Autumn Leaves Quiet Book & Fall Homeschool Unit

Autumn Leaves Quiet Book & Fall Homeschool Unit

This quiet book page was designed last year, but I ran out of time before autumn ended to actually sew it. This year I made sure to pause my projects and get it finished. We don’t have any trips coming up that require a quiet book, so I especially like making ones that fit in well on our Montessori homeschool shelves. This page certainly does!

Autumn Leaves Quiet Book & Fall Homeschool Unit

There are a number of features to this page: practice with snaps (which improves motor skills and the ability to dress yourself), sorting colors,  sorting sizes, and counting.

Autumn Leaves Quiet Book & Fall Homeschool Unit

I included three bins with snaps to add number labels. (The labels can also be placed on the trees!) I left it open for Jax to decide how to use the bins. He could potentially put the largest quantity of leaves in the largest bin, or he could put the largest sized leaves in it. This is something you could explore with your child.

Autumn Leaves Quiet Book & Fall Homeschool Unit

When you are finished with the page, you can snap the bins to the trees for storage.

What I Used:

This biggest bummer about this project is that I bought the leaf buttons last year, and now they are no longer made by the manufacturer! When I posted to our Facebook page about it, I linked to the one source I had seen so far. But now all 10 packs are sold out.

Autumn Leaves Quiet Book & Fall Homeschool Unit

Here are a few non-felt button options you could try. I’m not sure how well sewing a snap to a plastic button would work though. There is a pack of 12 buttons that match the colors and sizes I used, but you’d need multiple packs to have the same number as me. Here is a larger listing of those buttons. This is another brand, but the colors and sizes seem more assorted. There are a number of felt die cut leaves on Etsy, but they all seem to be larger. This seller has some that are 25mm. (Last photo below copyright Planeta Costura.)

etsy

You may be better off cutting out your own out of felt. If you want to skip snaps, you could just cut one layer of felt for each leaf (I recommend thicker wool-blend felt), but be aware they are more likely to get damaged or lost. You could take the time to cut 2 layers per leaf and sew them together. It’s so frustrating that they aren’t sold anymore!

Sewing the Page

Background: I started by cutting everything out and pinning it down: first the ground, then the trunks, then the tree tops (green, red, then yellow). I sewed down the tree trunks, then sewed down the tree tops. Then I sewed down the top edge of the ground that was showing between the trees.

Note: This is how I sew my quiet book pages together. Because I sew all the way around the edge while sewing on the backing, I don’t usually bother to sew elements along the edges of the page.

Autumn Leaves Quiet Book & Fall Homeschool Unit

Leaves: For all of the leaf buttons, I used A LOT of stitches to attach snaps to the backs. Then I coated the stitches with Fray Check and let them dry overnight.

Tree Snaps: On the green tree, I sewed down 3 size 1 snaps. I sewed the matching halves to the backs of the green leaf buttons. On the red tree, I sewed 6 size 2/0 snaps on to the tree top and the red leaves. On the yellow tree, I sewed down 9 size 4/0 snaps to the tree top and leaves. Not that I left a 2″ area on the left without snaps to allow for where I sew my binding and add grommets. I have not added grommets yet. I usually do that right before a trip when I need to link pages together.

I added a size 1/0 snap to each tree trunk to hold either the numbers or the bins.

Numbers: I back stitched numbers on the fronts of each number pieces and the other half of those 3 size 1/0 snaps to the backs. Then I sewed them together.

Autumn Leaves Quiet Book & Fall Homeschool Unit

Bins: The bins were just sewn together with an open top. I cut mine on a fold so I didn’t have to sew the bottom. I added a snap to each one – one half of the snap set on each side of a bin. These snaps let you either attach the number label or attach the bins to the trees.

Montessori Use

Autumn Leaves Quiet Book & Fall Homeschool Unit

This page works well as a Montessori activity for our autumn unit. I adore this wooden leaf tray I found at a thrift store! It is perfect for presenting the leaves or other autumn supplies. I’ve also laid it out in a tray with the leaves spread out on the ground just like Jax finds them outside.

Autumn Leaves Quiet Book & Fall Homeschool Unit

Here is our current main shelf of our homeschool room. The bells will be featured in an upcoming post!

Autumn Leaves 3-Part Cards

Autumn Leaves 3-Part Cards

In the Montessori method, 3-part cards are an essential tool that can follow your child through multiple levels of development. They can be used in any subject to aid in adding vocabulary, learning to sort/classify, reading practice and so much more. Three-part cards are made up of two photos – one with a label, one without – as well as a separate label. Younger children start with the labeled card to help them learn the vocabulary. One of the best ways to use them is with small objects that match the photos. Older kids can work with the unlabeled card, matching the correct words or writing their own.

Autumn Leaves 3-Part Cards

I put together a set of 3-part cards for Jax to learn how to recognize various leaves in our area. I used only trees that can be found in our area, but they are very common ones. You are welcome to use my free pdf to make your own set! I am hoping to take our cards out on a walk once more leaves start changing colors so we can match them up. (Our server caching is causing troubles for some people. Here is an alternate download link!)

Autumn Leaves 3-Part Cards

To make mine, I cut them out, glued them to green card stock (this is simply a color I chose to assign to all my future botany collateral) then laminated them. It makes them shiny and strong. I really love my laminator – as everyone told me I would!

Autumn Leaf Watercolors

Autumn Leaf Watercolors

We needed a quick afternoon activity the other day, so I took some watercolor paper and traced some leaves using my artist pen. (For the exact materials and techniques I used, see my recent watercolor post.) Then Jax and I each painted in our leaves with watercolor paints.

Jax was very set on painting his leaves only the proper colors you’d find in nature. He also wanted to add a red sky and green ground (he still does sky and ground as little strips at the edges of the page!)

Autumn Leaf Watercolors

We both ended up with beautiful artwork, worthy of a frame!

For an even quicker activity, print out my free leaf coloring sheet!

Autumn Nature Walk

Autumn Nature Walk

This past weekend was beautiful here in northern Virginia! Jax and I grabbed a basket and set out looking for early autumn treasures. The leaves are just now starting to turn, so we focused mainly on other items.

Autumn Nature Walk

We found all sorts of seeds and acorns, bits of birch bark, leaves and acorns. Jax quickly got into our “treasure hunt” and was very excited to show me each new find!

Autumn Nature Walk

We brought our bounty home to look through and enjoy.

Autumn Sensory BinAutumn Sensory Bin

I don’t do many sensory bins, but I should! I pulled together an autumn sensory bin for Jax using our nature walk treasures. I added them to a basket of dried corn, and autumn season stickers I’d laminated and cut out. I provided a wooden bowl from the thrift shop and a little wooden spoon (from an old brown sugar jar.)

Autumn Sensory Bin

Jax jumped right in and started scooping the contents and exploring the textures. I’d drawn a few autumn items on our schoolroom chalkboard along with writing the words. I had Jax hunt for those three stickers in the sensory bin, then let him choose three more for me to draw. Next time he can hunt for all six.

Autumn Sensory Bin

We plan on doing many more autumn-themed activities throughout the season. Do you have any fun ideas for us? Let me know here, or send me ideas via Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Here is a Pinterest-ready photo for you to pin!

Autumn Leaves Quiet Book & Fall Homeschool Unit

I am linking up to the wonderful Montessori Monday! If you do any homeschooling, I urge you to check out the weekly link up for great ideas!

Montessori Monday

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers

This past weekend was a 3-day holiday weekend here in the U.S. thanks to Labor Day. My husband announced we would be painting our powder room. I love color in my house, so I he didn’t have to ask twice. But of course I never DIY something halfway, so I was immediately brainstorming ways to involve Jax in the decorating.

