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Mommy, I forgot I was on a playdate...

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Bulldozer had been looking forward to this playdate for weeks.  He was so excited to go bowling.   The morning had gone extremely well.  There had been incentive enough to motivate Bulldozer to get himself dressed.  For the first time in forever, he was waiting for me to get ready.  On the way there, we talked about possible conversation topics.  Bulldozer made a point of mentioning which snack he'd like to select from the vending machine.  He also mentioned he'd like to ask his friend about movies she likes now.

It had been months since they'd spent any time together, yet Bulldozer had hung on to so many fond memories from the summer before. This friend was one of the first that Bulldozer has ever desired to think about or spend time with.  When they do spend time together, if there aren't any other distractions or activities, Bulldozer enjoys socializing.  He may need a few seconds to process what's being said and/or get the words out, but he tries, because he enjoys spending time with her so much.

Today's playdate however, did not go as anyone intended it to go.  I'm sure it didn't help that we kept running into problems finding a bowling alley locally, who's open bowling schedule matched the schedule on their online site.  (Thankfully, the third bowling alley we went to worked out.)  But that didn't seem to throw Bulldozer.  However, as I learned later, it did.

I know that the noise and the sensory commotion of an unfamiliar bowling alley threw Bulldozer a tiny bit, but he was the first to mention how he'd been there before when he was really little and that he remembered it.  It was easy to think that he had made the transition to the new place.

I first noticed my own raw feelings when I had asked Bulldozer to take his shoes off upon entering the bowling alley.  My eyes were on Dinomite, the friend, and myself, as I removed my own shoes.  It was when I went to move everyone forward that I realized Bulldozer didn't have his shoes off.  He needed two more verbal prompts before he was able to follow directions.

I didn't think much of having to put on Bulldozer's Classic Kids Rental bowling shoes.  He still hasn't mastered putting his shoes on yet.  Even when Dinomite started to have a mini freak out over being handed shoes that tie, I calmly said I would help him and I did.  Dinomite refuses to learn how to tie his shoes because he thinks it's too hard.  Eventually we will tackle this skill, but so many other skills seem more important at the moment.

The bowling alley was packed.  We literally took the last free lane available.  Bulldozer, Dinomite and their friend had a place to sit close to our lane, but the friend's mom, little sister, and myself remained standing.  I wondered if this would throw Bulldozer.  We usually sit at a table farther back from the lane at our favorite bowling alley.  Sure enough, it did.

Usually when we go bowling, the boys choose a snack and drink from the vending machines before we start our game.  With the bowling alley so packed and no where to sit, we didn't do that.  When Bulldozer asked about it, I said we might get snacks later in the game, but if not, we could pick something up on the way home.  Both boys seemed okay with this.  I felt good.  (If nothing else Sunshine and Princess are teaching the boys how to be flexible with plans.  There are definite times when we have to turn the car around, or leave where ever we are, because of behaviors.  They know I always make this up to them by doing something else with them as soon as we settle the girls.)  So again, It didn't seem like this little detail threw Bulldozer off, but it did.

Bulldozer was fourth in line for his turn.  We've been bowling several times, so I wasn't concerned about this at all.  However, when it was his turn, he decided he was going to try a new throw, the same that his friend was bowling with.  The only problem with this was that he'd never tried it before.  At first he used he wrong fingers. I tried to help him the second time around, teaching him which fingers to use to throw the bowl.  But after only two tries, he switched back to his preferred way of bowling.

I think we were in the 5th frame when I noticed that Bulldozer's score was lower than everyone else's, including the friend's 2 year old sister.  It was during his next turn that I noticed he was on the brink of a meltdown.  This was about the same time that a table was available for everyone to sit at.  Everyone took five to get snacks, drinks etc.  I was praying silently that this would be enough of a distraction to pull Bulldozer out of his funk.  But then this bowling alley had different snacks in the vending machine.  Bulldozer still chose one, and seemed okay, but it was one more thing to throw him off.

