The number wheel was one of their favorites, which left me wishing I had put it out the first week of February instead of the second! It is fairly self-explanatory - each space had a specific amount of Valentine's Day stickers, and the heart-shaped, glass bowl (it was a wedding present 10+ years ago, so I have no idea where it was found, but the Dollar Tree has similar ones around Valentine's Day) held clothespins with the numbers 1-10 on them. Fine motor skills work for this was the action of using the clothespins and working the grasp needed for good pencil control. There was also a counting concept for Math skills that made this both fun and educational at the same time! I would have to say this is definitely one that would need to be repeated again, with a different theme for the stickers.
This is what it looked like on the shelf
Hoss even tried this one out a couple of times, although it is well below his skill level in all areas (there is not a NEED for an older child to do a work on a younger child's skill level, but by allowing the opportunity, it very often is a temporary desire, as they are not really challenged enough to feel compelled to come back to the work a great deal. However, I imagine sometimes it's nice to do something that doesn't task the brain as much, and gives them a mental break - and when it's new to the shelves, how tempting can it get??? ). After completing it, he held it up for me to see that, "It looks like the sun!"
This is one that I enjoyed having out for them, and did get some use, especially from Bug. It probably would have been used more if I had it a little easier to reach - I kept it up on a higher shelf where the children that couldn't reach had to either ask for it or stand on a chair. I know that is not at all what a Montessori teacher or instructor would tell me to do, but the desire to not have to sweep up beads, or pull them out of Buddy Boy's nose, or anything else you can imagine, just won over on this one. And while I had hoped to see some great pattern work erupt, and it didn't, some great motor skill work was done and I was still impressed by how many beads could actually fit on one of those sections of pipe cleaner. I got the pipe cleaners at Walmart, along with the purple and pink beads, which came in a multi-pack. The wooden tray came from a lacing pictures set that I bought at Target.This next one was also a bit last minute. One day I noticed Bug wanting to clip some clothespins from another work on our shelves to the edge of the tray. I thought she might enjoy something like this, and I was right! She visited this little work several times in the week that it was on our shelves. So simple to make, I used the left over foam from my near failure to cut out ten small hearts (I ended up only using 8 - note to self: get a bigger jar next time!). Then pulled out my handy dandy hot glue gun and went to town. I will note here that the clothespins for this one were from the Dollar Tree instead of Walmart. And from this I learned that I would rather spend an extra dollar and get clothespins in Walmart's craft aisle next time! They work fine, but the quality of them is not so great, and they are a little easier to slip apart while trying to take them back off the jar.
When they finished, the work stored itself in the same jar, with the lid screwed on. Extra bonus: practice in twisting a lid off and on :) .
This one surprised me just a bit. I made our Valentine's button snake based on this one from My Boys Teacher at What Did We Do All Day. I had made a button snake previous to this one, but it didn't go over as well, and I realized it was because I didn't make it the exact same way (I used all felt the first time, instead of ribbon for the snake body like I should have) so when I did this one, I made a few changes. What resulted was a hit - and here is the surprise - the one who enjoyed it the most was 2 year old Buddy Boy!
I would never have imagined that he would be able to do any of this. However, after about 10 minutes of intense concentration, I looked over to see him sliding the pieces on, one by one. When he realized I was watching him, he held it up excitedly for me to see what he was doing. After that, he came back quite often to do 'his work', as he called it.
This is one that probably took the most time in making, but afterwards made sure to laminate *in THICK sheets* so I never have to do it again!
Using Wilton cookie cutters (I couldn't find the exact set that I have, but this one is pretty similar), I traced several different designs on to plain white copy paper, and then laminated each one for durability. Then I showed them to lay out the card they wanted and use the cookie cutter(s), which were placed in the tray pictured below, to match the card. The card provided a template, but also a control of error, as well as color coding what I drew with the color of the cookie cutters (another simple control of error). This was something simple enough that Buddy Boy probably could have done the easier ones, such as the size differentiation templates, if he had chosen to (which he did NOT). The younger girls did enjoy it, but it wasn't used as much as I had hoped for the time spent on it, which means either my expectations were a little high, or there could have been a better way to present it, with maybe a different tray? Not sure - but it's worth repeating and setting it out differently next time to see if it catches their eye a bit more.
Anyway, that's what I prepared for this years' V-Day works. That is not everything we did all week, of course - there is still a great deal of work that is done in more of a traditional style school method, but that's another post for another time, trying to explain that one....
Hope you enjoyed it and if you have any ideas on how I could improve the ones that weren't touched as much, or anything that you did that your children seemed to enjoy, please DO leave a comment!