Creative Inexpensive ideas

I’m always in the search of creative and inexpensive ideas to add to my set of  lessons. The materials have to be durable and reusable, bright and fun in order for my kids to enjoy them, so when I’m in the hunt of materials first think I have in mind is “for how many lesson activities can I use this?” think of materials like an orange, you want to squeeze them out to the last drop. Materials need to act as a whole and cohesively with other materials you have at home, and before you buy think of  the multiple things you can make/use with it,

A lot of people buy just because it looks nice and cute, or just because … they might use it for something someday. Try to schedule ahead and think of the need of the child. you might find this really cute puzzle but you already have 10+ puzzles at home that don’t even use. Always keep the child in mind and where he might be going next.

Another important thing is to always recycle, if you have broken pieces from a lesson don’t throw the whole thing away. you will be surprised how many of those things you will end up using in other areas.  Don’t be afraid of creativity, if didn’t worked for others doesn’t mean it won’t work for you and your child, here are some of my own creations .. Enjoy!

  • Flyting through addition 😀

Placing of quantities are a great way to introduced odd and even. tweezers are great for working on fine motor skills and strength which are needed for writing.


patterns pom poms

Oh dear wedding …

Thank God for presidents day! I’m exhausted but excited to share all the cool things we did for our DIY rustic wedding!

We hit the road Friday night to spend the weekend at my parent’s house with family and friends to work on what seemed an endless list of DIY wedding ideas, let me tell you, the list was really long ….

DIY wedding to do list

We started with the twine lanterns. After searching all over the internet and not getting an exact response on how to make them I decided to make them my own way! I based my idea from hers

Twine lanterns


  • Twine (I used yarn)
  • Round balloons
  • Vaseline or petroleum jelly
  • Glue
  • Corn starch
  • Marker (we didn’t use it :/ )
  • Something to cover the floor
  • A big area to hang the lanterns
  • Mixing bowl
  • Lots of patience 😀


1. Cover the floor and gather the materials. we used a big space because we read the project was messy, and it sure was!


2. Blow up the balloon to desired size. Cut a good amount of twine or yarn and attach the tip to the balloon’s tip, smile like a weirdo and say Cheese!! 🙂



3. In the bowl mix 1/4 cup of water, 1/2 cup of cornstarch and glue (we used about 1/2 bottle). mix well until all the cornstarch has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. We were so excited we forgot to take pictures :/

4. Apply the Vaseline or petroleum jelly to the balloon, we did it to the top, bottom and side parts to allow the yarn to stick.

step 4

5. Make sure you untangle the yarn/twine before you dip it in the cornstarch. Dip it in and let it soak for a few seconds. Now is when the messy part begins .. slowly start rotating the balloon in all directions and wrap the yarn/twine hard around it.

IMG_0957 IMG_0960 IMG_0961 IMG_0962

















  • this step was really hard because the string kept falling off so we decided to do it little by little, so we hanged it in the sun to dry every 30 minutes until it looked how we wanted.ballon 1

    6. We hanged it to dry in the sun for a whole day and here it is …


    we also worked on some signs to guide our guest over to the ranch as well as finding the lamp that will turn into a chandelier. Here is a sneak peak 😉 but be sure to come back to see the finish product hubby

Playing with letter sounds

A key step to reading using the Montessori method is by teaching children letter sounds before letter names. It can be tricky if you’re not familiar with the system; tip #1: use short vowel sounds like a-apple not acorn. Long vowels sounds are complicated and you will get to them eventually. Tip #2: use simple words along with graphics, p-popcorn instead of puppy. Remember that young children have a limited vocabulary, and through pictures is hard to differentiate a dog from a puppy.

I firmly believe that variations make learning much more fun, and always having the same materials can turn out to be boring sometimes, so I’ve created other lesson activities to help with letter sounds. Hold on tight, I will provide you with the links for free downloads. Feel free play around with the materials and get creative.


The popsicle stick ABC: you will need a printer, cardstock, popsicle sticks and a craft punch for easy cutting


  1. Print out the PDF file of the popsicle stick letters here
  2. I used a craft cutter of  1 1/2” to make cutting easier 🙂
  3. you can choose to laminate the letters for more durability
  4. glue the letters to a popsicle sticks. I used a dot of hot glue.
  5. HAVE FUN!

ABC popsicle stick


ABC stamp game: you will need a set of letter stamps. I found mine at a local craft store


  1. download and print the ABC stamp sheet here
  2. set of ABC stamps. I got mine at local craft store ($9.99) but I found this great set by Melissa & Doug with lower and upper case letters and stamps.
    • Be sure to use lower case letters with this template.
  3. Washable red and blue ink pads.
    • You can also laminate the sheet for multiple uses.
  4. Enjoy!