Bulldozer's next turn to bowl arrived.  He did hit some pins on his first try, but the second time he threw the ball, he missed all of the pins.  This is when I knew we were in trouble.  He came back to the table obviously upset with tears coming down his cheeks.  When he's upset or crying the volume of his voice increases to almost a yell.  He was very quick to express his frustrations.

"Every time I bowl a second time I miss!"  I tried to remind him that we were here on a playdate, and that this was supposed to be fun.  I tried to remind him that the score doesn't matter, it's about spending time together.  Nothing worked.

Desperate at this point, I tried to change the subject, prompting Bulldozer to ask his friend the question he had mentioned in the car.

"No!  I don't want to talk about it."  At this point, I could tell his friend was trying to understand what was going on.  Still trying to salvage the situation I asked the friend his question.

"I don't know," was the only answer I received.  Great!  Thanks.  In the friend's defense, I probably wouldn't have said much at this point either with Bulldozer going on next to me as he was.  But still, her non response wasn't helpful.

It was at this point that I knew I had to remove Bulldozer from the situation.  I searched for anywhere quiet and private.  Eventually we ended up in the ladies room.  It was there that Bulldozer broke down completely.

"I always get spares and strikes! Today I'm not getting any!  When we used to go bowling all the time I was good.  When we bowl at the other bowling alley, I do it!  I just can't do it here."

Calmly, I reminded Bulldozer it wasn't about the game.  He is the most competitive child I have ever met.  Whether it be board games, sports, etc.  He always struggles when he's not winning.  Bowling had been the only situation where he'd not shown this competitive nature.  When I had his attention, I gave him two choices, he could either stop playing, or he could continue and spend time with his friend.  He chose the latter.

When we returned from the bathroom it was Bulldozer's turn.  As he threw the ball for a second time I held my breath.  Thankfully he hit several pins and was satisfied with his turn.  He even smiled.  I exhaled slowly smiling at him.

By this time, I realized that there was no chance that Bulldozer, Dinomite and the friend were going to socialize with an adult around, so I quickly removed myself from the table.  It wasn't long before Bulldozer joined me.  I reminded him he was on a playdate, and that he should go up and sit next to his friend.  He did part of the time, but as I watched from the corner of my eye, I knew he wasn't socializing, or even talking at all for that matter.

It was pure luck that Bulldozer bowled better after his meltdown.  The game ended, and miraculously he was okay.  But then came time to leave.  Bulldozer was completely out of it.  I lost track of how many times I asked him to take off his bowling shoes.  He definitely needed verbal and physical prompts to initiate getting the job done.  By the time I put his shoes on, helped him with his jacket, and paid for our game, I was so ready to leave.

You see, I made a big mistake while I was there.  I started observing all of the other children bowling around us.  They were "typical."  Their behaviors didn't depend so much on the sensory stimuli around them or the rigid ritualistic routines they have when they come bowling.  The other children were happy, smiling, and well behaved.  They were kind and loving, and such a delight to be around.  Now I know I don't know any of the children I observed enough to know they're "typical."  The bowling alley could be their favorite place and they could just happen to be having the best day ever, which could be why their parents were so laid back, relaxed and smiling.  But, the point was, it had been a long time since I'd felt so different and so out of place, with Bulldozer's autism so exposed.  By the time we were heading to the car, I was trying so hard to fight back tears.  This was supposed to be a happy time.  We were supposed to have a super fun afternoon.  Yet, for me, it seemed the opposite.

Bulldozer complained all the way home that he was hungry, begging for a treat.  This had started before we left the bowling alley, but I had been able to postpone the conversation until we were in the car.  By the time we arrived home, I was visibly angry.

I couldn't put words to my feelings, but the girls, Jason, and the boys knew to stay away and give me some space.  After making the boys lunch, I knew I needed to talk to Bulldozer. Still upset, I came across more cross than I had intended.

"You were on a playdate!  Did you even speak to your friend?"

"I tried...  I was thinking about it."

"I even tried to help you start a conversation and you refused.  I can't believe you melted down like that.  When will you learn that it's just a game?  It didn't matter what happened during the game.  You were supposed to be having fun with your friend."  By this point Bulldozer was starting to cry.

