Games to Teach your Preschooler Teamwork

Life for your preschooler during his or her school time is about learning how to work with their peers. This concept is difficult for young children, so it’s important to promote teamwork during play to make it inviting and fun. Creative games or art activities are useful tools to initiate communication, collaboration, and cooperation among preschoolers.

Teach your Preschooler Teamwork Through Games

Your preschooler probably loves to play dress up or with blocks as these are common play activities with young children. Through these activities, they naturally develop cooperation between each other, but there are other games they can engage in to further promote teamwork. Try some of these ideas with your preschooler and their peers to focus them more on working together as a team.

Boxes and Balls

Using a large box cover, you can put your child to work as a team member and create an incredibly fun event. The best type of cover is one that has sides, so the ball remains contained on top and does not go rolling off as often. Place your child and their friends around the sides of the cover and put a brightly colored ball inside for them to keep in the middle. As a team, the preschoolers will have to work out how they hold the cover to maintain the ball in the center of the cover.

Group Mural

On a large sheet of paper or canvas draw a circle large enough to accommodate the number of children. Let the kids decide what images they want inside the circle, and they will work as a team to fill in space. This coloring or painting activity will have your preschooler working as a group to decide the style of coloring they choose and how to fill up the circle. It is also a great way for preschoolers to demonstrate or learn different techniques in coloring.

Amazing Maze

You can create an amazing maze with the bottom cut out of a large box. Inside the lower part of this box create a maze using brightly colored straws. Place an object such as a large marble, toy car, or any small movable item the children can work through the maze. With your preschooler and their friends placed around the bottom, each will have to work as a team to tilt the box and move the object through the maze. This activity is ideal for promoting cooperation between the team members.

Montessori Promotes Teamwork and Respect

Montessori classrooms are the ideal environment for your preschooler to learn about teamwork and respect. Classrooms are more like small communities where your child will share and work together with others while they learn the skill of being a team member. This skill is often forgotten in typical classroom settings, but in the Montessori environment, your child is encouraged to respect not only the teacher but their classmates as well. The teamwork aspect is a skill your child will take with them to create a lifetime of success.  The teachers of the Montessori School of Flagstaff Westside Campus integrate teamwork activities into their students’ daily learning.  Schedule a tour today to see the positive impact working together has on a student’s learning environment.

Creating an Herb Garden with Your Toddler

Are you looking for a way to develop your toddler’s interest in growing things? Creating an herb garden together is an excellent way to get children excited about science and nature. Herbs are generally pretty easy to care for and can be grown either outside or inside, in a garden or in containers.

Here are a few tips to help ensure your child’s first experience with nature and gardening is a positive one.

  • Keep it small. To encourage ownership of the garden, keep it to just two or three plants for your toddler. You may have a larger garden with many more plants, but your toddler should be expected to care for only a few. Herbs such as mint, chives, and basil are fairly easy to grow.
  • Choose the plants with your child’s help. Toddlers are too young to do the actual research themselves, but they can “help” you choose what herbs to plant and learn how to care for them. Once you plant, make sure each of your child’s herbs is marked. A plastic marker with a picture is helpful for toddlers.
  • Choose between indoor and outdoor. Is your toddler’s herb garden going to be inside or outside? In containers or in the ground? This decision may depend on whether you have the space outside. Either way, most herbs like a lot of sun and well-drained soil, so if you plant a container garden be sure they have drainage holes and are placed in a sunny window.
  • Decide whether seeds or seedlings are best for you. Planting seeds is more educational for children because they get to experience the entire process from beginning to end, while planting seedlings is more exciting because they get to see progress right away. What you choose depends on what kind of experience you are wanting for your toddler.
  • Encourage independence. To help your child take ownership of their own garden, help them carve out a space that belongs only to them. This could be a corner of the garden outside, a large pot that contains two or three plants that belong just to your child, or a collection of small containers with one plant in each. Help your child plant the seeds or seedlings and teach them basic care such as how much water to give. Even if you have to do a little of the maintenance yourself, allow your child to take ownership of the plants.

