Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Montessori Geography/Continent Box -so excited to share our homemade version

So back in September I posted that I wanted to make a Montessori Geography box (I had seen an awesome example on Pinterest).  I found an old, smelly and 'in great need of care' silverware box [the type that many a bride received for her wedding which was quite popular in the 1950s-70s] that would be perfect for the project.  It was marked $2 or $3 but I talked it down to a whopping dollar bill! My goal for this project was to spend as little as possible and I actually managed to do just that as the total overall cost was under $10!


SO I had the box and I knew what I wanted to do with it-but it took many steps to accomplish. That was September remember?  Due to some health issues, then the holidays then tucking it aside to then finding it and saying, "OH yeah-need to finish this!"-it took longer to get done than it should have.  So to start, I had to allow for at least a month of 'freshening' to get rid of the musty smells. That meant ripping out the gross felt and little doodads that were meant to hold the silverware. That helped eliminate some stench-but then I had to scrap off (as best as possible) the ugly glue, then rub the wood down with bleach water, then place the box in the sun to further the process. At night I placed a bowl of water with bleach in it inside the box, closed the lid and let it continue working on degrossifying it. I learned that trick from Martha Stewart many years ago.
Yes, it was that gross!

When it was finally ready for the box compartments, I sent the hubby and son on a search and find mission.  Thankfully we live in a sub that still has construction going on and since my hubby has spoken to several of the building crews before about scrap wood, it was not a problem finding some luan wood for this. Frankly, with the layering of that wood I can say it was a pain to work with. So if you decide to do something similar-look for a piece of wood that is one solid sheet and not layered together due to it's inherent need to split.  Anyway, I decided how I wanted the boxes to be and ordered my cut pieces from my handyman hubby.  Due to the glue issue (that was under the felt) I had two pieces of luan cut to lay down over them to give me a fresh look. Then he cut a few strips to build the boxes.  That was the hard part. We do not have a mini-Norm Abram workshop about the homestead.  But we made due and I am quite pleased with the results.


After the liquid nails (glue used to adhere it) dried we were ready for paint (I did sand down the wood to avoid splinters) and after several coats it is complete.

I found scrapbook paper I liked (at Hobby Lobby) and just cut it to fit.  
I took slightly watered down white glue (poor man's Mod Podge) to adhere 
it to the top, then coated the entire top/outside with a thick layer to protect it.  

Furthermore, I also have to print and laminate the maps I want to go on the interior lid of the box. I will put little Velcro dots on it to allow for easy map changes, which means all maps will have the dots as well so they will adhere to the main lid area.  This is key to multi-use flexibility.  If I just slapped a pre-school/K level map onto it, I could not use it for a variety of things I have in mind. Especially since I am using this with an older elementary student (right now) but want to be able to use it for future younger students as well.  Oh, and we need to put a hinge on the backside of the lid. Since the original hinges are small, are at least 40+ years old and with the additional weight from the the luan, it needs that additional hinge support.  I highly recommend doing that as well if you make your own.


I did paint the box sections to match the Montessori color code for learning the continents.  I also included a box for Antarctica!  This is important because several countries have territorial claims to it.  I therefore made 8 sections. One for each continent and one for what I am calling the control box. That is where the collection of items to be sorted go.  I will do a separate post on different things that I hope to do with our box as soon as I get all that done.  One step at a time-LOL.

Example using stamp cards for different continents.  Antarctica is not shown b/cuz I have not received the stamps yet but you get the general idea.  The map that would be used would be the general color-coded continent map for Montessori.  I will link all the sources in the post about how to use the box once I have that completed. 




2 comments:

Vickie said...

Very cool!!! I've never known what the difference is between preschool and Montessori....but I LOVE this idea you've done!! I can totally see using this with my 3 year old.

Lynn P said...

WOW! You are one talented and creative woman.. Great job.. Love how you redid the box.. :)