Memorial Day Activities with Free Printables

This post may contain affiliate links.

Memorial Day is one of my favorite holidays.  I have such fond memories of the day, dating back to when I was a child, going to cemeteries with my grandparents, placing flowers in front of headstones of relatives that had passed.  The day was filled with stories of those from the past.

My father was a military man, serving in Vietnam for the navy, and then serving in the Desert Storm War for the army.  My husband's father and maternal grandfather were military men.  My maternal grandfather was a military man.  I will always remember the day my father returned from Saudi Arabia.

In college, I worked at a funeral home part time.  It was one of the most spiritual and enjoyable job experiences of my life.  When I had Dinomite, I made it a point to celebrate Memorial Day, especially after all I had learned.  Our city has a wonderful parade. We all dress in our red, white, and blue.  We visit specific Memorial Day sites during the day.  In the evening we walk in our local cemetery.  The only thing that divides the cemetery from our yard is a fence.  Our children have watched many burials and funeral processions from our window, always asking questions.
Dinomite at age 4

Besides multiple activities Memorial Day Weekend, we dedicate the week to learning more about the holiday in our classroom.  Here's what we've been up to!

English:
Funeral Site Words
I'm excited to go through each of the cards individually and explain to the kiddos what each picture and word means, in a way that is simple and understandable to them.  I find they always do so much better when they have a solid knowledge and understanding of concepts, as they're presented visually.

Source:  I created this activity.  If you would like access to the free printable click HERE.

Patriotic Consonant Blends
Dinomite is doing extremely well with his reading, however he's struggling with his consonant blends.  I'm hoping these cards and the action of writing the consonant blends will help him understand how to combine the two sounds.  It definitely won't hurt for Princess and Bulldozer to learn what two consonants sound like together either.

Source: I created this activity.  If you would like a free copy of the cards, click HERE.

Memorial Day Poetry
Studying poetry is very much a part of Montessori.  I wrote this very simple Memorial Day poem for the kiddos to read and analyze using the props provided.  Here is the poem if you'd like to use this Meomorial Day.

See the Man Stand

There was a man,
home from war he ran.
His job was done.
He put down his gun.

See the man stand.
He's next to the band.
He still wears his boots
that match his suit.

He remembers so well
all the men that fell.
So we are free
from those across the sea.

Today I stand proud,
listening to the music loud.
He fought for me,
So that I can be.

Math:
American Presidents Sequence Activity
The kiddos will sequence the presidents of the United States of America using the Placemat as a control.

Source: The free U.S. President cards can be found at Toddler Approved.

History of War Numbers
This activity is being used in a variety of ways depending on the child who chooses it.  Those who are able to sequence the wars in history cards, will do so.  Those who can not, will create the years and/ or number of casualties in each war.

Sources:  I made the war cards.  If you'd like a free copy, click HERE.  The number cards can be found for free at Montessori Print Shop.

Soldier Addition

Princess seems to LOVE addition and subtraction.  Mind you she's three years old.  However, if there's an activity like this on the shelf she instantly chooses it every day, first before any other activity.  I was super excited to use my little military men as counters this week!

Source:  These cards are part of a free printable pack at Royal Baloo.


Geography/Culture:


Current World Conflicts involving the United States of America

Dinomite LOVES history.  It's one of his new passions.  This activity was created specifically for him.  Using the country/continent cards and Toy Soldiers Dinomite will find and mark each country on the Map of the World, where American soldiers are involved in conflict or in danger right now.  (Cards were created to reflect the year 2013).

A special thanks to my friend Morgan Deane author of the book, Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents: Ancient Warfare in the Book of Mormon  and the blog, Warfare and The Book of Mormon for helping with this activity.

Source: I created this activity with the help of a friend for verifying information.  If you would like a free copy of the cards, click HERE.

Land, Air, & Water Military Vehicles
In honor of Memorial Day, we decided to practice our land,air and water sorting skills using military vehicles.  Dinomite and Bulldozer were delighted.  There are 36 sorting cards in this activity which made it all more fun.

Source: I created this activity using information and pictures from Wikipedia.  If you would like a free copy of the cards, please click HERE.

