A Tree Dice Game

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


This week we tried the fall dice game after reading this post from My Montessori Journey.  I got bored with our numbers and counters activity that I wanted to try a different approach with math this time.

Since I'm saving ink, I just made all of these out of cardstock instead of the ones made available for download.  I made the dice direction by drawing the leaves, use crayons to color them and added the dice counterparts (was based on the original file).    This would have been better if I made the tree trunk out of brown foam sheet though so I can reuse it in the future.  But the thing is I can't find a brown foam sheet here so I might as well redo the tree trunk out of a felt paper.  Anyway, for the maple leaves... I printed it out of different colored cardstocks and cut each one.  It requires a lot of work, but you can save a lot of time if you can purchase small craft foam leaves.   

Here’s how my version works:

  1. Position the tree.
  2. Make the child identify the number that appears after rolling/tossing the dice. 
  3. Based on your dice direction (see white paper), put the colored leaf that corresponds to the number of the dice.
  4. If your child doesn’t recognize the number dots on the dice you can have him match it to your direction card.


My son loves playing this game.  He enjoys tossing the dice and becomes giddy every time he puts a leaf on the tree.  He can easily recognize the dots on the dice from 1-4 but gets confuse between 5 and 6 at at times.  We will continue playing this game especially Fall is just around the corner :)


Later on, he decided to group the leaves according to their colors :)

Practical Life Activities

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Because he’s in school most of the time, we seldom do practical life activities.  Last Friday he was home the whole day and I made him do some activities while at home.

Here he is practicing how to use a chopstick.  I got the chopstick trainer from a craft store nearby and made use of all our old pompoms.  At first he finds it difficult to pick up the pompoms out of the container.  You see, the pompoms are very soft so it needs a lot of eye and hand coordination and concentration as well in order to pick them up.  Finally after a few tries, he was able to discover a few techniques so he can pick and transfer them on the ice tray.P1010230

We have this toy for a long time and it didn’t occurred to me that we can use it to practice stringing.   Since my son is obsessed with letters, I know that he would love doing this activity.  When I gave it to him and showed him how I can string the letters together with pipe cleaners, boy oh boy, he immediately asked for his own set too!

Another thing that you can do here is practice reading cvc words by putting 3-letters words together and read it together. This way, it’s much more fun than just putting cvc letters together on the fridge :)   My son loves to string everything together and pretend that it is his crown. He would put it on his head and proclaim himself as “the king”.


Letter Sounds and Writing Practice

Friday, August 19, 2011

These are the materials I made for my son to work for writing and practicing phonics.  Every week we work on two letters based on our ramfbitg (red), cusnpolh (yellow) and dexqyjkvwz(blue) series.  I got this idea from My Montessori Journey where she categorized her letter sounds by color codes.

Here I’m presenting the letter for M for it’s the beginning letter of my son’s name :)

Each set is comprised of:

  • a color coded sound book (DIY)
  • a letter builder made from foam sheets
  • a letter builder control card
  • an Itsy Bitsy book which I got from here
  • lowercase tracing card from Kumon
  • uppercase tracing card which is a DIY
  • a lowercase sandpaper letter



Below is a closer look of what’s inside my sound booklet. Each booklet is made up of 4 pages with images inside that begins with the letter M.  I don’t have specific order as to what we need to work on first.  Sometimes my son and I would read the booklets then do the writing, or the other way around.


After we have worked on a pair of letters, we do some phonics exercises with our Alpha Phonics Boxes. 

Frog Unit Part 2

Monday, August 15, 2011

Here’s a continuation of our Frog Unit.  You can find the first part here.

This is a “Life Cycle” booklet which I bought at a random shop in SG.  It contains life cycles of all significant animals that we will studying for pre-school to kindergarten. Very useful and has lots of beautiful graphics.  My son loves to read this book over and over.


Using this 3-part nomenclature card, which I downloaded from somewhere (I forgot the link!) I demonstrated the lifecycle of the frog by ordering the cards.  I was saving ink so I didn’t print a second batch to be use as picture and label cards.


We ordered the cycle of the frogs according to how it is presented on the book.


I made a frog puzzle.  The pattern of the frog was from Montessori N’ Such.  I made the puzzle out of foam sheets, but I’m thinking of redoing it using felt craft sheets.DSC_0081 

We read this frog book over and over again.  This is an 8 pages book entitled “I am a Frog” and it is also very informative.  I love how the frog in this book is presented... a little bit cartoonish.  It’s an easy to read, just 2-3 sentences a page which makes it easier for little ones to follow.


