Category Archives: Education

Hugless Douglas Week: Activity Ideas

“Hugless Douglas Activities” is one of the biggest search terms to this blog, therefore I’ve been thinking about what to do for this post for a while. After several hours of often fruitless google searches, I eventually remembered Pinterest and added a whole host of eclectic ideas onto an HD springboard board 😉 A selection are included below with suggested themes.

I have included a linky at the bottom of this post for you to add any related activity posts, and please do comment to suggest themes you think should be added too.

Theme: Bears

Circles Bear from First PaletteCircles Bear

A wonderfully simple craft that even very small children could manage (with help cutting out the circles) and added learning in the form of big/small and shapes.

Hugless Douglas arms from DomesticaliHugless Douglas Arms

No tutorial here, but I had to link to these fantastic bear arms made specifically for Hugless Douglas. Very crafty parents may be able to rustle up something similar!

Teddy Bear Toast from miniecoTeddy Bear Toast

A delicious looking snack to try for your little bears, look like it can be made by small children too so practical skills, cuteness and a fairly healthy snack or breakfast alternative.

Potato Paw Prints from Sunny Side Up!Potato Paw Prints

I love the idea of actually using jam to make paw prints, but I don’t think I’d be able to go through with it. All small children love to make a big mess pawprints 🙂

Bears from Handprint & Footprint ArtHandprint and Footprint Bears

Another nice and simple craft for young children and up. If you’ve not tried animal handprints, Red Ted Art has an entire alphabet of them!

 

For older children:
Bears feature in many of David’s books. Look at the bears in the following books:
The Star-Faced Crocodile
The Kiss That Missed trilogy
Two by Two and a half
How they are different from each other and from Hugless Douglas? How are they similar? Are all the bears friendly?

Other book series bears to look out for:
Big Bear & Little Bear (Martin Waddell & Barbara Firth)
Bear (Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman)
The Bear (Jez Alborough)
The Bear with Sticky Paws (Clara Vulliamy)
George & Bartholemew (Virginia Miller)
Muffin (Clara Vulliamy)
Old Bear & Little Bear (Jane Hissey)
Paddington (Michael Bond & various)
Winnie the Pooh (A A Milne & E H Shepard)

Theme: Other Animals in the Hugless Douglas Books
For sheep, see Theme: Sheep, Wool, Knitting and Hats below

Owl Mask from Made in MeOwl Mask

How much fun is this owl mask? Plus it’s made from leaves so can be preceeded by a nature walk in most seasons, except winter. How would it look with green leaves I wonder?

Amazing Edible Owl from Creative PlayhouseAmazing Edible Owl

A fantastic treat for active youngsters. Krisproll, banana and chocolate buttons – who-ooo could resist? 🙂 I think I must have had food on the brain when I was collecting links, but I love this owl sandwich too!

Bunny Finger Puppet from HolloughbyRabbit Finger Puppet

This finger puppet looks fantastic, and I’m sure the sewing parts could be replaced by glueing for very small children. For something with a template to cut round, there’s these lovely bunny tree decorations.

Theme: Hibernation (Hugless Douglas)

Why has Douglas woken up and forgotten his mum? Well, several months of sleep is enough to confuse anyone! What is hibernation, and what other animals hibernate in winter?

Hibernation Craft from Almost UnschoolersHibernation Diorama

A complex papier-mâché and clay project to be attempted by children with a serious interest in hibernation (or making things!) and a fantastic result to be proud of when complete.

Hibernation Ideas from Mommy and Me Book ClubBear Cave Craft

As well as this bear cave perfect for young children to make, the link also includes a hibernation song and finger play which would be lovely to do with small children. Lots of other ideas too!

Animals in Winter from Montessori Print ShopAnimals in Winter

Not free, but I think Montessori Print Shop’s materials are well worth the price. This downloadable pdf makes a sorting game of how different animals respond to winter: do they hibernate, migrate or adapt?

Theme: Trees, Leaves, Rocks and Seasons (Hugless Douglas)

The search for a perfect hug is also a lovely sensory experience. On a nature walk, try to collect some stones, leaves, bark (or twigs) and maybe some raw wool to feel while reading the story. Does your child think that these things are nice to hug or not?

Autumn Leaf Shapes Printable from Simple CraftsLeaf Shapes

This site has a leaf shape template to download and cut out leaf shapes for all sorts of crafts – the examples on this page are gorgeous. You could also cut out paper leaves to make a tree or animal shapes for example.