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers  IMG_2918

Once we chose a lovely spring green called Pear by Behr, I was inspired to try watercolor painting with my toddler! The bright citrus color just begged for some sweet watercolor paintings to be hung on it! Don’t be afraid to try watercolors. It is great medium for young kids!

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers

The materials you need are: watercolor paper, watercolor paints, a pencil and eraser and an art pen. I have a fine art degree, so I bought nicer watercolor paints that I could add to my fine art supplies as well as use with Jax. Mine is the Cotman Watercolor Compact Set. I have this 11″ X 15″ Watercolor Paper Pad that was 40% off at the craft store for back-to-school. I used a Faber-Castell Pitt Artists’ Pen, also from the craft store (with a 50% off coupon.) I also used a bunch of old thrift and dollar store picture frames and a can of white spray paint.

Start by having your little one draw pictures on the watercolor paper with a pencil. Remind them they don’t need to color anything in at that point. We are just making the outlines. I LOVE that Jax loves to draw actual pictures now instead of just rainbows and scribbles. (He still loves drawing rainbows, though!)

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers

While they are drawing their second picture, trace their pencil lines with the waterproof artist’s pen. Jax got ahead of me to I send him to the school shelves to choose an activity to do until I finished tracing. When you are finished tracing and the ink is dry, erase the pencil lines.

And then comes the fun part! Painting!

Painting his rainbow.

Painting his rainbow.

I started out loading and cleaning Jax’s brushes for him. I showed him how he could get extra water on his brush to spread the paint more if it starts to get dry. We explored the different marks each brush made.

I let him do some careful paint loading, and also let him help mix colors in the tray. When he painted his house scene, he asked that we “work together” on the sky, so I helped fill it in. I think he was worried he’d mess it up.

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers

Jax really enjoyed painting!

"House"

“House”

"Fruits & Veggies"

“Fruits & Veggies”

"Rainbow"

“Rainbow”

He was so proud to see them hanging up in the finished powder room.

Have you tried watercolor paints with your toddler? When Jax was even younger, I painted outside with him on canvas with acrylics.

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers

How can you not smile when you see art like this?

Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

If you haven’t been introduced to our Montessori wall map and quiet book yet, you can read all about it here. This post is for the continent of South America! Every continent (and the oceans) will have landmarks and animals. Some, like Europe, have more landmarks than animals. South America has all animals, as it has so many great ones to choose from!

Overview and Map PatternsAfricaAntarcticaAsiaEurope North AmericaOceans • South America

All our pieces so far!

All our pieces so far!

A quick note: Do you have a website that fits in with our readers’ interests: sewing, felt, homeschool or Montessori? I am trying out a new sponsor banner system and I have my 125×125 spots open for free swaps! There are currently 3 spots left, so please visit the Sponsor page to read more! Check it out to the left! Thank you for the help!

Those of you who follow along on Facebook or Instagram have been seeing all the fun South American animals I’ve sewn. I love that there were some brighter colors, thanks to the rainforest animals! I made: a poison dart frog, a toco toucan, a spider monkey, a jaguar and a sea lion.

Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

I want to say a quick thank you to Libby A. for the surprise off of Jax’s Amazon wishlist! I use his list to bookmark school and craft items until I am able to get them. I’d added some trims I need for Jax’s robot Halloween costume (which will be featured here!) and they arrived in the mail to us this week! Thank you!! For more ways to contribute to this site, visit my support page.

Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Materials I Used

The Pattern (see the first post for the main patterns) Felt from American Felt & Craftbig apple [red], orange juice [orange], gold nugget [gold], limeade [lime green], cilantro [olive green], stone [taupe]  doe [brown] elephant [med gray], white and black. Hook & Loop – I used white snag-free Velcro on the backs of all these pieces and pink hook & loop (loop only) on the front of the South America puzzle piece. My pink hook & loop was store brand at Joann’s but you can find all colors here. Felt glue to tack down the pieces before sewing, printer fabric for the continent label, embroidery floss in colors to match the felt and micro tip scissors.

South America shares a page in the quietbook with Antarctica.

South America shares a page in the quietbook with Antarctica.

Sewing the Pieces

South America: (Felt used: bubble gum pink) For the South America continent puzzle piece, I sewed down pieces of pink loop Velcro. On the back, I sewed a strip of white snag-free Velcro to correspond with the Velcro in the quietbook. I finished it by sewing the two sides together around the edge with a blanket stitch. Label: (Felt used: bubble gum pink) For the continent label, I folded under the edges (just a tiny bit to hide the rough edges) and creased it with my nails. The printer fabric held the folds nicely without ironing. Then I stitched the label to some white felt and trimmed it down to be a border. I cut a matching felt rectangle for the back, sewed snag-free Velcro to it and then sewed both sides together.

Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

For all of the animals, I started by gluing the pieces down to a scrap of background felt with a very light amount of felt glue. I glue multiple animals at a time to give them time to dry. I sewed them down, trimmed the background and cut a matching backing piece. I sewed snag-free Velcro to the back and sewed both sides together with a blanket stitch. Poison Dart Frog: (Felt used: big apple red for the body, black for body details and limeade lime green for the background) I started by gluing down the red body, then gluing the strips on top. I sewed around all the edges. I matched my frog to the one in the Safari Ltd Rainforest Toob, which our animal encyclopedia says is Lehman’s Poison Dart Frog. You could make yours any color, especially if you have the Frogs and Turtles Toob. (My 3-part card is not a red Lehman’s. I never use photos without permission and I was unable to find a photo I could use of one. But the photo I took of a Golden Poison Dart Frog at the aquarium makes for a fun lesson where we can match them to our book.)

Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Spider Monkey: (Felt used: doe brown for the body, black for body details and cilantro olive green for the background) I glued the brown body of the spider monkey down first, then his hands, feet and face. I sewed all around the edges. I gave him French knot eyes, a little brown stitch for his nose, and a long black stitch to make an open mouth. Toco Toucan: (Felt used: black for body, orange juice for the beak,  limeade for the background and white) I first glued down her orange beak and gray leg, then her black body and wing. I glued the white chest on top and then the orange eye area. On top of the beak, I added the black felt piece. I sewed around all the edges then I gave her a bright blue French knot eye. (Their eyes are not really blue – that is a ring of blue skin around their black eye.) On her wing and tail, I made long straight stitches to show the feathers.

Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Jaguar: (Felt used:gold nugget gold for the body and cilantro olive green for the background) I glued the golden body of the jaguar with his far legs layered underneath. I glued one side of his ear down, then added a stitch to hold it once it was dry. I gave him a French knot eye with little black stitches on either side to make a cat-eye shape. I used white to make a mouth and black to make a small nose. For the spots, I made the larger ones using a similar technique to the lazy daisy stitch (a loop of thread that is pinned down by a small stitch at the peak) but used arch shapes instead of closed loops. The smaller stitches are just tiny stitches – some with a few close together to make medium spots.Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables Sea Lion: (Felt used: doe brown for the body and stone taupe for the background) I glued the brown body of the sea lion, then sewed around the edges. I made long stitches on his flippers to show the webbing. I glued one side of his ear down, then added a stitch to hold it once it was dry. I gave him a French knot eye and a little black mouth.

Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Montessori South American Animals 3-Part Cards

Currently jax is focusing on his world continent 3-part cards, but we’ve done a small session with each of the animal card sets as I’ve made them. He sees me making them and insists! We will study the animals with more depth when we focus on a particular continent.

Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

For now, we pull out our SafariLTD’s TOOB figurines and use our 3-part cards to match them whenever he shows interest. We like to watch short videos about an animal, then study some pictures and draw our own.

