Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Better Late then Never!

I know, its only a few hours til Rosh Hashanah but maybe some of you have a few moments to spare to do a cute arts'n crafts project with your kids......

Well, if not for this year, there's always next year- enjoy!

Here are a few things we have done over the past few days/weeks:

We made a beehive using those little white cups as stamps then made a little bee out of pom poms, pipe cleaners and googly eyes:
A Shana Tova Card- this was awesome... using card board, stick on scotch tape in the shape of the Hebrew letters. Let the kids paint the entire paper how they wish and then remove the tape to have the letters revealed:
Just a little sorting activity in connection to the 6 days of creation- a basket of fish and birds, place the birds in the "sky" and the fish in the water:
The "sounds" of the Shofar (in no particular order):

Our Tashlich fish- although we used apple sponges to sponge print the scales, it came out really cool:
Just a simple apple collage- cut out a shape of an apple, have the kids cut up red and pink paper (or whatever color they want their apple to be) and glue on as a collage:
Honey Jars or Rosh Hashanah cards or any other fun ideas... take white paper, color with wax crayons all different colors- when the entire page is covered, take black crayon and color over the whole paper. Cut it out to any shape and use toothpicks to draw on the black to reveal the colors:

DIY Sand Art- this is fabulous! Take foam sheets with sticky backs. Use a pencil to draw a picture then using a small blade, cut out the picture through the paper. Gently remove each piece you have cut and sprinkle colored sand on it. It will stick to the sticky part of the foam. Ideas are endless, we have made so many of these- you can get the sticky foam from Walmart or any craft stores:

Simple counting activity using apples. This page is from My Rosh Hashanah Activity Pack for Toddlers

We made honey cakes with this awesome recipe- I printed and laminated it:

Rosh Hashanah Sensory Table:
You can find some of the stuff we used here:

And last but not least, the classic honey dish and honey jar- dish made from tissue paper and plastic plates, honey jar is a painted baby food jar:
Wishing eveyone a Happy, Healthy, Successful and Sweer New Year filled with all things Wonderful!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Me in My World

Since we are learning about how Hashem created the world, I saw this project on another mom blog somewhere and knew my kids would just love it- and it ties in nicely to what we are learning about.

Basically, you are showing your little one where they are in this whole scheme of things, from what planet they live on to their address.

This is what the finished product looks like:

In more detail:

Click here to download a PDF of the first 3 pages (Our Planet, Our Continent and Our Country)


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Birthday Party Craze

We live in a world where we like to think it’s all about the kids. Playing classical music and reciting poetry to your belly upon finding out you are 3 weeks pregnant. Showing your one month old flash cards of art work by Monet, Van Gogh and what not to make sure they have a very well-rounded education.

We want to make sure that they have the best education, so teaching them to read at 2 will ensure they turn into geniuses. We take them to every type of extra-curricular activity a child can possibly cram into their day and of course, we make sure to throw the BEST birthday parties out there.

Okay, not all of us are that crazy.

But I will admit to one thing. The birthday party crazes. Guilty. As. Charged.

Every year, each one of my kids gets to request a birthday cake. Anything they want. And their devoted loving mother stays up till 2 in the morning creating the master piece for the big day. We’ve had hot air balloons, race tracks (with a tunnel and a bridge!), princesses, ballerinas, clowns, and trains.

There was always a theme, with color coordinated decorations and activities and an array of goodies sure to sugar up every single child at that party.

Well, this year was different.

Firstly, this year we celebrated the first birthday of our twins. Gosh, I had this party planned from the day I found out they were twins! The colors, the themes, the cakes, decorations- this party was gonna be SMASHING!

I started baking when 2 of my kids asked if they could help me. Okay. Sure. And the next thing I knew, another little rascal arrived at the kitchen table and everyone was busy, pouring flour, sugar, and all that good stuff that makes our kids go a little nutty once consumed, into the mixing bowl.

Each got a turn to mix, one was assigned to put all the cupcake holders in the cup cake pans, and another poured the batter into each holder. We then moved on to the brownies, chatting, singing, messing but really having a pretty awesome time.

Came time for the frosting and my little scientists decided they wanted to create their own colors, mixing all the different food colorings in their own bowl of white frosting.

Thank you Maria Montessori for instilling in me the understanding of how children are naturally curious and love figuring things out for themselves, not just in a school environment, but everywhere in their world.

And so we had these pretty awesome marble multi colored frosted cupcakes.

Then came the biggie.

“oooh mommy, can we decorate outside with streamers and balloons, pllllllleeeeeeeease!!!!!!”

There I go, handing over all the balloons and streamers, with some ribbon and tape. All yours kiddos. And there went my color coordinated strategically themed birthday party.

But. Outside in the yard, balloons were everywhere. Streamers hung from the trees, the slide, the swings, the fence, even the hose. And those kids could not have been happier.