"Why are you so angry with me?  I tried to do my best!  I'm sorry.  Mommy, I forgot I was on a playdate!  I forgot."  Bulldozer cupped his hands, covering his face as he sobbed.

"When you calm down, I will talk to you about it."  I should have been over my own feelings at this point, but I wasn't.

After a couple of minutes, Bulldozer started to talk again in between sobs.

"You left me Mommy!  You wouldn't sit by me.  I was all alone.  I felt like I was all alone when we were bowling."

As hard as it was to hear his words, I instantly felt gratitude that he was able to use them.  A year ago, I wouldn't dream of him being able to express his emotions.  But once again I was reminded of the reality of Bulldozer's autism, his differences, and his lack of social skills.  I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.

I must confess and as horrible as it sounds, I left the table at that point, telling Bulldozer to eat his lunch.  In order to help Bulldozer, I knew I needed to get a handle on my own emotions.  Thankfully I was able to keep myself busy doing chores around the house.  But with each chore, I became closer and closer to tears.

Am I doing this all wrong?  How do I help Bulldozer learn to function and participate in social situations?  Do I feed him to the lions hoping he'll eventually learn?  But then what happens when he doesn't learn?  I know what social anxiety looks like as a result of missing cues, being bullied, and worrying about doing everything right.  I've seen what it's done to my autistic husband first hand.  I know the statistics when it comes to those with autism who try to take their own life because of social pressures during their teen years.  And then what happens when those he tries to socialize with don't want to be his friends?  He has autism and auditory processing issues!  Bulldozer can't respond as quickly as one might like.  Even if he wants to get the words out quickly they don't come.  And when they do come, he has a one track mind with no filter.  That doesn't even take into consideration sensory stimuli around him and how that effects his ability to function.  How do I do this?  It's a catch 22, no matter what way I look at it.  We talked about this playdate for weeks. Bulldozer was prepped for it.  He had all the right answers when asked what to do and what to say.  But when it came down to it, none of it was enough.

I can't remember the last time the reality of the boys' autism hit me like it did today.  One would think after 9 years of this, I'd be used to it.  But the truth is no matter how much you love your autistic child...  No matter how great things are going, there will always be those moments when you do feel like you've been punched in the stomach.  It will take your breath away.  There will be tears.  And you evaluate everything you've done up to the present moment, in an attempt to help your autistic child be successful in life, worrying that you've done it all wrong.

After I worked through my own emotions, Bulldozer and I cuddled and had a nice chat.  I apologized for being so angry, trying my best to explain difficult feelings to him.  He was quick to forgive and smile knowing that I know he's the best Bulldozer ever.  It's always been a goal of mine to be real with my children, showing my feelings, the good and the bad, and admit when I've made a mistake.  To me, teaching my children the power of an apology and forgiveness is extremely important.  No one is perfect.  We all make mistakes even Mommies and Daddies.

As we talked, I learned a lot, not necessarily from what Bulldozer had to say, but through what he was talking about.

There were several reasons Bulldozer forgot he was on a playdate.  He was working overtime to adjust to all of the little changes in plans that had taken place.  Though he did fabulous with them in the moment, he still had to work through his own mental process, and that takes time.  Bulldozer loves bowling.  He always has.  Ever since he was little, he would stim off of the pins being knocked over and the balls flying down the lanes.  (He's my visual stimmer.)  Chances are, because he was working so hard to adjust to changes, he was hyper-focused on the game, trying to self regulate.  When he couldn't knock down pins, he couldn't self regulate, and that would definitely be a reason to be upset.  Of course I didn't think about this at the time.

Bulldozer is developmentally between the ages of three and four, depending on the skill.  His behaviors today were completely appropriate for his developmental age.  Three and four year olds do not carry on long extended conversations with their peers.  They're a bit more self-absorbed than that.  It is so hard sometimes to remember my autistic kiddos in regards to their developmental ages instead of their chronological ages.  Yet when I remember to do so, their behaviors and social skills make so much more sense.

