Joanna Anastasia

Montessori

Valentine’s day ideas that you can really make with your kids

Valentine's day ideas that you can really make with your kids: toddlers and preschoolers! Easy a valentine,s card tutorial and other doable ideas! ,

Valentine’s day is just around the corner, and it means that Pinterest is flooded with cute and perfect ideas to keep everyone occupied! If you’re single, you might be organizing a Galentine party, if you’re dating it’s time for a super romantic get-together, and if you’re a mom it means that you’ll be cutting out heart-shaped sandwiches, filling in your kids cards and baking complicated desserts all nigh long!

Or, we can just take it easy.

So while I really want my kids to feel special, and to enjoy the change of the seasons with their distinctive holidays, I thing it’s important to plan activities that they can actually make on their own!

And so these here, are three doable, easy and fun ideas that you can really make at home with toddlers and preschoolers alike:

1. Easy DIY Valentine’s day card

2. Home made Valentine’s day play-dough hearts

3. Simple Valentines day brownie bites

We have actually made all of these more than once, and here is how:

The DIY Valentine’s day card:

Every year we make our own cards (you can see the evolution of our ideas here and here!) This one is equally simple as fun, it leaves space inside for some sweet wishes (or scribbles!) and can be made with pre-cut by mom pieces, or made from start to finish by a bigger kid.

What you’ll need:

– Black pink and purple crafting paper
– Scissors and glue
– Glitter

Cut two long rectangles out of the black crafting paper, and fold them in two, so you have two little square booklets. Cut out 2 different sizes of hearts in two different colors ( I suggest purple and pink) and leave the smaller cut out paper aside (to glue it inside of the card) Let your bigger kid cut hearts out, and prepare it all for the toddler. Glue the bigger heart on the first page, then glue the smaller one on top and decorate with glitter. Inside glue the cut out rectangle with a heart-shaped hole, and write in your wishes on the empty side! ( Or let your toddler scribble something they think looks like a sweet note!) Here’s how my daughters did it:

Valentines days ideas to do with kids, that they can actually make alone!

Valentine's day ideas : easy DIY card that your kids can really make!

Valentine's day ideas

Valentine's day ideas

Valentine’s day home-made play dough:

This is the activity that Lili wants to make every year! Some years we would just play with it as with any other play dough. And some years we would make garlands. Here’s the recipe for my simple salt dough, perfect for cutting out hearts!

And here’s what we did this year: a dough without salt, so it would feel more like a real baking dough, and we pretended to be baking pink cakes for dolls with it!

Play dough that feels like a real dough:

– 1 cup flour
– 1 cup cornstarch
– 1/4 cup warm water
– 1/4 cup oil
– pink food colorant ( or some beet juice)

Mix it all well, if the dough is too sticky, add flour, if it’s too dry, add water and oil. For more sensory fun, you can add some dry pasta like we did!

Valentine's day ideas

easy Valentine's day craft ideas for kids

Valentine's day ideas

This dough keeps well in the fridge for 2 -3 days. Lili wanted to make some hearts and give them as her tokens of love, so we made these and baked just as you would bake any other cookie.

Valentine’s day brownie bites with cream cheese frosting:

Now this is so yummy and looks so festive, while being really simple.
Of course I encourage you to make your own brownies ( you can even find an amazing healthy version here) but you can also use a brownie box mix just like we did!

easy Valentine's day ideas that you can acctuale make: like these cute brownie bites!

What you’ll need:

– baked brownies
– heart shaped cookie cutters
– 1 cup cream cheese
– 1/2 cup icing sugar
– pink food colorant (or beet juice!)

Bake your brownies. Wait a bit until they cool down, and cut out hearts: we found that in order for them not to break it’s best to cut out bigger rectangular pieces, and then cut out the hearts:

Valentine's day ideas

Valentine's day ideas for kids activities

Now prepare your cheese cream frosting ( combine everything in a kitchen-aid mixer and mix well for around a minute) and decorate your brownie bites!

simple valentine's day dessert: brownie bites with cream cheese frosting!

easy to make Valentine's day brownie bites with cheese cream frosting!

Wishing you all a lovely and uncomplicated Valentine’s day!

The series that’ll inspire your kid to craft and create !

When a series is both amusing and educative, then it's a totall win in my books, and when it inspires my kids to sit down and craft, then I call it a success! And I'm sure you'll love swig your kids inspired and creative too!

