Wednesday, June 1, 2011


To all of you, my DEDICATED  "MY HOMEMADE MONTESSORI," I have been learning to coupon. Yes, I'm still alive but watching the show EXTREME COUPONING, I have started another passion. If you want to follow me on MY LEARNING TO COUPON BLOG, feel free to follow me by visiting my new blog called  LEARNING TO COUPON WITH LISA. If you want to follow me on facebook as well, the address link is   LEARNING COUPONS. And if you coupon in MISSOURI feel free to follow my new group for Missouri couponing here,  WE USE COUPONS IN MISSOURI.

                                                      Thanks for the following! Lisa:)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Rainbow Yarn Art

This picture was made for me by a school age child and I thought how wonderful for this idea. We are going to do these this week. Simple and beautiful!

HUGE FREE PAINT CHIPS by Better Home and Garden

HUGE FREE PAINT CHIPS by Better Homes and Garden available now at Walmart where I found these in bright, beautiful, bold colors. These are very generous in size and free. Great for pinching activities.

Amazing Printable X Rays

Amazing Printable X Rays:

I looked each one of these up on images and compiled them to one large x~ray that we are going to add to our science center. Arent these to cool? I thought the children would love looking at these. I may add them to our science tray with a magnifying glass like our other ones. Just print and add to your activities.

Best Thing I ever bought #3~PUPPET THEATRE

Best Thing I ever bought #3 is our PUPPET THEATRE:

This has been a puppet theatre, a store front with shelves on the reverse side to store food in until purchased just to name a few. It has a big rod to change the curtains out in which we do each month. Just a sold good purchase. Never has flipped over. Very well made. Just a wonderful sound product.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rock and Shell Exploration Egg Carton Sets

Rock and Shell Exploration Egg Carton Sets:

I made this set for our science and exploration set but Im making two more sets today along with a shell science and exploration set, as well. The children really like the hands on touching these. I hot glued them in an egg carton and they fit in eac little cup snuggly like they were made to be inside there. When done, close up and place back on shelf. Pull out as demanded. Enjoy!

New "FROM BOXES" column added today (inspired by Michelle)

New "FROM BOXES" column added today (inspired by Michelle):

Today I  added is a search for "from boxes" column. Inspiring me to do this is Michelle of  Kozy Kids Family Childcare . She always visits my blog and tells me what great ideas I have and leaves such WONDERFUL comments. Check out what she is making this week with celery experiments and changing colors. She has tons of useful activities as mine and even made a HUGE BOAT from cardboard. Stop by and tell her hello. Shes such a "quality child care provider." Search for this activity by clicking "from boxes."

Toddler Treasure Stick Pull Along Activity

This is our Toddler Treasure Stick. We take our Toddler sticks outise on walks with us and the children can carry them easily with the small child sized wood handles. I screwed this round screw inside the wood, made
several sticks of thin line like fishing line or think clothes line and threaded what treasure I have onto them and tied them off. I taped right underneath then knot and handle so they don't come unraveled. The jems I found at Walmart in their creative isle in the back of the store, around where the empty jars are to make your own fireplace lookables and conversation pieces. The children love these. The teddy bears came from Oriental Trading years ago and are necklace teddies, I also added huge beads and plastic threading straws and beads. Change the colors out for more visual stimulation. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


                                                    This is our BUSY BOX that we climb into:

I made this out of a sturdy target box, thank goodness for target that ships a movie in a box this big at Christmas. When I seen it, I about screamed since this was the perfect size for my idea of a busy box. I added metal tuna cans, metal jar lids, adding stickers on the lids so when they are turned, the results change out. Never the same ending result. I attached wood blocks on the inside so the jar lids and wood just spin to build the small muscle skills, attention spans, concentration, one on one activity work to name a few. I added a cheese box to the wooden put your hand through wall so they could put their babies in the window like a mailbox feeling. I found this little mirror at walmart in the bird section and I re-inforced it all around  the edges with glue gun glue. I found this cute frankensteing picture to add a little excitement to the surroundings. Im still looking to add a carpet if I find the right size but until then, its a very chosen favorite. Enjoy this idea!

