Category Archives: Montessori

Object to object matching

I've got Montessori on the brain…especially preparation for learning the written word. Maybe it has something to do with finishing up my language portfolio for my AMS certification? Perhaps it is due to Ronan's extreme interest in language right now…

Object_ronan(The rug is a hastily thrown together sewing project. It needs some binding. Oh, I know! – it's on the list)

The above picture is an example of one of the first activities a child can do from the language area of the "classroom." Dr. Montessori observed that children, ages 3-6, have an easier time with concrete ideas, so much of her suggestions for materials begin with the concrete and move to the abstract. Object to object matching promotes scanning ability with regards to later being able to tell the differences in letters, etc.

For example, the above rug was laid out by Ronan (without a lesson, I must admit). Immediately, I can tell that he needs more work with left to right orientation. He lined up the animals on the right side of the rug and worked to the left. With English, we read left to right and this activity helps the child to naturally orient themselves to that way of thinking.

I can also tell that he matched a set by color (the brown ones…I think are lions?). I asked him if they were the same and he said yes. I asked him if they were the same size and he giggled and said no. And, then proceeded to go back to his rug. This is what I saw:


Essentially, the language materials are training the eye (and the hand) to prepare for reading, writing and observation. I made a PDF of my written for lesson those who are interested. Remember that most of these lessons are written for use in a classroom. At home, we aren't quite as strict since it doesn't really work for very well for us. As long as he is respectful of the materials, he has some free reign as to how he uses them. The key is to observe his actions and re-present the material that he is not understanding (e.g. left to right orientation).

Have a wonderful and safe holiday!

He can do it himself

This morning, I peeked open one eye as R quietly creeped out of bed and into the kitchen. Usually, he was off to get a bowl of dry Cheerios to enjoy while I slowly awoke to start the day. But, today he decided that he would like a peanut butter and jelly for breakfast – and he said, “I can make it myself,” – quite matter-of-factly.

Seeing as how I was still a wee bit groggy, my internal sensors weren’t
quite up to par and general laziness prevailed (i.e. I didn’t offer to
make it for him or even consider the potential mess). I opened the jars
when needed and extracted the rice cakes from their container and by
the time I got out of bed, his sandwich was made – and there was only
a little bit of jelly on the counter.

When did my baby get so grown-up?


In keeping with the Montessori philosophy, we have tried to set up the house so that he can do as much of these things “by himself.” We do our best to provide child-sized tools that are fully-functional – and the rationale is to provide him with pride in his work and to know
that he is learning a life skill (and, allowing me to stay in bed for another 10 minutes is a nice side benefit as well).

Can you tell this is one proud mama?

(His cabinet full of plates, cups, silverware)

Of course, he was helping later in the day with our weekly homemade pizza dinner. I think that he has the best seat in the house – great views of the cardinals and squirrels that have been working outside in the front yard. Just perfect for rolling out dough – and making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

(Table is from Michael’s and the child-sized roller is from IKEA).

We are looking forward to a weekend full of laughter, hugs, sand, sun, and squeals of delight since the cousins are coming for a visit. I hope your weekend is just as rowdy as mine will be! See you on Wednesday.


A Montessori Bean Bag Toss


The classic bean bag toss is not a new concept, but I’ve found a way to apply it to some Montessori principles. These shapes can be made from the metal insets and glued on to a larger sheet of construction paper. I made these, but an older child could create this on their own. The bean bags are old jeans that I cut up and sewed together and R stuffed them with dried lima beans. When I asked him why they were called bean bags, he looked at me with a “duh” look and said very slowly, “…because they have beans in them.” Oh, I guess you made that connection, huh?

And, while I would have preferred the metal insets, I bought these for him to work on strengthening his hand muscles and learning pencil control. (Ours are actually pink and blue like the traditional insets).

The idea behind this toss is to assist the child with a new way of memorizing the names of the shapes. So often we have to memorize certain details (puzzle words, times tables, etc.), but this is a new way to apply it those kinesthetic learners (definitely my strongest learning type…I’m also a bit of a visual learner). Also great for boys – who need to express lots of movement throughout the day.

If using the Montessori Method and presenting this to a child, be sure and introduce the metal insets first, so they are familiar with some of the shapes. Then, discuss the shapes by name and discover which ones he knows and only introduce one new one at a time. That’s part of why I included a star in the above lesson. A star is not found in the Montessori metal insets, but most children will know what it is, therefore, it frees up some brain space to talk about the trapezoid.

Now, in a Montessori classroom, you would do a three-period lesson, but for R and I at home, this isn’t much fun and he resists, so I usually don’t do it in the traditional way. I have found another way – incorporating these new ideas into fun games. This is best played with two people and when you land on a shape, call out the name. Or, call out the shape first and see if you can land on it (a bit difficult for three.) But, when your child misses, you say, “Oh, you landed on the circle. I’m going to try for the trapezoid.”

This is one of my Language album “original” lessons, but I’ve seen the bean bag toss used for vocabulary building and hand-eye coordination for lots of different activities. R’s music class used it to discuss the different types of street vendors in a city (they’re studying cities this semester) and it’s a great game to play with toddlers on a rainy day when all you want to do is rip your hair out!


Have a wonderful and safe Easter. I hope you all have time to reflect on the holiday (if you celebrate) and enjoy being with family.


Learning numerals 1-5, Montessori-style

I had every intention of posting about some of the very cool books I have been reading lately, but I've got Montessori on the brain (I'm finishing up my 3-6 Language album). I've been skimming my pictures as I write and I came across these two:


(Sea-Life matching)
These are two activities I came up with for my Montessori math album originals. Since I am not teaching this year, these two activities were created specifically for my son, who turned three in November. I don't have the sandpaper numerals and they were never a big hit in my classroom with the younger kids. So, I was trying to think of a way to continue to expose him to the numerals 1-5 and their associated quantities. Ta-da!

(Play-doh numeral shapes)
This activity was based on a reverse of another I saw at the training. I was hoping to get him to notice the shapes of the numerals by filling them in with play-doh (or salt-dough). Unfortunately, in September, when I tested these on him, this was a little too advanced. But, I am happy to say that he is now making a few of the numerals – and I see him trace them with his finger. Ooh – I am so making some sandpaper numerals (or salt dough numerals) for him this weekend. Plus, he expanded this work and we started to make little balls to fill in the black dots.

He has outgrown the Sea-Life Matching and has 1-5 and their corresponding quantities down pat. I am brainstorming a new activity that will address numerals 6-10 in the same manner.