I've been perusing the Montessori materials websites lately and finding activities that I can recreate on my own without breaking the bank. It all started with our sewing basket, which is a classroom favorite.
A few weeks ago, my son asked for 'yogurt smoothies' during our weekly Trader Joe's trip and I happily obliged knowing just what I was going to do once my lil man helped out and drank all those yogurts.
Although the sound quality isn't as good in the plastic bottles as it is with the more traditional wooden cylinders, I decided to try it out anyway using whatever was around the house to make my first set of bottles.
I used water, popcorn kernels, dried pinto beans and rice. I measured 1/4 cup of the items into their assigned bottles because I wanted the bottles to feel the same as the kids were shaking to allow for the sound difference to be the only variable. Once everything was measured, I hot glued the tops, just in case.
I labeled the bottom of each bottle for the children to check their work. Even though they aren't reading, they can recognize the individual words as shapes and decipher whether or not the words match.
My son loved the activity as soon as it was presented and I am allowing him to help out the other children as they discover the new game. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly children can not only discover a new activity, but also understand its purpose. On the very first day the bottles were in their new home in the classroom, I heard a little guy shaking away and after a moment or two, a joyous, "That's a match!!"