The Armed Forces
The kids have been going crazy waiting to get their hands on this activity.  To teach the kids about the different armed forces I made cards for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.  One set has their seal/logo. The other set has a picture of what their parade flags look like.  In the basket are different types of military vehicles. It's up to them to separate which vehicles are used by each of the different armed forces. Obviously some are used by many of them, but for their simple minds, I figure it will make the most sense to categorize them.  It was very difficult finding military vehicles in stores.  If you're interested in this collecting some of your own, you may want to consider the Metro Army Military Combat Diecast Vehicle Play Set.

Source: I created this activity.  If you would like a copy of the armed forces cards, click HERE.

Sensorial:
Red, White & Blue Sensory Bin
This week we're exploring the colors red, white and blue using a sensory bin filled with various textures.  Sensory bins can be so much fun.

Practical Life:
How to Fold an American Flag
I think it's important for everyone to know how to fold the American Flag.  I found fabulous pictures on Wikihow, along with directions that I made into cards for the kids.  I found a flag at our local dollar store and voila!  The kiddos are pros at folding napkins so I figure this will be a fun challenge for them.

Source: I created this activity using information I found on Wikihow.

Memorial Day Flower Arrangements
The kiddos will practice making flower arrangements all week.  On  Friday, they'll take them to the cemetery behind our house.  There they will find a soldier's headstone that doesn't have flowers and place them there.

Source: I created this activity.

Flower Tweezing
The kids will practice tweezing the red, white, and blue flowers, putting them in the other bowl. I just realized this pictures doesn't show the activity going from left to right.  Oops. I'll have to fix that!

Art:
Cookie Cutter Stars
The kiddos will dip the Star Cookie Cutter Set in the red and blue Crayola Washable Finger Paints and then make star outlines on the page.

How to Draw a Star
Dinomite just learned how to draw a heart by himself and is so excited.  He's been asking about how to draw stars, so I figured this would be the perfect time for him to learn how.  The diagrams came from Wikihow.  I just made them into cards.  There are only 5 steps!

Taps Analysis
This week, the iPad is being used as part of our music lesson.

When I think of Memorial Day, I instantly think of "Taps."  The kids are not familiar with it at all.  So, I went online and found a video I was quite impressed with that emphasized a lot of the things they'll be learning this week.

I made sure to supply ear phones so the music wouldn't disturb the other kiddos.  After the first viewing of the video, the kids will use the sheet music I've provided to follow the melody line as the piece is played.  I've connected notes so it's easier for the kiddos to follow along with their finger.  After following along, there are a few music theory cards on the tray.  The kids are to look at the cards and find the matching notations on the sheet of music.

I'm hoping it will go over well.  If nothing else, they'll recognize the piece and know when it is played.

I'm not sure who's more excited about our activities this week, the kiddos or me.

For more patriotic activities check out the posts below:


Read More »

My Body: The Immune System and Personal Hygiene


This post may contain affiliate links.

We've moved into our third week of studying our bodies. It's been very interesting to see how this unit has evolved, based on the needs and understandings of the kiddos.  Last week, as I was thinking about what to cover next, knowing what I'd planned was going to be too difficult, my thoughts instantly went to the immune system.  The kiddos weren't sick at the time, but it just made sense to me.  Funny thing is, two out of the four kiddos became mildly ill with horrible colds over the weekend.  My timing is perfect!

This week I was super excited about an idea I found as an object lesson, and boy did the kids LOVE it!  I had all of the kiddos put a small amount of lotion on their hands and rub until they couldn't see it anymore. I did this as well.  I then poured a very small amount of green glitter on the table and "accidentally" put my hand in it.  I then "accidentally" put my hand on my cheek.  The kiddos were giggling hysterically.  Next I shook each of their hands and well... It went on from there.  Bulldozer was determined to have green glitter on the table space in front of him, so I did end up doing that for each of the kiddos.  Needless to say, by the end of the presentation we were all covered in green glitter.

I explained to them that the green glitter was germs.  We talked about how quickly germs can spread and just how many of them there are around us.  They LOVED this activity.  It was a perfect introduction to the immune system.

On to our other activities!

This post has been updated, providing links to all free printables.  Some printables may vary from the pictures shown, to comply with copyright laws etc.  I worked extremely hard to have them resemble those shown in pictures.

English:
First Name Play Dough Mats
 The kids love play dough activities, so I figured I'd make boards with their names on them.  They can choose to use their own name or the name of a sibling.  Originally I had black play dough out to use for the activity, just because I had a lot of it.  However, after our first day of learning activities I'm so tempted to make green play dough with glitter tonight!

