What intrigues people about the floor bed? What mystery does it hold?
I never understood why people were so surprised or confused about it. In our home it was almost like people didn't know what to say. I wonder what they were thinking... does the child sleep here, on the floor, can't they afford a crib, a cot? When new people came to our home I found myself trying to explain it. Was I trying to justify our decision, was I trying to educate our guests?
My first son Caspar used a floor bed from around six months. The first six months he slept in a cot (Stokke Sleepi Mini) next to my bed. When using the floor bed my main concern was that he would fall out and then when older start wandering around the house getting up to mischief. He never fell out and the only time he got out of his bed was to get into ours.
The floor bed made sense to us. It was easier. I know it doesn't work for everyone and I respect parents who decide otherwise.
For our next baby, the plan is the same. I expect the baby to sleep at night in the cot next to me until he is around six months, then into the floor bed. I do plan for the baby to use the floor bed during the day almost from the start, at least to lie and play, and this is where I think I will hang our mobiles.
There are a few reasons why I prefer the cot at night in those early months, mainly because I sleep better knowing the child is close by, but if you want to know more please email me.
My biggest concern this time is to have both boys in the same room together. Will it work? I am not sure but we are flexible, we can move things around if it doesn't.
The top photograph is the bedroom as it is now. We moved Caspar into a 'real' bed when is was just over two years old and the floor bed here is ready for the new one. This room isn't as dull as it looks, we do have some low hanging family artwork on the walls, just out of view. Our children's playthings/materials are mainly stored in the playroom and other areas.
If you are wondering, for the floor bed we simply use a single bed mattress directly on the floor. Works for us.
When I consider our upcoming birth I always end up thinking about my older son Caspar. We are keeping our options open as to where he will be during the birth. Ideally he will be with us the entire time. With this in mind today I packed some new toys into my labor bag.
I also included a disposable camera for him to use, a blank art book and some favourite snacks. I think he will be disappointed if he misses the birth. He has already told me that he will hold my hand if it hurts when the baby comes out.
Having our bags packed makes our physical preparations complete. We still have a few weeks to go until the baby is due but we are officially ready.
I love the sense of excitement, the festive mood that develops as the birth draws nearer.
I am considering if we should record/video this birth. While I don't want any of the physical birthing recorded I would love to capture the moments we first meet and hold the baby.
How special it would be to relive this later.
Recently I started thinking about what activities have really worked for us and what haven't. I love threading, lacing and sewing activities but they have been a bit hit and miss at our house.
This one (above) stayed on our shelves for over a year, yes a year! I first set it up when my son was around eighteen months old and it was well used until he was around two and a half years old. Highly recommended.
At various times I have set up and demonstrated the lacing shapes, threading beads and threading cotton reels (all below) but they rarely, if ever got used. These didn't work for us.
Possibly I had missed the sensitive period, possibly I didn't present them right. I kept on thinking of more threading, lacing and sewing activities. My son was also getting older so I started to look something more challenging.
I next set up this activity (below) not because it is threading or lacing but because I thought it was a necessary step. This is actually a pin and pin cushion activity. My son loved it and quickly built up his skills in handling small sharp items such as pins and needles, which was needed for the next more advanced activity.
This exciting tray (below) was next. My son was three when I first presented this. He was more than ready for it and he has produced a huge amount of sewing and freestyle embroidery since. The hoop gives a sturdier base on which to sew and a ready made frame.
Each piece made has been thoughtfully hung around our home or gently wrapped and given as a gift. The extension ideas for this are limitless.
I would love to hear what threading, lacing or sewing activities have or haven't worked for you. Which ones have become favourites?
We started attending a Montessori parent-toddler class when my son was 18 months old. He loved playing with the farm so much that I decided to set up something similar at home. At three years old he is still playing with it. While our farm is slightly different, it is more of a barn, I think the idea is the same - the interaction with the animals. Young children are interested in their names and sounds. Older children are interested in family groups, feeding and caring for them.
Our farm resides in our playroom. It has had so much use that it was well worth the investment. We keep the farm on a mat which defines the work 'play' area. A basket is kept next to the farm to store the animals.
We purchased our farm (just in case you wanted to know) from Honey Bee Toys. The animals are Schleich farm animals.
As some of you are aware I am currently studying the Playful Learning Spaces e-course. In the first two weeks I have worked on creating an outdoor art area. This obviously isn't a traditional Montessori space but I will call it Montessori inspired.
Ideas from the course that I have attempted to incorporate into this area include:
We chose this area for our art because it is outdoors but sheltered and under cover, I can also see/supervise this area from the kitchen. First I painted the table, we purchased it second hand and it was poorly stained. I installed a new shelf on the shelving unit and repainted. We put out our favourite art supplies and added a few new ones. We have heaps more paint and art supplies inside that we can rotate or change in the future. I also pulled our art easel out of storage and installed a new hanging wire.
I left this area for about five days and observed how Caspar used it and the materials, then made a few adjustments. Now it makes a perfect, creative, art area.
Am I the only person in the world who didn't know about triangular crayons? Just in case you are in the dark as I was, please read this post.
Caspar is three and will hopefully soon hit his sensitive period for writing. He currently doesn't write or draw much with pencils but he loves using crayons.
I have for a long time been concerned about his grip. He is left handed and his grip is truly incorrect and awkward. Does it matter, should I be correcting him? Not wanting to be overbearing or take away the fun or enjoyment of drawing I have never corrected him.
When he was much younger I asked a Montessori teacher. Her advice at the time was to let it go, she felt he was really too young to worry about his grip. Last week while I was talking with his current 3-6 teacher, I again asked about correcting his grip.