Leaf Print Tree from First PaletteLeaf Print Tree

The Hugless Douglas books are full of trees and leaves, so this leaf print tree is a good expressive craft for small children to experiment with senses, colours and mess 🙂

Colourful Spring Branch from Inner Child FunColourful Spring Branch

Douglas wakes in the spring, so this fun craft project is another nice addition. When thinking about trees and leaves, the seasons come to mind as most trees change so visually throughout the seasons.

Rock Sensory Bin from Crafts-N-ThingsRock Sensory Bin

Great fun for small children – playing with stones and searching for small objects hidden in them. With added sensory feel of the rocks/pebbles – rough and smooth could be covered here too.

This huge free download from CurrClick has some seasonal learning ideas. I particularly like the tree patterns sheet on page 8, and the ‘how do I adapt to the seasons’ game on pages 41-42.

Theme: Sheep, Wool, Knitting & Hats (Don’t Worry Hugless Douglas)

Sheep feature throughout the Hugless Douglas books, and as an added learning link through Douglas’ hat is wooly. Conversations about how sheep are sheared for summer, how raw wool is processed and knitting and crochet can follow on from here.

Do you have any hats at home? What kind of hats are they: sun hats, winter hats, decorative hats? Why do we use hats? Can you design a hat? There are lots of hat crafts for small children, from a simple paper hat to pirate hats and beyond…

Cotton wool lamb from Rainy Day MumCotton Wool Sheep

Making sheep from cotton wool is loads of fun. This is a Mary had a Little Lamb craft which in turn leads to thinking about rhymes and fairy tales that can be read after Hugless Douglas, for example Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Cloud Dough from Pre-School PlayCloud Dough

This cloud dough looks like wooly sheep and would be a nice sensory follow on from thinking about sheep. Compare the texture with wool too, to see how things that look similar can feel very different.

Felted Balls from Let the Children PlayFelted Balls

Another sensory experience, and could be combined with the sensory bin idea for trees, leaves and rocks plus roving shows the stage between raw wool and yarn wool.

Wool Sheep from Mrs Karen's Pre-School IdeasWool Sheep

I think this craft idea is really good for cementing the link between wool on sheep and the wool used for knitting etc. The link has lots of farmyard ideas which don’t quite follow for Hugless Douglas but would be fun for another day.

Monster Hat from Knotty KnottyCrochet Hat

A fairly tenuous link here, but I thought this hat was so cute! I can’t knit or crochet but parents who can could probably make this together with children – the eyes might be good for children to make for instance. There’s some lovely hats on this site, including an owl hat.

Theme: Underground Homes (Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep)

Rabbit lives underground. What other animals can you think of that live underground? Ants, worms, moles? What are the similarities and differences between animals who make their homes under the ground?

Theme: Nocturnal and Diurnal (Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep)

Hugless Douglas goes to Rabbit’s for a sleepover. They are sleeping at night. Some animals sleep in the day. What does nocturnal mean? What does diurnal mean? What nocturnal and diurnal animals can you think of?

Nocturnal and Diurnal from A Little Learning for TwoNocturnal or Diurnal

A simple, visual way of describing the difference between nocturnal and diurnal animals plus ideas for a sorting game to make using pictures found online and printed.

Nocturnal or Diurnal from Montessori Print ShopNocturnal or Diurnal Sorting Game

Not free, but another Montessori Print Shop sorting game perfect for Hugless Douglas follow-on and saves looking up animals and finding quality images yourself.

Silly Songs
I couldn’t resist creating these silly songs (to the tune of well known nursery rhymes). I hope Mr Melling and Hachette Children’s Books will forgive me! 😉

You can download the song sheet here.

Goblins
Depending on the age and interest of the child, reading the Goblins books to them before or after Hugless Douglas could lead on to cross-over activities. Some questions to think about:
What would a Hug Goblin look like?
Where would it live?
What would it do?
What would happen if Hugless Douglas met a Hug Goblin? Can you write a story about this?

And now it’s your turn… Please comment or add a link below. Tomorrow I will be rounding up a selection of colouring sheets and other resources you can download.

Note: All images are © their respective websites.



Learn With Hello Kitty: Alphabet Letters & Starting to Write

Learn With Hello Kitty

The lovely people at Harper Collins have sent us two Hello Kitty workbooks. I have mixed feelings on workbooks but MG and DG like to play school and they like to have workbooks to use.

