One aspect of Montessori education is to follow the child's interests and their sensitive periods. Little Bee is fascinated by snakes right now and wants to learn all about them. I compiled this fun collection of Montessori inspired snake unit activities for Little Bee to learn pre-reading, prewriting, sensory play, art, life-cycle and real snake observation. He is especially fascinated when he sees a "real" snake slithering along outside.
Pre-reading Work - Snake Matching and Letter "S" Mystery Bag
Matching activities help a child with pre-reading skills because it builds concentration and similar shape recognition. These colorful snake matching cards are a bit of a challenge because they have both shape patterns and color differences. The child really has to look closely to find the correct match. I presented the cards to Little Bee and told him that this is a matching work. He studied the cards carefully and then placed the pairs together.
A simple and fun way to learn the phonetic sounds of letters is by presenting a language mystery bag to the child. Inside this letter “s” mystery bag, I placed a snake, salamander, spider, sunshine, stick, and stones. Little Bee gets super excited when I bring out a new language mystery bag for him to explore. As he removes each item from the bag, I tell him the name of the object and emphasize the beginning “s” sound.
Prewriting Work - Wooden Snake Maze and Letter "S" Sand Tray
This fun hands-on prewriting snake maze helps with developing hand-writing fine motor muscle and shape recognition. My friend Heather on the "Growing Hands-On Kids" blog wrote a beautiful post about prewriting motor skills. She highlights a prewriting skills set from the Discount School Supply and she also explains why prewriting skills are helpful for a young child. Another wonderful activity for practicing hands-on prewriting skills is with a sand tray. Little Bee is not ready yet to write the letter "s" in the sand, but he had fun making his own designs in the sand. 😉
Snake Sensory Box with Sand, Sticks, and Stones
I decided to make the writing sand tray into a sensory box with snakes, sticks, and stones. This activity was a big hit with Little Bee. He enjoyed burying the snakes heads in the sand and stirring the sand with the sticks.
Paper Plate Snake Arts & Crafts
Little Bee loved creating these gorgeous paper plate snakes! We had so much fun painting each plate a different color with finger paints and glitter glue. Little Bee even got extra creative with the yellow snake and he added gold glitter to give it extra sparkle. This snake craft was inspired by the "Bubble Wrap Paper Plate Snake Craft."
Little Bee helped to glue the goggly eyes onto each snake and then I cut them out in a swirly fashion. When Little Bee first saw the finished snake craft, he was really surprised at how big the snake was! He said with great excitement, "Mommy, the snake is HUGE!"
Usborne Snake Book
Little Bee is fascinated by snakes and this Snakes Usborne book is awesome for learning all about snakes. It includes bright pictures of snakes and gives information about where they live, what they eat, how they bite (inject venom), the life-cycle of a snake, and more. I highly recommend this book!
I printed and laminated this snake life-cycle set from the Montessori print shop. I made one copy with black & white images and the other copy with the colored images. I thought this would make it more interesting for Little Bee for matching work.
Observing a "Real" Snake
We found this cute little snake on our walk in the park. He was crossing the side-walk and when we came to observe him, he slithered away as fast as possible. These series of photos demonstrate how the snake moves. His body twists and turns in a series of "s" shapes. How cool is that!?!
To learn more about snakes, you will not want to miss this Complete Snake Unit with free printables from "The Natural Homeschool" blog! In this unit you will find photos for a "real" rattlesnake dissection! This rattlesnake is HUGE!