She showed me the crayons they have on their classroom shelf. I had a lightbulb moment. Of course, let the environment/materials be the teacher. They use triangular crayons.
Coincidently, the next day I heard Mariah from Playful Learning Spaces talk about art materials for young children. She mentions triangular pencils and speaks of the satisfaction her daughter felt when acheiving the correct grip using one.
So I hit my favourite educational supply shop and pick up a packet of triangular crayons and while I am there get a packet of jumbo triangular coloured pencils.
And what do you know, big improvement.
We considered for a really long time if we wanted a sand pit at home. While it is good in theory and easy to do, our backyard isn't very big and did we really want more mess? We know that sand provides a lovely sensory experience for young children but most of all I think - all kids like to dig.
Add an excavator and dump truck and this is three year old boy bliss. I love to see the concentration in his eyes as he lines up the truck.
What I didn't expect was the kind of imaginative play that goes on here. The sand pit has become a stage. A stage where mostly diggers perform, but the occasional firefighter (armed with a real hose) makes an appearance. Water with sand increases the fun. Who knew it could be that simple.
- If you are looking for great ideas for outdoor play I highly recommend reading the parents guide to nature play from Green Hearts.
- Yes, that is a blackboard behind the sand pit. I simply painted a piece of MDF/fibreboard and nailed it to the fence. Simple and cheap. It has weathered really well, it has be there for over a year and still looks like new.
We've had a lot of experience with children's aprons. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen together and as you know, an apron is a must.
Briefly, our experience goes like this;
My advice for the day... if you are looking for child's apron use the Sew Liberated Montessori Child's Apron pattern or purchase one pre-made from this pattern. But you probably already knew that!
We hang ours on a low hook in the pantry. Easy to reach and always ready.
When I first walked into a Montessori toddler classroom it surprised me to see a fish tank located only inches off the floor. Were they crazy? Surely that's dangerous! I guess I had a lot to learn about Montessori.
Over time I witnessed many children putting their hands into the tank, many times the glass lid fell in and occasionally children would fight over who got to feed the fish. But what was learnt in the process? So, so much. The benefit of having such an accessible fish tank clearly outweighed any negatives.
While at home I loved the idea of keeping fish (and a mussel, and aquatic snails) I wasn't so keen for such a low fish tank. This is our compromise. The tank is still easily viewed by youngsters but they need to stand on a stool to reach the lid.
What child doesn't love to feed fish?
I really want to share with you some of my absolute favourite children's designers. I really love children's fashion but have had some difficulty in finding practical clothes that look good. I will say at this time that my standards are high.
I prefer children's clothing that is
Firstly for baby wear I cannot and do not go past Nature Baby. They are based in New Zealand but their website does list in Australian dollars. Their clothing is organic and many items are made in New Zealand. The quality and feel is impeccable. This is just some of the range we have purchased for the new baby. It is seriously the most gorgeous baby clothing I have ever seen.
My search for suitable toddler clothing has been much more difficult and has often resulted in me wasting time and money. So many designers make great clothing that is unfortunately overcomplicated and very difficult for a child to wear independently - especially for boys pants!!
Can all designers please note that I love your denim, chinos and cargos, but with all of their buttons, fancy clasps, belts and zips, my three year old cannot wear them without assistance.
In my search I have found Irene at Bloesem Kids to be the greatest source of inspiration. She is in touch with so many designers from around the world and has led me to both of my favourite international designers.
Buisjes En Beugels +++ is from the Netherlands, self described as a collection inspired by the functionality of kids clothes and avant garde fashion. This collection is a little quirky but it really appeals to my sense of aesthetics.
Nonchalant Mom from the United States is pretty well known. The Nonchalant Mom website sells Nonchalant Kids and other ranges of children's wear. The clothes that we have purchased are really practical and so comfortable.
I would love to know what brands or designers you would recommend.
Many Montessori and other parenting books and sites recommend the use of the Stokke Tripp Trapp. Many visitors to our home haven't seen one before and wonder how they work. I will admit that when we purchased our first Tripp Trapp we also purchased all the accessories because we ourselves didn't know what we needed.
If you are not at all familiar with the Tripp Trapp and are looking for a new high chair, I would encourage you to visit the Stokke website and have a look in greater detail.
This is Caspar in the Tripp Trapp with the harness, baby set and cushion.
And older with just the baby set.
And again older with just the chair. I would only remove the baby set once the child is walking and steady on their feet. Then they can begin to climb into the chair themselves. For Caspar this was probably around 14-16 months. This is when the chair is of it's greatest benefit.
As Caspar still uses his chair we decided to purchase a second one for the new baby. We sourced ours from Bebe online. A word of warning that the Tripp Trapp does come in a wonderful array of colours but for some colours, depending on the stock of the importer, there is a wait. For Caspar's chair (green) we waited around three months and while our next chair (blue) is yet to arrive we are expecting a similar wait.
There was some recent discussion at Babyology regarding the newly released newborn set, however I still haven't seen it available in Australia. If you know when it will be available here - please let me know.
If you are unsure about using the Tripp Trapp, please contact me, I would be more than happy to answer any questions. It may cost a little more and take a little more effort to purchase but we think it is worth it.
We are fortunate to have two bathrooms in our house. This means that Caspar has his own bathroom which doubles as a guest bathroom. The downside to this is we need to keep it spotlessly clean. While keeping it clean and orderly we also strive to make it as child friendly as possible.
A clean, orderly, child friendly bathroom? This is what currently works for us