[Tried and Tested] Tower High Learning

Friday, February 27, 2015

I came across Tower High Learning through random search in the internet for affordable Montessori puzzles.  I am so happy that I found another shop in the UK that sells Montessori materials.  As I skim through their online shop, I’m surprised that they offer a waay more affordable price than any shop I’ve encountered!  Excitedly, I contacted their costumer service for inquiries and they responded promptly to all my queries.  Marie, who runs the business is very friendly and easy to talk to!  So without hesitation I purchased a few puzzles for Vito and Mavi to work on this year. 

And guess what? They arrived after 2 days!! How cool is that??  To think that I just paid for regular shipping. Amazing isn’t it?

And yes, nothing beats the smell of new Montessori materials, waiting to be opened!

My botany puzzles!! I regret not getting the seed and roots!

DSC_0583  My Zoology puzzles:  bird, turtle and frog.  Must save for the the fish and butterfly.

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I purchased this version of which there’s a skeleton presentation on the board of the puzzle.

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And here’s my beautiful beautiful Asia Continent Map puzzle. Shining, shimmering… splendid!

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And yes all those little tiny pieces all sits well on its board. Love it!  Wishlist: must get the control map next time!

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Ahhh… oh how I love the puzzles! They’re on the lower price range but they were more than perfect! Flat, and all the pieces fitted well.

I have to start my “wishlist” for Christmas.  I can’t wait till  my next purchase when my funds are enough.

So don’t forget to checkout Tower High Learning if you are in Europe and looking for affordable Montessori materials.

 

**This is not a paid post or review.  Just wanted to share this amazing shop that sells affordable Montessori materials to Moms out there that have tight budget like me!

Fun Math Activities for Numbers 20 to 99

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

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So we’ve been practising our Mathematics since we came back from our big break.  We’re almost done with our study on 2 digit numbers (20 to 99).  Now you might be wondering why we need to stick around here. Well you see, though Mavi knows his addition and subtraction by heart, there’s still a lot more in mathematics than that.  To explain, here’s a few of our “brainy” activities (this is how Mavi describes it!).

Count Me!.  Using our decanomial beads, I laid out 20 sets for Mavi to count using what he has learned previously on counting tens and ones! 

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Place Value.  Here’s it is in Singapore Math. I copied the activities in our Math notebook so that we can reuse the workbooks from Singapore for Vito.  Mavi works on this using mental math, no manipulative needed.

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Find the number. This thinks that this is a very tricky game. I made a lot of questions and clues for him to find the correct number using our hundred board.  This is to test his analysis. Example:   8 less of 35 is?

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Smallest and Greatest number. Given the number series (I prepared 10 for him), identify the smallest and greatest.  Again he finds this difficult, but upon teaching him the trick, he was able to answer the questions quickly.

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Another version is to arrange the given set (15 sets) from smallest to greatest and greatest to smallest. Arranging from smallest to greatest was very easy for him, but he complained that doing the other way around is more difficult. He gets confused between numbers.  I even added 1 digit number (number 6), to my surprise he considered it as “60” rather than “06”.  So I therefore conclude that conventional counting, that is from smallest to greatest is waaay more easier for them than the other way around!

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Why don’t you try this with your kids and let me know how they feel about it! 

More math activities here!

Follow Pinay Homeschooler's board Math Ideas on Pinterest.

Toddler Beginnings 05

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Toddler Beginnings 05Happy Monday to all! My not so little Vito is starting to show signs that he can do a lot more with fine motor skills now than before! How cool is that? And for this series, may I say that he has his own favourites already?  Come take a look!K1We do endless reading at home.  Was surprise that he chooses his own book now.  And obviously, based on the pictures he enjoys reading the Spot series with me!  These books are from the library but you can get them from Book Depository[aff.link].  They’re so easy to read and engaging.  These are lift-the-flap books and yes he enjoys lifting the flap! He would nod his head if its not Spot :)  The Animal book is a board book which I got last year.  Vito loves animals and I just have to include this board book for animal recognition.  He would say “raaawrr” whenever he sees animals on books, pictures or toys!

For our colour basket I’m featuring the red colour because of Valentines Day. A discovery basket of all something red that Mavi could find in the house.  It got socks, shirt, a feather, LEGO and just about anything.  Of course, I have to include my homemade colour card.  The book was also purchased from Book Depository [aff. link].

language05 So what do we do with our red discovery basket? Well, Vito loves tinkering things and this is what I would give him whenever he needs something to touch and play with.  Every time he takes an object, I would describe it and always mentioning the word “red”.  Like red socks, red feather, red barrel.  Then I would line them up and would say “look Vito they have the same colour… they’re all red”.  I would at times encourage him to say the word “red” as well.

