Monday, January 19, 2015

Hockey Unit w/ Free Printables

This post contains affiliate links.

Some people may wonder why I decide to create sports units.  They are definitely not part of the Montessori curriculum.  The truth is, I want to provide my kiddos with the best well rounded education I can possibly provide.  Doing so enhances their love and appreciation of the world and people around them.  The more they understand, the more than can contribute.  Sports are a BIG part of our society.  If my kiddos learn about them, they may be able to participate in more conversations, than if they hadn't.  Talking about sports may sound silly to some, but to a mother with four special needs kiddos who all have speech impairments, finding a common topic to talk about with anyone is a big deal.  And when it comes to Montessori, I've learned you can take any topic and create Montessori activities around it.  Just take a look at our activities this week!

Language:
Hockey Spelling & Vocabulary Words
With any new sport, there are new vocabulary words.  What better way to learn them than to practice spelling them?  Especially when you have a picture to help you understand the meaning of the word.  The kiddos LOVE using our movable alphabet letters.

We do not have any other hockey themed language activities on our shelves this week.  The kiddos have been working with their cursive sandpaper letter and phonogram cards.  They also continue to write in their journals, along with reading books to go along with our weekly theme.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Hockey Unit Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Math:
Hockey Scale Activity
Check out our new scale!  It's beautiful isn't it?  The kiddos are in love with it.  This activity has been very popular on our shelves this week.  I've provided a matchbox car sized Zamboni (which came in a package of hockey sports cards), weights (came with the scale), a real hockey puck, and glass beads.  The kiddos can weigh as many or as few objects as they like.  It's a very open ended activity.  I figured this would be good considering it's their first introduction to the scale.

Source: This activity was inspired by a post at Suzie's Home Education Ideas.

Multiplication with Hockey Pucks
We have been plugging away at multiplication and skip counting for a couple of months now.  Each time I try to introduce it in a different way because the kiddos still don't quite get it, I fail.  That is until this week.  To be completely honest, I didn't know I was introducing it in a different way.  The materials we used, I picked up because they matched our theme, and not for any other reason.  Little did I know the power of magnets.

The mini hockey pucks in this activity are plain black refrigerator magnets (no adhesive).  They love to stick together, but they can also be used individually.  For my kiddos, this made skip counting and multiplication easy. They understood the individual value of three "pucks," and then they visually saw the value of one set of three "pucks."  It was as if a light bulb turned on inside their heads, especially for Dinomite.  I LOVE that he thinks multiplication is easy now.  (I may need to buy more magnets.  Lol.)
Dinomite working on a multiplication problem.
Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Hockey Unit Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Greater Than/Less Than Hockey Activity Cards
It's been a while since we've practiced doing Greater Than/Less Than problems, and it definitely showed this week.  My guess is you'll be seeing more of these activities in future units. It's amazing how quickly kiddos forget things.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Hockey Unit Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Geography & Culture:
Hockey Sports Card Sort
Over the past six months, Dinomite has really developed a love for sports and sports cards. He's taken over his father's collection and LOVES receiving new packs of cards.  When I started putting together this unit, I thought it might be fun to surprise him with some new hockey cards.  Little did I know how hard they would be to find.  Walmart had two choices, the set that I purchased and one other one.  I ended up going with this one.  It came with the Zamboni used in one of our math activities.   The players are older ones, but it still works.

In this activity the kiddos can look through the cards and sort them as they wish.  I love seeing how their minds work when it comes to sorting.

Top 10 Hockey Countries
Hockey is an international sport, one that's played mostly in the Northern Hemisphere.  Last week, the kiddos identified countries in the Arctic.  This activity expands a little bit further. The kiddos will find the top 10 countries where hockey is most popular.  They're doing a fabulous job with this, applying their knowledge from last week.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Hockey Unit Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Hockey Teams in the NHL
Identifying the states where NHL teams are located is a great way to review.  The kiddos will use push pins to mark where teams are located.
And since some teams in the NHL are from Canada, I thought we'd introduce the kiddos to provinces.  They can choose what map they want to work on.

Source:  I created the printable cards for this activity.  For your copy, click on the links located at the bottom of this post.  The maps were found on the Internet.

Practical Life/Sensorial:
Hockey Puck Rubber Band Wrap
The kiddos loved our last rubber band activity, I thought a hockey puck would be a fun shape to work with.  Sure enough, it is!

