We often change around our work/play spaces. The play stands are usually left clear for free/open play. At the moment this play stand is storing some beautiful puzzles. These puzzles are fantastic as with the biology puzzles Otis has been able to 'do' the puzzles for a long time but due to their design he is still learning from them - learning things such as life cycles and anatomy. Fish and Penguin puzzles are courtesy of Get Brainy Box. Butterfly and Apple Puzzles are from Beginning Montessori.
Do you know what this means?? Time for another pair of Soft Star Shoes!!!
iPhone photograph - At the beach. It's overcast but still 24-25 degrees! Love a Queensland Autumn.
iPhone photograph - Otis!
Otis exploring the structure of bean sprouts.
A dog Caspar made during a school parent led art session. The body is made from scrunched up newspaper wrapped in wool.
Otis exploring through touch.
I have been taking many more photographs on my iPhone lately - as is the one above. You can see more frequent posts on instagram here. Autumn in Brisbane is just lovely - we are still working outside everyday in sunshine!
Caspar - doing some practical life work. It's not his favourite work but it's an essential part of keeping pets.
Next step - we are finding the patterns in our environment!
Learning patterns with Otis. From My First Montessori Book of Patterns by Mary Da Prato.
Block play with vehicles.
I didn't have my camera with me today so I took some photographs on my phone. A couple of other photographs from today are on instagram. This is more of the Arctic pack that we have been given to review as with the photograph below. As a Montessori parent I usually try to give my children 'real' experiences - and this snow isn't real (who knew instant snow existed?). But Otis showed me why this was such a valuable experience. I'll explain more when I have a complete review finished.
A sneak peek of a product we have been sent to review! Available here.
More spinning top pictures.
Currently growing things in pots!
Thank you Lego for entertaining my children for hours and hours.
Otis is loving these magnetic letters. He love to sit here and play.
They are competing - they are both trying to make the tallest building. Caspar has age and experience on his side. Otis' hair is curly with the humidity.
Otis chopping vegetables for soup. He's trying really hard to cut the pieces small as I had requested.
Otis still learning how to handle this little one. I love this type of engagement, Caspar is teaching Otis how to catch, pick-up and hold the guinea pigs. The guinea pigs are not shy, they crawl all over him.
He's totally got this!
Otis peeling a carrot. Peeler from here.
What should we make??
Our butterflies are emerging.
Soft Star shoes - still going strong!
Our nature table now contains living creatures!
Experimenting... science in the kitchen! Hopefully it will be edible.
Caspar's crafty messyness.
Some days I don't get my camera out at all. This was taken yesterday of Otis preparing vegetables for dinner.
My big seven year-old cooking lunch. I wish I could get him to use the oven though, he doesn't like and won't go near it.
Beautiful tropical flowers blooming on our balcony. Perhaps I can entice the boys into parts of a flower study?
iPhone pics from today of Otis searching for crabs. He found a few
He has a good view!
Otis carefully placing the beeswax candles into the bowl.
Otis being serious and Caspar attempting to sneak away a marshmallow. I'm not sure if at this point Otis knew Caspar was there.
Bath day today! Seeing Caspar care for these little ones is pretty special.
I've been doing a little bit of this today. Download, print, laminate, trim.
Nature table delights.
An awesome pocket guide to Brisbane Backyard Insects. There was much delight as we identified a few bugs we had seen around and finally identified the Pasture Funnel Ants (which leave large piles of soil in the nest entrances) which have filled our front lawn. And Otis' insect hotel built and ready to go into the garden.
Otis loves this type of play. These are fantastic little Siku vehicles.
Learning fractions - a post on this is coming soon.
Christmas Day 2014! I hope yours is grand.
Otis under our tree on Christmas eve - in his new pyjamas, our new tradition.
The Southern Hemisphere's largest solar powered Christmas tree. It looks amazing in the evening.
More handmade Christmas decorations.
Earth looks so small.
Caspar doing some work on the Australian State Capital cities and their locations.
