Thursday, March 15, 2018

Montessori-Inspired Duckling Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

If you're looking for a fun spring theme, I have one today that's very popular with young children! I've put together a number of Montessori-inspired duckling activities that can be used in the classroom or at home. 

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

Montessori Shelves with Duckling-Themed Activities

My shelves with duckling-themed activities include a free duckling culture card designed by The Montessori Company. You’ll also find Montessori-inspired duckling 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 Ducks and Their Ducklings, Duckling Duckling, Just Ducks! and Duckling Days. These books are all Montessori friendly. Most of these don't have a lot of words and are perfect for young preschoolers and beginning readers. Just Ducks! is Montessori-friendly fiction with facts about ducks interspersed with the story. 

I have some more duckling books in my book baskets, including the classic Caldecott Medal book Make Way for Ducklings (not a Montessori-style book, but it's an awesome book!). 

I also have a fabulous yellow duck nesting doll set! My 4-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, was so excited to see the baby duck (which is super small, since there are 10 nesting ducks in this set. Zoey could do it easily, but she's in love with the tiny duckling. Of course, this set isn't designed for toddlers. 

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

Duckling Culture Card and Ducks and Their Ducklings Book

Duckling Culture Card with Ducks and Their Ducklings Book  

I'm happy to share with you this sweet hand-painted duckling culture card from The Montessori Company. You can use it on your shelves to introduce a duckling or bird unit. I’m hosting the free printable as an instant download at Living Montessori Now. You can always access the free duckling culture card here. 

The description says: “Ducklings are baby ducks and can often be seen following the mother duck in a line. They live in and around fresh water.” 

Matching Montessori Color Box 3 Shades of Color to a Duckling Photo Matching Montessori Color Box 3 Shades of Color to a Duckling Photo 

Free Printable: mallard duckling from Pixabay 

For this activity, I added some color tablets from the Montessori Color Box 3 that were some of the shades of colors found in the photo. You could just give Color Box 3 (or color box 3 printables) to the child for color matching, although adding specific color tablets is an easier activity. It still requires the child to find the exact match in the photo. 

For younger children, just give the colors from Color Box 2 that are found in the photo. Even if they don't match exactly, they'll still be the same basic color. You can use printables instead of actual color tablets. 

Duckling Shapes and Metal Inset Matching

Tray with Duckling Shapes and Metal Inset Matching  

Free Printable: Duckling Matching Printables from Spark and Pook 

I used a Multicraft tray to hold the printables along with metal insets that match the cards. The printable includes 6 of the 10 metal inset shapes. I actually have plastic insets instead of metal insets. I like them for home use because they can be stored in one basket.  

Duckling Shapes and Metal Inset Matching Layout

You could have one set of duckling cards printed on white and one on yellow. I printed mine on the same color of cardstock and used a 1/4" label dot on the back. I used one color of dots for one set and another color of dots for the other set. 

You could just have your child match the printable cards without metal insets, or you could make your own geometric shapes in place of the metal insets. 

Letter D Object Basket with Mystery Bag and Blindfold Letter D Object Basket with Mystery Bag and Blindfold  

Free Printables: Duckling Letters for Letter D 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) 

As you can see on my shelves, I used a Montessori mystery bag and blindfold for the letter d basket. I got the basket, mystery bag, and blindfold from Montessori Services, and I used a variety of small objects that beginning with the /d/ sound. 

If you’d like ideas for teaching phonics, check out my DIY Beginning Montessori Phonics post.

Duckling Salt Writing Tray with Fonts for Letter D

Duckling Salt Writing Tray with Fonts for Letter D

Free Printables: Duckling Letters for duckling 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 writing 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 simply colored salt by putting some Wilton gel food coloring in a plastic bag with the salt and shaking it until it was mixed thoroughly. It's actually the salt from my bee-themed writing tray. (I reuse many of my materials for other units.) 

Duckling Movable Alphabet to Go with the Book Make Way for Ducklings Duckling Movable Alphabet  

Free Printables: Duckling 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). 

Movable Alphabet Spelling and Reading Words "Pond" and "Duck" to Go with Make Way for Ducklings

Notice that there are 8 mallard ducklings ... just same type and number of ducklings as in Make Way for Ducklings! I have a traditional small wooden movable alphabet, so I used that box to lay the letters out in alphabetical order. I had printed out 2 copies of the duckling movable alphabet. Then Zoey and I matched the movable alphabet letters with all the duckling movable alphabet letters. 

If you don't have a traditional wooden alphabet, you can have a stack of my printable cards already in alphabetical order. Lay them out in order and then have your child match them. First I read Make Way for Ducklings to Zoey, and then we worked together to spell "pond" and "duck." Later, we turned "duck" into "duckling." This is a great literature-based activity for kids working on spelling and reading. 

Five Little Ducks Finger Puppets and Book

Five Little Ducks Finger Puppets and Book

Free Printable: Five Little Ducks Printable Puppets from Picklebums 

The Raffi Songs to Read are lots of fun! The Five Little Ducks book goes perfectly with the printable puppets. I just taped regular-size craft sticks to them. Like I often do, I placed everything on a Multicraft tray. 

This activity works especially well at home. I sang the book while Zoey did the actions. I held the mother duck and raised it up whenever the song talked about the mother duck. Zoey took the 5 little duck puppets to another part of the room when the ducklings went away each time. At the end of each verse, Zoey put one duckling on a table. Then I said the subtraction equation - for example, 5-1=4. At the end, Zoey brought all the ducklings back. She really loved the activity! 

Duckling Greater Than, Less Than Math Activity Tray with Duckling Greater Than, Less Than Activity  

Free Printable: Duckling Numbers and Greater Than, Less Than Symbols (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 Bambu condiment cups (what I used here) or other small containers. (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.) In addition to the bead bars, I used popcorn kernels to give the ducklings something to eat.

Duckling Greater Than, Less Than Activity 

I used the concepts from greater than, less than alligator math to place the greater than and less than symbols. This is a fun way to reinforce both bead bar work and greater than, less than. 

Duckling Dice Game for Counting or Addition

Free Printable: Duckling Dice Game from Fun-a-Day Zoey was so excited to find the Safari Ltd. good luck mini ducks on the shelf! I used 12 ducks for addition along with see-through gem stones as markers for the duck game board. I like to play the game cooperatively where the children (or adult and child) take turns adding to the same game board until it's full. 

Use one dice and 6 ducklings for children who are working on counting rather than addition. 

More Free Duckling Printables 

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free duckling printables from around the blogosphere: Free Duckling Printables and Montessori-Inspired Duckling 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 Bird Activities and Resources
Helpful Animal Classification Posts

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 spring!

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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  1. Thanks for sharing the printable resources. Awesome resource for kids DIY projects.

  2. Very informative blog, i must bookmark it, keep posting interesting content...
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