Inspiring Young Gardeners, Scientists, and Nature-Lovers

The best part of growing your toddler’s first herb garden is seeing their excitement and their interest in taking care of the plants. We love projects like this at Montessori Childrens House for how they inspire children to learn. To find out more about the kinds of projects we explore in our classrooms through Montessori education, please contact us today to schedule a tour.

Tips to Help your Preschooler Learn the ABCs

By the time your child enters preschool, they should know their alphabet. They don’t necessarily need to know how to write each letter; however, they should know the alphabet song or at least most of it. They should be able to recognize some of the letters. If you want to start preparing your child for preschool, you can start their lessons at home.

Singing the Alphabet

One of the most effective ways to teach your child the alphabet is to sing the song for them. You can start doing this very early, even before they are able to speak. If you listen to a song on the radio all the time, eventually, you will know it by heart. Most people don’t print out the lyrics and memorize them. Just hearing the song over and over makes the words stick in your head. The same will be true with your child and the alphabet song.

Read Alphabet Books Together

It is good to start reading to your child at a young age. Not only will it help you bond with your child, it will also help instill a life long love of reading. When your child is preparing to enter preschool, you should start reading alphabet books together. There are plenty of books available that will teach your child the letters of the alphabet and also the sounds that they make. Books are great learning tools when you are teaching your child the alphabet.

Alphabet Puzzles

Wooden alphabet puzzles are excellent learning tools. Children love puzzles and most incorporate learning. Alphabet puzzles have pieces shaped like letters. Many puzzles also have a picture on the puzzle piece that coincides with the letter. The better your child gets at doing the puzzle, the more they will learn.

Incorporate ABC Lessons in Your Daily Life

You don’t need to be sitting down at a table to teach your child the ABC’s. You can work on your lessons when you are cooking dinner or walking to the park. For example, if you are cooking and you need the butter, you can tell your child that butter starts with B. If you are walking to the park and you see a tree, you can tell your child that tree starts with T. If you do this often, your child will begin to get the connection between the letter and the sound.

Alphabet Flash Cards

Alphabet flash cards are excellent teaching tools. Each card has the letter printed on it, as well as an object whose name begins with the letter. At first, you may need to give your child the answers; however, over time, they will be able to start naming the letters and the objects themselves.

The Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus will take the alphabet lessons that you have taught your child and will build on them in fun and creative ways. It won’t be long before your child is reciting, recognizing, and writing the alphabet. Prospective parents and students are invited to tour our school and visit our classrooms to see the Montessori difference.  Contact us today and make an appointment.

Preschool Circle Time Activities

Montessori has a unique learning style, and their success goes back centuries. The popularity of the Montessori preschool is growing among parents as they witness the child-directed learning and their child’s progress through this method of education. Their children are not taught by traditional methods; they are encouraged to make their own choices with a teacher guiding them along the way. In the Montessori preschool setting, your child will learn through hands-on, self-directed, collaborative play with other kids. Each day will begin with preschool circle time activities to bring the classroom community together as they greet each other.

Preschool Circle Time Activities

During the preschool circle time, the teacher will review certain concepts that relate to what they are directing learning experiences towards. There are ideas they want to introduce your child to such as time, calendars, weather, and other areas of their world they want your child to become aware of. There are often songs or poems your child will enjoy learning along with creative movement exercises.

Guidelines for Circle Time

The teacher will use a familiar and repeated phrase to let your child know it’s time to join the circle. This familiar phrase will help your child transition from an activity and know to join their friends in the circle. Many times a teacher will alert the children it’s time to put toys away and join the circle by singing a ‘clean-up’ song. During circle time, your child will be encouraged to participate.

Role Playing During Circle Time

Children learn best in specific situations when an idea is role-played. There are times when children do not get along with each other. They might be excluding certain children from joining in certain activities. A good way to show these children the consequences their actions are having on those left out is to role-play the situation. The children are then included in the outcome by asking each for their idea on how to solve the issue and what else could happen to make everyone happy. Books are also perfect for teaching lessons on life situations. The children’s series, Berenstain Bears, is wonderful for telling about conflicts and how to resolve them.

Non-Competitive Play

Games are typically designed to be non-competitive. Game time is designed so your child gets to know the other kids and learns about sportsmanship. These game times will also help your child learn how to resolve conflicts and problem solve situations.

