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Montessori-inspired Atoms Activities for Kids with Free Bonus Printable

Dinomite has become passionate about chemistry thanks to our wonderful astronomy studies.  He personally requested that we make materials to feed his new obsession.  This has resulted in the creation of a new chemistry bundle.  

Part of the chemistry bundle is the Montessori-inspired Atoms Printable Pack.  I must admit it's one of my favorite parts of the bundle.  Today I'm excited to share with you what it looks like in action!

At the end of the post you'll also find a free bonus printable to add to this wonderful resource designed specifically for little ones.

Montessori-inspired Atoms Printable Pack in Action with Free Bonus Printable

The Montessori-inspired Atoms Printable Pack is a fabulous resource for children in Montessori preschool and elementary classrooms.  It can be used in so many ways depending on the needs of your children.

This printable pack:

  • Introduces 20 atoms by electrons, protons, and neutrons
  • Encourages children to create atoms using controls provided
  • Expands to allow for the creation of all atoms with templates

More than anything it's super fun to use in so many different ways!

Montessori-inspired Atoms Printable Pack

Montessori-inspired Atoms Printable Pack in Action

Here are four ways our kiddos have been using the Montessori-inspired Atoms Printable Pack at home.

Montessori-inspired Atoms Activities for Kids

Creating Atoms using Pom Poms

Building Atoms with Pom Poms

Sunshine has fun building atoms with pom poms using tweezers to transfer them from the bowl to her mat.

Using the control provided she is able to place electrons, protons, and neutrons in the correct spots.

Painting Atoms

Painting Atoms

Dinomite enjoys using paint to create his atoms.  He uses one of the templates in the printable pack and fills in the information at the bottom using a pencil.

Creating Atoms with Play Dough

Creating Atoms with Play Dough

Bulldozer really likes using play dough to create his atoms.  It is great fine motor practice for him.  Just like his brother, he uses a template and fills in the bottom using a white board marker.  (His template is laminated.)

Drawing Atoms with Markers

Drawing Atoms

Princess prefers to use markers for her atom creations.  Using a control she fills in one of the templates and writes important information at the bottom.

Other Fun Ways to Use the Atoms Printable Pack

We don't have the materials on hand, but one could easily use Q-tips or do-a-dot markers to create atoms.  

If you're feeling really ambitious you could use pipe cleaners and pony beads.  The sky is really the limit!

Montessori-inspired Atoms Bonus Freebie

For those who are looking for the perfect printable for younger preschool aged children, the Atoms Bonus Freebie is perfect!  

It includes do-a-dot templates for electrons and a space to place protons and neutrons.  Printables focus on numbers 1-10 and no higher.

Montessori-inspired Atoms Bonus Freebie

Source: The Atoms Bonus Freebie is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, follow the directions below.

Directions on How to Obtain Subscriber Only Freebies

1. Click on the Subscriber's link at the bottom of this post.

2. Subscribe to our free newsletter.

3. Open the thank you message you receive after subscribing. (Be sure to check your spam folder, as sometimes it ends up there.)

4. You will be sent a confirmation e-mail. Be sure to click the link to confirm your subscription.

5. Once confirmed you will receive a "Thank You" Message.

6. The link to our Subscriber Only Freebies page as well as password to access it is in the "Thank You" message.

7. Click on link and type in password.

8. Find the printable pack you are looking for listed in alphabetical order, click on it, and viola!

We hope you enjoy your free printable.

Note: If you are already a newsletter subscriber, open your most recent newsletter. At the bottom you will find a link to the Subscriber Only Freebies page, along with the password in case you forgot it.

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The Montessori-inspired Atoms Printable Pack is such a fun resource for kids trying to understand atoms.   We can't get enough of it!

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

 Intro to Chemistry Activities for Kids with Free Printables Montessori-inspired Chemistry Preschool Printable Pack Montessori-inspired Intro to Chemistry Printable Pack Montessori-inspired Periodic Table of Elements Printable Pack Montessori-inspired Atoms Printable Pack Montessori-inspired Molecules Printable Pack

Montessori-inspired Atoms Printable Pack in Action with Free Bonus Printable

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Our Montessori Co-op Schedule

There are seven students that attend our Montessori Co-op.  Compared to just our own two boys that were with us at the beginning of the school year, this is a lot!

