Sunday, April 15, 2018

Montessori-Inspired Tree Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

Trees are perfect for a theme in April. With spring, Earth Day, and Arbor Day as common April themes, trees are a natural fit in many ways! 



At Living Montessori Now, I have a list of free tree printables. The free printables include my latest subscriber freebie (a Montessori-inspired tree pack).
Here, I'm sharing ideas for using free tree 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 Tree-Themed Activities

Montessori Shelves with Tree-Themed Activities

My shelves with tree-themed activities include a free tree culture card designed by The Montessori Company. You’ll also find Montessori-inspired tree 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. On my top shelf, I have Tree by Britta Teckentrip, The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-ups, Tell Me, Tree, and Trees, Leaves and Bark. These books are all Montessori friendly and great resources for a variety of ages. I have a number of other tree books for the theme that I'll tell about in an upcoming post at Living Montessori Now.

You'll see the handmade My Tree Book (My Tree Book by Elizabeth Hall- Kickin' it in Kindergarten at Teachers Pay Teachers) on the top shelf. We used that for our nature walk to introduce the theme. I'll share more about it in an upcoming post at Living Montessori Now! 

You could mix your tree-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special tree-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.

Tree Culture Card with Tree Book by Britta Teckentrup

Tree Culture Card with Tree Book by Britta Teckentrup 

I'm happy to share with you this lovely tree 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 tree culture card here

The description says: “Trees grow tall and strong with leaves that reach for the sunlight. They can grow fruit, flowers and nuts, depending on the type..”

Parts of a Tree Puzzle, Cards, and Booklet-making Materials Parts of a Tree Puzzle, Cards, and Booklet-making MaterialsFree 

Printable: Montessori Parts of a Tree (subscriber freebie) from Trillium Montessori 

This activity uses the Montessori tree puzzle (ours is from the awesome Montessori By Mom Shoots and Sprouts Toolbox), the free printables for parts of a tree matching and booklet making, and a Montessori Services basketWe use a Montessori Services rug for our floor work. 

Reading Parts of a Tree Cards after Matching Tree Puzzle Pieces to Cards

Montessori By Mom has some great extensions for the Montessori tree puzzle. My 4-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, loves the puzzle, so I enjoy finding new variations for her. Renae from Every Star Is Different uses this variation in her "Tree Activities for Tots and Preschoolers." I like that it's a different way to use 3-part cards. 

Zoey laid out each puzzle piece under the matching card and then read the card labels before putting the puzzle back together. 

The Life Cycle of an Oak Tree and the Life Cycle of a Pine Tree The Life Cycle of an Oak Tree and The Life Cycle of a Pine Tree  
Free Printable: Oak Tree Life Cycle Sequencing Cards from PreKinders 

Free Printable: The Life Cycle of a Pine Tree from The Teacher Couple at Teachers Pay Teachers 

This activity uses a real acorn and pinecone along with the printables. The child can lay out the life cycle cards in order and use the booklets to check his or her work.

T is for Tree Salt Tray, Object Basket, and Movable Alphabet Work (see shelf photo)

Free Printables: Tree Letters for tree writing tray and object basket (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 a couple of Safari Ltd. trees from the Trees TOOB for interest. 

For the movable alphabet work, I used a traditional small wooden movable alphabet. I also used Montessori Services language objects tub, top, and tag, and printed number "10" as words for spelling with the movable alphabet. 

For children working on their phonetic sounds, the /t/ objects could be used in an object basket. 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

Tree ee Phonogram Card and Booklet Tree ee Phonogram Card and Booklet Free Printables: “ee” tree 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: "ee" Sound with Letters from MontessoriSoul 

This was so easy to prepare, yet it isolates the "ee" phonogram very well. I have a post and video on how to introduce words starting with phonograms, even with very young children. 

DIY Maple Tree Cards and Counters DIY Maple Tree Cards and Counters Free Printables: Maple Tree 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) 

Note: I'll change to another tree-themed math activity with free printable (Free Printable: Summer Palm Tree Hundreds Chart Mystery Picture from Mrs. Thompson's Treasures at Teachers Pay Teachers) in a week or so. 

I love making DIY themed cards and counters to introduce odd and even and add interest and variety to cards and counters. I used maple leaf acrylic pendant. You need exactly 55 leaves if you want to do the numbers and counters 1-10.

DIY Maple Tree Cards and Counters Layout

Again, we use a Montessori Services rug for our floor work. 

Conifer and Deciduous Tree Match Ups Conifer and Deciduous Tree Match Ups  

Free Printable: Deciduous and Conifer Tree Matchups from Every Star Is Different 

This is another super easy activity to prepare. I used a Multicraft tray, printables, and Bambu condiment cup to hold the small cards. You could use just the deciduous or conifrer matchups on the tray. I have both combined on this tray. 

Fingerprint Trees through the Seasons Fingerprint Trees through the Seasons TrayFree Printable: Seasons and Trees from Jessica Steffel at Teachers Pay Teachers

For this activity, I just used the printable on a Multicraft tray along with a washable stamp pad for kids to use to make fingerprint "leaves" for each season of tree. 

More Free Tree Printables 

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free tree printables from around the blogosphere: Free Tree Printables and Montessori-Inspired Tree 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 Tree Activities and Resources 

Montessori-Inspired Arbor Day Activities (my roundup post)

Montessori at Home or School - How to Teach Grace and Courtesy eBook

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 Earth Day and Arbor Day!
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 42 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and 3-year-old granddaughter live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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