Suffixes
 Dinomite is still struggling to understand the concept of suffixes and rightly so. It's a very BIG concept for such a little guy with so many rules.  I adjusted an activity I created a few weeks ago to create this one.  There are five different words in the singular form, in one pocket.  The kiddos' job is to create those words one at a time using our "movable" alphabet.  Each of those words follows a different rule when making a singular word plural.  Once they've made the singular form of the word, they take away and add the letters necessary to make the word plural.  There is a set of cards with the plural versions of the words on them, as they need help.  Once they've physically changed the letters in the words to make them plural, they match up the rule to the specific word changes.   I'm hoping going through the actions in such a physical way will help Dinomite gain confidence in himself and help him remember the rules.

Source: I created the cards for this activity.  Click HERE for your free copy.

Writing Immune System Words
 There are many things you can do with these cards, however, I wanted to try to incorporate some writing into our trays.  Each kiddo will attempt to write the words on the cards the best they can.  If I notice the task is too difficult for Bulldozer and/or Princess, I'll just have them write the first letter of each word.

Source: I created the cards for this activity. For your free copy, click HERE.

Math:
Addition with Germs & White Blood Cells
We've used these addition wheels before, but again, Dinomite is trying to nail down all of his math facts by the end of June, so I brought out the ones he's struggling with.  Seeing as our theme is the immune system I used green glass beads as germs and white glass beads as white blood cells.

Source: These addition wheels can be found for free at Montessori for Everyone.

Get Well Store
 This activity is very similar to last week's activity, however, I made new cards to match our theme of the week, changing up the money values etc.  I use real coins, separated into little cups.  To help the kids remember the names and values of the coins, I pulled out our coin flashcards.  The object of the activity is to pull out the correct amount of change from the little cups to match the amount on the cards.  The little kiddos will then identify the coins by name.  Dinomite will count the money amount and then see if his answer matches the amount written on the back of the cards.

Despite accidentally erasing my card set from last week, (which I'll recreate) I'm pretty excited about how these turned out.  Different types of treatment one might need because of "germs" infecting the body are on the cards.  The discussion that comes from the pictures alone is great!

Source: I created the cards for this activity.  For your free copy, click HERE.

What Time Do I Wash My Hands?
 This activity is similar to one we did two weeks ago, however I made cards to match the theme we are studying.  The kiddos look at the card and then move the hands on the clock to match the card.  The little kiddos then turn the card over and say the time on the back.  Dinomite tells an adult what time it is before he turns over the card.  Most often he's right.
 I designed the cards to teach the different circumstances kiddos should remember to wash their hands.  The discussions have been great.  It's been super exciting to see the kiddos apply what they're learning in our classroom to daily living situations.

Source: I created the cards for this activity.  For your free copy, click HERE.

Science/Health:
Immune System Match Up
 I would have loved to do more with these cards, however I was out of planning time. I've seen how people use play dough to create the different ideas etc.  Perhaps next time.  For now we're just matching up.
 Source:  I found these cards at Mixing Playdough.

Dos and Don'ts of Spreading Germs
 These cards really don't have a control, other than a match up, however I've realized Bulldozer LOVES the yes/no card series I've been making. It doesn't take him long to do it himself and he actually learns.  The yes/no cards work very well with his black and white way of thinking.
 Each "no" card has a match up "yes" card to teach kiddos what to do, instead of what not to do when germs are concerned.

Source:  I created the cards for this activity.  For your free copy, click HERE.

Brushing Teeth Sequence
Dinomite is pretty good at brushing his teeth, however, Bulldozer and Princess have much to learn. I found these great sequencing cards online and couldn't resist using them.  The only downfall to the set is that there are a lot of cards in the sequence.  I'm hoping the kiddos can still do it with help!

Source: I found this activity at Connectability.ca.

Washing Hands Sequence
I wanted this activity in our mix specifically for Bulldozer.  He struggles sequencing events.  This activity seems very simple and easy for him.  It will also help him remember what to do when it's his turn to wash his hands.

 Source: I found these cards at Boardmaker Share.

Art:
Germs with Personality
This was such a cute activity. I couldn't resist. Already after one day it's a favorite.  It's so much fun to make your own germs!
I diluted our paints with water.  The kiddos use the eye droppers to put paint on the paper.  Then they use the straw to blow the paint in different directions to create germs. Once the paint is dry they can add facial features, including googly eyes.