Study Links Quality Child Care to Success in Early School Readiness

I used this article in my favor to get a grant several years ago. I thought I would share to see if would help anyone else out or just for a little incentive to say, "Hey, Your doing a great job!" It should come up bigger when you click on it. Feel free to print and post by your entrance as I do, in a nice frame. Have a nice day!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Barbecue Grills to welcome Spring

I made these barbecue grills from boxes that were really sturdy and the perfect size. I found a dish drying rack and took it apart and used it on the top of both grills by poking holes through the one side of each box with a pen, threaded yarn onto a bobby pin and pushed it through the holes and repeated about 20 times. Now the lids lift up to add and remove food, pans, food turners and more. I found a table cloth that had circles on it on clearance for .50 and I thought it looked like briquets so I made little rectangled pillows and fit them inside the box on two sides. I hot glued a cardboard strip down the middles on two sides to hold the pillow briquets in and left space in the middle for the cooking utensils on the one grill. I covered one in a blue and white table cloth to look like a picnic theme. I also put a small plate on card board and traced around it to make burners. Then I tied them on with the same technique as I did with the grill tops. They turned out so adorable. And it all stays self contained when they are both not in use. I added buttons and lids that actually turn by adding a piece of wood on the inside that I attached the screw through once the button and baby food jar lid went through the box. So, its all realistic and fun. Challenge their imaginations. Here is another picture to see what they turned out like. Enjoy!

Best Things I ever bought count up #2 Our Pet Zoey

                                    Best Things I ever bought count up #2 Our Pet Zoey

Each child is so excited to come to school, bring an apple or carrots for Zoey or just to pet her. They have learned how to care for her and empathy for our baby Zoey. I would do it all again to have her.

Best Things I ever bought count up #1 is THIS Step 2 Camper Playhouse

I am counting up the top things I have ever purchased while in Child Care for over 21 years. This is the top activity. It is a STEP TWO CAMPER PLAYHOUSE that has since been discontinued but the number one favorite chosen, most used, activity ever. Stay tuned as I count up more of the most cherished activities.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Shadow Match Learning Mat


I put this learning mat together by tracing around each prop and then the child finds the prop to the shadow match and places it on top. A fun way to teach object placement.

Fill the Rainbow Learning Mat

I made this learning tray to help welcome spring with a rainbow, sparking the childrens imagination. I started by cutting out the red middle from a hands free shape, then cut another shape from green about 2 inches bigger, then yellow and then blue. By adding left over foam and plastic props, it made a perfect learning mat. I did laminate to prolong the mat usage. Easy to make and so creative.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Teaching Roles in Life.......

Feeding a baby through pictures: This week we were working on "feeding a baby" and I made these colorful bubble bottles so each child could pick what color of bottle they wanted to use, to feed the babies. First I showed them how to feed the baby, where to position the bottle and then how to hold the bottle up so the baby wouldn't get air. It went really well. This boy is 2 and mastered it by himself. Im really proud of each of them. They have a lot of empathy for their babies.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Share: Meet ZOEY our outside PET

Share: Meet ZOEY our outside PET:

This is another reason why the children look out the windows in addition to the birds eating in the feeder, vehicles, parents arriving and leaving (waving) and the weather. Shes a good pet 2.

Sensory Glue Rounds With Feely Beads

Sensory Glue Rounds With Feely Beads:

The children helped me make these sensory rounds in tuna fish cans we used and washed out. We added glue in the bottom on the can about a half an inch thick, dropped all these odds and ends pieces of beads and things that we pick up out of no where and we made these awesome glue rounds. I made some for my purse and we added some to our sensory box. These are so awesome. They are very flexible. The glue width will depend on how big your objects are that you want to contain. These are about 2 weeks old. A great texture activity. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Easter: Bunny Tray Work


Making Easter: Bunny Tray Work: Share:

You can make a BUNNIES to beddies tray by searching out plastic necklace bears or animals that are straight in shape so they will fit inside of the cubes of ice cube trays. You will need two ice cube trays to transfer back and forth transferring bunnies to one bed then back to the resting tray. They can also be pulled from a holding tray like in our tray here and then placed in one ice cube tray. All  items need to be put on a tray for carrying to table. I purchased my bunnies from Dollar General, my ice cube trays I had.
On another tray to have two choices, a parent gave me a foam dozen egg holder and I hot glued it inside a box that fit it perfectly. Painted it and made this second tray for more choices related to Easter.