I used the Rainforest Toob for these cards. The sea lion is from the Ocean TOOB.

I used the Rainforest Toob for these cards. The sea lion is from the Ocean TOOB.

Click here to download my free pdf file to make your own. To make mine, I cut them out, glued them to pink construction paper (to match South America’s Montessori color) then laminated them. I love my new laminator! It makes everything so shiny and strong! I’ve been giving it a workout!

Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Exploring South America’s Animals

I’m still so happy I found my The Encyclopedia of Animals: A Complete Visual Guide when our basement flooded! (Though I’m less happy that my dining room table is covered in 2′ high piles of books.)

Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

It has a lot of beautiful photos and useful facts about many different animals. Jax and I will be using it to match up with our 3-part cards and read more about the animals. We also use my iPad and YouTube to watch short video clips.

Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Here we used the encyclopedia to identify which kind of spider monkey we had.

Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables  Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

I know many of you are sewing along (or about to!) If you are, stop by my Instagram @iolstephanie and leave a comment on one of my photos (I can’t see your photo if it you are private, but I can request to follow you temporarily if you leave a comment on mine about it) or share photos on Facebook. You can also email me. I love seeing others’ take on my patterns!

Animals of South America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

It’s not even slightly Montessori Monday still, but I hope you’ll check out the other great links!

Montessori Monday

Safari Ltd. Musical Instruments Giveaway & Free Montessori Printables

Safari Ltd. Musical Instruments Giveaway & Free Montessori Printables

The giveaway is now closed. Thanks for playing!

Jax and I will be starting a music unit in homeschool this fall, so when I came across this Musical Instruments TOOB by Safari LTD I had to get them!

Our family has always had a great love of music. My brother and I were both “band geeks” throughout our school years. (Though I find nothing geeky about music!) I played the oboe, and still have mine. I was also in the marching band, playing cymbals in the drum line. I married a DJ and we’ve surrounded Jax with music since before he was born. He adores dancing and singing. Anything we can put in a song he learns faster. I hope that providing him with a solid base of knowledge in music fundamentals now will help cultivate a lifelong love.

Safari Ltd. Musical Instruments Giveaway & Free Montessori Printables

Disclosure: I purchased this Safari Ltd TOOB on my own, but Safari Ltd kindly is providing the winner of this giveaway with a Musical Instruments TOOB. All opinions expressed are my own.

Musical instruments are beautiful to look at! They definitely capture a child’s attention. And combined with learning about the sounds that they make, you have a learning opportunity that is all fun!

Safari Ltd. Musical Instruments Giveaway & Free Montessori Printables

The Safari Ltd Musical Instruments TOOB contains: Trombone, Flute, Saxophone, Classical Guitar, French Horn, Clarinet, and Trumpet. Strike up the band!

Safari Ltd. Musical Instruments Giveaway & Free Montessori Printables

Safari Ltd TOOBS are collections of individually hand painted miniature replicas featuring vibrant colors, fine, professional sculpting, and accurate detail. They are available in dozens of themes, and each set comes in a reusable acetate tube that snaps open and closed for easy storage. The tube also has a spinning globe on its cap. TOOBS are perfect for educational projects, traveling, collecting, and imaginative play.

Safari Ltd® is a family-owned, educational toy company whose mission is to teach children the importance of nature and its conservation through the joy of play. With more than 1,000  hand-painted products ranging from mythical creatures to famous landmarks, learning meets fun with Safari Ltd.

Safari Ltd

Montessori Musical Instruments 3-Part Cards

In the Montessori method, 3-part cards are an essential tool that can follow your child through multiple levels of development. They can be used in any subject to aid in adding vocabulary, learning to sort/classify, reading practice and so much more. Three-part cards are made up of two photos – one with a label, one without – as well as a separate label. Younger children start with the labeled card to help them learn the vocabulary. One of the best ways to use them is with small objects that match the photos. Older kids can work with the unlabeled card, matching the correct words or writing their own.

Safari Ltd. Musical Instruments Giveaway & Free Montessori Printables

I have created a set of free musical instrument 3-part cards to correspond with Safari Ltd’s Musical Instruments TOOB. Because I had room for one more card on my printout, I included an oboe. I used an oboe necklace charm (and my real oboe!) for matching. You could set that card aside when doing object matching.

Safari Ltd. Musical Instruments Giveaway & Free Montessori Printables

Click here to download my free pdf file to create your own. To make mine, I cut them out, glued them to charcoal gray card stock (this is simply a color I chose to assign to all my future music collateral) then laminated them. It makes them shiny and strong. I really love my laminator – as everyone told me I would!

Safari Ltd. Musical Instruments Giveaway & Free Montessori Printables

Musical Instruments and Their Sounds

Here is a collection of video links you can play to listen to each instrument’s sound and learn more about them: Trombone, Flute, Saxophone, Classical Guitar, French Horn, Clarinet, and Trumpet. (And Oboe!)

Safari Ltd. Musical Instruments Giveaway & Free Montessori Printables  Safari Ltd. Musical Instruments Giveaway & Free Montessori Printables  Safari Ltd. Musical Instruments Giveaway & Free Montessori Printables

Bookmark this page to come back to when you are studying instruments with your child.

Safari Ltd. Musical Instruments Giveaway & Free Montessori Printables

Musical Instruments TOOB Giveaway

1 lucky winner from the US will win the Safari Ltd Musical Instrument TOOB (ARV $12). If you a a follower of Safari Ltd on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube or Google+, they will throw in a bonus prize!

Who is Eligible:

This giveaway is open to anyone 18 and older living in the US. Safari Ltd. will pay for shipping the prize to you.

To be eligible, leave a mandatory blog comment below telling me why you’d like to win the Safari Ltd Musical Instruments TOOB. After you’ve commented, be sure to click “enter” on the Rafflecopter form to open up the additional entry options. Enter as many ways as you’d like, once you’ve completed the mandatory blog comment. If you are already a follower of Safari Ltd or Imagine Our Life, you can still enter via that option by verifying your username!

If you need help with Rafflecopter here is a link for a quick tutorial video. At times, the Rafflecopter form can take a minute to load on the page.

The giveaway closes 12:00 am EST on Tuesday, September 3.

winnerCongrats to our random winner, Mae P.!

Good luck!

Here is a Pinterest-ready image for you! Find me on Pinterest @imagineourlife. Find Safari Ltd on Pinterest @safariltd.

Safari Ltd. Musical Instruments Giveaway & Free Montessori Printables

This post is linked up to Montessori Mondays. Please pay it a visit for lots of great Montessori and homeschool ideas!

Montessori Monday Family-Friendly Giveaway Linky

Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables

Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables

When I switched to Montessori-style homeschool for Jax at the beginning of the summer, Jax’s aunt and uncle kindly offered to purchase some educational supplies for him. They chose some items off his wishlist, and chose some others themselves.

Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables  Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables

One educational toy they sent was Learning Resources Super Sorting Pie. This little fruit pie has become such a favorite for Jax that we just gave one as a gift at a three-year-old’s birthday party! I keep it in our homeschool classroom to keep it separate from our play toys. He is free to take it out and “play” with it along with the school activity trays I set up each week.

Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables

The sorting pie comes with an assortment of little fruits – two color variations of each shape of fruit. The inside is divided into 5ths, and you can pull the dividers out and change between a variety of activity cards to encourage your little one to sort. The set also comes with two plastic tongs to help work on your child’s pincher grip. Jax only uses these about 50% of the time that he plays with the set, but I’ve already seen a huge improvement when he does.

Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables

Recently, I wanted to start doing some work with patterning. I didn’t want to have to buy new supplies, so the little fruits in our sorting pie seemed perfect. I used Adobe Illustrator to draw each of the fruits, then laid them out into pattern strips of varying difficulty.

Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables

I am sharing these printables with you for free! Here is the pattern printable. If you don’t have the Learning Resources Super Sorting Pie, I have added a sheet with fruits you can print and cut out.

Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables

I recommend laminating everything. I have this laminator and love it! (These are affiliate links, btw. I get a tiny bit of Amazon credit if you purchase it, at no cost to you!)

As seen on our Montessori shelves.

As seen on our Montessori shelves.

Jax was super excited to see this tray, and was barely able to wait for me to finish prepping everything! We worked our way through all the patterns, starting with the easiest.

Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables

I though he’d struggle with the ones that didn’t have a full pattern repeat shown (ie: 1, ?, 3, ?, 2, ?), but he surprised me and had no trouble.

Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables

When we got to the two strips that were fully filled in, I extended them with a blank strip. He actually had the hardest time with the really long patterns.

Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables

Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables

I’ve also included a blank sheet of patterning squares so you or your child can set up your own custom patterns. I asked Jax to make some patterns, but he just fills the squares randomly at this point. I took a turn and made some patterns for him to complete.

Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables

This activity was such a favorite that Jax asked to repeat it again before bedtime!

Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables

Want to pin it? He’s a Pinterest-ready picture! Find me here on Pinterest

Fruit Sorting & Patterning with Free Printables

Happy Monday! Please be sure to take a look at all the great Montessori and homeschool ideas on the Montessori Monday linkup!

Montessori Monday

DIY Sewing Labels

DIY Sewing Labels

Here is a quick little project you can do to personalize your sewing projects: DIY sewing labels!

Materials

 To create your own sewing labels, you need to start by designing them. I made mine in Illustrator and just used my logo. For side tags, I laid out two logos side by side so they could be folded in the middle. For top tags (like the kind that would be in the neck of a shirt), I just had the design on the top half. If you wanted washing directions (or anything else), you could put it on the other side.

DIY Sewing Labels

I created a couple of quick Word files to get you started. I included some free designs you can use. If you use the designs I made, you’ll need to download two free fonts from Google: Elsie Swash Caps & Crafty Girls. Of course, you can totally do your own thing!

DIY Sewing Labels

Side Labels

Follow the directions on your printer fabric, then cut out your label, making sure you have enough space to have .25″ extra all around. Iron the label flat. Iron the two long sides towards the back of the label.

DIY Sewing Labels

On your sewing machine, sew the folded edges, staying very close to the edge. I used my presser foot as a guide. (See the photos.) I sewed around three sides because I didn’t want to have to stop and start again. You could even go all the way around if you wanted to.

DIY Sewing Labels

Iron the seams flat again, then fold the label and press the fold well.

DIY Sewing Labels

To add your tag to your sewing project, place it between the right sides of the fabric with the non-fold end in your seam.

DIY Sewing Labels

Turn your project right side out and press your seam. I added a top stitch to this quick pillow.

DIY Sewing Labels

Top Labels

Top labels are made the same way, but the two short sides are the ones you want to fold under.

DIY Sewing Labels

If you want to be sure your labels don’t unravel inside the fold, you could add some Fray Check, or have a larger seam allowance and fold the edges under twice. I didn’t bother, though.

DIY Sewing Labels

If you make a project with a custom sewing tag, I’d love to see! Tag a photo to me on Instagram @iolstephanie (I can’t see it if you are private. Just come comment on one of my photos and I’ll follow you.) Or stop by our Facebook page and post a photo!

DIY Sewing Labels

Happy sewing!

Here’s a Pinterest – ready photo for your boards! You can find me on Pinterest here.

DIY Sewing Labels

Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

If you haven’t been introduced to our Montessori wall map and quiet book yet, you can read all about it here. This post is for the fastest continent to sew for – Antarctica! Every continent (and the oceans) will have landmarks and animals. Some, like Europe, have more landmarks than animals. Antarctica just has two animals featured, as there are mainly just seals, penguins and other birds.

Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Antarctica was a bit different than the rest in another way: it is the only continent that is hugely affected by the map projection. On the wall map, it is shown as a long, unraveled strip at the bottom. So Antarctica is sewn to the map, but I also made a piece in its actual shape that Jax can compare to it or to his globe.

Overview and Map PatternsAfrica • Antarctica • AsiaEurope
North AmericaOceansSouth America

A quick note: Do you have a website that fits in with our readers’ interests: sewing, felt, homeschool or Montessori? I am trying out a new sponsor banner system and I have my 125×125 spots open for free swaps! There are currently 5 spots left, so please visit the Sponsor page to read more! Check it out to the left! Thank you for the help!

Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

My pyramids are still missing… Time to sew a new one!

Those of you who follow along on Facebook or Instagram might have seen there was a bit of a mishap in Antarctica. Well, the Antarctica in our house, at least. Our golden retriever got a little too excited about my penguin and ate him! Since I had to sew him a second time, I made him even cuter. He now is a daddy penguin with a little chick!

Regardless of that excitement, I still love working on this project! This will be an amazing resource for Jax throughout his school years. Yes, I am giving you all my patterns and printables for free! If you’d like to contribute, visit my support page. School items off of Jax’s Amazon wishlist always help! Especially because our heating/cooling unit just just freaked out and flooded our basement. We are now $6k poorer, despite insurance help. Yikes. I am currently saving up Amazon credit for the handbells on his wishlist. If I can get those, I’ll share a music unit with you all! but it looks like I won’t have enough until the end of September.

Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Materials I Used

The Pattern (see the first post for the main patterns)

Felt from American Felt & Craftwhitesalt & pepper [dark gray], elephant [med gray], black, rubber duckie [yellow] and gray.

Hook & Loop – I used white snag-free Velcro on the backs of all these pieces and on the Antarctica puzzle piece.

Felt glue to tack down the pieces before sewing, printer fabric for the continent label, embroidery floss in colors to match the felt and micro tip scissors.

Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Shown here on the quietbook page that Antarctica will share with South America.

Sewing the Pieces

Antarctica: (Felt used:white) For the Antarctic continent puzzle piece, I sewed down pieces of white snag-free Velcro. On the back, I sewed a strip of white snag-free Velcro to correspond with the Velcro in the quietbook. I finished it by sewing the two sides together around the edge with a blanket stitch.

Label: (Felt used: white) For the continent label, I folded under the edges (just a tiny bit to hide the rough edges) and creased it with my nails. The printer fabric held the folds nicely without ironing. Then I stitched the label to some white felt and trimmed it down to be a border. I cut a matching felt rectangle for the back, sewed snag-free Velcro to it and then sewed both sides together.

Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables  Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

For all of the animals, I started by gluing the pieces down to a scrap of background felt with a very light amount of felt glue. I glue multiple animals at a time to give them time to dry. I sewed them down, trimmed the background and cut a matching backing piece. I sewed snag-free Velcro to the back and sewed both sides together with a blanket stitch.

Penguin: (Felt used: white for the body and background, black for body details, elephant for the shoulders, gray for the chick and rubber duckie yellow for the neck) I started by gluing down the shoulders, the gluing the black wings to the back of the white body. I glued the body down over the shoulders, then glued the neck, feet and head. I then glued down the two parts of the baby chick penguin.

I sewed down all the edges with matching thread. For the baby, I sewed two long, dark gray stitches for wing flaps. I made French knot eyes then highlighted them with a ring of white stitches. The daddy penguin got a dark gray French knot eye.

Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Leopard Seal: (Felt used: white for the background, salt & pepper dark gray for the back and flipper, and gray for the body) I first glued the gray body down, then added the darker back and flipper. To make the spots, I just made lots of little stitches. The tiny spots are just one stitch. The larger ones are a few stitches side-by-side. She has a French knot eye, a little stitch nose and a longer stitch mouth. On the tail and flipper, I made long dark gray parallel stitches.

Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Montessori Antarctic Animals 3-Part Cards

Jax is still focusing on his world continent unit with the world continent 3-part cards I made up for him. We are using our Montessori globe and singing the continent song I made up. So far, He can point out the continents I ask for, and he can usually tell me the names of Africa ans Antarctica without prompting. We’ve also started using the ocean cards a lot. For the animals, we haven’t done a lot of formal lessons yet. We will when we focus on a continent. For now, we pull out our SafariLTD’s TOOB figurines and use out 3-part cards to match them whenever he shows interest. We like to watch short videos about an animal, then study some pictures and draw our own.

Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

These Antarctica cards don’t really have a good match in figurines. I would LOVE if SafariLTD would create continent-themed TOOBs! (Contact them if you are interested too!) You can match the Penguins Toob to their penguins. They don’t have any antarctic seals. Mine is from the craft store where they sell diorama supplies. I mention it in more detail in my ocean homeschool post.

Click here to download my free pdf file to make your own. To make mine, I cut them out, glued them to white construction paper (to match Antarctica’s Montessori color) then laminated them. I love my new laminator! It makes everything so shiny and strong!

Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Exploring Antarctica’s Animals

One thing that came of our basement flood – I had to move all our books out of the bookshelves and I found my The Encyclopedia of Animals: A Complete Visual Guide!

Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

It has a lot of beautiful photos and useful facts about many different animals. Jax and I will be using it to match up with our 3-part cards and read more about the animals.

Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

I didn’t notice until after I took these pictures that there is a penguin called a “jackass penguin“. Oh my! Poor little penguins!

Screenshot courtesy Google Earth.

Screenshot courtesy Google Earth.

I have Google Earth installed so Jax I I can explore the earth. It is great! If you’d like to load a special Antarctica map with all sorts of points already saved, visit this site. Make sure you have Google Earth installed already!

Animals of Antarctica for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

I hope you are enjoying this project as much as I am! I’ve gotten see the maps a few of you have started! If you are sewing along, stop by my Instagram @iolstephanie and leave a comment on one of my photos (I can’t see your photo if it you are private, but I can request to follow you temporarily if you leave a comment about it) or share photos on Facebook. You can also email me.

It’s not even slightly Montessori Monday still, but I hope you’ll check out the other great links!

Montessori Monday

Montessori CVC Word Match Printables

Montessori CVC Word Match Printables

Today I am sharing a little word game I made for Jax’s Montessori language lessons. We have been working on “pink series” words – CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) that can be read phonetically with soft vowels. (There are some exceptions, like egg and ant, but the pink series sticks to the soft vowel sounds as a start.)

Montessori CVC Word Match Printables  Montessori CVC Word Match Printables

As we’ve been working on these kind of words for a little while, Jax could sight read at least a third. Little smarty pants! But the rest he sounded out, and I helped him blend the sounds.

Montessori CVC Word Match Printables

The free printable includes: 20 word cards to match a Montessori movable alphabet set (we have this one), 20 illustrations drawn by me, and 20 word cards in D’nealian handwriting font (they have a set like that too.) So far, I have printed and assembled the pictures and colored text cards. I’ll be adding the handwriting cards soon.

This is Jax's movable alphabet set.

This is Jax’s movable alphabet set.

Montessori CVC Word Match Printables  Montessori CVC Word Match Printables

To make these cards, I printed and cut them out. I cut 2″ squares of pink construction paper and used a dab of glue stick to attach them. Then I ran them through my laminator and cut them out. Make sure to trim our corners if you laminate – they get sharp!

Jax paused to tell me "w" looks like an upside-down "m"...

Jax paused to tell me “w” looks like an upside-down “m”…

Jax was so excited to play this “game” that he couldn’t sit still! I had him choose a word card, then read it and choose the matching picture. (If you want to add a control of error – self-correction – you could make your picture cards double-sided.) He then chose to use his movable alphabet to copy the word.

When he got to the word “cup”, he realized I drew the tiny cup he has in his current language object basket (tiny objects used to represent words in our language studies.) He then changed the game to include finding the right objects.

A quick update! Later in the day we played outside with chalk. I wrote all the words for him to hop on and read as a review. Before bed, we played the game again, this time, spinning the basket to pick a word!

Montessori CVC Word Match Printables

Montessori CVC Word Match Printables

I’ll need to get more miniatures, but we had a lot of them!

IMontessori CVC Word Match Printables

Please enjoy this free printable! I plan to add more language materials to share as Jax needs them.

Montessori CVC Word Match Printables

Please check out Montessori Monday for more fresh homeschool ideas! Link & Learn is great too!

Montessori Monday

DIY Felt Poppy Headband

DIY Felt Poppy Headband

Jax has a birthday party to go to tomorrow for a sweet 3 year old girl. A girl! You know I couldn’t resist the urge to sew something girlie for her! (We did get her a fun present as well – one of Jax’s current favorite school toys.)

The first thing I made for little E was a fat quarter pillowcase dress. I fell in love with a poppy print bundle of fat quarters when I went in search of something pink. I swapped one of the fabrics for a hot pink, since the fabrics I chose were more peach and coral. The dress was very easy and quick to make! I went with the lined version and used some white cotton leftover from Jax’s quilt. But I needed something to go with it. And of course it needed to be felt!

DIY Felt Poppy Headband

And so, I present the Felt Poppy Headband!

You could easily make a felt flowered headband to suit your own tastes. Change up the colors and flowers! You can take a look at my Bumble Bee Lacing Maze pattern for more felt flower ideas.

DIY Felt Poppy Headband

Materials

DIY Felt Poppy Headband

I started by stitching the details on the top piece of the poppy. I stitched the center of the poppy on using black floss, then went around the circle making long stitched of various lengths, topped with French knots.

DIY Felt Poppy Headband

I set my poppy aside to make the leaves and stem next. I pinned it in place for the photos to show the placement. I made the stem with back stitch, attaching the leaves with a few stitches up the centers,

DIY Felt Poppy Headband

For the lilac flower, I made a stitch to anchor my thread to the headband, then ran my needle through the ends of all the petals, then fanned them out into a big swirl. I made a bunch of stitches in the center to secure them down. (I added the long stitches in the center of each petal later, but you should do that now.)

DIY Felt Poppy HeadbandDIY Felt Poppy Headband

I stitched the center onto the flower, then filled it in with French knots.

DIY Felt Poppy Headband

The last design element I added was a lazy daisy stitch. (See diagram 2.) I added some stitches in a circle in the center of my daisy to give it extra hold.

DIY Felt Poppy Headband

I went back to finish my poppy next. I blanket stitched the back of the flower on, pulling a little too tight so that the petals curled up. When I was finished sewing the back on, I ran the needle out the center back and made a bunch of stitches to hold secure the flower onto the headband top.

DIY Felt Poppy Headband

The next step is to assemble the headband. I pleated the end of one of the ribbon lengths and made a few stitches in it to hold the folds. I layered it in between the two layers of the headband and started blanket stitching around the edge.

When I was about 2/3 down one side, I paused to trim the backing to match, as the wool felt shrunk a bit with all the stitching. At the other end, I repeated the steps for adding the ribbon.DIY Felt Poppy Headband

All done! I think it came out beautiful.

Yes, this is Jackson... I didn't have any other models handy!

Yes, this is Jackson… I didn’t have any other models handy!