Water Transfer with Markers
The kiddos love water transfer activities but tend to get carried away with them.  This week I have marked the bottles with rubber bands.  They are only to fill the bottles up to the rubber bands.

Ice Hockey Tray
All of the kiddos have fallen in love with Playmobil this year. Dinomite saw this set at the grocery store around Christmas time. I couldn't resist purchasing it to add to our activities this week.  What better to play with than a real ice rink.  I took a plastic lid to a cake pan, filled it with water, put it in the freezer and viola!

For those interested in the printable pack, click on the link below!

Hockey Unit Printable Pack 1 by Renae at Every Star Is Different

If you're looking for other great ideas for your own hockey activities check out these!  (We're reading many of the books ourselves this week!)



If you love what you see here, don't forget to check out our Hockey Activities for Tots & Preschoolers w/ Free Printables!
If you have a kiddo who prefers figure skating, stay tuned for our Figure Skating Unit and Figure Skating Activities for Tots & Preschoolers, both with free printables.  They are coming soon!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hockey Activities for Tots & Preschoolers w/ Free Printables

This post contains affiliate links.

Hockey is my all time favorite sport.  There's just something about it.  I could watch it for hours, especially if I'm at a hockey rink.  The fans are as entertaining as the actual game.  While growing up my brother played hockey.  As an adult he continued to play, and then started coaching once his boys were old enough to play.  I had fantasies of my boys playing hockey.  Dinomite's middle name is Turcotte.  One of the reasons we chose it, was because it was a great name to put on a hockey jersey.  (You can laugh at us. It's okay.)  Even when we purchased his Christmas stocking before he was born, we chose a hockey themed one.  My parents had me on ice skates at the age of three.  Ice skating is one of my favorite ways to exercise.  It's just so much fun.  Sadly, it's been a while.  I'm super excited about this week's unit. It will be the perfect excuse to get back out on the ice, especially now that the kiddos are older.

Jason and I had so much fun planning Sunshine's activities for this week.  She knows nothing about hockey, so it will be fun to introduce her to one of my favorite things.

H is for Hockey
There are so many possibilities when using my "H is for Hockey" printable.  Originally I wanted to use a black dot marker to make pucks in the circles on the letter "H."  Unfortunately, I didn't have  black dot marker.  Then I decided Sunshine could make pucks by pressing her fingertip into washable black ink and stamping the paper with her finger tip.  But then I thought of a few more ideas.  I just may switch out a different idea each day.  Lol.  I purchased plain black circular magnets at Walmart to use for the older kiddos' hockey themed activities.  (They're counters for a math activity.)  I hadn't realized they fit perfectly in my circles on the "H."  They will be even more fun, as a cookie sheet is the tray for the activity.  Lastly, I thought of using black paint and paintbrush, black marker, or black crayon to fill in the circles to look like hockey pucks. Whatever way you choose to do it, the activity should be loads of fun.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my Hockey Activities for Tots & Preschoolers Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of the post.

Mirror Hockey Letters
This activity can be used in two ways.  If your kiddo knows their numbers, then he/she can use the materials provided to create the numbers.  The hockey themed number cards can be used as a control.  If your kiddo doesn't know numbers, then he/she can just have fun with mirror sensory play using the materials provided.

Sunshine has fallen in love with the sandpaper numbers over the last few weeks.  We've practiced numbers 1-5 several times.  Though she isn't able to identify them accurately 100% of the time, she is starting to understand the process of making the numbers.  We'll attempt making numbers out of materials.  If it doesn't work, the sensory play will be great for her.

Materials used in this activity include red pipe cleaners, black circular magnets, salt, clear crystal beads, red glass beads, and wooden player figures.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my Hockey Activities for Tots & Preschoolers Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of the post.

Hockey Player Color Match
My husband thought of this activity.  Sunshine will match up the colored jerseys with the color card provided.  Though there are various colors on each jersey, the main color is very prominent, making the activity fairly simple.

Source:  Jason and I created the printable for this activity as part of my Hockey Activities for Tots & Preschoolers Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of the post.

 Big and Small Hockey Stick Sort
Sunshine is great at sorting, but not so great at understanding what she's sorting and why.  I thought this activity would be great at helping her with that process.  She will sort hockey stick cards, placing them under "BIG" and "little" label cards.

Sort:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my Hockey Activities for Tots & Preschoolers Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of the post.

Sports Match Up
This activity can be used in two ways.  For little ones who can't identify different sports balls yet, they can match up balls to the ball cards.  Once they have mastered that, they can start matching ball cards with net cards and the plush balls.