Today I’d like to share with you my latest discovery, the new interactive Amazon Original Kids series, that’ll inspire your kid to craft and create. Because if you’re anything like me, then probably you love seeing your kids being creative and learning while playing and crafting, right? So I’ll assume, that just like me, you really appreciate series that are both educative as amusing? Oh, and also series that encourage kids to actually get up, play and do something fun, right? I thought so!

So I’m sure that you’ll love looking at your kids crafting and learning while following their favorite characters from the Creative Galaxy series, Arty and his silly side-kick Epiphany, as they travel around the galaxy to solve problems using many different forms of art. And because is a “make-along, create-along” animated art adventure, it really celebrates creative thinking through crafts, story, music, and dance! And each episode highlights a creative medium, like painting, music, sculpting, or cooking, to teach kids that art is all around us and that it exists in many different forms!

And my both my daughters and I , we are really exited for the new season, and so we decided to make one of the crafts featured in it, a tiger mask!

series that inspires kids to craft

Now, you know I’m not about perfection, but experience, fun and creativity! So this mask isn’t perfect. But you know what, it doesn’t have to be. Because what I want my kids to learn, is that creativity is an adventure and that the process is sometimes more important then the result. And that’s exactly what they’ll learning with Creative Galaxy!

If you’d like to make the same one with your kids, you can either print out my imperfect mask or draw your own and follow the instructions, or get creative and make it in a totally different way!

What you’ll need:

Paper
Crayons
Scissors
Pipe cleaners

Mask

1. Print out our imperfect mask / or draw your own.

If you’re crafting with a toddler, help them draw some tiger stripes and a nose!

Series that inspires your kid to craft !

2. Let your kids color and decorate it as they want.

Remember, it’s all about experiencing the creative process, and not necessary following the instructions, so if your child wan’t its tiger mask to be purple and green why not let him?

Series that inspires your kid to craft

3. Cut it out and pierce tiny holes with pipe cleaners and insert one on every edge.

Series that inspires your kid to craft !

4. Put them on and get ready for the all new season of creative ideas and adventures!

Now, next time it’s rainy outside and we can’t play in the garden, we’ll be right here watching our new favorite Creative Galaxy series and crafting along. And I hope you’ll join us too! And remember, the second season will be available starting this Friday, September 16!

When a series is both amusing and educative, then it's a totall win in my books, and when it inspires my kids to sit down and craft, then I call it a success! And I'm sure you'll love swig your kids inspired and creative too!

Disclosure:I was compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience!

Why you should pursue your own passions-even with kids

As a parent we tend to forget about our own passions and hobbies, putting family and kids first. But outer kids actually profit from seeing and participating in our passions, and pursuing what we love might be actually one of of the best things that we can do foyer our kids! #parenting #motherhood

If I where to give one and only (unsolicited) advice, it would be : do what you enjoy the most, WITH your kids. If you love to travel, do it, if you like to cook, involve your kids in it, and if you’re a nature lover drag them to the forest and to the mountains. Because kids will love anything that helps you feel connected with them, that keeps you engaged, alive and happy. Any activity in which we feel confident and that we truly enjoy lets us pass this passion to our kids. And sharing positive experiences is the key to creating happy memories and close relationships!

So for me, my number one is creating. Even though I’m not an artist, art was always my element. That’s why even when we are all sick, I’ll take out paint and I’ll let them play and create. It makes me happy to observe them, help them and craft with them.

And if you’re still asking yourself why you should keep on doing what you love even with little kids around, even if it’s complicated and not quite as it used to be, here is why I think you should keep at it:

1. You’re connecting with your kids thorough pleasure of sharing an experience together.

If you’re passionate about something then chances are that you’re feeling a lot of pleasure while doing what you like: whether it’s cooking, thrifting or traveling, as long as you really feel that you’re alive and happy, you’ll share this happiness with your kids.

2. You’re teaching them what happiness is really about.

In a world of endless products, brands trying to sell us things without ease, and media trying to convince woman that being beautiful means happy, it’s so important to show to kids what happiness is really about. To show them your joy of doing what you love, to teach them that happiness is not always buying things, but experiencing life!