No more are the days when we begin and end learning whenever we'd like.

Five extra students means a lot more structure and planning.

Truth be told this has been very good for us and for our boys.

Here's what our Montessori school co-op schedule looks like.

Our Montessori School Schedule

Our Montessori Co-op Schedule

The Start of our School Day Routines

Our school co-op starts at 10 AM.

Breakfast is ready when our friends arrive.  They wash their hands.  We say a blessing on the food and everyone takes turns making their plates.

Originally we only planned on serving a morning snack offered half way through our work cycle, but I noticed that kiddos, including my own, were hungry much sooner than that. Starting our day with breakfast was the perfect solution.

Once everyone is settled at the table eating their breakfast we begin our time together.  

Kiddos are much more attentive when they have their hands busy and their mouths full.

Our morning time consists of three components:

  • Emotions Check-in
  • Current Event Discussion
  • Songs

Emotions Check-in

"One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child." -Maria Montessori

We always start our day by going around the table and asking how everyone is feeling.  This helps everyone make the transition from home to co-op It also helps us understand any other factors that may influence their ability to learn on any given day.

Our kiddos are learning to express emotions freely and honestly.  They're learning that it's perfectly normal to feel more than one emotion at a time, even if they seem like complete opposites.  

When our kiddos start their day expressing emotions,  the chances of behavioral issues while learning lessens.

Current Event Discussion

"If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men." -Maria Montessori

We encourage our students to be informed contributing United States and global citizens.  One way we are able to do this is by discussing current events.  

Each day I choose a headline to discuss.  Sometimes headlines involve religion.  Other times we talk about politics.  There are some days when we discuss weather.  On days when our country or the world is mourning, we discuss tragedies.

Our current event discussions follow the same sequence each day.

First, I share the event, giving background issues and an explanation of sides, if there are any involved.

Second, I ask their emotions and opinions related to the current event.  Our students know they are welcome to express opinions freely so long as they are kind and respectful towards others.  They know that each student is entitled to their own opinion and it's okay to disagree.  

Our goal in these discussions is to teach our children to take perspective and be open to all thoughts and ideas.  We want our students to develop their own beliefs and values based on a well rounded education and then find their own place in the world.

When we discuss heavy topics we often follow up with a "Take Action Plan."  

The question is always the same.

"What can you do to help this situation?"

It is after this question that our students discuss ways that they can take action.

Our Montessori School Schedule-Work Cycle

Sometimes it's as simple as saying a prayer or smiling and giving a compliment to someone who is being bullied or ridiculed.

Other times they may decide to learn about a different religion or custom to develop a better understanding of a group of people and rid themselves of fear.

When a extreme weather event has occurred they may decide to donate clothes, shoes, toys, books, or other items to the cause.


"There should be music in the child's environment, just as there does exist in the child's environment spoken speech. In the social environment the child should be considered and music should be provided." -Maria Montessori

We end our morning gathering time with song.  

Songs always change the mood, no matter how somber our discussion of current events may be.  

Songs are a great way to teach concepts that may be difficult to understand or remember, especially when they come with a music video for all to watch.

Our Montessori School Schedule-Team Work

For the past few months we've been enjoying songs about astronomy and chemistry from the album, Here Comes Science.  We've also been using songs to practice skip counting and introduce multiplication.

Our students dance, sing and thoroughly enjoy this time of the day.

I introduce one new song with new activities that are introduced.  We watch and sing the new song  first.  Then I have one student select a song we've learned in the past from a jar of labeled Popsicle sticks.  We use an iPad to provide the visual presentation.

Students know that after songs are finished (10:30 AM), their work cycle begins.