DG is at a stage where she’s only just starting to control her pencil strokes and producing circles and lines on purpose rather than just squiggles (I try not to compare her to MG who could write her name at the same age!) MG loves to write but some practice with forming letters on top of her story writing and schooling would be useful to her.

I also have mixed opinions about these two workbooks. Both books are luscious, with lots of colour throughout so they stand out from many other workbooks. Hello Kitty is a familiar character and instantly recognisable so these books are attractive to young children. There is also a Numbers book which we haven’t seen plus three dictionaries in the series. Matching stationery can be easily found for those who want to co-ordinate!

Starting to Write is aimed at 3-5 year olds and is pitched perfectly at the age range, starting with tracing straight lines, moving through curves and shapes before showing the correct formation of the lower case alphabet. The pages are colourful and inviting, there are lots of stickers (including several oversize characters) and the letter size is big enough to be clear on how to form them and uses a primary font that differentiates between b/d/p/q easily.

Alphabet Letters is also aimed at 3-5 year olds, but I think it’s more useful as an activity book than an alphabet learning tool. There is a page for each letter of the alphabet but no consistency between the activities, for example only a handful of pages offer the opportunity to write the letter. Each page is cluttered and it’s not clear from the picture what letter is being highlighted. The font used does not clearly differentiate between b/d etc and uses a straight line for l without a tail. The ‘l’ page also uses a very curvy font for handwriting that, to me, completely defeats the object of the entire book. Using the same font as the letters to trace in Starting to Write would have been preferable.

There are no guidance notes for parents on using the phonic sounds for the letters, which is the best starting point for children to understand the correspondence between the marks on paper and the words we speak. Some of the examples are not simple phonetic words (e.g. ice cream starts with the letter name sound rather than the letter sound; xylophone doesn’t have the /ks/ sound, although words starting with x are awkward…)

I really don’t think Alphabet Letters succeeds as a book to “learn your letters” but is an enjoyable activity book with lots to talk about in the pictures and plenty of stickers to use too.

I used both books with DG because MG is on the outer end of the age range for the books and would get less out of them whereas DG is very much at the start of the alphabet & writing experience. MG would still get something out of the writing book as some of her letter formations are out (e.g. backwards) but I’d prefer to use the whole book with one child!

DG really enjoyed the pictures and talking about everything in them. She proved to me my thoughts about Alphabet Letters. It was enjoyable for her as an activity book with lots to talk about and stickers to stick but trying to concentrate on one letter was impossible given the cluttered pages, she also found it hard to find the illustration of the example word for some letters because they weren’t obvious. As an activity book to colour, stick, draw and talk about the pictures this book is lovely, but I wouldn’t recommend it as an alphabet teaching book.

Conversely Starting to Write does the job perfectly. DG and I have gone through the whole book talking through the pictures with her pointing things out, and she’s traced some of the lines with her fingers. At the stage she’s at, she needs more fine motor practise to control her pen strokes, although she can do circles and lines but I stuck to following lines with fingers to start. This book will last us for a very long time going through all the different activities, and the colourful pictures are very appealing to DG.

These are visually appealing, fun books that don’t feel like workbooks and have lovely stickers too. I would recommend looking for them in a real bookshop rather than online to see whether they suit what you’re looking for but DG and I have had fun using them together.

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of  Learn with Hello Kitty: Alphabet Letters and Learn with Hello Kitty: Starting to Write by Harper Collins Children’s Books for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

Preparing for Starting School

I’ve seen several posts recently about things to do to ready your children before they start reception – including writing, reading and counting. It all seems a bit too much like hard work to me! MG has finished her reception year and starts Y1 this September so with this huge amount of school experience, here is my advice:

Why rush their childhood? If they want to count, recognise letters and write their name then by all means don’t hold them back but don’t push an unwilling child. Reception year is still in the Early Years Foundation Stage, it’s not all about sitting at desks and passive learning; it’s still play based and interactive.

Having said that, later years aren’t all sitting at desks and passive learning either but I’ve yet to discover exactly how much that will be a part of KS1.

