On Our Shelves: Late February 2017

I try to refresh our shelves every few weeks — otherwise the kids and I get bored. Even small adjustments can bring renewed interest to an activity they had become bored with. (Often, I find that boredom means an activity is too easy.) Valentine’s Day is over, but my girls still want to talk about it — so we’re doing a few more Valentine’s related activities to finish out February.

Clockwise from upper left “God” sight reader, Germination Booklet, Valentine Tracing, Heart Puzzle, Balloon Blowing, Conversation Heart Graph, Heart Water Transfer, Grow Capsules and Art Box (center)


Added a sight word reader called “God Gave Us the Earth.” We’ll not use it so much for sight reading, but for identifying and correctly gluing the letters G-O-D where indicated.

Added a line-tracing activity with “V” for Valentine’s Day — in a dry-erase pocket with a dry-erase marker.

Practical Life

Added water-transfer into a heart-shaped ice cube tray. We used the same ice cube tray for a baking-soda and vinegar science experiment, too. (We’ve done that before.)

Balloon blowing. This was inspired by the girls’ recent birthday. I intend to add a mirror.

Grow capsules are always popular. We get a pitcher of hot water and use kitchen tools to stir the capsules as they dissolve.

Wooden Heart Puzzle. Grabbed this the day after Thanksgiving for 70% off at Target. It’s honestly a little too easy, but we’ll see how it goes. Paired with a sign saying “God is Love.”


Sorting conversation hearts by color, then graphing to find out how many of each were in the box.


Booklet about how a seed germinates, to go along with our gardening activities.

On Our Shelves: Early February 2017

(These on-our-shelves posts try to just show pictures of what we’ve got available. I love these kinds of posts on other blogs, so I try to show off ours. I try to add info about what each item cost to set up. The categories — Practical Life, Math, Language, and Sensorial — relate to a Montessori style, but I think you’ll see that most of these things are interesting from any educational philosophy.)

Practical Life

Clockwise from top: Sewing, Water Pouring, Bead Lacing, Open-Ended Art, Paper Chains, Scrubbing

Valentines, Red, and Hearts show up in a lot of activities this month.

  • Paper Chains. Glue Stick and Paper Strips (found on clearance last Valentine’s Day). Cost: $1.50
  • Open-Ended art with stickers, paper, glue, stampers, etc. Heart stickers (also on clearance last Valentine’s Day) and paper from Michael’s. Cost: $4 for enough stickers to last us many years.
  • Scrubbing. The kids love this activity whenever I refresh it with something new. I felt I’d gone overboard on hearts, so they’re actually scrubbing little airplanes this month. We added toothbrushes for a challenge.
  • Water Pouring: 1 to 3. The kids *love* when they get to pour water!
  • Sewing. We used a big needle and some embroidery floss to make heart art for Valentine’s Day. We also used the supplies with paper plates to sew hearts for our Valentine’s Cards for an exchange at the Library. For an open-ended activity, I have some wooden hearts and yarn that the girls can practice on.
  • Beading. Small box with cords and assorted beads. The small photo above shows it after all the heart beads were cleared out. One girl used letter beads to make her name.
  • Cleaning, Cooking, Laundry — all the good stuff we do regularly. 🙂


Clockwise from top left: Red Rods & Number Rods, Bead Stair & Teens Board, Count & Transfer, Memory Game
  • We’re working on several traditional Montessori-Math concepts right now — golden beads, bead stair, and teens board. We also still have our Spindle Box, Cards & Counters and Number Rods available. I made almost all of these myself. I’ll post about them little-by-little in coming months.
  • Counting & Transferring Pink Rocks. These are actually beads that fell off a necklace. I put them in a ramekin with a large dice. We play it independently or as a game — roll the die, count the pips, then move that many rocks with the wooden spoon. Kids both love it!
  • Memory Game. We’re playing the number memory game as a clean-up activity. For example — if you open the “3” maybe you get to find 3 dishes to put away, or if you open the “8” you get to find 8 pencils to sharpen and put back in the jar. It works really well! I really love getting the “0” 😉


Clockwise from upper left: Dwyer objects and labels in small drawer, double sandpaper letters & picture cards, single sandpaper letters and phonetic objects, movable alphabet, h/H heart game, valentine mail phonics game, shadow matching, vegetable cards
  • We have 3-Part-Cards about vegetables out right now. One girl mostly matches the pictures. I try to get her to look at the letters on the labels, and she can match them based on the starting letter. The other girl can read at a beginner’s level — but she, too, mostly just matches the labels based on the beginning letter.
  • Traditional language activities including Sandpaper Letters (singles and doubles) and Movable Alphabet (with Dwyer-style objects & cards).
  • One daughter doesn’t always prefer the traditional Montessori trays, but does love anything that feels like a game. For her, we’ve got a “game” where she has to place a red acrylic heart onto H or h letters and another where she has to match the beginning sound of some valentines mail.
  • Shadow matching with valentines-colored vehicles.


Bad photos of sound jars, scent jars, knobbed cylinders
  • Our DIY pink tower is in for repairs (needed glue — more on that some day) but we’ve still loving our (purchased) knobbed cylinders. The scent jars are out, also, but they’re not getting much use.
  • I put sound jars out again, after a long delay. Last time, the girls didn’t get it. Now, they do! Success! Ours are made from pill bottles — filled with popcorn, beads, or bells.


Love Poster
  • We recently added a Daily Weather/Activity chart (found for $3 at Target). It has sections for weather, what to wear, activities, etc. and magnets to correspond. I like it pretty well, but I’ll be tweaking it in the months to come. Right now, we use it to check the daily weather and what we need to take with us when we leave the house.
  • Gardening: It’s a mild winter here in Central Texas so we risked it and planted some seeds directly into our garden recently. The girls each have their own small planter box where they’ve planted snap peas, carrots, and phlox. (With room to add something else later.) Indoors, we’ve stated basil, sensitivity fern, and pumpkins — including pumpkin seeds in a glass jar so we can watch the seed grow.
  • 1 Corinthians Love Poster: I printed and cut a few sheets of paper, then we glued them onto a poster and talked about what it means to love others.


I didn’t total up all the costs this month, but it was very much on a small budget — I think I spent around $10 on valentines theme items, and the rest was from my stash of craft supplies. I only printed a few sheets of paper, and only laminated a couple. The art supplies for making valentine’s cards and the supplies for planting the garden would have been the biggest expenses — though I tend to chalk those up to general living.

See you back later this month for a refresh of the shelves, I hope!