Bulldozer has a desire to be social.  He enjoys going out in the community and doing things.  If he can find a reason to throw a party and celebrate something he will.  Throw in a "feast" and/or "treats" and Bulldozer is the happiest kid on the planet.  But he does best when these events occur on his turf, whether it be his home, "his" bowling alley, "his" movie theater, etc.  And even then, you may not know if he's enjoying himself until after it's all over and he starts talking about it, because in the moment, he's too busy soaking up all of the sensory stimuli around him.  He loves being surrounded by people, to share his joy in all aspects of celebrations, but at this point, it doesn't really matter who those people are.  Developmentally, he doesn't understand what friendship is yet, and that's okay.  The fact that he thinks about others, considers them friends, and wants them to join him in something that he loves shows that there's potential for greater things in the future... when he's ready.

Bulldozer has grown so much over his first 7 years of life.  Though it's slow, it's steady. It was less than four years ago at 3 1/2 years old, that he could barely utter 2-3 words at a time.  As we were talking tonight, he said he didn't like talking about this stuff, because it was too hard.  Quite honestly, I believe him.  If I wait a year, he may have words to put to his emotions.

And as far as today's playdate goes..  It was a singular event.  That doesn't take away the fact that all other previous playdates went well.  Today's incident doesn't mean that all future playdates will go poorly.  When I look at the facts, Bulldozer  did an AMAZING job!  Yes, he had a meltdown, but he worked through it.

What threw the day most was my choice to compare my children to others.  Bulldozer melts down all the time.  He struggles to function in public places all the time.  What made today's behaviors feel like a punch in the stomach, was my unrealistic expectation of his behaviors and social skills, based on today's circumstances.  It is amazing how your view of your autistic child can change based on what you're choosing to focus on.

Today was a great reminder of how important it is to focus on the positive.  When you don't, it's so easy to go to a dark place in your mind.  Over the past few months we have really been struggling with some of our girls' behaviors.  I know that choosing to compare the "typical" children I saw today hit that much harder because of experiences I've had lately.  I am thankful that tonight, I can recognize what happened for what it was and choose once again to focus on the positive. And you better believe I'll be sure to give Bulldozer some extra hugs and cuddles!

Update:  The very next day, while at church, Bulldozer extended an invitation to another friend to go bowling with him.  We're making plans to go next Tuesday.

Photo Attribution:  By Nan Palmero from San Antonio, TX, USA - Bowling Pins Being Hit by a Bowling Ball, CC BY 2.0,
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Learning the Montessori Way: Multiplication

My kids are ready for multiplication!  I can't believe it!  It's amazing how time flies.  

To be completely honest, multiplication activities have been on our learning shelves before.  

I've just never used the Montessori materials for teaching multiplication.  This year, we're bringing them out!

Montessori multiplication is such a beautiful thing! I love all of the manipulatives, the visuals, and step-by-step processes!

Learning the Montessori Way: Multiplication

Learning the Montessori Way: Multiplication

One reason for not introducing Montessori multiplication sooner is that the Montessori multiplication materials seemed just a little intimidating.  

I didn't know their sequence, and honestly had no clue how many there were, let alone how to use them.  So I did some research and a lot of studying.  

A special thanks to Seemi from Trillium Montessori, Bess from Grace and Green Pastures and Lolly from Elementary Observations for answering my questions and pointing me in the right direction in regards to resources.

For those wondering just how multiplication is taught the Montessori way, here's an introduction to everything you need to know.

Montessori Multiplication: Materials & Lessons

Montessori Math Bead Material

Multiplication is first introduced using the Golden Bead Material in preschool.  Yes, you heard me right, in preschool.  A Montessori preschool classroom includes children ages 3-6.  

The picture above shows a Montessori Introduction to Decimal Quantity with Tray, to show you what the bead material looks like.  However you will need at least 9 thousand cubes, 9 hundred squares, 9 ten bars, and 9 units.  

For instructions and visuals on how to present multiplication using the Golden Bead Material visit Montessori World.