3. You’re parenting outside of the to-do lists and routine.

We all have our routine, we eat at a certain hour, we have our errands and to-do list. Kids need the stability of our routine, and we need to accomplish our goals. But it’s so refreshing to get to parent outside our routine: whether it’s camping together, exploring the nature, or exploring the city, traveling, working in a garden, or renovating a home together. It shows kids your passionate side, and teaches them to truly cooperate with you as a person, and experience your true presence, in a different then always setting.

4. You’re teaching them values of perseverance.

It’s not what we say, but what we do that our kids will remember. So seeing an engaged and devoted to its passions parent, is the best example of perseverance that a kid could ever see.

5. You’re creating happy memories.

Everyday moments do matter, but it’s the moments packed with emotional value that we really remember. Sharing a task, or simply accompanying a happy parent in his activity of real interest, will mark kids positively for life.

6. You’re bonding with kids.

Last but not the least, by sharing your passions with your kids, you’re creating a special bond between you. You’re adding friendship to your relation, and that is priceless.

So next time you ask yourself if you can really afford yourself to pursue your passions even with kids around, if it’s even worth it since you can’t finish nothing right away, you can’t travel as far as you’d like to, you can’t do it as you’d really want to.. stop, and simply do your thing. And include your kids in it. Drag them with you. Let them look. And who knows, maybe one day, they’ll be as passionate about something as you are.

Montessori homeschool: letter tracing with paint.

These Montessori inspired homeschooling activities teach your child about letters and their shapes, using simply paint, brush and paper. #preschool #homeschool

It’s been over two months now since I decided to start our part-time home preschool. Although my daughter didn’t really realise that there’s something new going on, since we would always paint and craft on the days when she’s staying with me at home. The only difference now, is that we paint and craft including letters and numbers. So even though I call it homeschool, for her it’s playing, crafting and creating with mommy.

This is really the core of Montessori approach to learning: allowing a child discover and create, while using natural, every day objects. It definitely means less iPad games and apps, and more paint and crayons! ( But if you know me, then you know that I believe in balance, so my kids do get to use technology..just reasonably, like when mommy is exhausted and needs a break 😉 )

Montessori homeschool : tracing letters

So while learning about letters, what’s important is recognizing the sound, connecting it to the shape, being able to recognize the shape and naming objects starting by that letter. My daughter would come to me and say that L is like her name, and M is like mommy, before she would be able to recognize the shape of these letters.

And so these activities let kids learn the shape, while connecting it to the sound. Also, it’s easier for little hands to trace instead of write right away. That way they learn the movement of the hand while tracing and are ready to learn to write the letter later.

What you’ll need:

Paper
Pencil (for you)
Paint and paintbrush

Draw letters with little circles. You can start with one big letter A : on the very first day I think this is exactly what we did. Here, I drew a couple of both capital and small letters a for her to trace with a paintbrush.

Montessori homeschool : racing letters

We repeated the sound, and we came up with words ( in polish) starting by the letter that she was tracing.

Montessori homeschool : tracing letters with paint

Tracing letters with pompoms :

This is basically the same activity, but since we’re using a different material, it gets a whole new dimension for a child. It’s like a mix if sensory play with letter learning, and my daughter really loved this one!

Montessori homeschool: training letters using different materials, like paintbrush or pompoms, teaches letter recognition and shape without being overwhelming for a preschooler.

What you’ll need :

Paper
Pencil ( for you)
Paint
pompoms

Homeschool

Of course while we did that with Lili, my toddler Rose wanted to join in, and so she was painting with pompons, and I had a quiet 30 minutes for another coffee 😉

Training letters, great Montessori activity for learning letter shape

As you might have read before, I’m raising my kids bilingually, so all the activities we do at home are only in Polish, while her three-times-a-week daycare is in French. That’s why I don’t have any printables here for you, I’m simply sharing my experience. But I do have a very we’ll curated Pinterest homeschooling board with plenty great printables and resources!

Montessori homeschool : activities with baking pans

Montessori homeschool activities: teach your child to count and develop their fine motor skills while having fun together !

During our halftime homeschooling adventures, we do a lot of Montessori inspired activities. Usually right after breakfast, still in our pyjamas, we sit at the kitchen table and we take on the letters and the numbers. I want my daughter to feel like we’re playing, creating and discovering, so I usually use the playful approach to learning.