Three Hour Montessori Work Cycle

"These long hours are necessary, if we are to follow a directed line of action which shall be helpful to the growth of the child." -Maria Montessori

Over the course of the last few months we have been working up to the recommended three hour Montessori work cycle.  All have proven successful with it.

Our Montessori School Schedule-Concentration

During this three hour block students choose their own work and complete individualized lessons with a teacher (myself, my husband, or a parent/guardian that comes with our students).

Each student is permitted to take a five minute breakwhenever they feel they need it most. During this time they go to the peace corner where they can rest.  

Some of our students have various special needs where a break is a necessary part of their day.  It is only fair to allow all students this opportunity.

The three hour Montessori work cycle ends at 1:30 PM, when lunch is served and we gather once again.

Afternoon Gathering Time

Students fill their water bottles, gather at the table for prayer over lunch and then fix their plates.  I give announcements and reminders and then students settle in for read aloud time while eating.

Our Montessori School Schedule-Kitchen Tasks

We have found meal time to be the best for reading aloud. Students are busy eating and are able to focus on the story without outside distractions.

After lunch and read aloud are finished our students go outside to play while adults chat and catch up.

Our co-op students love our schedule and have come to look forward to it when they join us.  Many have developed their own routines during the three hour work cycle, while other change up their plans on a regular basis.

What does your Montessori school schedule look like?

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

A Minimalist Montessori Homeschool Classroom Tour Montessori Three Period Lesson Visual Prompt Montessori Daily Task ChecklistThe Montessori Peace Corner The 5 Best Tips for Helping Children Become Independent at Mealtime A Minimalist Montessori Home Tour: The Dining Room Four Prompts to Encourage Mindfulness in Children

Our Montessori School Schedule

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How to Help My Child Want to Try New Foods

In April we added another new student to our co-op.  This brings our class total to seven now! 

Hobbes is eleven years old and recently diagnosed as autistic.  

Just like Dinomite he really struggles in the food department.

Our co-op meal time food trial system that had been in place since January with our other new students was not going to work for Hobbes.

Knowing first hand how much Dinomite struggles with food, I wanted to make meal time as pleasant as possible, but also wanted to encourage all of the kiddos to try new foods.

I took the time to ponder and then spoke with my students.  

How do I help each child want to try new foods?

The result has been a beautiful thing!

How to Help My Child Want to Try New Foods

How to Help My Child Want to Try New Foods

Mealtime During the School Day

Previous to Hobbes' arrival, two options were always provided at meal time, to ensure I was accommodating everyone's food preferences, special dietary needs, and struggles.

At breakfast there would be a hot meal option as well as cereal and milk.

At lunch there would be a meal prepared as well as a sandwich prep station with peanut butter, jelly, and nutella.

If I prepared something new, the kiddos were asked to try a tiny bite.  If they didn't like it I'd mark it down as a no go for the future.

Meals they did enjoy I would add to our future meal plan.

Only Bulldog was ever hesitant about trying new foods, but with cheers of encouragement, he would try the tiniest bite and we'd celebrate his success.

My own boys were exempt from this process, as they'd already tried everything I was introducing to our new students.

On Hobbes' first day, I learned very quickly that this process would not work for him.

A Conversation About Food

I gathered all of our co-op friends together and we had a fantastic conversation about food.  I asked each of them what made trying new foods difficult.

Was it the smell?

Was it the sound?

Was it the look?

Was it the taste?

Was it the texture?

For many the first challenge was not the taste.

Dinomite struggles with the look, sound, and smell of foods in that order, so much that he never even makes it to the taste testing in most scenarios.  He can't make it past the other factors.

I then asked students to think about trying a new food.

What was the worst thing that could happen?

Hands down they all said they worried they wouldn't like the food and wouldn't be able to get the taste out of their mouths and recover.

From there I asked my students what their food preferences were.

What did they like best?

Some of their answers were expected.  Favorite foods in our classroom include pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, and homemade macaroni and cheese.

But more than anything, all of them love candy of some kind or another.

The Candy Jars

I'm NOT a fan of candy.

My kiddos receive candy on Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas.  That's it!