When I introduced this activity to Sunshine, I had no idea she didn't know which balls were which.  She has two older brothers and a Daddy who LOVE sports.  Who knew?  I ended up removing the net cards from the activity. We'll see how quickly she learns the balls. Then I'll try to introduce the nets.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Hockey Activities for Tots & Preschoolers Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Don't Break the Ice
Don't Break the Ice is Bulldozer's favorite game.  I just purchased my second game because he wore through the old one.  Sunshine is very much like Bulldozer.  It was a given she'd love this activity.  I love it because it's a great way to practice fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, and hand muscle strength, all of which she needs to work on.  Once she is confident in her ability to hammer ice blocks, we'll add a second player and practice taking turns.

For those interested in the printable pack, click on the link below!


If you're looking for other materials to supplement your Hockey Activities for Tots & Preschoolers, here are some ideas!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Practical Life with Food

This post may contain affiliate links.

When introduced to Montessori, I first fell in love with practical life activities.  My kiddos did too.  The activities were engaging.  Results manifested themselves in so many ways, especially in the area of fine motor skills.  Since that time, my kiddos still enjoy working on practical life skills, but they've become a bit sloppy with their activities.  They don't really care if they spill water or a bunch of dried beans.  In fact Bulldozer LOVES watching contents spill and splash.  He craves visual input.  

Last month, I observed my kiddos to see if they were ready to move on from practical life activities.  Perhaps their sloppiness was a sign of boredom?  That wasn't it though.  There are still many skills they haven't mastered.  Then it dawned on me.  They needed to care about the contents of the activities!  What if I switched out dried beans for edible food items they enjoy?  What if I let them eat their finished activity?  I wondered...  

Since the start of the new year, I've introduced practical life with food activities into our weekly learning time themes.  They have been a HUGE hit!  We've done many practical life activities involving food in the past, but they were usually part of kitchen, baking or holiday units.  They weren't something that was available week after week like they are now.

You wouldn't believe how much improvement I've seen in the kiddos' skills in just two weeks.  Spilling the contents of their snacks and drinks during preparation has natural consequences.  When the successful result of an activity matters, the kiddos work much harder to be precise and accurate.  This makes me extremely happy.

Our month long learning time theme for January is Winter.  So far we've completed two units:  The Arctic Unit and Hockey Unit.  Here's what our practical life with food activities have looked like.  You'll notice I provide a lot of variety within each activity.  This is due to food allergies and oral sensory issues related to some of the kiddos' autism.  In our case, more variety provides more opportunities for every single kiddo to learn.

The Arctic Terrain
The kiddos used various tools to transfer several different textured foods to their plates.  Tools included a ladle, scoop, tongs, serving spoon, and wooden spoon.  Foods included yogurt covered cranberries, Bite Size Frosted Mini Wheats, shredded coconut, vanilla yogurt (or vanilla pudding), and plain and vanilla flavored Rice Chex.  The kiddos also poured water into their cups for drinking.


Our second unit's practical life with food activity had multiple steps/activities included.  First came the peeling.
 Then came the cutting.
 The three older kiddos did a fabulous job cutting up apples and bananas. The trick was making sure the pieces were big enough to use in the final step of the activity.
 The kiddos also practiced cutting cheese into cubes.  This was a bit trickier for them.
 And then when all of our ingredients were prepared and ready, we made...

Winter Snack Kabobs
The kiddos made their own kabobs that included large marshmallows, apple chunks, powdered sugar mini doughnuts (or doughnut holes), cheese cubes, and/or banana chunks.  Every kabob looked different.  All were thoroughly enjoyed.  The kiddos practiced so many practical life skills in the process!

Not all of our practical life with food activities will be as elaborate as the ones I've shown above, but I can assure you there will be many to come in future unit posts.  There are so many practical life skills that can be learned using food as part of the activity.

Here are just a few:
Spooning
Scooping
Tong Transfer
Pouring Dry Ingredients
Pouring Liquids
Cutting
Spreading
Apple Coring
Orange Juicing
Peanut Shelling
Nut Cracking

If you'd like to see more ideas, check out my Practical Life with Food Pinterest Board.

For more fabulous practical life activities, take a look at other posts included in 12 Months of Montessori Learning.
Amazing blogs involved in the 12 Months of Montessori Learning
Comments and questions are always welcome!