Nature is a big part of the montessori learning whether it mean playing with natural materials or it be connecting with nature outdoors. It is also a big part of the Hindu religion. We are but a small part of this world and we are surrounded by all these beautiful God created things. We revere the various aspects of nature as a part of our daily prayers, and we include natural elements in so many of our pujas. Nature is the essence of not only our growth and survival but I feel like it is our tangible connection to the creator. It has been amazing for me to also revisit these God given elements and see how codependent they and we are. We are all part of the cycle of life, most days we are receiving but I hope we learn from the Sun, the plants and the oceans & oceans of water around us, to give unconditionally.
We did one topic per week. You can choose to do any of these topics in any order depending on how you spend time with your child or group. The activities can also be mix & matched depending on how you present it. But each week it helped to tie in the prior weeks topic to provide the kids the bigger picture. Remember, you may sound like a broken record but repetition really is the key along with keeping it short & simple.
Suraj Dada (Sun) Activities:
Talking points –
Ask open ended questions leading to sun (what do we need when it’s cold, why does it get dark, what do plants need to grow)
Ask & talk about the qualities of the Sun (strong, bright, gives light)
Shlok: Adi Deva
Song/Balgeet: Suraj Dada, Suraj Dada
Surya Namaskar: talk about the benefits of surya namaskar and get up have everyone join in a round or two as a group
Surya coloring, letter S: we printed out a picture of the sun and each kid spent some time coloring while we continued to review the qualities of the sun and what it gives us
Paani (Water) Activities:
Talking points –
Ask questions with water as answer: what do we shower, what do we drink when we’re thirsty, what do plants need • Show different forms of water: ice, liquid
Where it comes from: faucet, sky, ocean
Why we have to save water
Shlok: Gange Chai, Yamune Chai
Show the different forms of water: spray bottle to show rain water, colored ice cubes to show solid form, hot water to show how ice melts.
Show the different temperatures of water: hot/cold. We poured some ice cold water into one bowl and hot water into another bowl. The kids were able to dip their fingers/hands in each bowl to feel the different temperatures and talk about it.
Summary: After spraying rain from the water bottle all over the kids (they loved this because it was the middle of summer), we gave each child a bowl with colored ice cubes. They were able to touch & feel the texture and temperature of this form of water. After that we poured some warm water into their bowl and let them put their colored ice cube into the hot water. They were able to see how the ice melted and became a part of the liquid form of water as well as feel the change in temperature. We later tied in once again why we need to save water and asked them how we can utilize this bowl of water. They all were able to suggest watering the plants at the park around us. We took this opportunity to let each kid water a plant with their bowl of water.
Chhod/Jaad/Vruksh (Plants) Activities:
Talking points –
Ask open ended questions about: who else needs sun & water (recap of topics above)
Where do our fruits & vegetables come from?
Have them touch, feel, smell grass, flower petals
Talk about how plants grow: Water, Sun & Maati (food)
Talk about the different parts of plants: seeds, roots, stem, branches, leaves, fruit/flower
Shlok: Tulsi Shri Sakhi Shive
Sprout a Bean in a bag
You’ll need: ziplock bags, wet paper towel, beans (any beans, we used kidney, pinto and black)
This is a fun, toddler friendly science experiment of how water and sunlight work together to help plants grow. Nothing like teaching kids a bit of patience to see the fruits of their action. Place a wet paper towel in a ziplock bag. It should not be dripping wet and not completely damp dry. Place a couple beans on one side of the bag and zip it close. Place the ziplock bag against a window which gets a good amount of sunlight. And then just watch and wait. Your toddler will be able to help with every step of setting up this project. Toddler S loved checking on his seedling every morning to see if there was any changes to it. We talked about any and all changes we saw. The days there were no changes we reviewed what they plant needed to grow and Toddler S would double check that there was enough sunlight and that moisture was still visible in the bag. In the case the paper towel looks dry, just spray a mist of water on the towel again with minimal shifting if possible. In about a week you will be able to see some green sprouting from your seed. For older kids, you can show and talk about the different parts of the plant too!