Circle Time Reconnects

Circle time is not just to take attendance; it can be used throughout the day to bring order to the classroom. When the children appear to lose their focus on their activities, circle time is a great tool to bring them together and reconnect with each other.

The Montessori preschool will provide your child with an unshakable self-confidence. They will develop a can-do attitude through true life skills and teach students to learn pride in their true achievements.

Contact us today at Mission Valley Montessori to see how we incorporate different activities into our preschool circle time.  Our teachers encourage students to learn and explore on their own, by guiding them on the principles of Montessori education.  Schedule a tour today!

Valentine Crafts for Preschoolers

February 14th, Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to do fun crafts with preschoolers. Children love holidays. As caregivers or parents, you can provide a memorable experience with simple crafts. Most of the needed materials are inexpensive. In fact, you may already have the supplies on hand or you can purchase the materials at your local dollar store.

Heart Collages

Young children love to make a mess! Making a heart collage can be both a messy and developmentally enriching project. As children put different textures of materials on the heart shaped tag board or construction paper, they will use fine motor skills. As the instructor of the project, you may want to begin by supplying the precut hearts. Use pink or red for variety. Next, allow the children to glue different materials on the shape.

  • Noodles of different sizes, shapes, and textures
  • Scrap pieces of paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Yarn
  • Googly eyes
  • If you are feeling really brave, you can also add glitter.

Salt Dough Valentine

Creating a salt dough Valentine requires flour, salt, and warm water. As a caregiver, you have the option of making the salt dough shape hearts prior to the project or allowing the children to participate in cutting out the dough. Either way, begin by making the heart shape dough cutouts which will need a day to dry. Remember to pierce the heart toward the top to allow children to hang up their Valentine project. After you make the salt dough Valentine ornament, decorating is the next step. Paint with non-toxic acrylics – pink, red, purple, and white are the top colors for Valentine’s Day.

Coffee Filter Hearts

Coffee filter hearts allow children to mix and discover colors. Begin by cutting out the coffee filters into heart shapes. This messy project requires each preschooler to have a tray or small baking sheet to contain the colored water. Next provide different colors of food coloring in small cups. The preschooler can use plastic eye droppers to carefully drop different colors onto the coffee filter heart. As the colors mix together, a tie-dye appearance will form.

Puppet Hearts

Creating puppet hearts allow preschoolers a chance to make a one of a kind Valentine’s Day project fueled by their imagination. Preschoolers can glue heart shape construction paper or tag board to the top of Popsicle sticks. Depending on the time frame for the project, a caregiver may prepare the Valentine hearts ahead of the time. Next, comes decorating the heart shape. Provide googly eyes for the puppet. Supply different items to glue on the heart and stick for a personal touch, such as:

  • Small pieces of scrap paper in different colors
  • Yarn pieces
  • Small pom-poms
  • Glitter

Preschoolers love spending time creating. As preschoolers make Valentine’s Day crafts, you are inspiring their imagination, engaging fine motor skills, increasing vocabulary, and social skills. Along with all the developmentally enhancement, these Valentine’s Day projects are just fun.

At Montessori School of Flagstaff Sunnyside Campus, we encourage our preschoolers to explore their creativity through self-discovery and independent learning.  Our hands-on approach of the Montessori method truly embraces and highlights each child’s differences.  Call us today to schedule a tour and learn how our teachers incorporate arts into their daily classroom environment.

The Importance of Toddler Oral Health

The month of February is National Oral Health Month, and this is a good reminder of the need to start teaching good oral health habits early. The toddler years are a good time for children to start learning how to take care of their teeth. Children at this stage are learning and getting used to daily routines, making oral care something that is easy to turn into a habit.

Fun Tools to Help Your Child

There are many fun things you can use to help spark further interest in oral care for your child. Some of the options to consider include:

  • The Tooth Fairy app from Colgate that includes a game, map to see where teeth come in, and information for parents.
  • Child-size toothbrushes featuring favorite cartoon characters.
  • Songs like Sesame Street’s “Brushy Brush” that encourage children to brush for two minutes.

Give Help As Needed

A toddler isn’t likely to have the fine motor skills to use a toothbrush very well without help. Make sure your child’s toothbrush is the right size and has soft bristles. Fluoride rinses geared towards younger children are helpful, but you should supervise your child to ensure he or she doesn’t swallow the rinse.

