Montessori21stCentury’s Weblog

Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Decorating the Holiday Table with Your Child

Tis the season to apply Maria Montessori’s Practical life Exercises to decorating the holiday table.  For starters, children can learn how to properly fold and place the napkins on the table.  See  NAMC Montessori Teacher’s Blog.

table+set                                                From NAMC Montessori Teacher’s Blog

Find an NAMC lesson presentation for holiday flower arranging by visiting

Nan Barchowsky, a recognized handwriting expert, offers some valuable tips on how to improve your child’s handwriting.  See    Nan’s program is used by countless schools and homeschoolers.  See  for details.  Even in this “electronic age”, handwriting is an essential communication skill.  To improve comfort and coordination, Nan Barchowsky of Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting suggests “A Bit of Yarn for a Good Pen Hold”.

Find instructions for making some beautiful hoilday place cards by visiting

Here are some other sites to explore.

Decorative Thanksgiving Turkey Place Card Holders

Homemade Christmas Place Cards – YouTube

Christmas Place Mats

Candy Basket

Free Christmas Craft Ideas for Kids

20 Gorgeous Holiday Table Settings

Origami Christmas Tree

Origami Holiday Wreath

Christmas Homeschooling Activities, Books, Crafts and Printables List

Pot Holders

Pine Cone Christmas Tree

Have fun exploring these activities with the children and teens in your life!

Heidi Anne Spietz
American Montessori Consulting
Celebrating 26 Years of Serving School and Home Educators
Montessori for the 21st Century

Leave a comment »

Creative Christmas and Hanukkah Lesson Planning Ideas

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to focus on Christmas and Hanukkah lesson planning.  Below are some unique reading books, resources and additional holiday hands-on activities:

Christmas Homeschooling Activities, Books, Crafts and Printables List

“I thought that I would put together a list of  Christmas homeschooling resources. I have seen a lot of great stuff floating around the web lately.  🙂  A lot of these things can be found on my Pinterest boards.”   For details, please see  Stacy Sews and Schools.


Carols for a Kids Heart

“No other time of the year is filled with as much excitement and gleeful expectancy as Christmas, and no one seems to enjoy the season more than children. Christmas is a time for making memories. And musical memories are one of the most precious gifts we can give the children we love.
Authors Joni Eareckson Tada and Bobbie Wolgemuth offer some of their favorite Christmas carols in this collection for children to cherish. This treasure book will give your children a special vision of the true meaning of Christmas.
Let the children you love celebrate the joy and warmth of Christmas with heartwarming stories and singing along with Joni, Bobbie, and the children on the enclosed richly orchestrated CD.

In this third volume of Hymns for a Kid’s Heart, Joni Eareckson Tada and Bobbie Wolgemuth collaborate to help you teach twelve classic Christmas carols to the children you love. With richly orchestrated music, true stories, prayers, and Scripture, Christmas Carols for a Kid’s Heart will feed your child’s soul during the Christmas season.
Passing along a favorite Christmas tradition has never been easier or more fun. This yuletide collection features twelve timeless and traditional Christmas carols with delightful stories from the Bible, devotionals, simple piano music, guitar chords, and beautiful original illustrations by Sergio Martinez.
“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”
—2 Corinthians 9:15 (ESV)”   For details, see


Color the Classics Christmas

“Where did we get our Christmas carols? Why did it take 4 men 115 years to write “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing?” Your kids (as well as yourself) will discover the origins of the Christmas carols. How long did it actually take to compose “Messiah?” This Christmas remember the carols that honor Christ! With the carols playing in the backround, your children will color the illustration while you retell the carol’s story. This is a great family holiday activity to start shortly after Thanksgiving. How the Program Works -Have the child start coloring or painting an illustration. -Take the information from the book that describes that illustration and retell this information as a story. -Play the music that belongs to the illustration. -Have the children finish the picture. This multi-sensory approach will lock the experience in your child’s mind. The original purchasers of these books have the right to reproduce the illustrations for use with their own children only. (Total time for Christmas CD: approx. 45 minutes)”  Purchase from  Nature’s Workshop Plus!


