellation printables to create Montessori-inspired activities for preschoolers through first graders. 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 some affiliate links (at no cost to you).

Montessori Shelves with Constellation-Themed Activities

Montessori Shelves with Constellation-Themed Activities
My shelves with constellation-themed activities include a free constellations culture card designed by The Montessori Company. You’ll also find Montessori-inspired constellation numbers, letters, and and more (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber)

I always have related books available throughout a unit. I have Zoo in the Sky and Little Kids First Big Book of Space (the beautiful open book from National Geographic) along with a number of other star and constellation books. I'll publish a related book post another day. 

I also have some fun glow-in-the-dark constellation lacing cards from Montessori Services on the top shelf along with the books and culture card. They come with laces, but you could extend the work by adding a needle for sewing, too. 

You could mix your constellation-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special constellation-themed area something like the one pictured. My shelves this month have a mixture of skill levels. Many of the activities can be adapted for a variety of levels. If you’re a homeschooler, just choose the activities that work for your child’s interests and ability levels. If you don’t have room for all the activities you’d like to do, simply rotate them.

Constellations Culture Card with the Glow-in-the-Dark Night Sky Book

Constellations Culture Card on Shelf with the Glow-in-the-Dark Night Sky Book
The Glow-in-the-Dark Night Sky Book is a wonderful book that I had from homeschooling my now-adult kids. It doesn't appear to be in print any longer, but you can get it used inexpensively from Amazon. My glow-in-the-dark constellations still worked great! 

I'm happy to share with you this lovely constellation culture card from The Montessori Company. I’m hosting the free printable as an instant download at Living Montessori Now. You can always access the free constellations culture card here

The description says: “Constellations are different patterns found in the night sky's stars. Most are connected to old stories and myths!”

C is for Constellations Sand Writing Tray with Glow-in-the-Dark Stars

C is for Constellations Sand Writing Tray with Glow-in-the-Dark StarsFree Printables: Constellation Letters for constellation writing tray (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber)

For the sand tray, I used the wooden tray from the Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Shapes. You can use whatever tray or container work best for you, though. I already had the blue sand from a hobby store from previous activities. Amazon has some even darker blue sand that would be perfect for the night-sky look.

My 4½-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, absolutely loves anything glow in the dark, so we have a lot of glow-in-the-dark activities for our constellation unit! For the sand tray, I even added the glow-in-the-dark stars to be placed on the letter that's traced. The bathroom off my kitchen can be made completely dark, so Zoey likes to take her completed work in there to see the glow-in-the-dark effect. 

If you would like help with introducing phonetic sounds, introducing objects with sounds, or beginning phonics in general, check out my DIY Beginning Montessori Phonics with Preschoolers.

I Have, Who Has? Greek Mythological Constellation Game

I Have, Who Has? Greek Mythological Constellation GameFree Printable: I Have Who Has Greek Mythological Constellations from Fifth Is My Jam at Teachers Pay Teachers 

Zoey also loves I Have, Who Has? games, so we added a super-easy-to-prepare game to our work. It just needed a Montessori Services basket.

Montessori ar Phonogram Cards and Movable Alphabet Work

Montessori ar Phonogram CardsFree Printables: “ar” stars font cards (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

Free Printable: Green Series ar Letters from MontessoriSoul 

I love the simplicity of this! It was so easy to prepare, yet it isolates the ar phonogram very well. I have a post and video on how to introduce words starting with phonograms, even with very young children. 

Constellation Movable Alphabet Cards with star Word Buildihng_uncropped 

Then the movable alphabet can be used to build ar words (or any words).

Pin Punching Work for DIY Daytime Constellations

Tray with Pin Punching Work for DIY Daytime Constellations 
Free Printable: Constellations from Full of Great Ideas 

I used a star flashlight from the Montessori By Mom Space Explorer Toolbox along with a wood-handled puncher from Montessori Services, craft sticks, craft glue, and a Multicraft tray.


Punching Work to Make a Daytime Constellation Pin-Punch Viewer 

We studied the Big Dipper before Zoey punched the holes for the main stars along with punching out the circle. 

DIY Daytime Constellations Pin Punch Viewer - Big Dipper

Then we went into a dark room and experimented with shining a few different flashlights through the circle toward the ceiling. The little star flashlight worked but was a bit dim, a big flashlight was almost too bright, and my iPhone flashlight was perfect!

Constellation Cards for Matching and Recreating ConstellationsConstellation Cards for Matching and Recreating ConstellationsFree Printable: Constellation Cards from Lie Back Look Up (With a double sided printer, these have information on the backs.) 

This was another super-easy-to-prepare activity.  It just needed a Montessori Services basket. These cards have helpful information on the backs and work well for matching or for children to place stars on to make the constellations.