Montessori Checkerboard Beads

Once multiplication has been introduced and understood using the Golden Bead Material, you're ready to start skip counting using the Montessori Complete Bead Material.  

Now, I need to confess, I do not own the large and small bead chains. I will one day, but not yet.  

So in the mean time, I improvise.  There are many bead material options, when it comes to having enough bead bars on hand to do skip counting work.  

I use the Montessori Checker Board Beads.  The beads, paired with the ten bars from the golden bead material work beautifully.  You'll have more than enough beads to work with, and will use them for future Montessori multiplication activities.  

Free tickets/labels for skip counting can be found in my post Montessori-inspired Math Activities using Bead Bars.  

If you need directions and visuals on how to use the materials, I highly recommend visiting the The Pinay Homeschooler.

Montessori Multiplication Working Charts

The Montessori Multiplication Working Charts can be introduced after the skip counting material or simultaneously.  They are a fabulous way to help children learn their multiplication facts.  Visit the Montesssori Album to find directions and free resources for Chart 1 and Chart 2.

Montessori Multiplication Bead Board

The Montessori Multiplication Bead Board is next on the list of materials, and probably the most well known.  

It can be introduced after skip counting and the charts, or it can be introduced simultaneously.  For directions and resources on how to use this material, be sure to visit The Pinay Homeschooler.

Montessori Stamp Game

The Montessori Stamp Game is introduced as a way to teach static and dynamic multiplication after all previous materials have been presented and mastered.  For directions on how to use the stamp game, visit Carrots Are Orange.  You will note that the post starts out by explaining how to use the stamp game for addition.  It is important to learn this process first, in order to understand how to use the game for multiplication.  The stamp game can also be used later on to teach long multiplication.

Montessori Small Bead Frame

The Montessori Small Bead Frame is the last of Montessori multiplication materials in the preschool curriculum.  For directions on how to use it visit the the Montessori Primary Guide.  You'll notice directions for using the small bead frame for addition and subtraction as well.  This material can be used for both static and dynamic multiplication.

Why are there so many different Montessori multiplication materials?  

The goal is to help the child through the passage of abstraction.  

Notice how the materials gradually move away from individual numerals towards more complicated math concepts.

Montessori Large Bead Frame

Once a child reaches the early elementary curriculum, and reviews concepts introduced during the preschool years, the Montessori Large Bead Frame is introduced.  

You'll notice this frame provides opportunity to work with numbers up to 9,999,999, as does all of the elementary multiplication materials.  

For a better understanding of how to use the material visit Expedition Montessori.


Montessori Checker Board

The Montessori Checker Board may just be my favorite multiplication material and is introduced after the large bead frame.  

Combine it with the Montessori Checker Board Beads and number tiles, and you've got yourself an amazing learning activity.  

How do you use it?  

George Family-Montessori At Home gives a great explanation.  Montessori Commons provides great step by step directions.

Montessori Flat Bead Frame

The Montessori Flat Bead Frame is used for long multiplication and is introduced after the checker board.  

For more information on how to use the material, you can watch this video I found on youtube.  

Montessori Bank Game

Finally, children practice their multiplication skills using the Montessori Bank Game after all of the other materials are introduced.  

This varies from the bank game taught in preschool using the golden bead material.  

Unlike other Montessori multiplication activities this game requires that more than one person participate.  

For instructions on how to play with visuals, visit The Learning Ark.

Now, this post contains a lot of information, and trust me, this is just a basic introduction to the materials, sequence and scope of Montessori multiplication.  There is so much to learn, especially as materials can be used in more than one way.  

Thankfully, youtube provides fabulous video tutorials that are available to everyone, after reading all of the information and resources here.  

I know for certain that there is a video presentation of every material in this post.  And yes, I've watched them all.

Don't let Montessori multiplication materials intimidate you.  I regret not having used them sooner with my own children.

Montessori Multiplication: Printables

Over the years, as we've used all of the Montessori math materials, I've created printables to go along with them to make my job as a teacher as easy as possible.

