Monday, June 16, 2008

Activities to Countdown to Summer in the Montessori Classroom

countdown to summer NAMC montessori activities boy writes in journal

I woke up in the middle of the night last night, worrying about next year!!! This Montessori school year hasn't even ended yet and I am dreaming about making new Montessori materials for next year. Of course, then I started thinking 'what am I going to do for the next 9 days until school is out?' So, I got up, made some coffee, and started thinking and researching ideas for the end of the year.

Here are some of the great Montessori summer activity ideas I found.

Activities to Countdown to Summer in the Montessori Classroom

Student Self-reflection Journal

Children who are old enough can write and reflect on the positive things that happened to them during the school year. Children who are not yet independent writers can draw a picture and have older students write their story.

Letters to New/incoming Students

Ask the students in your class to write welcome letters to incoming and new students. They might include information on their favorite lessons, shelf works, or field trips. It could contain a list of classroom procedures. It might include a map of the Montessori classroom, school, or playground. Students who are transitioning to the next level could also write letters to next year's teachers giving them information about themselves, their hobbies, favorite Montessori work, and their families.

Bingo! Across the Montessori Curriculum

Create Bingo! Games to practice everything from math facts, grammar, and cultural topics like planets and dinosaurs.

ABC Autobiographies

Invite students to create their own alphabetical autobiographies. Here's an example: "A is for Arkansas; that's where I was born. B is for Bonnie; that's my sister's name. C is for Cub Scouts; That's my favorite activity." Use one letter per page, making sure to illustrate each page. When finished, bind the pages into a book.

Using Your "Beak"

A new way to practice that pincer grip is to give each student a spring-type clothespin and a paper cup. Scatter small objects, such as paper clips, washers, toothpicks, and M&M's on the floor. Using the clothespin to mimic a beak, the students must get as much of the "food" objects into their cup 'stomachs". This should keep them busy for quite a while! (You could play songs like Old MacDonald Had a Farm and The Farmer in the Dell while they are working).

Paper Airplane Contest

Older Montessori students will enjoy designing their own plane using any or all of these 3 basic materials: an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper (any type), 12 inches of tape and 3 standard size paper clips. When all the planes are finished, go outside and everyone gets as many flights as time will allow (about 5 minutes). The student whose plane stays in the air the longest wins. What a great way to review physics!

Create Awareness for the Environment

Discuss oil spills and the impact they have on the environment. Create an activity to heighten awareness by placing water and sand in a square foil or glass pan. Allow the students to create their own beach on the sand (you can even get miniature plastic palm trees or sea animals from craft or dollar stores). Pour blue colored water in the pans to create the ocean. Pour one tablespoon of vegetable oil in each ocean. By using only an eyedropper, a piece of string, a cotton ball, and a craft stick for clean up, the children must reclaim as much of the oil as possible in 15 minutes. (They can put their reclaimed oil in a small cup). When the activity is finished, discuss what it must be like to have to get a tanker full of oil out of the ocean.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…ICE CREAM!

Here's an activity that reuses clean coffee cans (along with many other ideas): Tin-Can Ice Cream

What You Need

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (pure vanilla extract works best!)

  • 1 small coffee can
  • Strapping tape (It's the only tape I've found that will hold the lid tightly in place.)
  • 1 large coffee can
  • 1-1/2 cups rock salt
  • crushed ice (2 bags)
  • Rubber spatula
  • Spoons, cups, and bowls

What You Do

  • Mix the ingredients in the small coffee can and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Tape the lid on the can securely with strapping tape.Place the "filled" small coffee can inside the large coffee can.
  • Pack the large can with crushed ice around the smaller can. Pour at least 3/4 cup of rock salt evenly over the ice.
  • Place the lid on the large coffee can and tape securely with strapping tape. Roll the can back and forth for ten minutes.
  • Open the outer can. Remove the inner can. Remove the lid and stir the mixture with a rubber spatula. Scrape the insides of the can. Do not allow mixture to become liquid.
  • Replace the lid on the small can. Tape securely again. Drain the ice water from the larger can. Insert the small filled can. Pack it with more ice and salt. Roll it back and forth for five more minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Whether you're as excited as the children are or a bit sad at the thought of students transitioning and being away from your Montessori classroom, be sure to provide fun activities guaranteed to end the year with happy memories.

Michelle Irinyi — NAMC Tutor & Graduate

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Monday, June 16, 2008.


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