Encourage your child to eat fruit or other produce items as a snack, instead of sugary items. Even when your child snacks in between meals, encourage them to brush their teeth anyway. They will begin to treat this as part of their normal routine.

Other ways you can help your child follow good practices include:

  • Changing out the toothbrush about three or four times a year, plus after illnesses. Make things interesting by having your child pick out their toothbrush.
  • Make sure your child sees you eating healthy and brushing regularly. You will be setting a good example by doing these things yourself.
  • Schedule regular visits with a good pediatric dentist. These dentists know how to make younger kids comfortable and make the experience fun.

Good Dental Health Helps Later

Your child’s dental health early in life will also make an impact on their life later, especially as they progress into school. Pain issues from bad teeth and difficulty chewing foods can negatively impact a child’s quality of life. Even younger children often become self-conscious if their teeth become discolored and other children notice. If you help your child take charge of their oral health from an earlier age, they are likely to have greater self-confidence.

At Montessori School of Pleasanton, we understand the impact that personal habits can have on a child’s development and focus in school.  We encourage students to take proper care of themselves, including their dental health.  To see how Montessori education emphasizes developing the whole child, contact us today to schedule a tour.

The Toddler Tantrum – How to Approach and Diffuse

Children are famous for throwing tantrums when they reach the toddler stage. Some parents will call them the ‘troubled twos’, others refer to the ‘terrible threes’, but what we all realize is the phase does pass. What we call or recognize as a ‘tantrum’ is often just a young child being unable to express themselves verbally. Even as adults, we get frustrated when we cannot make someone understand our feelings, but we have the know-how on how to handle ourselves. A toddler frustrated can only act out as they don’t yet know how to handle their frustration.

The Toddler Tantrums – How to Approach and Diffuse

The first step in handling a tantrum is learning what the cause is. It isn’t always easy as the tantrum can result from anger, frustration, sensory overload, fear, and a number of other reasons. While it is a very loud and attention-getting form of communication, it is not always a clear form and us as adults may not be able to determine the exact cause.

Tantrums are Usually Reactions

When a child is having a tantrum, you should assume they are reacting to a situation they are not able to handle. Since they cannot talk to you and explain how they are feeling and tell you exactly what they want or expect, the toddler will become overwhelmed by emotion and unleash feelings in quite a dramatic fashion – the tantrum. This doesn’t always mean they are consciously and willfully acting out wrong – it is more that they are displaying a learned behavior. Your goal as a parent or teacher is to help the toddler unlearn this type of response.

Assess the Reaction

The first thing you will need to do is find out what is triggering your particular child’s tantrums. Looking at what has happened immediately before, during, and after the tantrum might tell you a lot about why they are happening. Most kids prone to tantrums do them at very predictable times – bedtime, time to put toys away, not being able to have a toy or some other personal situation that involves their play or comfort time.

Reacting to the Tantrum

At the Montessori Preschool, toddlers who experience situations that they feel warrant a tantrum are met with positive reinforcement. As a school that is also a community of other children their same age, it is normal they will find themselves in situations from time to time where things are not going as they want them to. When the tantrum is met with a calm demeanor, persistence, and patience, the tantrum can almost always be diffused. Montessori instructors know how to choose a strategy that is in tune with each child’s individual needs and personality.

Contact Montessori Children’s House in the Bay Area today, and schedule a tour to see how their educational program will benefit your child. Speak with the instructors and learn how they value each student as an individual, ensuring your child receives the education he or she deserves.

Fun Summer Math Projects for Toddlers

Before your toddler starts kindergarten, it is a good idea that they have some basic math skills. The summer before school begins, there are a few fun math projects that you can do with your toddler to help them learn these basic skills.

Counting With Egg Cartons

This is a great game to teach children to count, and you likely have all of the necessary items right in your home.

You Will Need:

  • An empty egg carton
  • A bag of M&M’s

Number the spaces in the egg carton from 1-12. Have your child place the number of M&M’s in each numbered hole. If they get all of the answers right, they can eat the M&M’s as a reward.