I'm definitely NOT a fan of rewarding children with candy for preferred behaviors.

In our society with so many people struggling with weight, it seems so unwise to associate food with positive behaviors and rewards.


I AM a fan of supporting a child who wants to work on something that's really hard.

I AM a fan of providing a child with whatever he or she needs to feel confident and be successful.

I  AM most definitely supportive of a child-led experiment to help students better themselves.

This is what led to seven candy jars on the shelf above my kitchen sink, one for each student.

Each student in our co-op has their own jar filled with their favorite kind of candy.

How to Help My Child Want to Try New Foods

Our Mealtimes Now

I still offer two choices.

Meals are prepared so that my students can combine ingredients when they'd like to, and keep them separate and not touching if that's their preference.

The 5 Best Tips for Helping Children Become Independent at Mealtime

You can read about that in my post, The 5 Best Tips for Helping Children Become Independent at Mealtime.

When it comes to trying new foods it's a choice for everyone.

If a student decides to try a new food, they may immediately have one piece of candy after the trial is complete.

Depending on the child a food trial may be just putting the food item in their mouth for a couple of seconds.

For other students, a successful trial means finish chewing and swallowing their bites.

I meet each student where they're at.

No matter what happens during the food trial, each student still gets their piece of candy.

No matter how small, baby steps are still progress.

And the candy...

No matter how awful the new food might have tasted, the candy washes it away.

The candy also helps to regulate the students who struggle most with taste testing.

It's a win win situation!

Home versus School

Now I don't know what foods my students eat at home.  This exercise is only based on foods we serve during co-op.

If I make something new, but it's a food they're used to at home, they still get their piece of candy.

I do this to promote confidence. 

Not every pizza and homemade macaroni and cheese tastes the same right?

And let's be honest, they can only count something as a new food at co-op once, so it's really not that big of a deal if they test a food that they probably like already.

For Sunshine, who's tastes change with her moods, I allow taste tests at each meal, before she makes her plate.

The Results

We've been using the candy jars for over a month now.

Every day at least one student asks if there is anything new to try on the menu.

When there are new foods, there's no more anxiety, only conversation and laughter over how wonderful or how horrible something tastes.

Each student decides for themselves if they're willing to try something new.

Instead of fearing a horrific taste that might be, students know the taste will be replaced with a flavor they love.

It has been amazing to see how much my students have grown in this area all because of a simple candy jar.

I purchased our candy jars at Walmart but you can find them on Amazon HERE.

I love this size because it fits one box of theater candy perfectly!  One box of theater candy lasts longer than you think!

If you are wondering how to help your child want to try new foods I highly recommend trying the candy jars.

For those who are wanting more tips about helping children with food struggles and our journey with autism, be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below:

A Minimalist Montessori Kitchen Montessori-inspired Self-Care: Kitchen Tasks Printable Pack My Body: Digestive System and Nutrition Unit When Food Is Your Child's Enemy The 5 Best Tips for Helping Children Become Independent at Mealtime Food Issues: Are They Behavioral, Sensory Related, or Medical?

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The 5 Best Tips for Helping Children Become Independent at Mealtime

Serving breakfast and lunch during Montessori co-op provides opportunities to introduce more variety in Bulldozer and Dinomite's food repertoire, which is always a positive thing.

Breakfast and lunch have become a time that everyone looks forward to each day.

We have had so much fun introducing Montessori components to the serving process.  All of the kids LOVE that they are able to be so independent.

Here are our 5 best tips for helping children be independent while serving food.

The 5 Best Tips Helping Children Become Independent at Mealtime

A hamburger and hotdog bar for lunch!

The Best 5 Tips for Helping Children Become Independent at Mealtime

The Opposite of Super Sizing

If you're like me, transferring peanut butter, jelly, and Nutella into smaller bowls for little hands every day can get a bit old.  This is especially true when it comes to transferring what's not used back into the jars. Don't even get me started on washing out bowls.  So much ends up being wasted.