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Our shelf also contains the following toys for practicing fine motor skills.

Mavi’s fishing game toy which he got from his birthday.  We never used this until I recently discovered that Vito can use this for 1:1 correspondence.  Later on, we realized that the game itself was fun after all!

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This barn puzzle is a miss.  Vito is NOT interested at all. I got this because it was on sale.  I talked about the animals in the puzzle but he doesn’t mind.  What he loves to do here is actually removing the pieces and placing them in the basket.

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Again, scribble scribble scribble. This is what he loves as of the moment. I guess he sees his big brother and I write all the time and that’s what he also wanted to do.  He just imitates, which is good!  He’s good holding a pen actually and here he enjoys scribbling on a piece of paper using all three crayons.mont0105 We finally get to use this Classic Pop Up toy from Galt. It was in the cabinet for almost a year and now he’s more than interested.  He loves pulling out all the tubes, putting them back again, and pressing the little people (the tubes has faces!).  Later on we’ll use this for colour matching :D  He still mouths objects though, so there are instances that he would put the tubes in his mouth.  So parents, be warned!mont0205 We have this soft rubbery blocks which we used for counting.  I introduced this for stacking but he wasn’t interested.  What he loves to do with these blocks is to mess them, and put them back in the bag.  And I find his choice of activity much better! Early start for tidying up!  DSC_0407

We also use them to count.  We count a lot at home:  counting fingers, toes, kisses, buttons… and this one I showed him how to associated counting with symbols. Yes I know, too early… but he loves the numbers more than the blocks! 

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We skipped painting this time and decided to do something different. In our Art basket, we have here materials for our collage activity which is composed of tissue paper (red hues) and a contact paper.

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Easy activity.  Vito couldn’t tear up the tissue papers yet (he can tear up the kitchen towel and toilet paper though), so I did it for him.  Then I showed him how to drop or place the pieces into contact paper. He didn’t like the sticky contact paper at all! He loves dropping the paper but would not touch the contact paper.  I encouraged him my placing his hands on it.  This is to take away of his fear and that it’s a safe object for him.

artI displayed his art work in our window and he was so fascinated by the contact paper that he keeps on going back to touch it!

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Oh we have two songs for this series:  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and When You’re Happy and You Know It.  We sing it in the afternoon, dance with it and create actions which Vito loves to do.  Vito, just like his older brother loves to dance as well and he enjoys doing this activity in the afternoon before Daddy gets home. This is  a good way to practice their gross motor skills!K5outdoor

Oh yeah and we had a beautiful weather last week and we grabbed the opportunity to go out in the yard, explore the grasses and the rocks!  Vito was running around, climbing up the steps, crawling in the grass and playing with our neighbour’s bicycle!

And that’s it!! Watch out for our next post on Toddler Beginnings as I’m going to feature simple activities for St. Patrick’s Day!

A Continent Study of AFRICA for Kids

Monday, February 16, 2015

It’s a month of African studies in the house.  Mavi enjoyed learning about this beautiful continent, its geography, exploring the different places and landmarks, the wildlife and habitats and of course the different culture and traditions that make Africa unique!
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Map and Location.  Just like in any of our continent study, we always start with identifying the location of the continent.  Though Mavi is already familiar of the African continent, he still likes using our Montessori Continent Map, which I got from Tower High Learning.  I got it for a reasonable price and excellent in quality! I purchased a few materials from them and will talk about it in a separate post. You can also purchase this map in Amazon US or in Amazon UK. The cards that he is using are from my shop, "Animals of Africa". 
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Plotting the animals in the continent map.  He loves doing this!
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I am so pleased with the purchase of this world map puzzle. I got this for 50% off in a local bookshop.  We can work with individual continents or work with it entirely. For suggestions on map puzzles you can check my post: World Map Jigsaw Puzzle Recommendations.  
DSC_0886Flags.  We love working with pin maps!  This activity is to familiarize Mavi with the different countries in the African continent and their flag symbol. These Africa flags are made from toothpicks and the flag pack from my shop, "Flags of Africa".
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We love LEGO and we use them in so many ways!  Here, I instructed Mavi to create the South African flag using his LEGO.  This is a similar activity with our Asian Study of flags.  After which, he worked on his African flag nomenclature cards.  The picture card of the South African flag is in the wrong position, reason why I have to remind Mavi to be very careful in positioning flags because they might be interpreted in a wrong way.
DSC_0940 He likes positioning his other “favourite” flags in the plate.
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Landmarks.  Of course, we made our pyramid version using LEGO. This is what Mavi picked because it is easier to replicate. The cards in the picture below were printed from the printable, "Africa Landmarks" which you can buy from my shop.
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Animals and their Habitats.  This is by far Mavi’s favourite.  He’s not yet over with his animal toys and still loves playing with them.