Recreating Constellations with Glow-in-the-Dark Stars, Counting, and Writing Numbers

Recreating Constellations with Glow-in-the-Dark Stars, Counting, and Writing Numbers 

Free Printable: Constellation Numbers (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

Again, I used some of the glow-in-the-dark stars along with a magnifying glass to magnify the constellations on the number cards. The child could choose a constellation, make it with the stars, count the number of stars, and write the number with chalk. Then, of course, watch it glow in the dark! 


Placing and Counting Glow-in-the-Dark Stars on Constellations 

A younger child could place stars on the cards from the previous activity or a card from the printables list. Then just count the stars and place the appropriate number card.

More Free Star and Constellation Printables

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free star and constellation printables from around the blogosphere: Free Star and Constellation Printables and Montessori-Inspired Constellation Activities. And be sure to subscribe to my email list if you'd like to get an exclusive free printable each month (plus two more awesome freebies right away): Free Printables.

More Astronomy Activities and Resources

 


Have a great rest of the summer!
Deb - Siganture
If 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. I'm also one of the coauthors of the book Learn with Play – 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning!

Deb Chitwood
Deb 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 43 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Montessori-Inspired Ladybug Unit Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

I published a ladybug post here before. And it was so much fun that I just had to add some more ladybug activities! 


At Living Montessori Now, I have a list of free ladybug printables. The free printables include my latest subscriber freebie (a Montessori-inspired ladybug pack). 

Here, I'm sharing ideas for using free ladybug printables to create Montessori-inspired activities for preschoolers through first graders. You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K SharingYou'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 some affiliate links (at no cost to you).

Montessori Shelves with Ladybug-Themed Activities

Montessori Shelves and Book Basket with Ladybug-Themed Activities

My shelves with ladybug-themed activities include a free ladybug culture card designed by The Montessori Company. You’ll also find Montessori-inspired ladybug numbers, letters, and and more (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber)

I always have related books available throughout a unit. And this time, we even have a ladybug-growing activity! Fingers crossed that the larvae stay alive and become ladybugs! 

You could mix your ladybug-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special ladybug-themed area something like the one pictured. My shelves this month have a mixture of skill levels. Many of the activities can be adapted for a variety of levels. If you’re a homeschooler, just choose the activities that work for your child’s interests and ability levels. If you don’t have room for all the activities you’d like to do, simply rotate them.

Ladybug Culture Card with Are You a Ladybug? Book and Movable Alphabet "Ladybug"

Ladybug Culture Card and Are You a Ladybug Book Are you a Ladybug? is a Montessori-friendly book that gives information about ladybugs in a high-interest way. 

I'm happy to share with you this lovely ladybug culture card from The Montessori Company. I’m hosting the free printable as an instant download at Living Montessori Now. You can always access the free ladybug culture card here

The description says: “Ladybugs are actually predatory insects that eat other bugs eating our gardens, like aphids!” 

For interest, I spelled "ladybug" with the movable alphabet. My 4½-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, has been interested in analyzing and spelling the word.

Ladybug Life Cycle References and Activity Growing Ladybugs

Growing Ladybugs Activity Plus Life Cycle of a Ladybug References 

I like Ladybug (Life Cycles) because it has colorful, detailed photographs and answers the questions children will often want to know about the life cycle of a ladybug.

The open book is the Ultimate Bugopedia: The Most Complete Bug Reference Ever (National Geographic Kids). I love almost all the National Geographic Kids books, and this is a fabulous reference for a study of insects. 

I have a number of other ladybug books, too. I'll publish a ladybug book post before long. Zoey and I are so excited about our ladybug-growing adventure! I'm not crazy about the original Ladybug Land (not very natural looking), so I got the Insect Lore Live Baby Ladybug Larvae - Ladybug Growing Kit Refill and an Insect Lore Bug Carrying And Catching Bag  (Mesh Bug Habitat Unfolds to 8" By 6")

It's perfect for what I wanted. Zoey and I can easily watch the ladybug larvae, and it's designed as a bug catcher for later nature walks. I also have a Montessori Services clear acrylic tray with a magnifying glass for ladybug observations and dropper bottle filled with water to water the sponge that's in a small container that I added to the ladybug habitat. Zoey loves to add the needed 2 drops to the sponge.

Ladybug Life Cycle Tray and Reader

Ladybug Life Cycle Tray and Reader Free Printable: Ladybug Life Cycle Readers from Blessed Beyond a Doubt 

Free Printable: Life Cycle of a Ladybug Printables by Monique of Living Life and Learning at 123 Homeschool 4 Me 

I used a Multicraft traySafari Ltd. Life Cycle of a Ladybug figures, and Montessori Services basket for the figures. There are four levels of Ladybug Life Cycle readers in the printable, so it's very versatile. 