My Little House Craft Book

“Eighteen projects from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” stories. Laura and her family had to make the most of their own household items, using whatever materials were available. All you need to get started are a few simple supplies, and you’re on your way to making fun and useful pioneer crafts you’ll enjoy. A few of the crafts explained in this book are Charlotte’s straw hat, Mary’s Christmas tassels, Ma’s button lamp, Mary’s beaded bracelet and ring, Ma’s embroidered pillow-sham, baby Carrie’s button string, Laura’s corncob doll, and Ma’s prairie garden. 64 pages, paperback, 8”x10”.”

Purchase from Nature’s Workshop Plus!


The Farolitos of Christmas 

“With her father away fighting in World War II and her grandfather too sick to create the traditional luminaria, Luz helps create farolitos, little lanterns, for their Christmas celebration instead.”   Please see for details.


 James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

“Warm and joyful tales from the memoirs of Yorkshire, England veterinarian, James Herriot. In addition to his well-known 5-book series, All Creatures Great and Small, he also authored 8 children’s books. James Herriot’s Treasury for Children contains his complete set of 8 children’s books in one large, beautifully illustrated volume. Each story features adorable animals, pleasant townsfolk, and all the warmth and good humor that have made his stories so beloved the world over. You and your children will be captivated by the beautiful, realistic artwork which makes the stories come alive and sweeps you away into the English countryside! The 8 stories are entitled: Moses the Kitten; Only One Woof; The Christmas Day Kitten; Bonny’s Big Day; Blossom Comes Home; The Market Square Dog; Oscar, Cat About Town; and Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb. This collection of stories is especially good for reading aloud with your little ones gathered around looking at the pictures! Enjoyable for the entire family. 250 pages, hardcover, 8 1/2″x10 3/4.”  Purchase from  Nature’s Workshop Plus!



A Christmas Carol Study Guide

“The classic Christmas story of greed, cold-heartedness, and redemption. Scrooge is content with his life of work and petty self-interest–or he would be if he were content with anything. Scrooge begrudges anyone a morsel of joy or happiness even himself. That is until three Christmas spirits force him to see what his actions have done to himself and others, and reawaken him to the commandment, “Love your neighbor.” A novel rich in literary technique. Setting: London, 1800s

Progeny Press study guides include vocabulary, comprehension, analysis and critical thinking exercises. They also contain questions on Biblical principles and other activities related to the story. An answer key is included. ”

Purchase from Excellence in Education.

A Christmas Carol

Christmas Songs Made in America

“Here is a treasury of stories about Christmas songs written in America from its founding to the Civil War and from the depths of the Great Depression to the brink of prosperity. For decades, songwriters and lyricists have used popular, folk, rock, sacred, and country music to celebrate the season’s heartfelt cheer. Some were written for Broadway, others for Hollywood. Some entertained children, others set a romantic mood. Some grew from the chains of slavery, others from the joyous freedom of faith. If there’s a story to tell about a Christmas song, you’re likely to find it here.”  Purchase from


Feliz Navid, Christmas Carols in Spanish

“Celebrate the Christmas season while you learn your favorite carols in Spanish.

Perfect for the whole family to sing along and learn. The Teach Me…Christmas title is a bilingual celebration of Christmas traditions in Mexico through the magic of song. The beautifully illustrated book will teach the reader about the rich heritage, culture and beliefs of Mexico during this delightful season. Narrated and sung in Spanish along with an English version and translation.”  Please see


Feliz Navid, Christmas Carols in French

Sing Along and Learn Christmas Carols in French
From Teach Me Tapes

“The Teach Me…Christmas title is a bilingual celebration of Christmas tradition in France through the magic of song. This beautifully illustrated book will teach the reader about the rich heritage, culture and beliefs of France during this delightful season. Narrated and sung in French along with an English version and translation.

Classic songs for the holiday, perfect for all ages to sing and learn French.”
Visit for more details.


Christmas Felt Advent Calendars, Felt Board Stories and Activity Books

“Start a new tradition with the children in your life using Story Time Felts unique Christmas felt products. Help children get ready for their favorite holiday with our traditional felt board stories, or reinforce skills with our activity felt books. Our felt fabric advent calendars help them count down to Christmas and make great gifts for children and adults alike!

We’ve found that when adults and children tell felt stories, it brings them closer together as they listen to the story, touch the soft felt pieces, and interact with the felt board. With Story Time Felts products, story time is together time. What better time to bring closeness to your family than Christmas!”