First one, learning about the different animals in Africa.  Mavi reads the fact cards of my "Animals of Africa" and loves talking about it while he play pretends.DSC_0902
If you have a preschooler, it is best to have a matching game. Using animal figures (these are Safari Toobs Wild), match the figure to the picture.
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Or in case the figures are not available, you can still use the picture card and label (3 part cards)  for a 3 period lesson in African Animals.  Mavi still loves doing this even though he can easily read and finish the entire activity in a minute.
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Another favourite activity is matching the animal skin covers! Wooohooo! Aren’t these cool? Mavi was so enthralled with this! He did a similar activity on this here.  Next time we study Africa, we’ll paint the patterns!  Your preschoolers will definitely enjoy this! These Africa animals skin cover cards are taken from my "Africa in a Nutshell" which you can also buy from my shop.  If you want to know more about the content of this Africa learning pack I've discussed it in detail in this post, Africa in a Nutshell.
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Again, if you don’t have animal figures, you can match the animal skin patterns with a picture of an animal, similar to the ones shown here.
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And I asked Mavi to pick between a zebra and giraffe, he wanted to work on zebra… so here he is learning the parts of a zebra!  This will familiarize children with the different parts of the animal, and how it is similar to other animals that they are familiar with.  Another great thing about this activity for preschoolers is that it will enhance their reading skills :) The 3-Part cards are also from my "Africa in a Nutshell" product.  
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And this is how we study the habitats of Africa. Using our Animal Habitats cards, we recreated the map of Africa with its biomes using Playdoh.  We also identified the animals that live in each habitat. We followed the colour code of our map and cards.africa habitat
Plants.  We use our Plant Atlas file from my shop to learn about the plants that grow in Africa. We worked on the Control Chart as well, differentiating the plant life in each continent.
bot_leafchartLanguage.  Mavi worked on this briefly.  I printed this African proverbs from here and we used Montessori grammar symbols to identify the nouns, verbs and adjectives in the phrases.  This is also a copy work in case you want your kids to practice writing.
DSC_0124Culture and Beliefs.  I’ve been doing research about Africa and made fact cards (significant) for Mavi to read and use. We did some of the activities in the cards, like creating African patterns (designs on textiles), researching about the ethnic tribes of Africa and enjoying the beaded bracelet my friend gave me that resembles African jewelries.
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DSC_0272I’m teaching Mavi how to do research.  We do it using the internet as of the moment but I would like to bring him to the library and do it there as well.  We love our tablet and we use it in so many ways! He loves how this girl looks.
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And he thinks it is cool to have a lip plate!
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Natural Resources.  We did this last year but was not able to touch it because the boys got sick. I also have a product in my shop for this topic, "Natural Resources of the World".
Art.  I purchased art lessons from Deep Space Sparkle and they were all amazing! This one is the Africa art lesson which comprises of learning how to make mud houses, giraffes, African patterns and creating your Maasai Tribe.  See how he applied the patterns on the body of the tribe?
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Videos.  We watched the entire series Africa (BBC TV series) on Netflix. The series was beautifully created and entertaining! It was breathtaking! To see all those beautiful landscapes, different habitats, the richness of wildlife. Just WOW.  Watching this video made us want to jump right then and there in Africa! (And a friend also shared a video of Gambia). Thank you!
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Songs.  We listened to a few songs on YouTube and see how the people used some of the native instruments.

Stories.  I borrowed this book from the library and you can purchase them at Book Depository[aff.link] as well, free shipping!  They contain lots of beautiful African tales and stories. Mavi reads them at night before going to bed.
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World History. And to complete our unit, we did an Ancient Egypt Study.  These figurines are from the Ancient Egypt Safari Toobs and they are awesome! Perfect for hands on learning!  Read more about it here.
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Here’s a summary of the materials we used in this Continent unit:
  1. Flags of Africa
  2. Animals of Africa (3-Part Cards and Fact Sheets)
  3. Landmarks of Africa
  4. Africa in a Nutshell and the post describing its content in detail, link here.
  5. Animal Habitats
  6. Plant Atlas
  7. African Art
  8. African Proverbs
  9. Safari Toobs Ancient Egypt
  10. Safari Toobs Wild
And that’s about it!!  I hope you can pick up a lot of ideas that you can do with your kids or in your school!  You can also checkout my pinterest board for other African activities.  Don’t forget to visit us as well in our other social media sites for updates! Thank you!
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This post is part of the 12 Months of Montessori Learning which is hosted by Natural Beach Living and The Natural Homeschool.
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