Here are the things that your (non additional/special needs) child really needs before starting school:

  • All physical and verbal milestones as usually expected by age four.
  • To be able to feed themselves with cutlery and drink from open cups.
  • To be out of nappies in the daytime and be able to use a toilet alone, even if still needing help with handwashing.
  • To be able to dress and undress themselves, even if still needing help with buttons and more difficult pieces of clothing. Try to choose clothing that makes this easier for them e.g. zip-fronted instead of button-fronted dresses; velcro shoes; slightly baggy polo shirts / sweatshirts with wide necks.
  • To be able to part from their primary carer and interact with other children and adults.

If you’re not confident about your child’s ability to cope with going to school, remember you are not obliged to send them from the September after their fourth birthday. Legally, your child does not have to start full-time education until the long term after their fifth birthday. I’m using the phrase ‘long term’ because Oxfordshire schools follow a six term system.

  • You have the right to delay your child’s start to the school you have been offered a place until this date.
  • You have the right to not apply for a school place as long as you can fulfil an education suitable to your child’s age, aptitude and any special needs from the long term after their fifth birthday.
    • An education does not require following the National Curriculum.
    • An education does not require your child to read by age six.
    • An education does not require your child to interact almost exclusively with children born within the September to August of when they were born.
    • An education does not require worksheets.
    • An education does not require exams.
    • An education does not require one size fits all.

There are advantages and disadvantages to delaying your child’s school start.

Disadvantages include: they are not starting at the same time as their peers and may take longer to fit in; if you delay applying until later you may not get a place at your preferred school; if you delay start then they have less time in the Early Years Foundation Stage before starting Key Stage 1.

Advantages include: waiting until your child is emotionally ready for school; having more time to overcome minor developmental delays; having longer to enjoy holidays in term-time 😉

I chose to send both MG and DG to the local primary and for them both to start from the September after they turn four. I am happy with my decision and confident of my children’s ability. I also think it’s important to be aware of the options and your legal rights in respect to raising your own child.

In summary: enjoy the summer; take your child out in good weather and bad; play with friends; watch TV! Leave the worksheets for school 😉

Please note: the comments on legal rights apply to England and Wales. Other countries may have different rules. You should always check the current legal position. Home Education is currently legal under section 7 of the 1996 Education Act.

First Stories

MG (5yr 5mo) has started writing stories. As her mother, I think her ‘books’ are the most amazing, wonderful things in the whole wide world ever. I’m sharing her first books below.

Book One


bi [MG] And the picJs rar bi [MG]
By [MG]. And the pictures are by [MG]

wons pon tim the ws A bear in bi the rocs nere the wortreA ejs he ws lone And sAd
Once upon a time there was a bear in by the rocks near the water’s edge. He was lonely and sad.


evn the frog cood not chere up evn the bee cood not chere him up evn the fox cood not doo
Even the frog could not cheer him up. Even the bee could not cheer him up. Even the fox could not do it.


bt the Awl coo do it.
But the owl could do it.


the end

Book Two

bi [MG}. and the picJs rs bi [MG].
By [MG]. And the pictures are by [MG]

wons pon ti thea ws a monstre hoo liv in carsl bcs ov the Jagn and the prinses ws criing and wondin if a prins wd cum to rescyou he wod cum to resgyoy.
Once upon a time there was a monster who lived in a castle because of the dragon. And the princess was crying and wondering if a prince would come to rescue her.


dn and he did cum she sdopt criin ar you u rel prins yes i am pt won secnd a wicd wich pere how did theat hapn prins
Then and he did come. She stopped crying.
“Are you a real prince? “
“Yes I am.”
But one second a wicked witch appeared.
“How did that happen prince?”

I am so proud of my little girl’s imagination, and how happy she was producing these first stories. I can’t wait for more, especially the middle of the first book and the end of the second!

Basher Books: Astronomy

Basher Books are fantastic little books that cover (mainly) scientific concepts in handy bite-sized chunks along with Manga-style anthropomorphic characterisations. They come in two sizes, and we’ve somehow built up a fairly big selection via offers at The Book People and Red House Books. They are far too ‘old’ for my girls but I think they’re brilliant so they’re on the shelves, to be discussed if either child ever shows an interest.

Astronomy: Out of this World! created by Simon Basher & written by Dan Green

Basher’s Astronomy covers a whole host of information: from planets and other objects in the solar system to types of stars; from galaxies to man-made machines; from the big bang to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence…

Objects and concepts are grouped into chapters of “gangs” of similar characters.

Most characters then get a double-page spread of information, although some get only a single page.

The website has some online games, worksheets to download plus samples of each of the books and some great downloads including a huge PDF periodic table – but I’m digressing from astronomy now! The direct link to the Astronomy sampler is here.