DIY moveable alphabet

When I discovered the Montessori method for reading I was static! I had fallen in love all over again. Coming from another country and learning how to speak English wasn’t easy and to be honest with you I don’t know how I did it, but I do know how much I struggled; now I think if I would’ve been introduced to this reading method I would’ve save many tears.

A good way to start is to introduce phonics instead of letter names, they will learn letter names later on. Is very important to give the child the opportunity to touch, feel, and explore the letters on their own, that’s why sensorial lessons and activities are introduced in early childhood. For beginning reading I would recommend either bob reading series, or Primary Phonics. I have personally worked with both and I’m really excited because I just order my first very own to use at home.

In my classroom we have our ABC board with matching picture cards. We do the ABC board everyday as part of our morning routine, we play matching games with picture cards and the children love it. Remember repetition is the key to success! Here is a good set of alphabet cards to start with, eventually you’ll want to move on to only picture cards.

abc board


 Not everybody has the flexibility to have their children at a good Montessori school, it’s popularity has increased tremendously in the past few years making it less affordable to everyone. But fortunately we’re creative and resourceful so I made my own ABC board and “moveable alphabet” to keep at home. Be mindful that you’ll  need at least 5 letters of each to make a moveable alphabet.

Here’s the list of materials:

Wood letters ( I got mine at Amazon)

Red and blue spray paint (Home Depot)

Plastic Container with dividers (Got mine at a local hardware store)

Total cost: $15.11 yours might vary slightly but considers a moveable alphabet alone is around $60.00.

Be sure to do it in a hot sunny day for the paint to dry completely. I used acrylic blue paint I had at home from a previous project, but you can use any kind.


STEP 1. Cover the painting area and secure it with tape so it doesn’t fly out, and separate all the vowels from the consonants. I was so excited to start painting that I forgot to take  pictures 🙁

STEP 2.  Paint the consonants red and the vowels blue. I applied three coats of blue paint to the vowels because the wood kept absorbing the paint; be sure to let them dry completely between each coat.


STEP 3. After the letters are completely dried place them in the container. Mine didn’t have all 26 spaces so I had to combine W with X, and Y with Z.

moveable alphabet

STEP 4. Use and reuse over and over again.

I also made a set with capital letters to use in replacement of the ABC board to use with the flashcards. I don’t have the wood board at home like I do in school so I lay them in a carpet instead.

Have fun!




Do we really need more hours in a clock?

It looks like we are in need of more and more hours everyday just to try to accomplish the simple daily tasks. With a full time job, tutoring on the side, wedding planning and a house to keep up, it seems like the hours of the day are not enough to get it all done. I’ve tried the calendar/agenda thing, the waking up earlier to start laundry before I head out to work, the cell phone reminders, but nothing seems to give me enough time to get it all done.

Today one of my 4 year-old student asked me “Why do we have to clean up so fast? Is not time to go home yet” I paused for a second and said “we have to clean up fast because the clock says it is time to go outside, then we have to clean ourselves and eat lunch before we can go home and there’s not enough time”.   So they cleaned up and we continued on with our daily routine. We had been running late all day with the schedule, so when the children went home I sat down to take a break for a moment before I myself headed home to run around like a mad women. It was then that I realized that the more hours we have, the more things we try to accomplish leaving us needing more hours again; a vicious cycle.

We often get caught up in a routine or schedule that often doesn’t even make any sense but we follow it just because. Stepping out of the comfort zone or routine isn’t too bad, we learn new things everyday by observing our surroundings and sometimes we just have to stop, breathe in and just enjoy the moment.  Whether it’s sitting down on the patio drinking an ice tea or simply looking outside your window admiring the beauty of the world, we all need a little time to ourselves and just “live the moment”.  Try it and pass it along TGIF!



Welcome to my blog!

The blog was created today, Happy Birthday!! The idea was born over a year ago when I quitted my job at the public school system. I realized the need for a strong curriculum and a lot of hands-on materials to challenge the mind of young children.

My name is Karen, an army bride to be and an early childhood  Montessori teacher. I was born and raised in Colombia and came to the U.S.A in search of a dream and to better my future.  I have an amazing fiancé that I met while finishing my B.S degree, and a lovely curious dog named Monty.

The purpose of the blog is to share my work and knowledge with you, hear thoughts and ideas of the things you do at home to school your little ones, and to help each other out to achieve a great education in our communities. Most of the materials I use in my classroom have been purchased, but a lot of the lessons are hand made to fit the need I see in my children.

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I hope you enjoy the blog and the new journey with me.

with love Karen

“We must be taught and we must be willing to accept guidance if we wish to become effective teachers” Maria Montessori The Secret of Childhood

Here’s a picture of my little family