Today I want to show you a game that we did to count the days of the year using the year chain that Eleonora from Le Sette mm (our official provider of Montessori materials) gave us.
The year chain is a Montessori-inspired material with beads of 12 different colors — 13 if we count the bead of the extra day in February that make a leap year: 366 beads divided into groups of colors that recall the seasons. It's genius!
We played this game after celebrating Oliver's Montessori birthday, which is why in the photos you can see the sun with the rays of the months and the candle (you can find the model in the Montessori birthday post, among those recommended below).
We counted in a sensory way how many days each month has, for each one we wrote the label with the number and then we took the corresponding number of golden beads (you can find them in Le sette mm).
Then we piled up all the beads from all the months, like this.
Then we exchanged them: units for tens and tens for hundreds until we got 3 hundreds, 6 tens and 5 units.
We associated the labels with the numbers: 300, 60, 5.
Finally we made the number by combining and stacking the labels. A year has 365 days. There are quicker ways to find out, but the feeling of exploring it and learning it with your own hands is worth it. Children are sensory learners: using their senses is the most natural way to learn.
After this we took the opportunity to write the sentence (in Italian): "A year has three hundred and sixty-five days and twelve months." I still don't correct the orthography, but I make mental notes and we work on the mistakes later on with other exercises and games. I want the enthusiasm to remain high and often corrections turn it off.
We use the "earth, grass, sky" sheets to learn to write the letters nicely (the tall ones like t b d touch the sky, the short ones like p q g go underground…).
I'm always on the lookout for more activities and games: have you ever heard of the Montessori year chain and if so, how do you use it?
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