The month of October is so much fun with the anticipation of holidays and the change in weather. It brings out the joyous spirit in everybody. There are so many fall related activities that we can divulge into with our toddlers but being a Montessorian for such a long time, I’ve learned the simplest activities bring the best engagement among children. Children do not need fancy gadgets, materials, or apps to learn. They learn the best by experiencing the world with their senses and by having a parent who is PRESENT.
Most parents think Montessori is hard to do at home as they do not have Montessori materials. However, Montessori is very simple. Dr. Montessori made most of her materials with the homemade materials she found. Her first color tablets were not made of fancy wood, they were made of spool and thread. Likewise, we can keep the Montessori spirit by keeping it simple and real.
For this fall, I’ve put together a series of activities that you can do with one pumpkin. One pumpkin can cost you about $2.oo or less but you can do so many lessons with that one pumpkin.
Pumpkin Scrubbing lesson was always a popular lesson when I taught in the primary classroom but with toddlers it is a fun lesson too. This lesson has water and scrub involved, two things toddler love to play with. Toddlers love sensorial experiences especially playing with water. This lesson also let them explore the big pumpkin with their senses. It is a simple lesson to put together for an engaging experience.
Scooping Pumpkin Seeds & Baking
Scooping and Transferring are both a very engaging activity for toddlers. Toddlers also love to do what you are doing so don’t hesitate in getting them involved with your baking projects. Whether it is baking a pumpkin pie or simply baking pumpkin seeds, it can be an enriching experience for kids. Also, it involves so much math as each step is an algorithm in itself.
That empty pumpkin can turn into a great volcano project with some baking soda and vinegar. The possibilities are endless when it comes to pumpkin. They are so versatile and cheap to use for many projects. In the picture above, we turned our pumpkin into a volcano before painting it and turning it into a Jack-o-Lantern. My son loves to pour lately so this was a perfect addition to our study of Pumpkin
Another great activity is to learn the parts of the pumpkin. Little children loves the big words and by using correct vocabulary for each part this can turn into a great language arts lesson as well.
Pumpkin Painting with edible color
My son is only 14 months old and he loves to explore with his mouth. Therefore, we do not use paint but always looking for edible things to turn it into paint. For this activity, I used the following recipe to paint the pumpkin:
Recipe for Edible Paint
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp of corn starch
1/2 cup of water
Turmeric for Yellow color & Beet Juice for Red color
Pumpkins can also turn into a great shape sorter, drum, boat, or a candle holder. You can also buy different shapes, colors, textures, and sizes of pumpkin to create a sensorial experience for your child.
Pouring Lesson with Pumpkin Seeds
The beauty of Montessori is truly in the simple things you can create with resources you have available. That is the best Montessori education for children.
If you like this post, please share your comments. We also would love to hear what you want to see more in our blogs. Ask your questions and share your opinions. Thank you and for more Montessori activities follow our journey on Instagram @trulymontessori
Do you want to start a Montessori Unit Study? Do you see the value of integrated learning that covers all essential areas of education for a child? If your answer is yes to any of those questions, then I have some simple tips that can help you get started with planning and organizing your Montessori unit study for your toddler.
Geometry Unit Study
What is a Unit Study?
A unit study encompasses all subject areas under one theme by using the Montessori method. It includes materials, presentation, control of error, points of interest, and aims of the lesson (direct & indirect). Unit study is a good way to plant a seed of a big subject by breaking it down into smaller areas such as math, literacy, sensorial, practical life, art, and more. Each lesson subsequently builds upon the same unit and expands the child’s experience with that subject.
Let’s Make Music
How to develop a Unit Study?
The most essential key to developing a Unit Study is OBSERVATION. Before you design a unit study for your child, you need to observe what he or she is doing. What are the things that interest them? What materials do they normally gravitate to? A Montessori teacher is trained in the art of observation and with the help of this observation they can build a successful unit study for children.
Once you have a theme in your mind there are these few tips that can help you organize your unit study.
The above image is the basic framework to begin planning your unit study. We can incorporate the concrete and everyday materials for Practical Life and Grace & Courtesy lessons, Sensory experiences will help a child explore the topic with senses to gain further information, pre-math activities or early math activities is used to reinforce important concepts, having books and nomenclature cards on the unit you are studying helps children learn new vocabulary and aids in early literacy development.
Here are some examples of Unit Studies we’ve done at home with my toddler.
Welcome Fall Theme
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
10 Things to keep in Mind when setting up your shelf
Materials should be place left to right, easy to hard, concrete to abstract
Remember less is more. Do not clutter the shelf with too many items as they can overstimulate the child.
Child’s sensitive periods and age.
Keep the skills you are teaching isolated (1 lesson = 1 skill) This keeps the difficulty level in check.
Materials should be natural, clean, and complete.
Fine-Motor Skill Activity
Gross Motor Skill Activity
Independent Exploration of Activities. Keep the Control of Error in mind when designing an activity.
Planned presentation (Every week I have one or two activity that I am going to present formally to my son).
Something child has already mastered (I keep one activity that he loves and he has mastered because this helps me bring him back to the activity when he is too worked up or not interested to sit and work).
Leaves and Apples
These are not an extensive version of my unit studies but a glimpse of how to get started. I am more than happy to help you plan your own unit study shelf. Write your comments below or reach out to me via email for any questions. You can also DM me on Instagram on how I set up this individual shelf. The Instagram link is below. Follow our daily Montessori activities for more tips and ideas. Thank you!