 Source:  I found this activity at Raising Sparks.

Music:
Musical Instruments that Shake
We're starting to collect quite a variety of musical instruments.  I decided to pull some out that the kiddos can shake. Already the kiddos are comparing the sounds and shapes of each of the instruments. I love it!

Practical Life:
Operation
I found this at Salvation Army and couldn't resist. After all, it's the first thing I thought of as we started studying the body.  There are no batteries in the game, as that would make it impossible for the kiddos and extremely annoying for Mommy.  It's a simple tweezing activity, or not?  Bulldozer and Princess have become very frustrated with it already.  Hopefully they'll keep working at it throughout the week.  Dinomite loves it!

Syringe Water Transfer
This activity has been loads of fun and lots of work at the same time.  The kiddos are having a blast but it's taking them more coordination and practice than they thought it would, to be successful at transferring the water.  I think they're doing fabulous!

Blowing Your Nose
There isn't a single kiddo in our home who can blow their nose successfully.  So, I figured we could use the lesson and practice.  After reading about the step by step process Montessori Schools use to teach kiddos this skill, I made cards to help them remember the steps.
Source: I created the cards for this activity.  For your free copy, click HERE.

Washing Hands
My kiddos are pretty good at the process of turning water on, putting soap on their hands, and then rinsing, however they tend to neglect the actual washing part, or rinse the soap off before they start rubbing their hands together.  I loved these cards I found.  They actually give a step by step hand motion process to make sure the kiddos wash their hands completely.  We've even progressed to washing our faces today, which I think is pretty cool. Although, again, we're going to have to find or create a step by step process for remembering all the parts of the face. Lol.

 Source:  I found the illustrations and directions at Project Wet.

Sensorial:
Oral Electrolyte Solution Taste Testing (Gatorade Taste Testing)
I was super excited when I came up with this idea.  (If it's out there already, I didn't know about it.)  It's always so hard to come up with sensorial activities my autistic kiddos will actually attempt.  It's even harder to take care of my autistic boys when they get sick, especially when they need fluids.  Bulldozer will not drink anything but water.  Add his allergies to the mix and it gets pretty hairy.

The kiddos are LOVING this challenge so far.  Bulldozer, to my surprise, tasted every single flavor today.  He didn't like any of them, except for the water with the added solution, but hey, that's progress in my book.  Honestly, until today while at the store, I didn't even know they made plain water with the solution.

I used medicine cups as sample cups for each flavor.  They really are the perfect size.  As the kids keep tasting the flavors throughout the week I'm certain we'll be getting into discussions about what flavor they like best, least, etc.

Throat Drop Taste Testing
Again, I was super excited about this idea when it came to me.  I was a little bit concerned about the kids' intake of throat drops during one setting, but no one kiddo finished more than one throat drop.  The rest they just tasted and then took out of their mouths, putting them back on the tray.  The kids were sitting down at their table during the testing, so I wasn't as nervous about choking. Still, it was funny as I had to explain to them all how to just suck on a piece of "candy."  Princess instantly wanted to chew them up.  Dinomite didn't know exactly what to do.  By the end, they had the hang of it and loved the activity.  It's surprising how many flavors of throat drops there are out there.

And that's it for this week!  I've not been great at documenting the books we're reading every day. Hopefully next week I can do better with that.

We are having so much fun during learning time in this house!

If you like what you see, and haven't already join us on facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest!
Read More »

My Body: The Circulatory System

This post may contain affiliate links.

This week we're learning about our circulatory system and how to keep it healthy and working properly. 
I'm trying to hold off until the start of our new school year to "officially" teach Princess and Bulldozer to write their letters and numbers, just so I can stay with my syllabus. I'm super excited I found this prewriting activity that will lead straight in to letter writing.  This week we're using salt, but I'm thinking about using shaving creamed or whipped topping next time, just to vary it up.

Body Sight Words
We've used the cards and body parts before, however, I've not asked them to spell the words.  Bulldozer usually loves these types of activities.
Source: I created the cards for this activity.

Exercise Suffixes
Dinomite is still working on learning about suffixes. He seemed a little overwhelmed by the last activity and so I tried to simplify this one a bit.  The first step for him seems to be separating the word from the suffix and then learning how to read them and pronounce them together.
Source:  I created the cards for this activity.

