As most of my regular readers already know, I love Montessori Services – almost as much as I love their companion company, For Small Hands. It doesn’t get much better than a small business started by a mom and Montessori teacher. They’re just the kind of company I like to support, and the wonderful range of products they carry makes it hard to resist showing that support often. You can see my post on their Montessori language objects, as well as this review of the Deep Into the Forest Game offered by For Small Hands for examples of the great things they offer.
While For Small Hands offers some of the best Montessori-friendly toys you can find anywhere (and much more), Montessori Services specializes in tools for the Practical Life area of the Montessori primary classroom, with many things that are useful for the Montessori home as well. While Practical Life is their specialty, they also offer ready made activities and individual components for Sensorial, Math, Language, Science, and Art activities. Of course I don’t go anywhere else for things like trays, rugs, or mats either.
Recently, Montessori Services sent me their Float and Sink Activity to try, and it took me awhile to decide whether or not I was willing to share it with nearly three-year-old Annabelle. I wanted it all to myself! Eventually, I did share, of course, and I look forward to sharing with our whole class soon, but we’re still settling in and the classroom is not quite ready for it. I can hardly wait, though, because this set is wonderful. It comes completely shelf-ready with everything you need for a sink and float activity, from the tray to the sponge. I have used various sink and float set-ups before, but this one is by far my favorite.
The set I received is color-coded blue, with matching tray, mat, towel, and sponge. Everything else, aside from the objects, is clear. There’s a good sized pitcher for bringing water from the sink and a tank for testing objects to see whether they sink or float. In the past, I have seen basins like these used in sink or float activities, but they’re large and cumbersome, and water tends to get everywhere. I love that the tank that comes with this set, actually a terrarium, has a lid to allow plenty of access for dropping in and retrieving objects, but also helps to contain splashes somewhat. The objects have a special container of their own and there’s a wonderful assortment with equal numbers that sink and float, and, for a variation, even a group of objects that sometimes sink and sometimes float. There’s great variety among the objects in every category, and each one is most definitely inviting. Annabelle couldn’t wait to get her hands on them!
You can really tell that a Montessori teacher designed the activity when you look at the little details, like the color-coded mat with a napkin ring to hold it neatly in place. The work is as aesthetically pleasing as it is carefully prepared. I appreciate that the labels are sturdy and waterproof, too. There’s truly no real prep work required to get this activity ready for the children. There’s also a detailed sheet of information with presentation suggestions.
Annabelle was with me when the box with this activity arrived, and she immediately wanted to try the work, so I let her know I’d set it up for her that afternoon. She did not forget, and asked several times before the time came – It was calling her name. The first thing she said when I invited her for a lesson was, “I’m going to get the water!” She loved filling the tank using the pitcher, and was eager to get her hands on the objects. She ended up doing the work three times in the same sitting, and has not stopped talking about it since.
I have always hesitated to buy ready-made activities, preferring instead to go out and find all of the various pieces needed to truly pull everything on a tray together and make it just right. Now that I see how attentive to detail Montessori Services is in preparing their classroom activity sets, however, I’m a convert. As a single, childless teacher, it was so enjoyable to scour shops for perfect little containers, trays, baskets, and manipulatives. It was quite literally one of my favorite things to do on a weekend. Now that I have two children to care for and a host of other responsibilities, however, I just don’t have the time to hunt for the detail pieces in shops anymore. It’s wonderful to know that I can count on Montessori Services to round up quality items that make activities complete. I would recommend these sets to any Montessori teacher or homeschool parent, whether you “do” Montessori, or just like to round out your curriculum with plenty of hands on activities.
The float and sink activity is available from Montessori Services for $35.95. From now through March 31st, they’re offering free shipping on all domestic orders over $50 using the code FREE SHIP 50, so you have a great excuse to shop if you’ve been wanting anything for your classroom or home. It’s a great time to get small items like that set of tongs or wavy vegetable chopper you’ve been eyeing, as they’re an especially great value less the cost of shipping!
Montessori Services is offering a gift certificate in the amount of $50 to one lucky Vibrant Wanderings reader in the US or Canada. Simply enter using the rafflecopter widget below and I’ll contact you at the email address provided if you win!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary float and sink activity for the purpose of this review. I also receive a commission when you shop through my affiliate links at Montessori Services or For Small Hands. I’ve been using their products myself since before I knew what an affiliate account was, so this is just a perk to help cover the costs of this blog – all opinions are truly my own. I only share products I think will enrich your life as they have mine.