If you're looking for printables that go along with the materials above, to be used on their own, be sure to check out the resources below.

Montessori Multiplication and Skip Counting Bundle

Montessori Multiplication and Skip Counting Bundle

This bundle works beautifully with the Montessori math bead bars or alone if you are unable to obtain Montessori math bead bars.

We love using the Montessori math bead bar nomenclature cards as an added layer of support for our kiddos who struggle in math. The printable helps them feel so confident in their abilities!

What I love most about this bundle is that there are so many different ways to practice Montessori multiplication and skip counting!

Montessori Multiplication and Division Bundle

Montessori Multiplication and Division Bundle

We have used this bundle for years alongside our Montessori materials. I love having problems already created for the kiddos to work on, rather than having to come up with some on demand.

The cards progress in difficulty, breaking down each and every step of Montessori multiplication, corresponding to materials and the sequence of lessons.

What I love most is that math problems are written using corresponding colors to Montessori materials.

If you're looking for other multiplication activities and printable to supplement your studies, be sure to check out more resources below.

For those who would like more Montessori multiplication resources and printables, be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter by clicking the link below.

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

Montessori-inspired Math Activities 9 Ways to Practice Multipilication Facts Using Montessori Bead Bars Free Montessori Division Printable Pack Montessori Math Bead Bar Printable Pack in Print Montessori Addition and Subtraction Bundle Christmas Skip Counting Printable Pack

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Montessori-inspired White Activities with Free Printables

It's winter here.  I couldn't resist a unit dedicated to the color white.  

There are a few concepts in the Montessori curriculum that are color coded white.  Two are the seven math bead bar and the continent Antarctica.

These Montessori-inspired White Activities with Free Printables focus on those concepts and so many more!

Montessori-inspired White Activities with Free Printables

Here's what's on our shelves!

Montessori-inspired White Activities with Free Printables

Prewriting with shaving cream and beginning letter sounds with Montessori Sandpaper Letters using white objects.

Prewriting with Shaving Cream

Sunshine has thoroughly enjoyed getting her hands dirty while working with white shaving cream.  She practices tracing the prewriting cards with her fingers, and then attempts the same movements in the shaving cream.

Source:  The free printable used for this activity can be found at Walking By the Way.

Beginning Letter Sounds with Montessori Sandpaper Letters

We are beginning our Montessori approach to learning letters and sounds.  This will be our first set of letters.  Sunshine will match sandpaper letters to pictures with the same beginning consonant sound.  All pictures are of white objects.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my Montessori-inspired White Activities Printable Pack 1. This is a free printable. Click on the link at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

Counting to 10 using the Montessori Numerical Rods and making seven math bead bars using white beads and pipecleaners.

Counting to 10 Using the Montessori Numerical Rods

We're officially introducing the Montessori Small Numerical Rods!  Hooray!  Sunshine is very intrigued by this material.  

This activity does not emphasize the concept of white, but it is the first material when learning numbers and counting and therefore needs to have a place on our shelves right now.

7 White Beads

The Montessori Colored Bead for seven units is white.  In this activity Sunshine will make her own "7 white beads" by stringing the correct number of beads onto a white pipe cleaner.  

To reinforce the concept of 7, I have included the Montessori Sandpaper Number 7 in the activity.  Sunshine thoroughly enjoys the process of stringing beads!

White animal match up (free printable) and science experiment about how it rains.

White Animal Match Up

Sunshine will match up animal picture cards to animal figures provided.  Animal figures come from the Safari Ltd Arctic TOOB and Safari Ltd Wild Safari North American Wildlife TOOB.  

This activity has been particularly good for Sunshine as it helps her with her vocabulary and animal identification skills, while at the same time reinforcing the concept of white animals.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my Montessori-inspired White Activities Printable Pack 1.  This is a free printable. Click on the link at the bottom of this post to access your free copy.

How Does It Rain?

It's always fun to add a weather component to activities, especially when you're able to talk about white clouds.  

For this activity Sunshine will use the tweezers provided to transfer a white cotton ball into the first bowl that holds a minimal amount of water.  