Teaches children: care and empathy, builds attention spans, improves eye and hand coordination, builds small muscle skills, left to right work, concentration, taking care of a pet, following directions to name a few.


Making Teddies to Beddies Tray

Making Teddies to Beddies Tray: Share:

You can make a teddies to beddies tray by searching out plastic necklace bears or animals that are straight in shape so they will fit inside of the cubes of ice cube trays. You will need two ice cube trays to transfer back and forth transferring teddies to one bed then back to the resting tray. They can also be pulled from a holding tray like in our tray here and then placed in one ice cube tray. All  items need to be put on a tray for carrying to table. I purchased my teddies from Oriental Trading, my ice cube trays I had, the brown transfer tray, I believe used to hold some kind of bullets and has been salvaged, washed and sterilized for our use.

Teaches children: care and empathy, builds attention spans, improves eye and hand coordination, builds small muscle skills, left to right work, concentration, taking care of a pet, following directions to name a few.


Share:Windows:Observing Nature

Never to Young for Dress Up.....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Toddler Pull Around Treasure Sticks

Im back, I made these Toddler Pull Arounds for toddlers to carry and figit with therefore building small muscle skills, eye and hand coordination, building self esteem and attention scans. They are proud to carry and pull these little figit toys around. Carrying it around by the little small red wooden handle. Such a great activity to take outside for a walk, as well.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What have I been Up To? Object Placement Work 2

What have I been Up To? Object Placement Work 2:

After making my first placement tray (My Original Idea) seen below, was my first idea to put to use extra pizza boxes that have a solid foundation and tons of little medicine bottles donated every month for recycling I just came up with a placement activity that makes so much sense and is so educational for the children.

In this placement work pictured above, I am trying slightly bigger bottles and boxes that a toddler and preschooler can clutch in their hands but be more challenging to the next level. I don't have it ready for them to use, but this one should prove to be an educational challenge next for March. I cut bottles in half, traced around them, cut the shapes out and placed them inside. The sizes are challenging because some fall deeper into the box so I have to get the size just right so their "work" is successful in the end.

Im using medicine bottles, small candy boxes, trix yogurt cups (not cut in half), small drink size containers that fit in perfect. When I get it painted and mod podged, I will show in my blog what the ending product looks for me to share with the children in March. This is what I have been up to.

Infant Grasping: Encourage Success

Infant Grasping: Encouraging Successful Environment:

I added this ribbon to one of my infant chairs, curled it with a pencil and wondered if "he" was ready for a new task of "grasping." Here it is: results.............he was! How sweet when I seen this. Spontaneous learning.


Rainbow Bug Scoop Tray Work

Rainbow Bug Scoop:

I made this Rainbow Bug Scooping Set to stimulate the children's imagination. Child chooses this tray off of the shelf of choices. Takes it to the table, gets comfortable and starts pan frying the foam buglets, then lets them cool on the cooling dish and then they are scooped into their color sorting block on the mat. Repeat for success! I purchased the play kitchen items at Deals and the foam bugs from Oriental Trading. I made the mat myself. Encourage imagination!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Exploration and Texture Sensory Rounds

Exploration and Texture n Sensory Rounds:

I used the regular salt playdough recipe to make these exploration and texture sensory rounds. Before I put some of the salt playdough in the random containers, I added beans, wood shapes, sensory balls to some of the bottoms and some on the tops to add texture to each shape to make them different. Each shape is a different sensory texture for the children to explore. The second picture is when I just made them and the first picture is when they are drying and I added two layers of mod podge to them to prevent beaking and cracking. Great to add a magnifying glass to for sight exploration and great for hands on touching for tactile experiences, homemade.