The posters are included in the books, but can also be downloaded from the Basher Books site. This is what the poster for the Astronomy book looks like:

Age-wise this series is suggested for 9+ but it depends on the individual child. The anthropomorphic characterisations may confuse younger children or may be useful in explaining, all depending on the child. The book samplers should give a good idea of whether they’re suitable for your household. I think they’re wonderful books and thoroughly recommend them.

All images above (apart from my photo) are taken from the Basher Books website and copyright belongs to Macmillan publishers.

Number Bonds to 10

It’s been six months since my High Frequency Words post, and I had planned to do more printables but that just hasn’t happened. MG has got through many more key words without the printables, but I do plan to update the word lists for download at some point…

I spent a little time going through various PDF files I’ve either purchased or found free online from various places and I couldn’t find what I wanted to give MG a hands-on method for learning number bonds, so I’ve made a printable to share.

This printable includes tiles to make half of the number bonds to 10 so you can either print two copies, or swap the numbers round to show that, for example, 9 + 1 is the same as 1 + 9.

0000

The files come in three colour schemes: to match the colours of Cuisenaire Rods; to match the colours of Montessori Bead Materials; and plain for practice without colour-coding. I don’t think number bonds are particularly Montessori, but I’m following what’s used in school as that’s the education route that we’ve currently chosen for our daughters. Some people combine approaches, so the download might be useful.

I’ve chosen to give MG Cuisenaire Rods for number bond learning initially, therefore this is the colour scheme I’ve printed out.

I’ve changed the green in the Cuisenaire file since printing the set in the picture because I didn’t think the original green was light enough.

There are several stages to be taken to cover number bonds, but I can miss many of them because of what MG has learnt in school. For our home use with these unfamiliar materials I wanted to cover two things first:
1. Experimenting with the different ways any two rods exactly match the length of one orange rod
2. Matching the number tiles to the relevant rods

MG can already read up to two-digit numbers and knows the plus and equals operator symbols. Since making these, MG hasn’t shown an interest so I haven’t tested them but instead of keeping this post in draft for any more weeks, I’ll update on how we used them in a later post – or please let me know if they’re useful in the comments!

Other Worlds at The Story Museum

The Story Museum centre opens in Oxford in 2014 but before then they’ve starting putting on events in the building. Other Worlds is open for the whole of May and is a series of art installations in rooms in what was the post office and telephone exchange. It is somewhere that needs at least a couple of hours of exploring, which I certainly didn’t get with a 3 and 5 year old but here are the highlights of our little exploration.

We visited on Sunday 13th May in the morning because I knew Korky Paul would be there for a workshop. He will also be there Sat 19th May in the afternoon and Sun 20th May in the morning (check with The Story Museum for times).

Firstly, all the staff were absolutely wonderful. They greeted everyone enthusiastically, spent time chatting with the children and were completely approachable to talk to. They made the whole visit a delight (even with slightly clingy small children!) MG spent most of the time saying “can we go now?” until we left when she said “when are we going back?” Typical five year old?! DG explored, she likes exploring. We missed out at least half of the exhibits.

MG’s favourite was the Word Storm. We didn’t go in properly and read the walls but the room with its thunder and lightning was intriguing enough and the peephole in the wall to look through was great for the children.

The second favourite was A Crafty Fag, although I have no idea what was going on because I didn’t get to look for more than five seconds! But the girls climbed the ladder and looked through a periscope to see a video which seemed very curious. I think the ladder was of more interest to my children though!

Both of these were on the first floor, we didn’t go in any rooms on the ground floor but the main entrance had audio and paintings so you walk straight in to the experience. The portaloos (very important when you have small children, we had several visits!) were behind some bean poles with tags that looked interesting and I loved the notice in the courtyard about smoking!

The second floor housed Korky Paul’s PlessieOsaurus and the workshop, where the children were free to draw and paint an underwater scene on the walls and floor with Korky drawing outlines of Plessie and fish for everyone (not just the children) to colour plus giving impromptu advice on how to draw fish, how to make the paint more watery to look underwater etc. He spent the entire time engaging with the children and if I wasn’t totally shy I would have said hello as it was a very informal and intimate workshop. I think there were about 20-30 people there so it wasn’t overcrowded. There was a bit of drama when the Plessie fell over when the staff tried to move it to make space but no one (including Plessie) was hurt.