This headband is fully adjustable, as it is meant to be tied in a bow at the nape of your neck. You could also tie it to one side to make the bow more of a feature. I think it looks so pretty with the pillowcase dress because the ribbons bring the two together.DIY Felt Poppy Headband

I’m sure an adult could wear this same headband, but you could also increase the length of the base to make a larger one. I plan to make one (or many!) for myself. What a great scrap-buster!

DIY Felt Poppy Headband

Thank you to all of you who voted for this tutorial on our Facebook page!

You'll be seeing a tutorial for this soon!

You’ll be seeing a tutorial for this soon!

But to those of you who voted for the other choice – DIY sewing labels – I’ll be posting those for you next week. So everybody wins!

DIY Felt Poppy Headband

Happy sewing!

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map

If you haven’t been introduced to our Montessori wall map and quiet book yet, you can read all about it here. This post isn’t actually for a continent… It’s for the oceans! Every continent (and the oceans) will have landmarks and animals. Some, like Europe, have more landmarks than animals. The oceans have a lot of labels, 9 animals and one island landmark.

Overview and Map PatternsAfricaAntarcticaAsiaEurope
North America • Oceans • South America

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Those of you who follow along on Facebook or Instagram have been seeing my progress as I’ve worked on the ocean animals. I’m so exciting to be working on this project! This will be an amazing resource for Jax throughout his school years. Yes, I am giving you all my patterns and printables for free! If you’d like to contribute, visit my support page. School items off of Jax’s Amazon wishlist always help!

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook

Materials I Used

The Pattern (see the first post for the main patterns)

Felt from American Felt & Craft – lilac [purple], cilantro [green], stone [beige], pomegranate [pink], whitesalt & pepper [dark gray], elephant [med gray], black and gray. From Benzie Design – swan [blue] for the water.

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables  Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Hook & Loop – I used white snag-free Velcro on the backs of all these pieces. I used aqua blue hook where the animals attach to the ocean.

I updated this 8/6/13 to add one more ocean Velcro piece in the Pacific near Hawaii!

I updated this 8/6/13 to add one more ocean Velcro piece in the Pacific near Hawaii!

Other Things: Felt glue to tack down the pieces before sewing, printer fabric for the continent label, embroidery floss in colors to match the felt and micro tip scissors.

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Sewing the Pieces

For all of the animals & landmarks, I started by gluing the pieces down to a scrap of background felt with a very light amount of felt glue. I glue several animals at a time to give them time to dry. I sewed them down, trimmed the background and cut a matching backing piece. I sewed snag-free Velcro to the back and sewed both sides together with a blanket stitch.

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map

Sea Star: (Felt used: lilac purple for the star and swan blue for the background) I glued down the sea star then sewed all around it. Using long straight stitches, I sewed a starburst in the center.

Killer Whale: (Felt used: black for the body, white for the markings and swan blue for the background) For the killer whale (orca), I glued the black body down first, then the white markings and the fin. I stitched around all the edges.

Sea Turtle: (Felt used: cilantro green for the shell, stone beige for the soft parts and swan blue for the background) For the sea turtle, I glued the soft parts of the turtle down, then glued the shell on top. I sewed around the edges of the soft parts. On the shell, I used a lighter green thread and stitched all around the edge using longer stitches than I usually do. Then I used long stitches to make a shell pattern. View the image full size to use as a guide.

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Tiger Shark: (Felt used: elephant med gray, white for the teeth and swan blue for the background) For the shark, I glued down the teeth first, then the body and fin. I sewed around all the edges, made some long, parallel stitches for gills and a French knot eye. I made some white zig zag stitches over his teeth.

Sperm Whale: (Felt used: salt & pepper dark gray and swan blue for the background) For the sperm whale, I glued down the body and fin. I sewed around all the edges, made a long stitch for his mouth and a French knot eye.

Dolphin: (Felt used: elephant med gray and swan blue for the background) For the dolphin, I glued down the body and fin. I sewed around all the edges, made a long stitch for her mouth and a French knot eye.

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook

Beluga Whale: (Felt used: white for the body and swan blue for the background) For the beluga, I glued down the body and fin. I sewed around all the edges, made a few pink long stitch for her mouth and a French knot eye.

Octopus: (Felt used: pomegranate pink for the body [but I'd recommend a coral or peach if you have it] and swan blue for the background) For the octopus, I glued down the body and eye bugles. I sewed around all the edges and made French knot eyes in black on the bulges.I made a few light pink long stitches in between the tentacles to show the webbing. Then I made ten bazillion French knots! I used two strands of embroidery floss (of the 6 it comes with) and wrapped my needle twice for each knot.

Humpback Whale: (Felt used: elephant med gray for the body, gray for the belly and swan blue for the background) For the Humpback whale, I glued down the body, belly and fin. I sewed around all the edges and added a French knot eye.

SafariLTD provided me with these beautiful World Landmarks and Around the World TOOBs. I am working with them to make this project as amazing as possible. All opinions of these products are honest and my own. We are planning an exciting giveaway for you at the end of this project!

SafariLTD provided me with this beautiful World Landmarks TOOB. I am working with them to make this project as amazing as possible. All opinions of these products are honest and my own. We are planning an exciting giveaway for you at the end of this project!

Sewing the Landmarks

I only did one landmark in the ocean set: the mo’ai statues on Easter Island.

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook

Easter Island: (Felt used: salt & pepper dark gray for the statues, cilantro green for the ground and sparrow blue for the background) I went very simple for this one and just glued and stitched the statues and background down. For all the landmarks, I started by sewing the front piece. Then I cut out a backing felt to match the final shape and added some snag-free Velcro to it. I finished sewed around the whole edge, switching colors where needed.

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Did you notice I sewed the backing on? I used regular craft store polyester felt in black – the large piece that they sell in a package. It was only $3, and I figure I can turn it around and use the back as a felt board. I added two loops of ribbon for hanging. I sewed the backing on with a blanket stitch.

Montessori Ocean Animals 3-Part Cards

Montessori Ocean Animals 3-Part Cards

Montessori-style 3-part cards are great tools to help your young child learn new things. Jax loves them! I like to pair them with nature video clips from BBC and NatGeo that I play on YouTube about each animal. I created these ocean animal cards to be used along with SafariLTD’s TOOB figurines and my felt wall map animals. For the ocean, I used the following TOOBs: the Whales and Dolphins Toob and the Ocean Toob.

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

 Click here to download my free pdf file to make your own. To make mine, I cut them out, glued them to orange construction paper (to match North America’s Montessori color) then laminated laminated them. It makes them shiny and strong.

Montessori Ocean 3-Part Cards & Control Chart

Montessori Ocean 3-Part Cards & Control Chart

Jax just started his world continent unit with the world continent 3-part cards I made up for him. He loves his new Montessori globe,  and has his continent song memorized! This ocean set may be a bit advanced for him right now, but who knows – he is always surprising me! Montessori circles back through material, diving deeper into it each time, so it never hurts to introduce something when your child show interest.

Montessori Ocean 3-Part Cards & Control Chart

This set includes 3-part cards for the world’s oceans and a control chart showing the oceans outlined and labeled. You can start with a basic presentation of the oceans on our globe, comparing the globe to the cards. Click here to download my free pdf file to make your own

Montessori Ocean 3-Part Cards & Control Chart

For younger kids, you can have them match the labels to the labels on the control map to help early reading skills. Talk about how the continents look on the cards versus the globe and control chart map projection.

Montessori Ocean 3-Part Cards & Control Chart

For older kids, try a little painter’s tape on the backs of the labels and have them use the control chart to label your globe. Once your child is familiar with the labeled cards and chart, have them start matching the unlabeled cards as well. Eventually you can have them label the cards and the globe on their own.

