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Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Sizzling Summertime 2015 Lesson Plans


Learn how to make and fly a kite in your neck of the woods.

Planning a trip to Southern California? All the fun is not necessary had at the amusement parks. Take a side trip to Seal Beach, a quaint beach town, that has much to offer. While there, you won’t want to miss the monthly Seal Beach Kite Club meetings. Click here to see what the city of Seal Beach has in store for you and your family. Then, venture to Hobby City for some additional free hands-on fun.


Learn how to make a band in minutes. Yes, you and your children can make a coffee can drum and yogurt container shakers by following the easy instructions provided by

Montessorian Dale Gausman will show you how to make and introduce rhythm sticks in your school and home classrooms. Click here for details.

The Blow Ye Winds , Paddle Wheeler and Erie Canal – and Wabash Cannonball are free extension activities from the guide written by Dr. Kathryn A. Short, for Kimbo’s CD release: “Songs About America,” Celebrating America Through Song.. See Kimbo for details.

Download The Number Eating Alligator from and discover how these songs can be incorporated into your ECE and elementary math and music lesson planning. Click here for details.

Marjorie Kiel Persons presents two marvelous integrated lessons for your summer music presentations. – Water Music Alla Hornpipe by George Frideric Handel. and Oh, How I Love Italy ? Music, Art, and Food seasoned with History and Geography See Click on this link to access both lesson plans.


Dale Gausman, owner of the North American Montessori Center, shows how children can plan, prepare, and execute a Spring or Summer Tea. Dale’s Friendship Salad makes a perfect addition to the Spring Tea menu or any other event planned for the upcoming months. Click here for details.

Encourage children to try making some new recipes this summer! Make lunchtime interesting by including some rollie poultries and stuffed apples into your meal planning. See

Learn how to present an authentic Montessori food unit study featuring the yummy Watermelon Blueberry Banana Split recipe.

DIanne Knesek, Montessori teacher and owner of Conceptual Learning, shares a mouth watering Summer Fruit, Cheese, and Meat Kabobs recipe. Visit this link for complete information

Planning a unit study about pirates? Try these three pirate snack ideas – Treasure Chests, Pirate Ships and Cannonballs, all of which, can be easily integrated into any pirate unit study. Click here to access the recipes.

For a festive change, create your own hot dog buffet and serve some fudge cupcakes for dessert. Then, cool down your lazy afternoon with some delicious green smoothies.


Are you looking for an additional aid to help inspire good penmanship? Nan Barchowsky may have just what you need. Check out A Bit of Yarn for Good Pen Hold by clicking here.


Begin the summer science learning adventure with hands on fun. Children will discover how to change the color of a flower and how water travels up plants by participating in the Changing a Flower’s Color activity submitted by Dale Gausman. See for details.

John, from Exploration Education, presents an excellent, fun-filled simple and effective activity about static electricity is for children six and up. Click here for details.

Invite children to vicariously go on an animal safari! To access resources for a unit study, visit

Children marvel at identifying the different birds that they encounter at the park, beach or even in their backyard. Find out how Backyard Birds can be incorporated into your ornithology presentations by visiting

Rae, from Creative Process, shares a leaf print activity that combines the study of botany with art. To access this information, visit

Richard, from the Montessori Materials LORD Company, is offering FREE reading books, and a Montessori land and water labels

Easily create a seashell unit study. Quickly locate links to seashell classification materials and other resources by visiting


Summer gardening can be especially meaningful if you plan ahead. A Gardening Unit Study (With the Focus on Summer)Montessori Lessons will provide the info you need to customize your garden lesson planning. Find the gardening resources and lesson plans now, so that you embark on your summer gardening journey when late May arrives.

In Nurturing Budding Botanists – Learning and Teaching the Basics of Plant Science, author Sara L. Ambarian has provided the indepth botany lesson planning information and resources needed Click here for details.


Receive some free hands-on algebra exercises designed by Dr. Henry Borenson See Hands On Equations for details. Check out DIanne Knesek’s Montessori problem solving lessons by clicking here.