Number Recognition Game

This game will teach your child to recognize numbers 1-9. It is also fun.

You Will Need:

  • Bag of balloons
  • Laundry basket

Blow up 9 of the balloons. Number each balloon and place them on the ground. Give your child a number and have them find the balloon that coincides with that number. Have them place the balloon in the laundry basket. This time, give the child a number again and have them find it in the laundry basket. When your child finds the balloon, they can pop it.

Counting in Nature

This game will give your child a chance to get some fresh air while they are building their math skills.

You Will Need:

  • A notebook
  • A pen

Before your nature hike, make a list of things in nature for your child to find. The list should include one item, then two of another item, three of another item, and so on. The game ends when your child has found all of everything on the list.

Grocery Shopping Fun

You can make your weekly grocery shopping trip, and turn it into a learning game.

You Will Need:

  • A supermarket trip

While you are shopping, but your child in charge of putting items in the cart. For example, you can tell your child to get 5 cans of vegetables. They would need to count out the 5 cans and put them in the cart. You can even add some subtraction to the game, and tell your child to get 7 potatoes, and then take 3 away.

Funny Money

This game will not only teach your child to count, it will also introduce them to money and budgeting.

You Will Need:

  • A package of play money
  • Post-It notes
  • A sharpie marker

Write money amounts between $1 and $9 on several Post-It notes and stick it on various items around the home. Have your child choose the items that they want to buy, and pay you for each item with their fake money.

The Day Star Montessori Children’s Learning Center applies the educational philosophy and methods of Maria Montessori, M.D., a renowned Italian physician and child educator. For our Montessori children math is more than rote memorization. Our children learn the base 10 system with cube material that is properly scaled. For more information on math for toddlers, contact us today.

 

Summer Science Activities at Home for Kids

Just because school lets out for the summer, it does not mean that your child should stop learning or even that they want to stop learning.

Since Science is such an important subject, it is important that you keep your child interested while school is out. There are a few summer experiments that you can do with your children to peak their curiosity about Science, while teaching them something at the same time.

Build a Fizz Inflator

When baking soda and vinegar combine, ab acud based reaction is created. When the two chemicals come into contact with one another, they create carbon dioxide. This is a great way to teach that to your children.

You Will Need:

  • An empty soda bottle
  • A small balloon
  • A funnel
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • Baking soda

Instructions:

  1. Pour the vinegar into a bottle
  2. Stretch out the balloon and fill it half way with baking soda, using a funnel.
  3. Put the neck of the balloon over the bottle, and try to avoid letting any baking soda into the bottle.
  4. Raise the balloon and allow the baking soda to pour from the balloon to the bottle. It will mix with the vinegar and then start fizzing.

Make a Paperclip Float

This experiment will teach your child about surface tension. This means that there is a ‘skin’ on the surface where the molecules hold together tightly. If the experiment is done properly, the paperclip will float.

You Will Need:

  • Clean, dry paperclips
  • A pencil with an eraser
  • Tissue paper
  • A bowl of water

Instructions:

  1. Fill a bowl with water, and put the paperclip in. Watch it fall to the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Tear a piece of tissue paper the size of a dollar bill.
  3. Drop the tissue paper onto the surface of the water gently.
  4. Place the paperclip on the tissue without touching the water or the tissue with your fingers.
  5. Using the eraser on the pencil, poke the tissue but don’t touch the paperclip. Push on the tissue until it sinks. The paperclip should continue to float on top of the water.

Blow Up a Balloon With Pop Rocks

This is a great experiment to teach kids about pressurized dioxide gas and how it can put air in a balloon.

You Will Need:

  • A 1-liter bottle of soda
  • 1 balloon
  • 1 packet of Pop Rocks

Instructions:

  1. Stretch out the balloon so that you can fit it over the top of the soda bottle quickly and easily.
  2. Slowly pour the packet of Pop Rocks into the soda bottle.
  3. Quickly, fit the balloon over the top of the bottle before the gas can escape.
  4. Watch the balloon inflate after the two ingredients combine.
  5. Explain to your child that Pop Rocks containe a small amount of pressurized carbon dioxide, which caused the balloon to inflate.

If you are interested in learning more about our authentic Montessori Preschool program, contact us to schedule a tour.