Below, the birds we have seen in our garden today. We love seeing them so close and hearing their calls.
Caspar is learning how to use/read/work from a full (adults) recipe. And showing his brother how it is done.
We have so many dragonflies in our garden. It wasn't long before we found this one to put under the microscope. The wings look amazing at x4. Caspar who has been using the microscope for years learnt a little bit more about magnification.
I've been waiting two weeks for these blossoms.
A new coffee table book - for the kids.
Our new composting system. Seriously though, these two eat almost all of our vegetable waste.
Today we received our Nature Play Passport for an amazing childhood - let's get this started!
I took this photo on my iPhone. Earlier in the week I took the boys to an animal rescue that takes abandoned and unwanted pets. Such a wonderful place - full of volunteers dedicated to animals. Two lessons for the boys - one about caring for animals the other about community service.
I've had Reverse Garbage bookmarked since we knew we were moving to Brisbane. My boys love making things from recycled materials and this place is perfect for that. I'm sure we will be back soon. Another picture from Reverse Garbage from Instagram here.
I'm now convinced that blocks should be stored in baskets not on shelves. Ours are used outside more than inside and these large baskets are perfect for the task.
During National Bird Week - why not paint with Australian Ochre and feathers? P.S This Australian Ochre is now available at HWM Shop here - enjoy!
Should we be packing? Hanging out with homeschooler and Montessori family Dream Before You. Why is it that we find locations like this only days before moving? This is the Murrumbidgee River at Uriarra.
Some at home work for Caspar. Lots of work in this. He's learning terms like length, width, weight. He knows these words but he's learning how to interpret and act on them. He's using terms like centimeters, kilograms, grams, and getting lots of practical life work.
Of course Otis (for the first time ever) wanted Asparagus for dinner! When he saw it at the market he ran over to it 'as-par-a-gus!'. Cards from here.
We are celebrating National Bird Week (20-26 October) by bird watching everyday. We are not counting birds but making note of the species we see (of those we know and can identify). Binoculars from here.
This is a photograph I took for the shop, however it's so pretty. A little food colouring in our little fine mist/spray bottles. Lovely! Thank you Belinda (if you are reading!) for the red food colouring!
Observing Otis' puzzle work. He started this one upside down matching the pieces before seeing/making sense of the whole picture.
Beautiful flowers picked fresh from our garden.
Cellophane in embroidery hoops for some colour in the study.
Some outdoor block play. The boys found a bag of dinosaurs while packing, they haven't used these in such a long time.
I think it's really important that kids don't read just kid's books. I'm putting together a list of our favourite nature books and this one is near the top. So, so beautiful.
Planets!! Ours are from here.
I knew it wouldn't take him long to start using the alphabet puzzle letters to form words.
Our bird feeder also housing a spider or two.
Celebrating the long weekend with sparklers!
Inside our cleaning caddy and below on the shelf.
Caspar learning the origins of the names of the days of the week. I learnt a few things too!
This is another puzzle that Otis is really into at the moment. There is a series of them, different images but same number of pieces etc. I'm considering if it's worth buying more in the series or if it's this particular 'airport' puzzle that he likes.
I know I have mentioned this before, this is maths in practice. Caspar used an algorithm to make this pattern.
Experimenting with wind?
Otis with a new puzzle - possibly the most awesome puzzle ever. I've taken a few pics I'll try and post tomorrow!
Happy kids! The trees and grass are so beautifully green. And Caspar has his field guide in his hand.
I'm working side by side with Otis to allow him to observe me kneading the pasta dough.
Trust a three year old with a tray of water and glasses?
Caspar has been interested in volcanoes, not the baking soda and vinegar kind of interest but "what are the coordinates for Mt Vesuvius" kind of interest. This is a diorama he is working on - he's attaching movable fireballs.
Finally there are a few blossoms to fill vases.
Otis in the garden with his dad.
