Friday, June 27, 2014

Works All Around Us!

I love it when I'm puttering around the house with "Alleluia" and some chore we stumble upon becomes a decent impromptu Montessori work.   This morning I was trying to let the rest of the household sleep in ("Wasabi" had returned from a month in France late last night).  I was tired myself, so when everything Alleluia wanted to do was just too loud, I gave her a quiet job to do:  sort through the mess of pencils and pens we store in one big tote and get the supplies ready for the next school year.

This job, it turns out, requires plenty of skills, such as:
  • sorting pencils and mechanical pencils from pens and markers
  • setting aside colored pencils (more on that later)
  • figuring out which pen caps go to which pens
  • throwing out broken pencil pieces and pen caps that had no mates
  • setting aside crayons for Alleluia's backpack
  • testing pens and markers so she could discard yucky ones
  • setting aside the extra thick pencils for the Atrium
  • setting aside hair ties, pencil sharpeners and pencil grips (which I put where they belong)

Once she had made a big pile of colored pencils she sharpened them and put each in its correct cup.  This was challenging, since several shades of pencil were kind of "in between."

In the end this took at least 25 minutes of focus and concentration, and--since she uses the pencils every day--she will not only benefit from her work, but her siblings and the children who come over to use the Montessori materials will also benefit.

What about you?  Have you enjoyed any impromptu works lately?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Jazzing Up Your Board Books After the Toddler Stage

Adding a tutu to the skating elephant has just kicked this up a notch!  (From Jamberry)

How to Add Oomph to Your Board Books

We are still working with "Banjo" (the almost 6-year-old boy with multiple disabilities) to find ways to reach him through his senses.  His family members read to him a ton, so his mom and I have been adapting some favorite board books.  You may want to try these tricks, too, although PLEASE don't try this if your audience still puts small things in their mouths!

1.  Find a book you love, whether for the art or for the language.

We both like Jamberry!
We've also worked on Doggies, The Very Hungry Caterpillar,  and Carl's Afternoon in the Park.

2.  Either be a pack rat or ask the help of one.  

Junk galore.
I happen to be the pack rat!  Textured wallpapers, pipe cleaners, beads, ribbon, old Barbie clothes--you name it, I got it.  So my house is kind of messy, but who do you come crawling to when you need a Lilliputian-sized set of binoculars?

3.  Heat up the glue gun.

Normal glue won't cut it.

4.  Add something every page or two...

...even if it's just a googly eye.

5.  Use clips or clothespins to make the pages easier to turn.


  • You may want to use wax paper or parchment paper to trace a shape before cutting.
A laundry pen or Sharpie helps, too.
  • Barbie clothes have a lot of different textures, even within the same outfit!
Sorry, Barbie (that outfit was so 80's anyway!).
  • Glue gun goo makes pretty good "water."

Voila!  Try this, and you'll fall in love all over again with your board book collection!