Fruit Sorting Set

Fruit Sorting Set:

I cut a box in half and attached strawberry baskets inside of 4. One in each corner. Then I added four kinds of foam fruits to sort into the corner baskets. Once finished all the items can go on either side. Box folds up nice. What a great resource to share becoming more familiar with fruits and shapes.

Picture to Word Vocabulary Building Cards

                                                           Picture to Word Vocabulary Building Cards:

I made these cards by attaching the pictures to thick cardboard and attaching package tape across the top and continuing on to the back. They should last for years to come. The child chooses the Tray off of the choice shelves, takes one card out at a time. Names the picture, see's the word that relates to the picture learning that they go together visually and memory building that word association to that picture to know relation in print rich environments with pictures. Repeat until desired cards are done, place back in custom build cardboard placement box and return to shelf. For other children to take advantage of. Repeat for more
picture to word skill building.

Marble Scooping Activity

                                                                  Marble Scooping Activity:

I have a passion to create Montessori Manipulatives. It just comes natural for me to see trays at flea markets, thrift stores, stores and I can come up with a wonderful learning idea. This plastic Tray I purchased for .25 and it worked perfect for Marble to tray scooping work. This little spoon hugged the marble perfect.

Child scoops one marble up at a time and transfers each one to each perfect fitting snug hole on the transfer tray until all holes are filled. Then they finger transfer them back. Place this tray back to choices from shelf for another child to take advantage of and learn from. Building attention spans, concentration, independence, following directions, to name a few.

Magnetic Numbers to Can Matching Set

Magnetic Numbers to Can Matching Set:

I took a piece of construction paper, traced the magnetic numbers on it by random. Outlined the numbers with a magic marker. Laminated the paper. Cut it down to fit the metal coffee can and attached it with tape. The magnets store right inside.

Child takes the teaching can off of the choices on the shelf, places it on a tray where they are sitting to build concentration, independence, following directions and more. They take all the magnets out and place in a holding tray they choose from the tray as well. Turn the can until all the numbers are matched. Repeat for success and repetition. Put all numbers back in the can. Put lid on. Return to shelf for another child to benefit from.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sensory ORB Storage

Our store had a sale on "monkey bread." So I get two packages, take them home, within 3 days, I had made both of them and shared them with the children. The bowls from that treat turned out to be great for holding our sensory orbs for or shelf so the children can hands on explore them when they take them to their chosen place and tray. Nice and heavy dish, I will get two more of these soon and put them to good use in my rock
collection and shells next.

My Sensory FEELY BOX

I have a never ending supply of boxes due to a friend working at a store close to me. So, I am always thinking of ways to include boxes into my teachings. This activity can be for any of the children I care for. Its a homemade SENSORY FEELY BOX. I took a box, covered it with leftover table cloth covering that I glued on with regular school glue. Took another box that was slightly bigger and made a box for the top, that slides over the bottom perfectly. I cut to holes out and covering it in the table cloth to. Inside, I added really fuzzy material for a great sensory tactle experience. It took many hours to dry, infact I didn't do anything with it overnight. Then after adding the fuzzy material by putting glue down first, I can add any sensory materials or shapes I want. This week, I added sensory orbs that I made from material and the red orb is from recycled foam egg cartons cut down, glued on and painted. Then I mod podged over it. It has the BEST texture to it.

To make a free ball, roll newspaper into a ball shape. Wrap in any kind of tape. Then apply glue and layers of materials that you want. Let dry. Your done. Such a fun learning activity. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


                                                          Salt Dough DRAGONFLIES:

We made these dragonflies out of salt playdough we made homemade. Pressed them onto the rounds, baked them and mod podged them twice. We are putting them in our science exploration box #2 for insects I hope to have it done this week, then I will share it. Add kaleidiscopes or a magnifying glass to them adds a lot of curious learning. Great textures and colors.

Sound Box Activity

Sound Box Activity:

 I made this textured box to hold our new "sound box" activities. The children can choose this and shake, rattle and roll the different musical instruments that are in the box. Great for auditory hands on exploration.