DG, being DG, happily painted the walls, looking for me when she wanted to change colours and when she wanted to stop. MG, being MG, clung to me at all times and didn’t do any drawing at all (which is a shame, because it is her favourite occupation usually). So MG and I kept out of the way and looked at the other exhibits in the huge room that we were in while DG happily painted, looking out for me on the odd occasion (I kept an eye on her at all times, in case she got stressed.)

There were tables with books spread around (which of course I couldn’t resist) and posters, postcards etc to support the museum. I bought a small handful 😉 It was a lovely trip and although the girls had their ‘bored’ moments while we were there, we did stay for about an hour and a half and they said they really enjoyed it afterwards and wanted to go again.

This review is a tiny taster of what Other Worlds has to offer, it really deserves a longer visit. Other Worlds is open until 27 May on Thursdays to Sundays (see website for details) and costs £3 per person, children under 2 are free.

Making Hats at Pitt-Rivers Museum

During the Easter school break, I took MG and DG to Oxford Natural History and Pitt-Rivers museums, something I don’t do nearly as often as I should considering how easy they are to get to. This turned out to be a fairly short trip in terms of looking at anything in the museums, because we found the craft area and the girls spent most of their time there making Wellington Soldier hats, or Pirate hats as DG has it – Arrr, mateys!

I shall write about how awesome both the Natural History and Pitt-Rivers museums are in another post at some point, but in summary they are wonderful with supportive staff, lots of interesting things to see and regular family-friendly events. As MG and DG get older, we’ll go to more events as they’re still quite young.

These Wellington Soldier hats are so simple to make and look great.

Materials:

  • 2 pieces of black A3 card
  • one long strip of card (any colour, about 5cm wide)
  • scissors
  • glue
  • lots of bits and pieces for sticking

Firstly, you need to cut the shape in the picture above from the two pieces of A3 card. It takes up most of the card length but a little less than the height. There were templates provided at Pitt Rivers for the children to draw round and cut. (I tried to create the template on my computer but I have zero artistic talent so failed miserably!)

Once the two sides of the hat have been cut, they need to be decorated however you wish. There were lots of beautiful parent-designs on the day, but I like to let my girls do their own crafts so they may not have perfect hats, but they’re theirs 🙂

Once each of the two hat pieces have been decorated (one side only), put them together with the decorated sides outwards and staple the top edges together. Take the long strip of card and measure the child’s head, stapling a circle that fits the child together, then staple the circle card into the bottom opening of the hat.

Such a simple and effective craft, MG and DG thoroughly enjoyed it. Huge thanks to Pitt-Rivers’ for an idea for an easy craft we can modify and do again and again!

Little Pirate Wellington Soldier (who didn’t want her picture taken!)

I’m linking this up to A Mummy’s View’s #ArtAttackTuesday.

High Frequency Words Learning Game

To commemorate over 1000 tweets and 250 followers on Twitter (wow!) I wanted to give something away. A physical something was never going to be an option, so I am sharing something I made for Mighty Girl’s “homework”.

Fortunately her school is not pushy with homework in Foundation Stage, and I’ve certainly not made her do anything but she has been getting small lists of ‘key words’ to learn by sight and sometimes she wants to move onto the next set of words so we work on them at home. She loves letter sounds and writing (see First Words) and I’d collected some Montessori materials from when I was planning to home ed so I combined the two to make a game to help cement the words in her head.

We have the small moveable alphabet, Sassoon font in red with blue vowels from Absorbent Minds Montessori and the key words from school were printed in Sassoon font too (it’s a good font for distinguishing b from d etc and easy to read). However, I expect that a wooden moveable alphabet isn’t something that most people own so I’ve modified the files slightly to include a printable moveable alphabet for the matching game. The size of the moveable alphabet and large word cards are to match the wooden small moveable alphabet (it’s not 100% accurate but very close.)

There are four files you can choose to download:
moveablealphabet.pdf – paper version of the moveable alphabet with red consonants and blue vowels. Usually there are 5 of each consonent and 10 of each vowel printed for a “complete” alphabet, to get this print the file 5 times (I’ve included y in red and blue as it can be both).
HFwords1.pdf – the first 22 high frequency “key words” that eldest has brought home from school to learn so far in large red and blue letters (can be flash cards, matching with moveable alphabet).
HFwords1wde.pdf – as above file, but the words are spaced out so that the paper moveable alphabet can be placed on top of the cards more easily.
HFwords1sml.pdf – the same 22 words in smaller black Sassoon font for more traditional “flash cards”, matching with the large word cards etc.