Frog Unit Part 1

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Finally, we started working on our Frog themed activities.  I made sure that I have enough materials on hand to start this theme for my son usually keeps asking for “more”.


PARTS OF A FROG.  I made use of the 3-part nomenclature card which I downloaded for free from Montessori Print Shop.  The author/owner of the site gave a detailed post on how to use and create these cards.  My son loves doing this activity.  He always gets excited whenever I would take out a set of card for us to work on.  I will provide a separate post regarding 3-part cards. 


PRACTICAL LIFE.  I made these cutting strips using MSWord for Mavi to practice cutting.  The first half has a line guide while the rest doesn’t have.  I made him use the ones with the guides first so he would know what to do or how to execute the cutting exercise.  The frog image was taken from a random google search.


NUMBERS AND COUNTERS. I made frog counters for this activity out of green cardstock, covered it with contact paper and cut each frog piece. 


Math using Beads Stairs

Monday, August 8, 2011

Our math for the past weeks was all about bead stairs.  I’ve been wanting to try this on Mavi for a long time but he doesn’t show any sign of interest in counting.  These days, he was so fascinated with the beads that he wanted to use it.

I had difficulty when I first introduced this to him for I cannot get him to cooperate. He wanted to play the beads “his own way”.  But when I took the bead stairs worksheets that was the time he finally gave up and allowed me to take control. (that’s because he wanted to color the worksheets)


So this how we practice counting at the moment.  First I discussed about the beads, that each bead corresponds to a number. For him not to be overwhelmed by the loads of counting, I just introduced the 1-5 beads.  I placed the number cards and the beads on the table and made him “match” by counting the beads. 


Then we use the worksheet.  I made him color the “circles” with corresponding color code of the beads.  In here, I just laid out the crayons on the table, and ask him to color the worksheet.  He perfectly did well in picking up the right color that corresponds to the short beads.


I also made another set of short bead stairs and Mavi helped me with it.  He loves putting the macaron beads on the pipe cleaners.  It is a just joy seeing him so happy that he can string the beads together.  And the fact that he was working me with as well! And look! He insisted on taking a picture after we have assembled our bead stairs.



Here’s what we ended up:


And here’s what more he can do with the beads aside from counting... forming letters!  See even if he’s on a math session, he would steal a moment to build his letters!


Oh I forgot to mention that he can write letters now? It definitely deserves a separate post.

Flowers and Math

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wanting to try something new for our math activity, I decided to make flower counters and matching cards. 

First, I wanted to make a pattern activity.  But I was too lazy to make pattern materials so I just made these flower matching cards.  The objective here is for Mavi to match the multi-colored petal flowers from the pink cards to the white cards.  I thought that this was complicated enough for my son to get challenged, but I was wrong.  He finished the activity in a few minutes with no difficulties at all!  So the lesson here:  DO NOT UNDER ESTIMATE THE CAPACITY OF YOUR CHILD :)

My next plan to make matching games a little complicated.


Numbers and counters.  I don’t have any flower counters so I just draw them on a paper.  The number cards are DIY.


I was happy that I came up with this idea of making plants with flowers.  He got challenged here, for he cannot immediately identify the quantity of the flowers by the sight of it.  Thus in this case, he needed to count them one by one.  He had a few miss between numbers 5 and 6 but that’s okay.  Here I am showing him the many different ways we can count objects.


Remind to self:

  1. Repeat flower numbers and counters and included numbers 7 to 10.
  2. Patterning activities for flowers.
  3. Make flower matching activity more challenging :)

Till our next math activities!

Re-visiting Painting

Monday, August 1, 2011

It’s been months since we haven’t had any painting activities.  Unlike before wherein Mavi would always ask for watercolors, these days he’s just into letters and his Safari Toobs toys.

So to keep him interested on painting, arts and colors I decided that once a week I should dedicate time to sit with him and paint.

As seen below, Mavi was trying to examine the Crayon Washable Paints.  He asked me to fill the palette.  I also made sure that there’s enough paint brush for him to use. And he seems to prefer the bigger brush.

One of the things that I taught him on this session is how to do the strokes properly.  I’m not a painter nor an artist, so I just go with the “up and down” stroke and the “circle” stroke.  II hope we could do some impressionism in the future :)
Obviously, my masterpiece looks like the work of a 1st grader hehehe.  But I enjoyed playing out the colors and demonstrating to the little one that we can create so many things with just the use of a brush a paint and a lot of imagination as well.
After 3 papers of painting, he got bored and decided to make a train out of his paint bottles.