Purchase from



Hanukkah Activities and Resources for the Montessori Classroom

The following is from the NAAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog:

“When I taught in an elementary Montessori classroom, one of my Jewish students enjoyed giving a lesson to the class for every Jewish holiday. The best part of the lessons was her personal and personable approach to storytelling. Her classmates were completely engaged, asked tons of questions, and other, shyer, Jewish students would eventually join her in giving the lesson. I would recommend starting with your Montessori students and their knowledge for these kinds of lessons. You can supplement their lessons with your research and experiences, books and activities.”  To read the post in its entirety, please visit


Check back frequently to this blog for some additional winter and holiday creative idea lesson planning ideas in the weeks to come.

Heidi Anne Spietz
American Montessori Consulting


Leave a comment »

Winter Crafting Ideas on Pinterest

Receive some additional winter crafting resources by visiting Winter Crafting Ideas on Pinterest

Heidi Anne Spietz

Leave a comment »

Crafting the Winter Weekends Away

Brrrrr… . Now that we are in throes of winter, some families choose to spend the weekends snuggled in their warm homes reading their favorite book or finishing a craft project.    Why not make some lasting memories in the process?

Knitting, needlepoint, embroidery, crocheting, woodworking and other such activities serve multiple purposes and can be enjoyed by all. 

The benefits of crafting stretch far beyond just making memories.  First, young children receive practical life applications as well as learning how to combine colors and textures.  Second, crafting gives family members an opportunity to share a creative experience.   Third, we all know that you can’t put a price on the value of  handmade gift.  Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are not far off, so, let’s examine some of the homemade gifts that can be used for these occasions.

 Knitting and Crocheting Resources 

 Whether you are a novice or a seasoned professional your first stop should be to the How to Knit and Crochet Learning Center

You will find most of what is needed here – from the basics to a discussion forum where you can ask questions, look for project ideas and share the fun. You will also discover links to free projects.


Additional free knitting patterns are available at:  –

Bountiful Spinweave also offers fun and unique projects for children and teens.   Be sure to check out their beautiful selection of yarn for your knitting and crocheting projects, free patterns at Bountiful Spinweave Free Patterns

To see some of the crochet projects completed by the children at a Montessori school visit the Seattle Montessori Blog entries  Crochet! and French Knitting and Pom Poms .

Since the price of yarn can be quite expensive, it’s always best to check the bins and discount tables at your local crafts or yardage store for bargains.  If it’s too cold to venture outside, visit Closeouts from Bountiful Spinweave

You can also find out more about fibers, books, spinning and weaving by visiting

 Needlepoint and Sewing Resources

 Have you admired those who create beautiful needlepoint masterpieces, but felt too timid to try to make one?  The sites below offer clear instructions for beginners and offer many interesting projects for children.

Visit Embroidery for Children – Save the Stitches and How to Needlepoint

Receive a free Beginning Cross Stitch and Continental Stitch for Making Coasters by a visiting   These coasters make a thoughtful gift for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.

The Stacy Sews blog is filled with ideas that you and your children can do together this winter. Pont your browser to The Forty Minute Tote Bag and in July – A Book Cover Tutorial. 

 Woodworking Resources

Woodworking projects take on a whole new meaning when older children and teens help out.    Most projects, at some point, must be finished outside, but there are a few on the lists below that can be completed indoors.

Here are sites to explore: Projects for Children A Basic List of Hand Tools Needed for Kids to Get Started in Woodworking The Basic Wooden Box Kid’s Woodworking Projects (For ages 7 and older)

All Art carries a wide range of art supplies for those interested in painting a design on their creation.

Nature’s Wokshop Plus!.com offers the Wikki Stix Creativity Kit in which children can make wooden shapes, frames plus other interesting projects. 

Care and Concern Crafting

 For an activity that you can make for shut-ins,  please visit

                                                       Community Service Projects


 For more creative fun visit and click on the free hands on lesson planning idea-planning newsletters.

Happy Crafting!

 Heidi Anne Spietz

American Montessori Consulting

Celebrating 25 Years of Serving School and Home Educators

Montessori for the 21st Century

Leave a comment »