What type of learner is your child? Mariaemma, from Coaching for Learning Success(tm), has the resources you need to discover the answer to this question, plus she has generously contributed her Basketball and Whole Body Memorizing Activity. Access this information, as well as The Whole Body Learner – Gifted for Moving! article by visiting Click here for details.

Stillsonworks offers more unique puzzles designed for middle school students. Try your hand at the free exercises included by clicking here Access additional FREE puzzles for children/teens by visiting

Be sure to check out the cooperative games by Rae from Creative Process. (Click here for details.)

THIS and THAT…. Additional unique, creative lesson planning info.

Rae from Creative Process generously has provided the following free activities], articles, and lesson plans: Calendar Activity, Teacher as Curator : Setting up a School Gallery and Sharing Food, Food in Art? Access this information by clicking here

Are you taking your class on a literature journey? Why not start with the classics. Let Rita Arpaia of show you how. Point your browser to Read Rita’s other articles and learn more about how’s resources for your school and homeschool libraries.

Sara Ambarian has written a two part article which will further help you with your selection of children’s books. In Part I of her article, you will learn about the books selected by the AMC resource participants.

In Part I read about community recommendations. This balanced article is sure to help you select just the right books for your school and homeschool classrooms.

If you would like to view the complete table of contents of the newsletter, or you have experienced any difficulties accessing the links above, please visit

Now, with these fun activities, recipes and lessons, you are set to make this summer the best yet!

Heidi Anne Spietz

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Learning is a Picnic! Part Two-Adventures and Activities

“The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.”  Plato

A picnic is a wonderful opportunity for both children and adults to observe and enjoy nature.  While you eat, as well as before and after your meal, it is fun to keep your eyes and ears open for wildlife, insects, changing sky conditions, and more. 

If you are new to birdwatching, or want some kid-friendly tips, please refer to Sanford R. Wilbur’s “Birdwatching with Kids” interview.

Birdcage Press also offers a fun card game and book set, Backyard Birds, which you could use in conjunction with your birdwatching adventures.  

For younger kids and hands-on explorers, botany might be a more rewarding pursuit than bird or wildlife watching.  You need almost no equipment, you don’t need to stay quiet, and your subjects will not fly or scamper away while you are studying them! Make sure you are familiar with poison oak, poison ivy, stinging nettle or any other plants in your area which students should not handle.  Then, get more study ideas from Sara L. Ambarian in her article, “Nurturing Budding Botanists”.

“Whole body learners” (for more, see ) might really “dig” geologic explorations. Examining soil and rock formations often requires a lot of walking around and getting your hands dirty. Don’t think that you need to have a location with really dramatic geologic features like boulders or cliff faces in order to have a rewarding geology adventure. You can learn a lot from looking at variations in the color and texture of soil or gravel areas, the sizes and composition of rocks along a river bed, the shapes of surrounding hills or mountains, etc. Visit the following website from Rochester, New York, for some fun ideas to get kids started enjoying rocks and minerals.  

Geology enthusiasts will also enjoy the Hobby Lobby story found here: .

Another great way to enjoy a day outside is to immortalize it in art. Before going, you might invest some time preparing with an art study program like that found in Coyote Creek’s video series “Drawing Nature”.

Other fun outdoor activities that give children an opportunity to move around and might be appropriate for your picnic location are kite-flying and beachcombing. Find lots of ideas and resources on these subjects in “Up, Up and Away—The Art and Fun of Kite Flying” and “Classified Seashell Activities and Resources”.

For learning opportunities involving weather and sky conditions, check out these informative links from the National Weather Service.

When you’re done eating and exploring, you may want to make a memento to remember the outing. This site has some fun outdoor crafts listed in their sections for “backyard”, “beach craft”, “camping and picnic”, etc.

Here are a few other selected outdoor craft ideas for students young and old: 

Tree Rubbings Collage

Pretty pencil pinwheel ,

Fun Floral Straws

Families or other groups can extend the outdoor fun, and help a good cause, too, by joining the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Backyard Campout.  Find out more about the program at:

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Learning is a Picnic!

Part One– Preparation, Refreshments, and Safety

“The first duty of an education is to stir up life, but leave it free to develop.” Maria Montessori

With warm weather and summer holidays from the traditional school year approaching, many of us start looking for ways to enjoy ourselves outdoors.  A perennial favorite summer pastime is picnicking; and with some forethought, you can plan an outing that is both recreational and educational!

