Today’s activity is a quick change that adds interest to the patriotic practical life and math activity in last week’s post. If you’re new to Montessori, you might feel overwhelmed at the thought of creating practical life activities. Fortunately, many practical life activities take little time to prepare and can be easily changed to add interest after a week or two.
Both activities work well for any U.S. patriotic holiday. If you live in another country, you could just add the numerals from a different printable or print numerals on colored sticker dots and attach to the toothpicks. By the way, Happy Canada Day to our Canadian friends! 🙂
This activity can be used as a simple practical life activity, or it can include a math activity for children who are ready. It can also be used to help children learn to follow a sequence of steps.
Disclosure: This post contains Montessori Services affiliate links (at no cost to you).
Preparing the Patriotic Practical Life and Math Activity
For last week’s activity, I used a large plastic tray from Montessori Services, quick sticks from Montessori Services for transferring the modeling clay balls, some little bowls from Target and the grocery store, flag toothpicks from Dollar Tree, star ice cube tray from Dollar Tree, and non-hardening modeling clay. A sugar tong or another sort of tweezers could be used instead of the quick sticks if you prefer. For the stars, I used the free printable 4th of July pack from Our Country Road. I printed the numerals with a marker, but you could use stick-on numerals if you want your activity to look especially professional.
For today’s activity, I just added golf tees and clear crystal marbles from a hobby store (Michaels). You could use water beads (either clear or dyed red or blue) or another type of marble. I changed the bowls a little, since I found some longer bowls at the grocer store that fit the golf tees and toothpick stars better. If I would have had those bowls last week, I would only have had to exchange the golf tees and marbles for the flags. Still, it only took me five minutes or so to change the activity.
Variations for Different Ages and Skill Levels
This activity can just have the bowl of modeling-clay balls, a bowl of golf tees, and a bowl of marbles for younger preschoolers. The transferring can be done by hand, which still helps with fine-motor coordination. The child can be shown to put a ball in the center of each star and then place a golf tee in each ball. After that he or she would place the marble on the golf tee either with the quick sticks or tweezers or by hand. If you’re doing the activity with the child, you could count for or with the child, saying a number as each golf tee is inserted into the clay and counting from 1-10 again when each marble is placed on its corresponding golf tee. When the child is finished, he or she rolls the balls to remove the golf-tee holes and returns the balls, golf tees, and marbles to their bowls before returning the tray to the shelf.
A child who can identify numerals and count well could place the correctly numbered star in front of the corresponding golf tee. When the child is finished with the activity, he or she puts the materials back into the bowls and returns the tray to the shelf. (Note: this isn’t a simple practical life activity. It takes good fine-motor coordination to place each marble on a golf tee, especially using a tool like the quick sticks or tweezers. If your child isn’t ready for this advanced of an activity, just wait until the future … maybe the next patriotic holiday).
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