She then uses the dropper to transfer water from the bottom of the bowl to the top of the cotton ball.  

The white cloud absorbs the water, representing condensation.  Once the white cloud has filled with water, Sunshine uses the tongs provided to lift the heavy cloud out of the bowl.  

Using the tongs she squeezes the water out into the next bowl, representing precipitation.  She has loved this activity.  It includes all of her favorite things-fine motor tools and water!

Montessori-inspired play dough and penguins Antarctica activity for kids.

Penguins Live in Antarctica

Antarctica is usually white on a Montessori World Puzzle Map.  This is why, it's included in our white activities.  

Sunshine will use "white" playdough and place it on the map provided.  She will then add penguins to the map, reinforcing the concept that penguins live in Antarctica.  The penguins are from our Safari Ltd Penguin TOOB.  

It is absolutely adorable listening to Sunshine say the word Antarctica. She LOVES her geography work!

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my Montessori-inspired White Activities Printable Pack 1. This is a free printable. Click on the link at the bottom of this post to access your free copy.

Pouring White Rice and Tacking White Stars into the Dark Sky

Pouring White Rice

Sunshine will pour the white rice into the empty jar provided. She also loves to pour it back into the original container.

Tacking White Stars into the Dark Sky

Sunshine will use the white tacks as stars and place or should I say "poke" them into the black night sky.

For those who would like more Montessori preschool activity ideas and free printables, be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter by clicking on the link below.

Don't forget your free printables!

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

Antarctica Unit Antarctica Unit 2 with Free Printables Montessori-inspired Yellow Activities Montessori-inspired Pink Activities Montessori-inspired Green Activities Montessori-inspired Red ActivitiesMontessori-inspired Antarctica Unit Printable Pack Bundle Montessori-inspired Antarctica Printable Pack II

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Valentine's Day Practical Life and Sensorial Activities for Tots and Preschoolers

Sunshine needed some extra activities to keep her busy on Valentine's Day, so she wouldn't be too anxious about the holiday.  

I wanted to be sure to design activities she could do on her own, without assistance, in case adults were needed elsewhere at any point during the day.   

These Valentine's Day Practical Life and Sensorial Activities for Tots and Preschool were such a hit!

Valentine's Day activities

Here's what kept her busy!

Valentine's Day Practical Life and Sensorial Activities for Tots and Preschoolers

Heart (and Flower) Fine Motor Activity

heart fine motor activity

Sunshine enjoyed putting the hearts on a stick into the colander provided.  She had so much fun with it we added white silk roses to the activity.

heart fine motor activity

Source:  More details about this activity can be found on Living Montessori Now.

Pom Pom Tong Transfer

pom pom transfer

Sunshine used the tongs provided to transfer the large pom poms in the Valentine's Day containers.  This was a bit challenging for her, but once she got the hang of it she did fine.

Heart and Jewel Spoon Transfer

heart and jewel transfer

Sunshine practiced transferring plastic jewels and hearts from one heart-shaped bowl to the other using the spoon provided.  I loved how this activity helped improve her concentration and fine motor skills at the same time.

Concentrated Jewel Tong Transfer

Valentine's Day tong transfer

Sunshine used the tongs provided (different from the ones used in the activity above) to carefully transfer one bead at a time to an individual opening in the heart mold provided.

Valentine's Day Sensory Bin

Valentine's Day sensory bin

Sunshine loved this sensory bin.  She enjoyed placing hearts and other objects in the bags provided.  Sensory bin contents included:

Valentine's Day Invitation to Play

Valentine's Day invitation to play

All of the kiddoes enjoyed our Valentine's Day Invitation to Play.  The kiddos played with it's contents for hours.

The Invitation to Play included:

Valentine's Day invitation to play

The kiddos had a fabulous Valentine's Day.  These activities helped Sunshine function so much better as they kept her hands busy and her mind occupied.

For those who would like more holiday themed practical life and sensorial activities for tots and preschoolers, be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter by clicking the link below.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

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