Planning and preparation–

Children of all ages can help with both planning and preparations for a picnic. These activities help children practice important daily life activities, and they also give them a sense of involvement in and anticipation of the event.

Generally speaking, you will need to consider the date, the time, the location, your mode of transportation, the number and ages of participants, the menu, and activities in which you might participate during the outing.  You will also need to think about the equipment and supplies you will need both for transportation and service of the food and for the comfort and safety of the participants. 

Keeping a running list of items to buy and/or pack to which you can add things as you remember them can be a big help.  If your students help you pack, you can have even early readers find and check off each item on the list as they carry it out to the car, put it in the picnic basket, etc.

For ideas about picnic planning, check out “Year-End Activities: A Family Picnic” from Dale at North American Montessori Center  and these other resources.,,


Part of the fun of a picnic is loosening up the routines of more-formal meals. Jaye from Creative Care craft kits is completely in the spirit of both picnicking and Montessori daily life exercises with her self-serve Hot Dog Buffet. She also suggests a great carry-around dessert, Grandmother’s Oatmeal Cookies. Find them both here:

Tara from the Lord Company shares a make-ahead main dish recipe, Rollie Poultries. These tasty treats are easy to transport and serve cold, but could also be re-heated in foil or a dutch oven, if your picnic plans will include a campfire or barbecue grill.

Another fun hands-on recipe to make before the picnic is Summer Fruit, Cheese and Meat Kabobs.  This simple, but appealing snack from Dianne at Conceptual Learning provides an opportunity for even very young children to participate in meal preparations. (For the youngest kids, consider shorter toothpicks/skewers to suit both their shorter attention spans and their less-developed dexterity.)

Diana from Nature’s Workshop Plus! provides a sweet and nutty carry-along dessert with her Stuffed Apples recipe.

Lois Scarbrough appeals to the chocoholics in your picnic party with Fudge Cupcakes.

For a backyard picnic, try Kathy O’Reilly’s Watermelon Blueberry Banana Split. This recipe wouldn’t travel well, but it includes great ideas for student involvement and expanded study and discussion for a schoolyard or backyard picnic setting.

Getting dirty is part of the fun of picnicking, so how about bringing along some homemade cinnamon rolls with lick-your-fingers icing, like these from Larry of Farm Country General Store?

Have an adventurous crew attending your picnic? Check out Fun Felt’s pirate-themed snack recipes.

Need more picnic food ideas?

Check out these Independence Day recipes from Sara L. Ambarian.

Make finger food a learning experience! You can use this fun alphabet sandwich idea with cold sandwiches just as easily as with the suggested grilled cheese.

Here is a cute gallery of picnic food recipes great for visually-oriented picnic planners.

You’ll find some wonderful, simple recipe ideas here, in the UK Guardian newspaper’s article, “101 Picnic Recipes: Ready in 20 minutes or less”.  Not only are the recipe ideas interesting and inspiring, learning the British terms (like “beetroot” and “aubergine”) and spellings offer students another layer of learning.  These suggestions are especially appropriate for older students and enthusiastic, creative budding chefs, because only ingredients and basic preparation instructions are included.  No measurements are provided, which allows you and your student(s) to experiment with taking a recipe concept and designing your OWN recipe.  Exercises like these in the kitchen are invaluable to young cooks, because they tap into thought processes and creativity that following a specific recipe does not.  They also allow for additional record-keeping and analysis.


Introduce some kitchen science concepts for older students by reviewing these picnic food safety guidelines. These are both great overviews from university food departments—the first short and fairly simple, the second more in-depth for your more scientifically-minded students.

If your picnic plan includes a campfire, be sure to review some basic fire safety guidelines with your students before you go.  This list of rules from a Canadian Girl Guides leader is excellent (and she has some other great outdoor fun ideas, as well)!

Check back to this blog next week, to read the second part of this two part article.

However, before you point your browser to another website,  glance to the right of this page, to check out some of the current top posts on the Montessori for the 21st Century blog..  🙂

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