I am not a winter person and have really struggled through Canberra's winter. We've had some extra stress with finding a new house and organising travel and a new school for the boys. A couple of weeks ago I tried a juice detox and it was amazing. I went through Pressed Juices who deliver the juices daily. The flavours were amazing and I absolutely recommend them! Each juice is numbered so you know which one to take in order. It was also really tough for the first two days but so worth it. I feel like it reset my mind and body - getting ready for the warmer months. After my detox I was referred to The Fix which is located locally. Let me know if you have tried it!
Otis made Caspar a fruit salad. It was a surprise for Caspar when he returned home from soccer. Such a thoughtful gift. Apple, banana, strawberry and passion fruit.
Otis is in the sensitive period for practical life. Just try and stop him.
I get asked a lot about materials/toys that young children and toddlers can use by themselves that is entertaining (captures their attention) and is educational. Here are two that Otis loves. Colorino (pictured above and is suitable for children from 2 years) and Colorama (pictured below for children from three years - the child can use independently but is also a fun game for two or more people).
Otis painting after school.
Caspar using leaf rubbing plates. These come out sooo well!!
We have updated our Matching and Language Sets - Australian Native Birds. The cards are now professionally printed on glossy 350 gsm card. We had to make a large print run so if you are interested in our Matching and Language Card sets - now is the time.
Otis being gentle.
We can highly recommend Geronimo Stilton. I'm finding it really difficult to find books at Caspar's reading level that are engaging for him.
Caspar's Zucchini and Carrot Slice going into the oven.
We have a new small lock box.
Otis enjoying some hole punching.
Some colour mixing while I prepare dinner.
Otis sweeping leaves. Oh there are always so many!
Caspar traced and cut out some geomatric solids. Inspiration found here.
Otis is learning how to use the scales/bucket balance. He has moved this little activity from the study to his bedroom.
I think there are six or seven apples in this set. Large to small apples.
Caspar (6 yrs) is almost obsessed with board games. His latest interest is in Battleships. He has actaully taught Otis to play which is fantastic for number and letter recognition.
Caspar has been using some online resources to help with his drawing. These printouts were fantastic. I would love some recommendations on children's sketch/how to draw books for realistic images, people and animals.
We have shared with Caspar and Otis that we will be moving (even though we still don't have a set date). Caspar has been researching our new city.
Otis finger painting.
Now this is a great practical life/maths activity. Caspar is counting coins, he isn't counting the number of coins but their total monetary worth.
Both boys have been enjoying block play before bed. Block play for them now almost always involves scenery or interaction with people/role play.
Look - I'm a bridge!
A totally out of focus shot of Otis walking the line.
It's not often I have one-on-one time with Caspar but we are hoping to make this hike a regular occurrence. It was fantastic and the first time I've taken Caspar out where I have got a work out too. Just what we needed.
What we are reading. I am reading What on Earth am I Here For? By Rick Warren. I'm not particularly religious however I like to think we all have a purpose. The author recommends reading a chapter (each chapter is only a couple of pages) a day. Wow, it's been interesting.
Caspar (not for the first time) has wanted to learn to knit. We've had Kids Knitting by Melanie Falick for a while and although I'm sure it's recommended for an older age group it is a great starting point for children and learner adults alike.
Caspar (6) has joined a Rubik's Cube Club at school. What fun! I love how the parent who coordinates the group has put the child's name on all the cubes. Too cute. Caspar loves it much more than I expected and it's much more mathematical than I expected!!
Otis' easel has been outside for the last few months. It's beautiful to be painting outside. Rascal (our dog) has not yet put his face or paw in the paint but I am sure it will happen. He has stolen a painting or two off the easel when Otis wasn't looking!
Otis sorting and learning the names of dried beans. I have a little giveaway at the shop for the sorting tray here.
We are at the end of the school holidays. During the holidays Caspar (6yrs) completed two research projects. When he researches something now I completely let him go. I make no suggestions, I don't prompt, I don't look for or find resources. I completely let him go. I only provide help if he asks for it - which is usually for spelling. His first project was on where and how Lego is made. This was so interesting! His second was about hermit crabs. He wanted to know more about them. Here he is measuring 'Sheldon'.