Luckily these products along with many others are sold in several different sizes.  We've found that when we use the smallest sized food containers available, little hands can easily handle them and there is less waste and clean up.

The Best 5 Tips for Helping Children Become Independent at Mealtime: Use child sized containers and knives
A Nutella or peanut butter and jelly sandwich are always options for lunch.

This is also true with cereal.  My husband and I quickly noticed all of the children struggled pouring cereal in super sized boxes.  It spilled everywhere.  This meant we had to pour everything.  When we switched to purchasing the smaller boxes, all of the children could be independent.  Such a win win for everyone!

Little Servers

Adult sized serving utensils can be quite frustrating for little hands.  They are heavy, awkward and often tip over when handled inappropriately spilling food everywhere.

When we decided to replace large serving utensils with smaller ones, children can easily and confidently make their own plates without worry.

Here are some of our favorites!

The 5 Best Tips for Helping Children Be Independent While Serving Food: The Perfect Serving Utensils for Little Hands

This silicone ladle is a safe way to allow children to transfer soups and stews as it doesn't heat up when in a heated pot and is smaller than your typical ladle.

These wooden spoons grow with your child.

If you are not a fan of wooden spoons or are looking for something a little bit deeper this small mixing spoon is perfect.

Whether serving mini burgers or brownies this spatula does the trick.

Tongs are useful for serving many foods!  We use ours almost every day.

Children being independent while making their plates.
A waffle bar for breakfast!

Last but not least these cheese spreaders work fabulously well as knives when spreading peanut butter and jelly until a child is ready for an adult sized knife.

I have introduced child sized knives in the past, but my children still prefer these.  They can scoop up far more of their favorite spreads much quicker.

The Presentation

Just like large serving utensils, large serving bowls can provide significant challenges for children.

They're heavy.

At times they can be too deep, making it difficult for children to reach food.

If serving bowls are not see through, children can't observe their hand movements while transferring food.

We have found the best results when we use clear serving dishes that are small and shallow.

The 5 Best Tips for Helping Children Become Independent at Mealtime: Use small and shallow serving dishes.

Hands down our favorite serving dishes are part of the Pyrex 10-Piece Set.  I especially love the rectangle shaped dishes.  They provide children more room for scooping.

When we're finished with a meal and there are still left overs, the Pyrex lids make it so easy to put left overs away.

The 5 Best Tips for Helping Children Become Independent at Mealtime: Use child-sized pitchers, serving utensils and more!
Yogurt parfaits for breakfast!

Pouring Liquids

Pouring liquids at meal time seems to be the most challenging for children in our co-op.  Even a full quart of milk from the store is too difficult for some to pour on their own.  This is why we've taken the time to invest in and use smaller liquid containers.

The Best Pitchers for Little Hands

The 5'' mini glass pitcher works perfectly for pouring syrups and sauces.

We can't live without this pitcher that comes with a lid.  Four are used on a daily basis for juices and milk.

A Designated Serving Space

I grew up in a home where food was served at the table.  Dishes were passed around by adults and children were served along the way.  

This prevented little hands from being burned and food from spilling everywhere.  But is also prevented children from being independent during this process.

In our home food is placed on the small island in our kitchen, where children can reach and make their own plates.  Whether they're scooping out macaroni and cheese, pouring cereal, or making their sandwiches, all is done in this designated space with child friendly sized serving dishes and utensils.

When we provide an easily accessible place for children to serve themselves without worry we are allowing them to take control of the mealtime process.

The food serving process in our home has improved so much with these tips.  Serving food up may seem like a simple thing to us adults, but it is huge to children who are desperately seeking out ways to become more independent and providing service for others.

If a child can fix their own plate, they can also fix yours.  What a wonderful way for your child to provide service and show love!

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

How to Help My Child Want Try New Foods 40+ Meals that are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, and Refined Sugar Free Montessori-inspired Self-Care: Kitchen Tasks Printable Pack My Body: Digestive System and Nutrition Unit When Food Is Your Child's Enemy Food Issues

The 5 Best Tips for helping Children Become Independent at Mealtime

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