DIY Calendar

Assalamualaikum & Marhaba!

We made this super easy diy magnetic calendar to review our days of the week and weather.  Everything is from Bugaboo City except for the days of the week and months. I can’t remember where I had printed those from, but I had already laminated them so I used them (Bugaboo City’s are much cuter).  There are a bunch of adorable add-ons that I did not include in our calendar. 

This will be the first introduction to a calendar with dates, months, etc. for the kids. I really like that the thermometer is simplified for younger children.  What a great way to incorporate the idea of temperature! Layaan loves to count to 100 and this will be great practice to review her number skills.  We made pockets out of construction paper taped to the back of our board to store all the other pieces. 

The kids already love it and I am so pleased with how it looks and adds a pop of color to our homeschooling room. 

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Under the Sea Unit Study: Getting Started

Assalamu’alaikum & Marhaba!

Happy Fourth of July to my fellow American readers!  We enjoyed watching everyone’s snaps and seeing all the pictures of the firework displays around the country.

On the other side of the world, we are trying to get back into a homeschool routine post-Ramadan and moving to KL.  To get the ball rolling, we are starting a themed unit, Under the Sea.  The idea was sparked by a visit to an aquarium in Monte Carlo on our last vacation.  Layaan could not contain her excitement when she found “Nemo” and “Dory.”  As we walked along, Muhammad was wide-eyed and repeating, “Wooooow,” the entire time.  So it only felt appropriate to learn more about ocean animals.

Getting Started

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I prefer to organize all of my ideas and plan activities in advance to give myself enough time to gather materials, books, and supplies.  Rather than placing a limit on the amount of time we spend on each unit, I am beginning with introductory activities and allowing the children’s interest to carry us through the unit study.  Furthermore, Layaan’s Arabic tutor is working on the unit during their lesson time.

Books

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I try to get a variety of different types of books.  Eric Carle’s Mister Seahorse was a perfect fit for this unit.  Layaan and Muhammad love his books as much as I do.  It introduces the child to various types of fish, their names, the life cycle of fish, and other sea animal facts all in an engaging picture book format.

There are many beautiful nonfiction children’s books about ocean animals.  My criteria for their age were simple facts and attractive photographs.

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What Lives in the Sea? is an easy to read informational text for young learners.  It introduces basic concepts about different sea animal habits such as feeding and protection.  And then, it goes on to describe a few facts about each animal stated simply for young children.

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The Magnificent Book of Ocean Creatures is a giant book that I got for a steal at the bookstore Popular here in Malaysia.  I love it because not only is it hard cover, the illustrations in the book are beautiful and giant for each animal.  It provides more information than the previous book, but is still not too overwhelming.  The format is a nice introduction to an encyclopedia-style layout for elementary readers.

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Fuzzy Ocean was another awesome find at Popular.  I knew Layaan would enjoy this book, but I was thinking of Muhammad, twenty-three months old, in particular when I spotted it.  Felt pieces and play scenes are perfect for little toddler hands, especially ones who have a hard time handling things gently.  I plan to use them in matching activities to help build his vocabulary.

Activities

Seashell Transfer (2-3 years)

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This activity is for Muhammad, but Layaan enjoyed practicing it too.  At the local discount store, Mr. D.I.Y., I found bags of little seashells.  I introduced him to the word “seashell” in Arabic, صدف (sadaf).  I showed him how to place the seashells in the tiny basket.  We observed the different colors and textures.  Surprisingly, he came back to the activity with a set of tongs to transfer the seashells with instead.  It was a little challenging at first, but he was determined.  Eventually, he was able to get the hang of it in one sitting.

Clownfish Craft (3-6 years)

As I mentioned earlier, Layaan loves “Finding Nemo”, so it was a no brainer when I found this clownfish texture craft at Mr. D.I.Y.  This one is a bit challenging, and one we did together.  The kit did not include kid-friendly instructions, so she needed my guidance throughout.  I provided her with verbal instructions, and she did the rest. It was a great way to learn the simple parts of a fish such as fin, tail, scales, gills, mouth, eyes, etc while she glued each piece on.  We plan to do extension activities to further reinforce the parts, and read more about clownfish using our informational texts.

Ocean Themed Cutting and Gluing Practice (3-6 years)

Layaan wants to cut everything recently.  She even managed to sneak away the scissors and chopped a small bit of her hair.  Thankfully, it was not anything noticeable.  Thus, cutting practice is at the top of the list.  Learning how and when to use scissors and allowing her plenty of time to practice is helping her become more responsible with them.  After she finished cutting each piece, I extended the activity to include gluing practice.  I found this free printable over at Welcome to Mommyhood where there are plenty of ideas for ocean themed montessori activities.

Stay tuned as we continue our explorations under the sea!

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Plant Unit: Fruit Dissection & Craft

Assalamu’alaikum & Marhaba!

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We continued our study of plants by examining seeds.  Two fun activities popped up on my Pinterest feed that were related to seeds.  I decided to combine the two activities together as they were related to one another.  The first activity was posted by the Christian Montessori Network called Montessori Science:  Dissecting Fruit.  The other activity was a beautiful craft idea posted by Pink Stripey Socks called Kid Science:  Let’s Study Seeds.  Both activities can be used in many different ways, not just for seed study.  They are both good for learning about the parts of fruit, using fruit nomenclature cards, etc.   IMG_5774

First, we did the dissecting fruit activity.  I thought this was such a unique idea to introduce pre-school aged children to science tools and the scientific process.  Layaan loved using the tweezers to pull out the seeds.  It incorporated fine motor skills along with science.  IMG_5781Before we cut open the fruits, I asked her to make a good guess as to wat color and how big she was expecting the seeds to be.  We observed all the seeds as we pulled them out and discussed if her guesses matched what we found.  Though I only have an apple and pear pictured, we also did it with oranges, grapes, and tomatoes.  IMG_5780After we rinsed off the seeds, we did the art activity from Pink Stripey Socks.  I drew the outline of the fruit, and she painted the inside.  We then glued the seeds onto the respective fruits.  Once everything was dry, we continued to observe the similarities and differences between the seeds.   This activity was great for comparing sizes of seeds, texture, colors, etc, while also combining art and spatial awareness.

I loved watching Layaan do this activity.  I could see that she was really intrigued by it all.  I watched a little scientist bloom through this.  Check out our other posts from our plant unit listed below.

Plant Unit Posts:

DIY Greenhouse

Plant Unit: DIY Greenhouse

Assalamu’alaikum & Marhaba!

This is one of my favorite activities.  I remember doing it myself in elementary school.  It is incredibly simple, but the best way to visually observe how a seed grows.  Typically, green bean seeds are used because they grow quickly.  We had sunflower seeds on hand and used those.

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Continue reading

DIY: Montessori Number Rods

Assalamu’alaikum & Marhaba!

Number rods are used for the ages of 3.5-6 years in Montessori learning.  Once children master the red rods, they move on to these.  They are ten wooden rods.  The smallest rod represents one and is usually one decimeter long building up to ten which is one meter long.  The rods alternate in red and blue colors to represent each decimeter.  They are one of the first Math lessons given to introduce a number of skills; counting, understanding the value of the number visually, associating the numeral to its value, and finally simple addition and subtraction.

DIY MONTESSORI NUMBER RODS

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Here I give you steps on how I made my own number rods.  I measured each section 3.5 inches long rather than one decimeter dividing the longest rod into ten equal parts. Continue reading