This simple cut-and-paste activity is a good way to reinforce work on the ladybug life cycle.

L is for Ladybug Salt Tray

Free Printables: Ladybug Letters for ladybug writing tray (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

For the salt tray, I used the wooden tray from the Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Shapes. You can use whatever tray or container work best for you, though. I added the ladybug from the Safari Ltd. Insects TOOB for interest. 

On the shelf, you'll see that I used the manuscript letter "l" along with the cursive letter "l." I like children to learn both, so I typically introduce both manuscript and cursive. There's also a D'Nealian font in the pack, too, so you can use that if you wish. 

If you would like help with introducing phonetic sounds, introducing objects with sounds, or beginning phonics in general, check out my DIY Beginning Montessori Phonics with Preschoolers

Ladybug Beginning Sounds and Movable Alphabet Activities
Ladybug Beginning Sound and Movable Alphabet Basket

Free Printable: Ladybug Alphabet Game from Make, Take & Teach 

This activity was super easy to prepare! The activity is designed for beginning sounds. I cut out the letters for the beginning sounds, but I also printed out an extra ladybug (the last one with the 3-letter phonetic, CVC, words). That's to make an activity for children who are working with the movable alphabet already.

Ladybug-Themed Beginning Sound Matching

Children who are working on beginning sounds can match the letters to the appropriate pictures. For toddlers, you could have an extra set of pictures, too, for them to match pictures to pictures instead of letters to pictures.

Ladybug-Themed Movable Alphabet Work

The extra set of circles can be used with the Montessori movable alphabet for word building and reading.

  Parts of a Ladybug Activity

Parts of a Ladybug Tray  

Free Printable: Parts of a Ladybug from Life Cycle of a Ladybug Printables by Monique of Living Life and Learning at 123 Homeschool 4 Me 

This is a extremely simple activity to prepare and reinforces any books you've read or work you've done with parts of a ladybug.

DIY Ladybug Cards and Counters and Odd and Even Labeling Activity

Ladybug Cards and Counters Tray with Odd and Even Labels  

Free Printables: Ladybug Numbers and Odd and Even Labels (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

I love making DIY themed cards and counters to introduce odd and even and add interest and variety to cards and counters. I used these adorable wooden ladybugs. You need exactly 55 ladybugs if you want to do the numbers and counters 1-10. 

For Zoey and other kids who are already comfortable with symbol and quantity, I’ll typically use the cards and counters for hands-on addition, subtraction, and other mathematical operations. (See some of my other themed posts for ideas.) But this month, I used the odd and even labels.

Ladybug Cards and Counters Layout 

 I added a new page to the ladybug pack with odd and even labels that can be used with the cards and counters to reinforce the actual words "odd" and "even." It's a great way to be sure readers understand the concept of odd and even. 

Zoey doesn't need work counting objects to 10, but we did the activity to reinforce the words odd and even and for her to clearly see them in print. 


Completing Ladybug Cards and Counters with Odd and Even Labels

Zoey didn't mind counting out all the ladybugs because she was so in love with the wooden ladybugs. She put them all close to the cards because they were "baby ladybugs" trying to get to their mothers. The ones with ladybug "friends" got "even" word cards, and the ones left over got "odd" word cards. 

Zoey liked the word cards, too, so she put the ladybugs for each number on the appropriate word card "car" when she finished with the first activity. I don't mind pretend play at home with an activity like this when she already accomplished the activity's purpose and is using the materials nicely, which she was. It was actually very cute, and she focused on this for a long time.

The Grouchy Ladybug Book with Sequencing and Matching CardsThe Grouchy Ladybug Book with Sequencing and Matching Cards

Free Printable: Grouchy Ladybug Sequencing Cards from Preschool Post 

Free Printable: The Grouchy Ladybug Printables from Homeschool Share 

I love Eric Carle books! They're not Montessori-style books with photographs or realistic animals, but they're classics ... and they're amazing books. 

The Grouchy Ladybug is a great book for introducing reading time on an analog clock. I just printed and cut out the cards from the two printables. Then I drew the correct clock arrows on each clock face and placed them in a Montessori Services basket. Older children could draw their own clock arrows if you wish.

The Grouchy Ladybug Sequencing and Matching Layout

The child can retell the story, matching the animal photographs to the animals and clock faces.

More Free Ladybug Printables

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free ladybug printables from around the blogosphere: Montessori-Inspired Ladybug Unit with Free Printables and Activities. And be sure to subscribe to my email list if you'd like to get an exclusive free printable each month (plus two more awesome freebies right away): Free Printables.

More Insect Activities and Resources


If 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. I'm also one of the coauthors of the book Learn with Play – 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning!
Have a happy summer! Deb - Siganture
Deb Chitwood
Deb 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 43 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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