For durability, print onto card and laminate (and definitely don’t let your two year old drip water all over unlaminated paper copies :lol:) There are all sorts of games that can be played, the most obvious of which is probably matching the individual letters with the words. I usually set out three to five words and the exact letters needed for those words (to give “control of error” – there should be no letters left over when all are matched). MG knows almost all letter names and sounds so tries to read phonically for words she doesn’t know and can say the letter sounds as she matches.

The game MG made up that she likes to play is to have either the pile of small cards or big cards and give the other pile to whoever she’s playing with. We mix the cards up and see if we match. I add in questions like “What does yours say? What does mine say?” for words she knows or “You’ve got x and I’ve got y” if she’s not sure. If the “learning” bit is annoying her I stop it of course, it’s supposed to be fun! Seeing the words regularly, matching up different size word cards, creating words with the moveable alphabet and talking about the words (then recognising them in books when I’m reading to her) is cementing the words in her mind and she is happily memorising these words at her own pace.

For an idea of the Montessori method of introducing language, see Montessori Print Shop‘s Language Overview. MPS also offer lots of printables to support using the moveable alphabet, and their moveable alphabet file includes lesson plans, lower and upper case letters in three colour schemes and images of phonetic words to sound out. This file is also included in the MPS Montessori at Home materials bundle for an even more bargainous price, very useful if you want to follow some Montessori principles at home and get the Montessori At Home! book (which is fantastic!) No, I’m not on commission, I just like these 🙂

Montessori Monday

Montessori Online Resources

Some time ago, I started to create a mini blog / site with a variety of Montessori links and info. But my bookmarks kept growing and growing and I had no time to organise them. Other sites have already done the same (and better) so I shall link to them instead 😆

About Montessori from Montessori Print Shop. Plus lots more information under the different menu headings. “Montessori Theory” is a great place to get an understanding for Montessori philosopny and “Montessori Lessons” for an idea of scope and sequence.

Free Montessori Materials
Free Montessori Materials Online – from Living Montessori Now (including free 3-6 Geography Album from A Montessori Marketplace)
The Little List – directory of free printables, DIY materials, curriculum (albums and scope and sequence) etc

Montessori Blogs
What Did We Do All Day? – extensive, updated Montessori Blog list (and DIY materials links)
Montessori Print Shop Favourite Blogs – a very good place to start!
50 must-read Montessori Blogs (some now obsolete)

Free Albums
There’s a few more albums not on the links above that I had collected:
Meg McElwee’s 3-6 Albums (Passwords:- Practical Life and Theory: pl101; Sensorial: sens789; Language: lang456; Mathematics: math123) If this shouldn’t be posted, let me know and I’ll delete but I got it from a public place originally…
Wikisori Albums
Mid America Montessori Teacher Training 6-9 Albums
Cultivating Dharma 6-9 Albums
Great Lessons 3-part cards (sorry, I can’t remember who created these)
Free Printables
Montessori for Learning
Montessori Print Shop
Montessori Materials
Montessori for Everyone
All these Yahoo! groups have a large number of free resources in their files sections:
Montessori Materials Makers
Montessori by Hand
Playschool 6

Maria Montessori’s Writing
Full Books Online
The Montessori Method (Celebration of Women Writers)
Dr Montessori’s Own Handbook (Project Gutenberg)
Spontaneous Activity in Education (Project Gutenburg)
Chapters Online
The Absorbent Mind (Moteaco)
Basic Ideas of Montessori’s Educational Theory (Moteaco)
The Child in the Family (Moteaco)
From Childhood to Adolescence (Moteaco)
The Discovery of the Child (Moteaco)
Education for a New World (Moteaco)
The Formation of Man (Moteaco)
What You Should Know About Your Child (Moteaco)
To Educate the Human Potential (Moteaco)
Lectures Online
The California Lectures of Maria Montessori, 1915 (Moteaco)
How It All Happened (1942) (Moteaco)

Other Useful Links
Virtual Montessori – online versions of several Montessori materials (e.g. 100 board, small bead frames, pythagoras board, synonyms)
Montessori Bells – online version of the bells
Edupic – royalty-free pictures that could be used for making 3-part cards, all sorts of subjects