Here are two activities that look like a great fun for a child ( while secretly, are learning situations). I don’t know about your kids, but as soon as I take any baking gear out, for them it’s a party! So here I use baking sheets and muffin tins, for sorting and convenience. And for captivating my preschooler’s attention obviously 😉

This first one is a counting activity that also develops fine motor skills.

What you’ll need :

Muffin tin
Scraps of paper
Small objects:
pom-poms and pipe cleaners cut in pieces

Write numbers ( up to 12) on paper scraps and place them in muffin tins. Then let your preschooler match exact number of small objects ( like our pom-poms and pipe cleaners) with correct number.

These Montessori inspired homeschool activities are perfect  for learning how to count and for developing imagination and fine motor skills

Encourage your child to count aloud with you every time they fill another tin with tiny objects. At the end of this activity my daughter finally stopped forgetting the umber 4, so for us it was a success.

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Now this one is using a baking sheet in order to prevent all of the small pieces of paper to end up on the floor ( nobody here wants that, right? I don’t know about you, but me, I’m usually planning our activities around one simple rule: is it going to end up as a huge mess?). Oh, and also to interest my preschooler.

So, this activity is an invitation to create. With a baking sheet full of shapes, piece of paper and a glue your child has only one instruction : make something. It can be an animal, a bug or a car. Or a monster. Sky is the limit. So here, apart from developing imagination and creativity, your child will also advance their fine motor skills. And you might get a 30 minutes of calm. ( it’s a win-win!)

These Montessori inspired homeschool activities are perfect  for learning how to count and for developing imagination and fine motor skills

What you’ll need :

Baking sheet
Colourful crafting paper
White sheet of paper
Scissors
Glue

Cut the crafting paper in to different shapes: circles, half-circles, triangles and rectangulars. Keep the size diversified, so your child can have a choice of shapes and sizes.

These Montessori inspired homeschool activities are perfect  for learning how to count and for developing imagination and fine motor skills

Talk to your child while they assemble their creature; ask them what is it, where can it live, what does it eat. If they are making an object, ask them what’s the use for it, and who can use it.

These Montessori inspired homeschool activities are perfect  for learning how to count and for developing imagination and fine motor skills

These Montessori inspired homeschool activities are perfect  for learning how to count and for developing imagination and fine motor skills

And what are your favourite playful homeschool activities?

Montessori play: salt dought figurines

Montessori play

There is something special about toys that you can make yourself, and Montessori play approach encourages that even with the little ones. Playing with natural elements that you can find around the house, imaginative play, toys that are simple and that leave space for children’s creativity: that’s what Montessori play is all about. So without knowing it, you might have been encouraging it with your children already!

[bctt tweet=”There is something special about a toy that a child can make on their own. “]

Of course sometimes (ok, I won’t lie, most of the time) my kids play with the store-bought plastic toys, but I try to help them imagine and create simpler and in the end more educative activities, just like this one here. And if you have younger and older kids, they could both participate, just let the younger one mix the salty dough while the older one can sculpt the figurines, and then they can each paint their own!

Making little figurines from scratch, painting them and then giving them all names, was something that my three and a half year old adored. It’s been more than a month now since we’ve made them, and she still plays with them!

You could keep them simply white, or like us you can let your kid paint them ( in which case they’ll end up looking quite funky ). Either way, I’m sure you’ll have fun!

Montessori play, salt dought kitten

Simple salt dough :

1 cup flour
1 cup salt
2 spoons warm water

Let your kid mix the salt dough ingredients together. If your dough is too runny, just add more flour, if it doesn’t want to hold well together, add more warm water. Oh, and there is no need to bake them, they’ll dry within 24 hours! So you can get painting almost right away:).

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To make a cat you just need to make one cylinder shape, that you make thinner on one side, and a ball with ears for the head.

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Now let your kid get creative with painting them. If your figurines are still drying try using paint that is thick.

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Lili started by painting eyes..

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and then she decided that they need much more colour..

Montessori play

And then she gave them all really funny names that she made up, and then she made them dance and cuddle together ( while I was happily checking my Facebook )..

Montessori play

I think that she really loves her cat family!

Montessori play

Oh, and here are the faces that I painted ( on the other side) with a sharpie; her faces got slightly over painted at some point ;).

Montessori play

So next time when you don’t know what to do on a rainy day, try making a cat family like we did, I’m sure your kids will love it :).

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