Friday, February 08, 2013

Valentine's Day and Random Acts of Kindness Week: Activities for Your Montessori Classroom

NAMC Montessori Valentine's Day activities random acts of kindness week boy giving girl flower
While many teachers know that candy-filled and romance-centered Valentine's Day traditions are not a perfect fit for the Montessori classroom, there is no reason to skip the holiday altogether! By putting together educational and fun activities, Montessori teachers and students can enjoy Valentine's Day as a celebration of community and friendship...which is perfect, as the holiday falls within Random Acts of Kindness Week. We have taken the time to put together some easy, fun activities to highlight the wonderful and special friendships within your Montessori classrooms.

Montessori Classroom Activities for Random Acts of Kindness Week and Valentine's Day

Paper Valentines can be quite wasteful, and store bought cards take away some of the sincerity behind the gesture. This year instead of hand making cards, consider helping children create Friendship Beads instead, out of recycled paper! This activity is a wonderful choice for your classroom, as it takes absolutely no preparation or special materials.

What You Need
  • scissors
  • a glue stick
  • recycled paper: some ideas include student paintings or drawings, construction paper, newspaper, magazine pages... anything!
  • something cylindrical: a bamboo skewer, thin dowel, or plastic straw...even a pencil crayon or paintbrush.
  • colorful yarn or string
What You Do
NAMC Montessori Valentine's Day activities random acts of kindness week
Have children choose a few sheets of their recycled paper, and encourage them to decorate them. Many-colored items look lovely, and markers or pencil crayons are the best to use. If students use crayon or thick paint, the paper is hard to roll and the glue will not stick. While children are choosing pictures or decorating their materials, you can discuss how creating something beautiful for someone else is a wonderful feeling and will make others feel happy too!
NAMC Montessori Valentine's Day activities random acts of kindness week
Help students cut their paper into long triangles. No need to be exactly perfect! Each bead is hand made and unique - and just like the children making them - will come in all shapes and sizes. Aim for about an inch wide on the thick end.
NAMC Montessori Valentine's Day activities random acts of kindness week
Use the glue stick to apply glue to the non-decorated sides of the triangles, but leave about a half inch from the top unglued - this will allow students to slide the bead off the cylinder they roll the paper on.
NAMC Montessori Valentine's Day activities random acts of kindness week
Starting with the unglued thick end, place the cylindrical object onto the un-decorated side of the paper. Roll downwards slowly - the glue will keep the roll in place, and the colors of the decorated side of the triangle will show! Slide the finished beads off.
NAMC Montessori Valentine's Day activities random acts of kindness week
Finally, have students exchange beads with one another, with children making sure that everyone gives one of their beads to everyone else. Children will have fun trading beads, stringing their collection onto yarn, and seeing the brightly colored necklaces that the classroom created together!
NAMC Montessori Valentine's Day activities random acts of kindness week
Instead of focusing on individual items as gifts for one another, why not create a gift for the classroom to celebrate your Montessori community? A great idea is a Friendship Quilt, that all students contribute to. Students can decorate squares of fabric and join them into a wonderful patchwork blanket. This can be done with almost any fabric, but does require some preparation. We found a wonderful example of Glue Batik from The Artful Parent that is an easy way to create a unique quilt that will look amazing. This project does take a bit of waiting time, so it may be best suited to doing over two or three days.
NAMC Montessori Valentine's Day activities random acts of kindness week
What You Need
  • Elmer's Glue: the white glue or gel glue both work. Check your local dollar store for small bottles...just make sure that they are water soluble.
  • fabric squares: recycling fabric is a great way to make this project friendly for the Earth too! Look at Goodwill for a few old sheets or old t-shirts.
  • acrylic paint
  • a large bucket
What You Do
  • Have the children squeeze the glue into a pattern or drawing on their fabric square. Let the glue dry.
  • Decorate the fabrics with slightly watered down acrylic paints - the dried glue will keep the fabric underneath from becoming colored. Let the paint dry fully.
  • Soak the fabric squares in  a bucket of hot water to dissolve the glue, revealing the patterns! Let the squares dry.
  • Join the squares together to form a quilt with each student's fabric square. The finished quilt can be hung on a wall or kept in the Peace Corner.
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 Friday, February 8, 2013.


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