This coming spring, light up your hands-on lesson plans with games. See how easily games can be used with many of your existing Montessori presentations. Take a moment now to look at some resources you may not have even considered. You’ll notice that I have included a short quoted snyopsis in each of the recommended resources below. Hopefully, this will save you time, as you search for the perfect games to add to your existing curricuum.
Spring is the the perfect time to prevent lessons about nature and the environment. Montessori Muddle has some innovative ideas of how to introduce games and other actiivities into the ecology and food-web presesntations. http://montessorimuddle.org/tag/environmental-science/
Make the study of food chains come alive with Ampersand Press Nature’s Food Chain Game. “Step into the forest and discover the fascinating world of natural food chains. Cards represent animals and plants that are found in the forest. Each card lists what the animal eats and what it is eaten by. The game works just like the natural food relationships in the forest with players “eating” and being “eaten” just as they would be in the wild. Rules include several versions to play.”
Perhaps you are in the process of presenting lessons on biomes, as a logical extension of the Montessori Land and Water Form http://www.lordequip.com/land water.php exercises. If so, consider the ones offered by Ampersand Press. Children are offered 7 ways to play the Onto the Desert Game. “Take a wild trek onto the desert. Beautifully illustrated cards represent plants and animals that are found in the desert. Element cards represent the powerful forces of nature. Reveal the awesome balance of nature as you follow the chain of life in the desert.” See http://www.ampersandpress.com/page2.html for additional information.
For additional wildlife and nature extension exercises, visit Birdcage Press http://www.birdcagepress.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=3
There you will find a collection of “wild card” games and book sets that are known to increase, memory, concentration, reading, visual processing and strategic thinking. Topics include the following: North American Birds, Backyard Birds, Baby Animals Around the World, 52 Amazing Places National Parks, Dinosaurs, For the Love of Dogs, For the Love of Cats, North American Mammals, Bugs!, and Who’s Hiding?
Childsake also offers many excellent educational resources for those preparing presentations about the environment. One book that is ure to catch your eye is the Eco-Fun: Great Projects, and Games for a Greener Earth.
In the forward to his book, scientist David Suzuki writes, “This book contains activities that will help you see and experience the world in a different way, bring you into contact with nature, and remind you that you are a child of the Earth.” Through a variety of fun-filled and intriguing eco-related activities, he encourages readers to get to know their world by working with air, water, soil, energy, plants and animals. The projects, experiments and games help understand the various elements, their role and interconnection as well as show how they are being damaged by recent human activity. This collection includes projects to create miniature forest ecosystems, make recycled paper and a veggie chili, measure air pollution and create a solar water heater, build wormeries and worm composters and make “green” household cleaners. See http://www.childsake.com for additional information. To order, visit http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1550548239/childsake
Let’s not forget the younger set. Fun Felt offers a nice selection of felt activity books that can be used in conjunction with games for preschoolers. Fun Felt’s Toggle Books are 8.5″ x 11″ felt covered hard adventure books with interactive felt figures that teach early learning skills, similar to file folder games preschools use. “They are named Toggles because the book has a wide seam and folds in either direction! Each set comes with felt covered book, felt figures, lessons, worksheets, activities, and reproducible art. Perfect for the car, quiet time, and centers at school!” Currently, Fun Felt is offering the following environmental themed books: Bees and Hives, Dino Days, Ducks on the Pond, and In the Jungle Toggle Books. To view the complete selection, visit http://www.funfelt.com/toggles.html
It’s time to get up and “move” with Go Green!, a brand new CD form Kimbo Educational http://kimboed.com/gogreen.aspx#.UtRAIvZVe0e “GO GREEN! Caring About Our Earth conatins song about playing outdoors, recycling, planting a garden, stopping pollution, and more inspire children to connect to the Earth and encourage them to be responsible for the Earth. Action fun and singable songs motivate children to be involved and to be aware of the outside world. The resource guide, by Dr. Pam Schiller, includes creative activities and 2 literature links per song, that reinforce the important purpose of this kid-friendly, Earth-friendly, CD. The Wind; I’m Going To Plant a Garden; Cultivate, Germinate, Irrigate, Relocate; It’s Everyone’s World; My Kite; My Chance To Dance; My Brother, The Whale and more.”