Math:
Medical Supply Coin Activity
Dinomite learned the value of coins earlier this year and how to count them. However, he tends to forget easily.  Bulldozer and Princess are only identifying coins.  So I created this activity in hopes that it will work for everyone.  To go along with our theme, I used medical supplies.
Bulldozer and Princess will try to match the coins on the cards with coins they take out of the cups.  There are control cards to help them identify the cards. Dinomite will match the coins with the card, count them, and then check the answer I've written in on the back to see if he's correct.

Source:  I created the cards for this activity.

Healthy Heart Addition & Subtraction
One of Dinomite's last goals for the year is to learn his addition and subtraction facts. He does pretty well, but I find more practice is always better for him.  Princess really likes this activity too.  I still can't believe at the age of 3, she's already subtracting.

 Source: I found these free cards at Montessori Print Shop.

Minutes of Exercise Graph
Yet again this week I created another graph.  The kiddos do well with them.  I love that they are starting to understand how to make them and read information from them.

Source: I created this activity.

Culture:
Happy Habits for a Healthy Heart
This activity is part research based and part religious based.  I read several articles about what we should put into our bodies in order to have a healthy heart, but then also, being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I applied the teachings of the Word of Wisdom to our lesson.  No matter what your religious faith, it may just be a matter of rearranging the cards a little bit to fit in the category you want them to.
Source:  I created the cards for this activity.

Science:
The Heart
I loved this diagram when I saw it.  My husband had the fabulous idea of not only cutting out the labels for each part of the heart, but also the parts of the house.  Such a clear and colorful way of seeing all of the parts.
Source: I found this diagram at Spell Out Loud.

Human Heart Arteries & Veins
I must admit, I had no idea Crayola had such wonderful educational coloring pages, that is until I started using them as they'd come up in my searches.  I love the hands on way of learning the difference between veins and arteries and where they are in the heart.

Source: I found this coloring page at Crayola.com.

Sensorial:
Human Body Sensory Bin
Originally I wasn't going to make a sensory bin this week, however, I was kind of grossed out by the other options I saw.  The kids would have probably liked them, but I just wasn't in the mood.

This bin includes:
large red glass beads
large white glass beads.
Small red pony beads
Clear glass ball beads
Tiny white skeletons (They're squishy!)
Tiny pink body parts and organs (They're squishy!)

As I build my collection of body parts (most likely after Halloween when everything's on clearance), I'll add more items.

Practical Life:
Tweezing Red & White Blood Cells
I just love practical life activities. I feel they're just as important as Math or English.  Hence why I always try to have so many.

Source: I found this idea at Discovery Days & Montessori Moments.

Drops of Blood from Veins & Arteries
I wanted to find a way to teach the kids the concept of pumping blood.  Instead of creating an intricate model, I decided to use our droppers.  One glass bottle is filled with blue water and the other red water to represent the veins and arteries.  I had thought about making cards to explain where each color pumps from and to, but I decided that might be too complicated at this point for the kiddos.  Plus I knew the card would get covered in water.

Spooning Red & White Blood Cells
There's nothing like combing three different activities in one!  The kids are learning about the difference between red blood cells and white blood cells.  They're learning how to use a spoon and scoop them.  Let's not forget the sorting of blood cells too!

 Source: I was inspired by ideas I saw on Living Montessori Now.  You can find the link to the cards there as well.

Art:
Tracing Hearts Using Stencils
The kids don't know how trace or draw hearts, so I figured this would be a good introductory lesson.  They may struggle a little bit with coordination of holding the heart and tracing at the same time, but hopefully they'll do okay.  I can't wait for my metal insets to come.

Filling Our Hearts
This is a cute art activity, but the actual purpose of it is to help the kiddos with their brush control and motion.  The goal is to keep the paint inside the corresponding heart color as they brush using the proper technique.

Source: I saw this activity at To the Lesson.

Music: We also did a music activity, but it was a review from a previous unit.

This is our week! I'm super excited and can't wait to see how it goes!  Next week we'll be learning about the immune system!
Read More »

Get Access to Exclusive Special Needs Parenting Printables by Subscribing Below




HERE'S WHAT'S POPULAR ON EVERY STAR IS DIFFERENT