Our focus for our Montessori-inspired Toddler St. Patrick’s activities was on Rainbow Activities and Irish culture.
Of course, we’re going to have some rainbow playdough.
I’ve pinned a few recipes to my St. Patrick’s Day pinterest board, we’ll be doing a mix of green foods and traditional Irish fare throughout the week. Of course, Ella already received a basket of Irish treats; in addition we will be making green smoothies and spinach green “cupcakes.” The kids had pea soup twice in the past couple of weeks, or else that (or a lettuce and pea soup) would be perfect. A rainbow fruit-salad mix would also be fun!
Rainbow Sensory Bin
The sensory bin is mostly for the one year old in our playgroup though the older children are welcome to it. It contains some pirate gold coins, rainbow pom poms, a felt rainbow (made by Adrienne over at Entangled Forrest), coloured foam coins from our peace corner (which all have a treasured quality or kind action written on them), rainbow crimped paper, and a hidden “leprechaun.”
In the block corner, I have set up:
I will also be using the Waldorf Rocker Board as a prop during a folk tale about a rainbow, so I’m curious how that will be incorporated into their block and imaginative play.
We’ll be listening to some bell music and introducing the Montessori hand bells. I love these Schylling handbells and am so glad to have them back out in our music area. They are so beautiful and the children are so inspired by them. There are some Montessori-inspired DIYs to paint them black and white for matching, but I can’t bring myself to do that!
For circle time, we will be learning a few quick Irish ditties (Molly Malone) and I’ll read a couple of Irish folk tales.We have an extensive variety of Irish music (Irish jig, anyone?), including a Celtic Dreamland CD for nap time.
We borrowed a prism to make our own rainbows, both with the sun and these penlights! It would also be fun to take these outside and make rainbows in the snow!
We will also make our own with a Skittles density test from Candy Experiments. Children seem to intuitively know which packages are candy wrappers, so I hope I’ve set this tray up well enough to be understood as a work and not a snack.
I put out five glass baby jars (I wanted something clear and they fit the bill) and labeled them with white circle stickers and wrote the number of Skittles each container needed in the colour needed. I provided the sand timer as an introduction to waiting an allotted amount of time (for the Skittles to dissolve.)
The supplementary tray contains the eye dropper (not pictured due to toddler photo sabotage) and glass of water that will be used to first transfer water INTO the baby jars, and then will contain the layered rainbow after the water is emptied. It has two “instruction” cards on it: a number “2” for the number of droppers each bottle needs and the listed order for the layering (also photo sabotaged).
(Tasty) Rainbow Practical Life
While I did buy some rainbow pony beads, I wanted to have something a bit more fun and not to mention safer for the days that we were joined by children who are still in the mouthing phase.
This activity is the perfect example of why I advocate trying out a new activity before presenting it to kids; I am positive that someone on the internet posted that they used Froot Loops and licorice lace to make bracelets… but that definitely didn’t work for us! The lace was too thick for any of the Loops, and even when cut down it was still either too big or too fragile. I also tried using the plastic lace you see pictured but it is impossible to tie and comes undone quickly. My solution is to have the children lace onto the plastic lace and then I will later transfer it to dental floss, which is too flimsy for my beginning lacers.
(On a related note, any friends want a bag of licorice?)
Chocolate Practical Life
I pretended to make an activity out of these chocolate coins but I guarantee you that they will be eaten before St. Patrick’s Day even rolls around… Ella is understanding coin denominations, but these are all loonies (Canadian dollar coins) so not much can really be done with that. I provided salad (or egg, or olive?) tongs to do transfers and dividing.
The children will be painting with the rainbow pompoms and Skittles water, as well as having some fine motor fun with St. Patrick’s Day stickers. I always take the surrounding sticker background off of the sheets to make it easier to peel the sticker from the backing.
We still have the blue pitcher set, rough and smooth boards, and sponge transfer work out. The boards and sponge need to be revisited a few times, and the pitcher set is just being loved right now.
This shamrock lacing board is actually a wooden craft that I could only find one of, so I painted it in lieu of toddler disagreement. (You could also make one out of some craft foam.)
I tied a green plastic lace through one hole to make the lacing process easier and ensure that the two pieces don’t get separated.
I am so in love with these depression-era leprechaun hats. They are currently in use as a split pea transferring activity (with an also gorgeous wooden spoon) but I’d love to find a way to extend their presence in our home. They are just too pretty to keep in a box 51 weeks out of the year.
Spring Flower Arranging
Apparently, these “vases” are shotglasses… or so says my receipt. I thought these would be a simple and cute introduction to flower arranging for the children, especially one-year old Mr. D who is very interested in toddler works but needs something simple and sturdy. They also are good for reinforcing one to one correspondence.
My friend is sending us shamrock seeds from Ireland and we are hoping that they will be here on time! We’ll be comparing these to clovers and learning their various plant parts as we kick off our Spring planting. Ella will learn about the shamrock as a symbol of the Holy Trinity and learn the story of St. Patrick.
It might be interesting for some to explore how there are no snakes in (post-glacial) Ireland, or learn the story of St. Patrick driving out the snakes. I really wish that we had been able to attend the reptile exhibit last week, which would have been a fun connection to our dinosaur unit… but it’s possibly not the worst thing that the children don’t have to witness my snake phobia first-hand… By the way, Ireland does now have legless lizards (called worms) which are just as creepy as snakes…
We are currently on the first unit of Jolly Phonics, in which the children “slither like a snake” for “s,” so I’ll mention it to the children and gauge their interest in exploring snakes (or Ireland’s lack thereof) further.
On the geography cabinet, we will be adding an Irish flag (also being sent) and I made these foam pin maps of Ireland’s counties for the children to explore. If they were further along with their geography studies, I would introduce the European map but they were just introduced to the world map.
The Colour Tablet boxes are a great way to make rainbows in the classroom.
This peg board activity is a nice transitional material that all of the children can work with; a foam “board” is fitted with holes to fit four coloured pegs, which each have several corresponding shape “rings” that fit around them. This can be an independent activity, a cooperative game, can involve patterning or just remain in fine motor skill development.
And, completely unplanned, I found this simple “Match a Balloon” game at our resource centre so I’m curious to see if the children enjoy the process of rolling the die and matching the “balloons” as prompted, if they will just use it as a matching activity, or if the tray will receive no attention at all. If the children are interested in “playing as intended,” we might start introducing some simple games more regularly — both independent and co-operative! (This game is out of production, but this Melissa and Doug one has similar premise. I would personally DIY this game as I think its so sweet.)
We’ll also be following along with Kids Yoga Stories’ St. Patrick’s yoga sequence.
What will you be doing for St. Patrick’s Day (or Week)?