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Ocean Books

I’ve started collecting some ocean books, so when Jax chooses one in the schoolroom, I can pull out our SafariLTD figurines and 3-part cards to match them. Most of my books are from the thrift store and out of print. These are The Blue Whale, Seashore, John Denver’s Ancient Rhymes: A Dolphin Lullaby (Audio CD Included) (John Denver & Kids Series), Way Down Deep (All Aboard Science Reader) and Baby Beluga (Raffi Songs to Read).

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

I hope you are enjoying this project as much as I am! I’ve gotten see the maps a few of you have started! If you are sewing along, tag me on Instagram @iolstephanie and come comment on one of my pictures (I can’t see your photo if it you are private, but I can request to follow you temporarily if you comment on mine) or share photos on Facebook. You can also email me.

Animals of the Ocean for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

It’s Montessori Monday on Tuesday for me this week, but I hope you’ll check out the other great links!

Montessori Monday

 

DIY Montessori Math Beads

DIY Montessori Math Beads

If you have a young child who is interested in math, the Montessori method of using beads to represent quantities is a great place to start. This is a part of the whole “concrete to abstract” formula Montessori uses. The Montessori bead materials allow a child to experience the difference between 1, 10, 100 and 1,000 with his own hands.

Work in progress...

A work in progress…

These Montessori beads have been a long-term project of mine. I have a lot done, but I still have more to go! My main goal for the moment was to create some base golden bead materials and a bead stair. The next priority is having enough made to do the subtraction snake game. (We’ve actually done some very simple versions of that already.) And I purchased enough beads to make the basic golden bead materials and a full decanomial set (55 of each color) so we can move on to multiplication. Beyond that, we’ll see…

DIY Montessori Math Beads

Our golden bead materials so far…

I used 6mm wooden beads from Fire Mountain Gems. That site gives you lower prices the more items you buy at once. Because the wood beads come in small packs of two 16″ strands, it added up to a lot of little items! I hesitate to say how many of each I got, as I’m not done yet and I’m not sure if I have the right amount yet. You can use their strand chart to help you figure out how many beads you get.

DIY Montessori Math Beads

Our bead stair!

Materials:

  • Bead, beads and more beads!  Gold, dark blue, purple, turquoise, yellow, pink, green and red. I also ordered some grey to use for negative bead stairs eventually. My brown, black and white beads are from a big mixed bag. They are actually 6mm-7mm. But they were out of brown and white when I ordered, and I was able to get a huge bag for $5 due to my volume discount. I don’t really mind that they are a bit bigger, though some of them have huge holes.
  • I ordered 3″ eye pins to save myself time. You could get wire if you can find a good price. I got 10 packs of 100 eye pins for $20. The 3″ ones are long enough to fit the 10 bead golden bead bars. For the bead bars with 6 or less beads, I was able to save the extra wire I clipped off and use it to make more short bars.
  • I used plastic canvas to construct the bead squares and the 1000 bead cube. I’ve seen this technique in several places, but most notably Montessori at Home.
  • My beading tools from jewelry making were a must! I used my wire cutters and my round nose pliers.
DIY Montessori Math Beads

I’m not really a fan of plastic beads, but I think it was ultimately how beautiful the painted golden beads were that drove me to use wood.

Making Bead Bars

The basic steps to make the bead bars are very simple! Starting with an eye pin, load on the number of beads needed. Trim the wire so you have some extra to make a loop. My extra wire was about 9mm. I err on the long side and trim if my loop seems too big.

DIY Montessori Math Beads

Make the end loop by first bending the wire at a right angle to the bead bar, then using the round nose pliers to create a loop. Close the bottom of the loop by squeezing it with the pliers, tucking the end into the hole of the top bead. If your bead holes are big, you’ll need bigger loops.

Bead Bars and Cubes

As I mentioned, I used the technique posted by Montessori at Home to make my hundred squares and my thousand cubes. I still have at least 7 more hundred squares to make!

DIY Montessori Math Beads  DIY Montessori Math Beads

The thousand bead cube was quite the project! Probably because it involves 1,000 beads. Hah! Luckily, it is totally acceptable to have just on beaded thousand cube and then show your child how wooden thousand cubes are models of it. So a set of those and wooden hundred squares is on our wish list.

DIY Montessori Math Beads

I had a lot of extra beads in the smaller colors, so I tried out making some of the bead cubes and squares. I’d need a lot more beads to do a full set of those, so I’ll have to see Jax’s interest level later on.

DIY Montessori Math Beads

Using the Beads

There are online resources that can show you the proper way to introduce the bead materials. I really like Info Montessori. Jax is a creative learner, however, so I often let him lead our activities after I’ve presented the basics. At the moment we are focusing on counting quantities with the golden beads and practicing the the bead stair. He is dying to move on to the addition snake game, but I want him to have a better grasp on the basics first. We’ve done a few simple addition games, though!

We use these small wooden number cards when we work with our bead materials.

Jax is still working on the names of the larger quantities – he gets hundred and thousand confused sometimes. He’s getting quicker and recognizing how many beads are on a bar with practice. That is one reason why I encourage him to use the bead stair right now.

Free Bead Stair Printables

Free Bead Stair Printables

I made Jax some worksheets to use with his beads. One is a control sheet that shows the colors and numbers. The other is a coloring sheet for him to color in the Montessori bead colors. I made the graphics in Adobe Illustrator and the page layout in InDesign. I’m offering our printables free for your educational and personal use!

Bead Stair Control Sheet

Bead Stair Coloring Sheet

Free Bead Stair Printables

In Our Montessori School Room

I try to take quick snapshots with my phone while Jax and I do our school in the morning. The little school room off our bedroom (that was once Jax’s nursery) gets such beautiful light! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see many of our activities. Here is a round up of some of our recent ones!

Our Montessori Room

As usual, I’m a bit late for Montessori Monday! But it is such a great way to find new Montessori resources online that I always make sure to read it! Check it out if you are interested in more great activities!

Montessori Monday

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map

If you haven’t been introduced to our Montessori wall map and quiet book yet, you can read all about it here. This post will be for the second continent in the series: North America! Every continent will have landmarks and animals. Some, like Europe, have more landmarks than animals. North America has a good mix of animals and landmarks.

Overview and Map PatternsAfricaAntarcticaAsiaEurope
North America • OceansSouth America

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Those of you who follow along on Facebook or Instagram have been seeing the animals and landmarks I created for North America. I’m so exciting to be working on this project! This will be an amazing resource for Jax throughout his school years.

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

I am posting this project in segments instead of all at once so that you can sew along with me! You can head to the Facebook page right now to choose which continent (or the oceans!) I should start next.

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map

Materials I Used

The Pattern (see the first post for the main patterns)

Felt from American Felt & Craftorange juice [orange], ice [blue], pastry [tan], doe [brown], cactus [gray-green], chocolate [brown], cilantro [green], white, black, gray, chai [beige] and fresh linen [off-white]. From Benzie Design – swan [blue] for the water.

Hook & Loop – I used white snag-free Velcro on the backs of all pieces, including Africa. I used the soft loop side of orange hook & loop on the front of Africa. I used once piece of aqua blue loop where the narwhal attaches.

Felt glue to tack down the pieces before sewing, printer fabric for the continent label, embroidery floss in colors to match the felt and micro tip scissors.

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

My North America page is not sewn around the edges yet, as I still need to sew the page behind it!

Sewing the Pieces

North America: (Felt used: orange juice orange and scraps of swan blue for the water) For the North American continent puzzle piece, I started by gluing then sewing the water down to the front side. Then I sewed down pieces of orange loop Velcro. (I worked from my stash, so I only had light orange left. American Felt & Craft sells normal orange too!) On the back, I sewed strips of white snag-free Velcro to correspond with the Velcro on the wall map and quietbook. I finished it by sewing the two sides together around the edge with a blanket stitch.