Directions: Child chooses this activity from the shelf, either carries it to their independent place to sit down at the table. I will assist them in carrying the activity myself until they are able to do it for themselves if they are toddlers. I am there for them. Child takes one piece out at a time shakes it, rattles it or rolls it and then places it on the table in front of them until all activities of interest are explored. All items are returned to the sound box and returned to the Montessori Shelf for others to enjoy!

I hot glue textured material onto the sturdy cardboard boxes after their cut to our needs, depending on what activities are being offered. A great sensory experience for the child to enjoy!

Share: Ball drop Thrift Store find

                                                   Share: Ball drop Thrift Store find for .25

Ive been wanting a ball drop to encourage learning about cause and effect but they were all close to 50.00 that are well made. Good thing I held out because I found this one at our local thrift store for a quarter. Im going to add a light bad mitten ball and see if it works this week, as a set.

Share: Crocheted Discs on Wood Peg Threading Work

Crocheted Discs on Wood Peg Threading Work:

I found this at a local thrift store for only a quarter. What a find. I wish I knew how to crochet these but I may change them out to cardboard discs that have a opening in the middle that I home make to add variety to this activity at a later date. What a find when I am looking.

Finger Transferring to HOOKs

Finger Transferring to Hooks:

                                                  This is my 201 POST! YEAH! With 45 Followers, I plan to add many more ideas to share with all of you. I made this last month but the children wern't ready for it. Im going to re-introduce it this week. I made it by making holes in the can with a nail and hammer, attaching little screws that I had left over in my sorter drawers. Painted it. I made the friends ornaments at Christmas and these are mini ones I made out of material glued to hard cardboard. I attached yarn on the back, then attached another kind of material. Mod podged over both sides. This little wooden box hold the transferring ornaments that build on friendships. I was told that you can't poke holes in the can, but you can. lol I painted over the whole can and hooks to show the activity as a whole object to cut down on confusion.  So, this is on our shelves for this week. I plan to make a few more sets of these built around themes of their interest. What a simple yet educational activity.

Directions: Child takes the can to their table area, places it on a tray, gets a holding tray from the basket of trays they choose from like the wooden box if they choose, sits down andgets comfortable, independently works to remove all ornaments from the can to the holding tray, then finger transfers each ornament back to a hook, filling all of the hooks up. Building their self esteem, they get a sticker from the sticker bowl and places it by their name on the chart next to this activity, where a picture is posted. A great incentive to build independence within each child.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Color Boxes Added: Orange and Green

Color Boxes Added: Orange and Green:

This week I added to our color boxes of "green and orange." I made them from recycled juice and gatorade bottles. Its easy pick up for small hands with the plastic tab holders and the items don't fall out if their tipped. Now our collection just lacks white and brown. Those will be the last 2 in our collection.The fabric covered side wholes I cut big enough for small hands to get big objects out to explore hands on, build small muscle skills and add new objects they can see and pull out and put back when done exploring.

Wooden Napkin Rings on Wooden Paper Towel Holder

Wooden Napkin Rings on Wooden Paper Towel Holder:

After introducing this activity two weeks ago, the toddlers and preschoolers are choosing it often. I am seeing lots of random color threading with the napkin beads but have seen some patterning in my preschoolers. This was a great idea to introduce. Perfect for small hands.

Multi-Cultural Pictures

Multi-Cultural Pictures:

I copied these off, glued them to thick cardboard and inserted it inside a huge ziplock and attached the picture inside the sensory house so my toddlers could see different toddlers of cultures. We had a little girl from India last year and she blended right in with no questions. We love all of our friends we make.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Smaller Color Progression Box HomeMade

Smaller Color Progression Box HomeMade:

This is my second "Color Progression Box" that I have made homemade. The one I made last week, was way to large in color choices for the younger children that I guide and care for. This one may be to large yet, but I won't know until I put it out in our choices. I decided to scatter the colors and make them bold to start them out with. Then carry on to the larger one with patterns and more "like colors." This one contains approx. 24 pinching clothes pins. I re-inforced the pinching walls with a second layer of thick cardboard and layers of mod podge and it will last a long time to come. When I took these pictures, it was still drying. I hope to include this in our choices this week, room permitted on the shelf or next week when I rotate.

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