Hands – On Montessori Homeschool Activities For A 4 Year Old

The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn. Maria Montessori

I decided that it is time for us to share activities that our Montessori preschool home classroom is buzzing with. Talking homeschooling journey has been an exciting and strange adventure for me. I had to adapt and change my approach from what I used to do teaching in a classroom.

Creating and running a homeschooling routine with a baby on board is more of a challenge than a journey. But we persevere, and I wouldn’t have any other way.  When preparing for the Montessori learning 3 – hour cycle I take inspiration from our daily life, places we visit, conversations with our daughter, and events that happen.

This is why I do not plan and present themed activities. I believe knowing the curriculum is the key.

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Development of a 4-year-old child

At four years old, a child is developing their language and communication skills rapidly. They are able to express themselves through language more effectively and understand more complex sentences. They are also developing their social skills, enjoying playing with other children and learning to share.

Physically, their hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills are improving, allowing them to run, jump and climb with greater ease. They are also developing their cognitive abilities, starting to understand cause and effect and learning basic math concepts, such as counting and sorting. Overall, a four-year-old child is becoming more independent, curious and imaginative, with a growing sense of self-awareness.

Montessori education for a four-year-old child emphasizes hands-on learning, practical life skills, and respect for their individual pace of development. The classroom environment is carefully prepared and organized to promote exploration and discovery, with materials that encourage the development of social, cognitive, and motor skills.

Children learn through play, sensorial experiences, and observation, building independence and confidence in their abilities. The Montessori approach maintains a focus on the whole child, fostering creativity, curiosity, and a lifelong love of learning.

Homeschooling a 4-year-old

Children are very astute at creating their flow of learning and progressing from one subject of interest to another. Allowing them this power leads to a significant result when they become equipped with the ability to organize their own time and follow their inner guidance, feeling confident in their decisions. I share the most popular choices from our 3-6 Montessori environment.

I probably should mention that our Montessori home classroom does not include Practical Life activities as such – traditionally presented on trays. These are all part of daily life incorporated most naturally. I make my aim to follow the child and reserve at least two days a week when we do not have an agenda or meet-ups.

Our day can include Montessori work from shelves or something that Blossom naturally is interested in at this point. Sometimes we can spend our morning washing toys (incorporating all the steps as we would for Practical Life activity in a classroom) or furniture outside, or sewing a pillow for her doll.

Here is a glimpse of our Montessori homeschooling days

Learning about the continents. In a Montessori classroom, teaching about continents can be done through hands-on activities that encourage exploration and discovery. Children can use Montessori maps and globes to identify and locate each continent, learn about the characteristics that make each one unique, and explore the cultures and wildlife that inhabit them. Activities like puzzle maps, sorting activities, and arts and crafts projects can also be used to engage children and deepen their understanding of the continents. This approach fosters a love for learning and encourages children to be curious about the world around them.

Before we started using a map that is different from the Montessori world map I made sure Blossom was 100% confident in identifying continents by their location and color. Once she could point to any continent, we started working with this large World Map.

People Of The World – Dress Up Printable

Learning to recognize various cultural differences in traditional clothing from country to country.

Montessori continents song was never as much fun to sing for Blossom as when she was doing it while jumping from continent to continent. This was a very useful way to revisit the location of the continents on the map. Another way to do it is to draw a rough map with all seven continents with chalk outside and invite children to hop as they sing The Continent Song. 

We found significant value in materials that are not explicitly Montessori but spark a child’s curiosity and engage them in discovering new fascinating facts.

Learning the names of the states of Australia. Blossom traced the state of Queensland and did push pinning and coloring of the state.

Building Decanomial Square  – teaches the child to discriminate shape sizes and build a square. Another name for this Montessori work – the Square of Pythagoras – is sensorial material that represents the timetables.

Decanomial Square is a Montessori material that helps children learn multiplication. It consists of ten square tiles in different colors, each representing a number from 1 to 10. To introduce the Decanomial Square, children are shown how to arrange the tiles in a specific pattern, starting with the 1 tile and building up to the 10 tile. Using the Decanomial Square, children can visually see how to multiply each number by itself and by other numbers, leading to a better understanding of multiplication and its relationship to addition. It is a fun and interactive way to learn math!

For some reason, I fell in love with this material during my Montessori training and could not wait to present it to Blossom.

