February was the month in which I finally jumped into those plans I had been talking about and it has been an unquestionable success. Little Bean has enjoyed all the colourful works and I have enjoyed feeling a little bit more organised. Being organised has always been a bit of a battle for me, definitely not something that comes naturally, but the plus side of this is that the slightest amount of organised-ness on my part makes me feel like I’m doing well. Thankfully I’m a Pinterest addict, and I count pinning lots of work ideas as being organised.
Forthwith the weekly On Our Shelves posts will be replaced with a monthly review of our themed works. It was a big time commitment writing up those posts each week and now I will have more time (and hopefully enough creativity) to write posts on a wider variety of topics. Well, the theme last month was colours which was a great theme to kick us off. This is the perfect theme for cheering up the dull months of winter. It would work equally well for spring, hopefully those little spring showers are accompanied by lots of lovely rainbows. Little Bean does well when it comes to naming colours, thanks to the work she has done with our DIY Montessori Colour Tablets, and she still enjoys pointing out and talking about colours. Her interest is always the main reason for my choosing a theme or a work.
Here’s what we got up to:
I originally saw this idea over at Counting Coconuts and I thought it was a great way to practice buttoning. Little Bean gets really frustrated that she can’t do the buttons on her clothes, resulting in a hulk like frenzy of trying to rip her clothes off. I thought she might appreciate a little practice.
This button snake was really simple to make. I found the perfect rainbow ribbon and selected a large button to sew on. I hope to make a few themed button snakes over the course of the year, gradually decreasing the size of the button. The button needs to be on good and strong, but it needs to be sewn on in a similar fashion to buttons on clothing, so it fastens the same. In case you are not au fait with how to sew a button on, here are some good instructions. After adding the button to the ribbon, I cut some squares of felt in different colours, cutting a slit in the middle of each one. I tied the ribbon at the bottom around one of these pieces of felt to act as a stopper.
This work has been very popular with Little Bean, both working on the buttoning and just wearing it as a necklace!
Shape and Colour Sorting Board
Little Bean is not really huge into sorting works yet. HOWEVER, she does enjoy colour sorting, she has that down. And she enjoys puzzles. This shape and colour sorting board is kind of like a puzzle with a colour sorting element so I thought she might enjoy it (UK link/something almost identical in the US). Each shape comes in the four different colours AND four different heights. Little Bean surprised me when she first worked with this by sorting the blocks into two piles, one with the bigger blocks and one with the smaller blocks.So we were able to talk a bit about size and reinforce some of the related vocabulary.
Pompom Tong Transfer and Colour Sort
This work was mainly for introducing the tongs, the colour sorting element was mostly just for somewhere to place the pompoms and because she had enjoyed our other colour sorting work. Well, it didn’t exactly go as I had planned. I had imagined (and demonstrated) picking up one pompom at a time and gently placing it on the appropriate colour felt. What actually happened was Little Bean picking up a pile of pompoms and dropping them in the general felty direction. I think this was her way of exploring and getting used to the tongs so I’m feeling relaxed about this, for now.
Djeco Coloured Birds Puzzle
This is such a beautiful puzzle that when I saw it I had to buy it. Behind each bird is a butterfly shape of colour to help get the right bird in the right place. Some of the shades are quite similar so some careful looking is required. This puzzle does have more pieces than Little Bean is used to, which I think she finds a bit overwhelming, so this is one that we usually do together. Unfortunately I can’t find it anywhere on the internet! Google, how could you let me down so?! If anyone is able to find it please share in the comments below.
Cutting Coloured Strips
This one I am counting as an art tray, although it is probably more of a practical life work. I simply cut some strips of different coloured paper and put them in the tray. I do not leave the scissors in the tray, she’s two and I’m not insane. She knows to ask for them if she wants to use them. These scissors are Tonic Studio Kushgrip kid’s scissors and they are perfect for Little Beans toddler sized hands (UK link/something similar in the US). I didn’t bother with safety scissors, I wanted something that would actually cut, but it was important to me that they had a blunt point. I don’t need any stab wounds. For info on developing scissor skills and a roundup of some more works see this post at Living Montessori Now.
Chalkboard and Chalk
What kid doesn’t love experimenting with chalk on a chalkboard? I would also hand Little Bean a dampened cloth for some practical life wiping down.
The Usborne Big Book of Colours
I had this delightful book displayed on the shelves for the majority of our colours month. This book has pages dedicated to each colour and is great for talking about different shades. We were able to talk more about dark and light colours and even introduce the technical names of some of the shades. This book also has a moveable colour wheel, so you can see how different colours look together, a page about colour mixing and an acetate page to see how colours change when they are combined. This is a wonderful book, even for adults! (UK link/US link)
And that just about sums it up. I really, really wanted to dye some pasta and make necklaces but it never happened. Maybe we will still do it.
You can see a few other of our colour theme works here and don’t forget to check out the super fun colour mixing experiments we did. And if you are looking for a really easy and free alternative to the montessori colour tablets (Box 2), you can download some at Montessori Print Shop.
P.S. This post is linking up with Montessori Monday!