Looking at the Montessori online shops like Absorbent Minds it would be far too easy to spend an absolute fortune making sure every lesson on every album ever downloaded was covered as prescribed. So here’s what I’ve been trying to do.
I did work out over a long time what we needed for the widest possible work using the least possible equipment.
So. I have a lot of bead stuff. They are good for all the math work the three children do, including the Life of Fred books. They are also useful for geometry. Heleyna (and the others) can make triangles, and other straight sided shapes with the bead bars. She can also make angles with them. This means I don’t need the rods and have used a free download of geometric sticks for extensions from Livable Learning.
I’ve laminated a lot of the sticks and added small magnets for work on the whiteboard. If you do this a tip if not to put the magnets too close to the end
of the sticks as you need to be able to overlap the sticks for making shapes and some angles.
A lot of the “flat” Montessori materials are available as downloads to be printed on card and/or laminated. The decisions I have made on this, have been with and eye to the sensorial aspects of Montessori. I have bought things that are important for how they feel as well as how they look so the children learn through their senses and learn to train their senses in things like texture and weight.
I haven’t bought a lot of sensorial materials so I want the children to use other things around the house for that. I bought a set of glue jars which can be used in various ways; add different beans for different weights. Add hot and cold fluid for baric touch (it’s not quite the same but it works). Different smelly things can be put in them and by filling them differently with orange lentils they make sound shakers.
We use the trays as work space. Heleyna, in particular is an “all-over-the-place” kind of person. The little rim of the tray gives a gentle boundary to her exuberant nature as she learns.
The box of prisms for the brown stair can be adapted as spindles and rods for measurement of angle. We’ve also use them to make a narrow line for Heleyna to walk along to practice balance.
They are 1 cm² by 10 cm so they make great little measuring rods too. Heleyna has also used them as building extensions with the cubes and brown stair.
I’m sure I’ll have more multi uses as time goes on.
As I have the hollow cubes instead of the pink tower we can use them not only for tower and stair models and extensions but for pythagorian rules and for measurement of volume. They are also good for listening skills as the children can make the tower with the hollow side outwards and then blow into each cube listening for the faint change in tone as they blow from small to large and back again. We also use them for listening by banging them with a stick for different tones. Heleyna like to play a hide and memory game with them too. Memory games are very useful, especially for children with dyslexia.
Finally there’s a great way to save money on Montessori models by making them yourself from play-doh. We’ve been studying the earth in geography. The layers of the earth model is £10 + at it’s cheapest. We made one out of play-doh.
‘Scuze my dd’s scary stare there!
There’s a lot more that can be made with play-doh; I have big plans 🙂