Download this printable here

DIY Sequin Boards are very simple to assemble. Montessori math beads are some of the most frequently used materials in our homeschool classroom at the moment.

Golden beads – 10 bars can be found here.

The Montessori approach to teaching math includes the use of a material called Golden beads. These beads visually represent place value and students can see and touch the difference between units, tens, hundreds, and thousands. Children can begin to conceptualize the meaning of larger numbers and perform basic operations such as addition and subtraction. This hands-on approach enables students to better understand abstract math concepts and engages multiple senses for optimal learning. By using Golden beads, children develop strong number sense and gain confidence in their math abilities.

As I mentioned, we enjoy experimenting with materials and finding different ways to use them, still within their original purpose.

In a Montessori classroom, teaching math with color beads bars is an effective way to engage kids in problem-solving activities. These beads, which come in different colors and sizes, help children understand mathematical concepts such as addition, subtraction, and multiplication. By introducing the use of these colorful manipulatives, teachers can make math more accessible and enjoyable for kids. The Montessori method encourages hands-on learning, and using color bead bars is a fun and interactive way to teach math in such a way that children understand and retain the information.

Or not. 🙂 This was done to satisfy Blossom’s great interest in spiders. We talked and discussed these creatures and their habits. The next thing I see – she is using Montessori math beads to make a model of a spider.

She did request my assistance. As we made this spider and web together, we talked about the number of legs and eyes spiders have, what they eat and how they catch their prey.

Nomenclature 3 Part Cards from kickin’ it homeschool

I found that one of the most valuable lessons children are taught when working with Botany materials – is the understanding of the natural processes. They touch and feel living matter which gives them more appreciation for nature.

Botany materials are an important component of the Montessori classroom. They help kids learn about plants, their parts, and their functions. Some of the popular botany materials for kids include the parts of a flower puzzle, plant structure puzzles, leaf puzzles and anatomy cards. Other materials provide opportunities for hands-on learning, such as planting seeds and observing plant growth, and learning about the different types of plants through pictures and books. Overall, botany materials help cultivate a curiosity and appreciation for the natural world among children.

Children learn to notice tiny details and beauty in ordinary things, like flowers. Also, they LOVE to learn new vocabulary. Learning parts of the flowers, for instance, almost broke my tongue, encouraged her to come up with ways to remember new words by repeating them over and over again casually throwing them in conversation.

In the Montessori classroom, children learn about the different parts of a flower through hands-on activities. They observe real flowers and use diagrams and 3D models to learn the names and functions of the parts such as the petals, stamen, pistil and sepals. They also learn about pollination and the role of important pollinators like bees and butterflies. These activities not only help them to understand and appreciate the natural world but also foster their curiosity, observation skills, and critical thinking abilities.

Three-part cards are a foundational tool in Montessori classrooms for helping children learn vocabulary and concepts. The cards consist of a picture, a label, and a control card with both the picture and label. Students use the cards to match the picture to the label and the control card to check their work. This hands-on and self-correcting activity engages children and helps develop their visual discrimination and literacy skills. Teachers can also customize the cards to suit the interests and needs of individual students. Overall, three-part cards are a versatile and effective tool for promoting learning in the Montessori homeschool.

Learning a new language is always very useful when it is something a child is interested in it. We discovered a jellyfish on shore one day. Guess what we did the next day.

Mystery Bag with Montessori materials. This game assists in learning the names of Montessori materials. We picked one object from various Montessori materials and placed it one at a time in the mystery bag. She had to close her eyes and feel the object with her hands in the bag trying to guess what Montessori material set it belonged to.

I have to mention that my daughter now attends Forest School in the area once a week. I can’t emphasize strongly enough how fantastic this program is. We also attend a swimming pool, Sunday school, and 0-5 singing sessions once a week. Practical Life activities – the essential part of our everyday life, as I mentioned earlier – cooking, making fruit snacks, mopping, dusting, folding clothes, checking the mailbox, baking – something we encourage our 4 yo to take an active part in daily.

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About Anastasia - Anastasia is an early childhood teacher and the founder of Montessori Nature - a blog about Montessori living and learning and nature-based explorations. With many years of experience working in a Montessori environment and homeschooling her children, she directed her passion for all things Montessori and nature into creating educational resources. You can learn more here and browse her printables on Teachers Pay Teachers.