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Label: (Felt used: orange juice orange) For the continent label, I folded under the edges (just a tiny bit to hide the rough edges) and creased it with my nails. The printer fabric held the folds nicely without ironing. Then I stitched the label to some green felt and trimmed it down to be a border. I cut a matching felt rectangle for the back, sewed snag-free Velcro to it and then sewed both sides together.

For all of the animals & landmarks, I started by gluing the pieces down to a scrap of background felt with a very light amount of felt glue. I glue several animals at a time to give them time to dry. I sewed them down, trimmed the background and cut a matching backing piece. I sewed snag-free Velcro to the back and sewed both sides together with a blanket stitch.

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Eagle: (Felt used: chocolate brown for the body, white for the body, orange juice orange for the beak and feet and sparrow blue for the background) I glued down the all the parts, then sewed around the edges. I gave him a black French knot eye and made some long brown stitches for the feathers on the wings.

Caribou: (Felt used: chai beige for the body, chocolate brown for the overlays and hooves, fresh linen off-white for the antlers and fresh cut grass green for the background) I glued everything down, then stitched around all the edges in the appropriate colors. I used a brown French knot for his eye and a long stitch for his mouth. A tiny stitch made his nostril.

Iguana: (Felt used: cilantro green for the body, salt and pepper for the body shading and limeade lime green for the background) I glued and sewed down all the parts, with his neck beard the bottom layer. On the beard, I made long perpendicular stitches to look like the ribbing. He has a French knot eye and long stitch mouth.

Narwhal: (Felt used: chai beige for the body, chocolate brown for the overlays and fins and swan aqua blue for the background) Oh, narwhals, I love you! A bit of a guilty pleasure, as narwhals are one of my favorite animals (my most favorite will be in the Ocean post.) Most of the world’s narwhals are concentrated in the fjords and inlets of Northern Canada and western Greenland,” so for this map, I’ve included them in North America After gluing and stitching around the edges, I gave him a French knot eye and made diagonal stitches along the tusk. To make the spots, I just made lots of little stitches. The tiny spots are just one stitch. The larger ones are a few stitches side-by-side.

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Polar Bear: (Felt used: white for the body, soap sud for the background [discontinued]) For the polar bear, I glued the back legs and body down, then glued the ear on, only pushing one side down so it stuck up. I used a French knot to make the eye, a long pink stitch for the mouth, and black satin stitch for the nose. I stitched all around his body, making longer stitches on his toes for claws, and made one stitch to secure the ear to his head. The background felt I used was one of my last scraps of a beautiful off-white color called “soap sud” which is now discontinued. Fresh linen is another open. It is more taupe then lavender, though.

Beaver: (Felt used: chocolate brown for the body, black for the tail and four leaf clover for the background) The beaver’s tail, back legs and body were glued down, then I sewed all around them. I attached the ear the same as with the polar bear. I used a French knot for the eye and some straight stitches for a stick in his mouth.

Alligator: (Felt used: salt and pepper for the body and cilantro green for the background) I glued his body down and stitched all around. I used olive green to do a French knot eye and a long stitch mouth. I made two lines of tiny dashed stitches to show the bumps running down his back.

SafariLTD provided me with these beautiful World Landmarks and Around the World TOOBs. I am working with them to make this project as amazing as possible. All opinions of these products are honest and my own. We are planning an exciting giveaway for you at the end of this project!

SafariLTD provided me with these beautiful World Landmarks and Around the World TOOBs. I am working with them to make this project as amazing as possible. All opinions of these products are honest and my own. We are planning an exciting giveaway for you at the end of this project!

Sewing the Landmarks

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall MapFor all the landmarks, I started by sewing the front piece. Then I cut out a backing felt to match the final shape and added some snag-free Velcro to it. I finished sewed around the whole edge, switching colors where needed.

Statue of Liberty: (Felt used: rainy day gray-blue [discontinued] for the statue, pastry tan for the base and sparrow blue for the background) I used a pretty gray-blue felt that is now discontinued. It’s one of the problems with using scraps on a project! Blueprint looks like a good option.

For lady liberty, I glued all the parts down. There are some tiny ones! I used a light tan thread to stitch the designs on the base. I used a dark aqua thread to sew details on the statue itself. Don’t worry about too much detail! The overall effect doesn’t really need it.

See the photos for a sample of what stitches to do. I worked from the lovely SafariLTD replica.

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Mt Rushmore: (Felt used: gray flannel for the mountain and gray for the details) For Mt Rushmore, I glued the lighter gray details down, then stitched a light gray design to give them some faces. Very simple stuff like their hairlines, eyes/nose/mouth and some shirt details for Washington.

Temple of Inscriptions: (Felt used: pastry tan) I think the temple came out pretty for having only used one color of felt. I glued the stair overlay down, then started stitching rows of back stitch. When I’d get to the overlay, I’d do one long stitch across it. I did an additional long stitch in between rows to make small stairs. At the top, I stitched little brown triangles to make the arched windows. I didn’t pull the stitches super tight, which let them have the curved shape of an arch.

Montessori North American Animals 3-Part Cards

Jax just started his world continent unit with the world continent 3-part cards I made up for him. I finally ordered a Montessori globe after saving up for it, so I’m not really rushing the lessons. However, he saw me working on the cards and asked to have a lesson. He is loving them! I created these cards to be used along with SafariLTD’s TOOB figurines. North America’s animals use a wide range of TOOBs: Arctic Toob, Whales and Dolphins Toob, and River Toob.

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Click here to download my free pdf file to make your own. To make mine, I cut them out, glued them to orange construction paper (to match North America’s Montessori color) then laminated them. I love my new laminator! It makes everything so shiny and strong!

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

North American Animal Silhouettes

Another activity that will help Jax with him reading and writing skills is the North American animal silhouette match. Drawing lines between the matches help with writing skills, and recognizing the similarities between the photos and silhouettes helps build visual skills needed for reading. Silhouettes from All-Silhouettes.com, 2, 3.

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Activities:

Introductions and Matching: There are so many activities that can be done with all of these materials. You could start with the SafariLTD figurines and introduce the name of each animal to them. You can then present the felt versions for them to match up. Once they are comfortable with the animals and know them by name, you can show them the labeled photo cards and have them match them. Once they have advanced some, you can use the unlabelled cards and have them match the right words to each card or figurine.

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Starting Sounds: For a great language activity, have your child tell you the starting sound for each animal. To make games like this extra engaging for Jax, I call them “letter races” and have him run to our movable alphabet and grab the right letter. For correction of error, match your 3-part cards to see if the answers were correct.

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

On the Map: You can move the wall map to the floor and have your child place the right SafariLTD figurines on each continent. While you are still introducing them, you can stick to one continent at a time and match the names or photo cards. Seeing the animals on the maps is a great way to help them remember!

And of course your child can match the correct felt animals and landmarks on the wall map or in the quietbook while on the go.

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Animal Videos: After Jax matches his animal, I like to have him choose one and then I queue a video about them on YouTube. I like the NatGeo and BBC clips. Seeing the animals in motion really captures his interest and helps him remember them. He was really taken by the mandrill video when we did your African animal cards.

Animals of North America for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

I hope you are enjoying this project as much as I am! I’ve gotten see the maps a few of you have started! If you are sewing along, tag me on Instagram @iolstephanie (I can’t see your photo if it you are private, but I can request to follow you temporarily) or share photos on Facebook. You can also email me.

I’m very late for Montessori Monday this week, but I hope you’ll check out the other great links!

Montessori Monday