Look for the Guide/Extension Activities by Dr. Pam Schiller in the soon to be released AMC Montessori Spring Newsletter.
As you can see, movement and Montessori go hand in hand.
Let’s look at two rather unique resources you can use in your school or home classroom.
The Learning-Success™Institute continues to offer products and services that bring out the star in every child! Kids who are tactile-kinesthetic,whole body learners, and/or like basketball will love the Basketall & Whole Body Memorizing activity. Check out this free game and activity by pointing your browser to http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori summer2.pdf
Combine movement and music with the Music for Little Folks resources. Gari Stein offers many different types of resources plus a complete curriculum package for those preschoolers. Click on http://www.little-folks-music.com/CDs.htm to learn more about this fun movement activities and songs, as well as additional products and resources.
Did you know that you could easily integrate a “game” into your Montessori reading music presentations? Read the post http://www.whatdidwedoallday.blogspot.com/2013/03/montessori-music-reading-music.html on What DID We Do All Day? to access the lesson plus discover additional fun Montessori music based activiities found at this blog.
Why not create some Montessori math games using the following resources?
The LORD Equipment Company offers a free curriculum guide for the Money and Math Bank Game.
“From an early age, children are fascinated with money a they see the interchange at the grocery, at the bank, and changing hand a part of day to day transaction.. They observe with fascinaIon the feeding of money to countless machine that produce treasure of candy, drinks, gum, and game that challenge youthful energy at mega pizza parlors. This high interest factor suggest a natural learning opportunity, capitalizing on children’s enthusiasm. Money become a natural tool for their practice and exploration of basic math and economic concepts.
The Curriculum Guide for the Money and Math Bank (M&M Bank) s designed to be used in classrooms, club groups, faith based programs, or a a family project. The M&M Bank is an instructional tool for teaching children basic concept about money and the economic fundamental of spending, saving, invesIng, and giving.”
For complete information about the Money and Math Game please visit http://www.lordequp.com To download the curriculum introduction and lessons, please visit http://www.lordequip.com/images/MMbank.pdf You can view students working with the Money and Math Bank game by visiting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2JQ0ai9x8I
If you are looking for a new math app, check out the newest one from Hands-On Equations http://borenson.com Download the free lite version called The Fun Way to Learn Algebra for the Kindle http://www.amazon.com/The-Fun-Way-Learn-Algebra/dp/B00H3DSEKU/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1390673188&sr=8-2-fkmr0& “Post a comment and rating on the Amazon Appstore, copy your comment to email@example.com and we (Hands-On Equations) will gift the Hands-On Equations app of your choice.”
Visit the Homemade Montessori http://homemademontessori.blogspot.com/2008/12/math-games.html blog for some additional ideas to use with your existing Montessori math curriculum.
The Winter 2014 Olympics, http://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/2014-winter-olympics-lesson-planning/ allow children to watch thousands of athletes engaged in competition in a friendly, uplifting environment.
To help reinforce this cooperativeness of the Olympics use the Cooperative Games Lesson Ideas from The Creative Process. “Cooperative games provide a shared experience of problem solving and achievement, and thus encourage repeat experiences throughout life.”
By using the The Everybody Stand Up (or Sit-Down) Together and Arm Wrestling for Raisins, http://www.netposterworks.com/resources/curideas/cooperative-games.html children learn the art of cooperation. Interesting enough, theses games were played at the World Celebration Camp, an off-shoot of the World Peace Celebration http://www.creativeprocess.net/peace/
Whether you are tutoring in a one-to-one learning environment or presenting lessons in a classroom setting, chances are using one or more of these recommended games will add a new dimension to your lessons. In so doing, you will be helping to make your student(s) learning experiences more meaningful.
Heidi Anne Spietz