All the kids had a blast at the party. The twins enjoyed their multicolored cupcakes, without a clue that the party was for them.

And it all became pretty clear. It’s not about us. It’s not about our fancy decorations or our perfect cupcakes. It’s not about teachers sending home the perfect arts and crafts (that they finished up for the kids so the parents would be impressed) or the fancy projects (that the kids have no clue what it’s all about but it looks like the teacher put lots of effort into it).

It’s about letting the kids be kids. Let them mix the colors. Let them decorate the back yard. Let them take as long as they need to finish a picture, because it’s not about the end result. It’s about them having pride in the fact that THEY did this. THEY created this. Let us adults put our egos aside, and just let these little amazing people, just be little amazing people.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sensory Tubs

Although Sensory Tubs are not exactly Montessori style, my kids absolutely LOVE them-

Just pick a theme and fill the box up with any little tidbits that pertain to that theme. The idea is to let the kids touch and feel and use their imagination to create whatever it is they want to do with it.

At first, I didn't quite understand the concept. Put a box of rice with some toys, a magnifying glass and then what? But after making our first Sensory box, I gave it to my 3 year old daughter and just observed her. She sat there for about 30 minutes, maybe more, just sifting through the sand (it was a beach theme) then she picked out all the shells and lined them up. She took the fish, people and birds and had a whole situation going on. She absolutely loved it. So now, each time I make a new box, she is SO excited to explore whats inside. I think it would be good to switch themes at least every month, keeping things exciting.

Check out our 6 Days of Creation Sensory Tub:

Inside is:
sand for the land
blue glass stones for the water
plastic fish and duck in the 'water'
miniature animals on the 'land'
Wooden sun and moon
Silver stars
Boy and Girl for Adam and Chava
miniature tree
flower beads

Here is a link to the post that contains our Rosh Hashanah Sensory Tub:

Given our rich Jewish heritage, there are endless ideas of Jewish themed Sensory Tubs- just think of each Jewish Holiday, different Mitzvot (Kosher, Shabbat, 10 Commandments etc.) and find objects around the house that connect to the theme. And its always nice to fill them with different things like glass beads/marbles, rice, lentils, feathers, pebbles, sand- there are lots of blogs out there with some great Sensory tub ideas. Just google "Sensory Tubs".

Set it up in a way that each object is clearly displayed for the kids to see, then let them play with it however they wish. Its okay if they mess it all up and mix it together. They are learning and exploring and having a great time. But I should advise that setting up some ground rules is a must: they can take the bigger objects out of the tub but need to return them when done. They CANNOT pour the sand/rice/lentils/beads etc (whatever you use to fill it with) out of the tub. It might take a few times getting used to, but once they know the drill, its fabulous.

Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom!

Friday, September 9, 2011


During the month of Elul we focus on Teshuva (returning to Hashem), Tefilla (prayer) and Tzedakah (charity).

Here are a few things we did in connection to Tzedakah:

Firstly, we learned that Tzedakah is not just giving MONEY to people who need it. It's giving clothes, a job, even a kind word. Its helping people in as many ways as we are able.

This is a sweet craft of friends helping friends:

Decorating a Pushkah (Tzedakah Box)- you can use any container with a lid:

Shining pennies with Q-tips and lemon juice- it took a while, and they really needed to shine the coins but the kids eventually saw results:

Counting 100 pennies to make one dollar- this is a Montessori 100's board, you can easily make one with paper/cardboard and markers. It really gives the kids a visual idea of what 100 pennies look like and that 100 pennies make one dollar:

On the 25th day of Elul, Hashem started to create the World. On the 6th day of Creation, Hashem created man. The 6th day falls out on Rosh Hashanah.

Here is a "Day's of Creation Activity Pack" I out together for my kiddo's-

You can download it HERE

You can use it together with the Shabbat Activity Pack which you can find HERE

Hope this is helpful!
~Shabbat Shalom to all~

Friday, September 2, 2011

~~Happy Elul~~

Here is the calendar we use- its a regular classroom calendar but I made Hebrew letters for the Hebrew dates with Shofars for Elul

We also mark down what the moon looks like at the different times of the month- very easy to make, I used sticky foam to make ours
A friend sent us some foam shapes for Rosh Hashanah, so we made a Shofar collage and used the 3 primary colors and ultimately mixed them to make other colors, it came out really cute
Once the color mixing began, we were on a role- heres a super easy yet awesome color mixing activity. You just need a drop of food coloring with water and leave it to your little Einstein to create their own colors!
Just a little snack the munchkins prepared themselves. They were so proud of themselves that they made their own orange juice. Make sure to get sweet juicy oranges. These were so juicy, each orange filled an entire glass with juice.

We have some great activities planned for Elul, stay tuned~

Chodesh Tov,
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