Otis makes banana snack for friends. This is a lovely way for a young child to participate and a nice way to greet guests.
We love these crochet eggs a Easter. They are from Etsy from a couple of years ago. They are suitable for babies - they enjoy the texture and even adults can't help but to pick them up.
Although Otis cannot read I've found it useful to label the little bottles we use in the bathroom - considering all the solutions look similar. Transferring soap, shampoo and bubble bath into little bottles was the best idea we used a few years This allows littles ones especially toddlers to use the bottles without the fear they will empty an entire large bottle - which would previously happen frequently.
Otis pasting in his journal.
Contrast on our kitchen table. Beautiful roses from our neighbour and the rest of the table covered in Lego.
Otis has just started to get into making! Making things from our making (recycling/construction) box. Caspar was working at the table on his Lego and Otis spontaneously pulled together these materials to make a trumpet! I put down the paper and placemat and helped to pour the paint. He did the rest.
We are still loving these architectural prints on the wall in the study.
Otis with his threading (straw) bracelet that he made at school.
This week we've had a plumber and a repair man come to our house. We see the postman almost daily. The mechanic occassionally. Firefighters often as we pass the fire station. We've been discussing the people in our neighbourhood.
At Caspar's last Little Athletics meet Otis raced in the Toddler Race. Every toddler took home a tshirt. Thank you Queanbeyan Llittle Atheltics. P.S It was my first time to Queanbeyan!
Otis washing the dishes. He is wearing a terry cloth apron from Goose Designs here.
Earth is also a sphere.
Stacking geometric solids.
Otis doing an air/land/water activity.
One of Caspar's giant sunflowers. Although it's started to wilt we haven't cut it as we love seeing the bees enjoy it.
Merry Christmas! Christmas for us is hot weather, seafood (although I cooked turkey and pavlova Christmas Eve) and the slip 'n' slide.
Studying Cicadas and their cast skins. Found on a nature walk around the National Carillon which is on it's own little island. As fascinating place even without the Cicadas.
Caspar's International Space Station.
After getting dressed Otis finds a comfortable place for some reading.
I really miss blogging regularly. I hope I can get back to it soon. Today Otis used the sand tray for the first time.
At six (years old) I'm finally becoming comfortable with Caspar's use of technology. I noticed children using this application in the Cycle Two (Montessori) classroom and I couldn't wait to check it out for myself. As the teacher told me 'the only ethical frog dissection'. Wow, it's amazing and can be taught on our lounge room floor. This one is narrated and I love the voice - just like a science professor, you can learn more about it here.
This might be a bit too much for some adults and some children, however it will also appeal to many children ready or interested in this area of study.
Love Canberra and it's National institutions.
We recently swapped materials! These lovely cards are from Free Spirit Kids.
A pack of large paint brushes provides inspiration for some painting.
Otis has been spending some time working with shells. Listening, feeling, observing. Sorting, counting. They are so beautiful to work with.
The boys getting some love and attention from their Grandparents.
Otis matching the sound (from the CD) to the picture. He loves to hear the fire engine, the owl and the flushing toilet.
Caspar looking very anxious before his puppy's first health check. Turns out we have one very healthy pup!
Otis asked for an egg for breakfast. Peel. Slice and eat.
More magnet work.
In our garden. Bees. Yellow and lavender.
And Caspar's sunflower seeds are starting to grow.
A sneak peak of one of the books Otis is currently reading. Beautiful isn't it?
Otis takes his barn outside, playing very quietly.
Awesome, Colourful Rainbow Blocks.
Otis partakes in a spot of modelling! He loved every minute.
Shop business cards. Each set has a different quote.
Otis at 30 months!
Caspar's spring flower.
Today while at our 'quiet place' I really focused on Otis's hands and feet. Observing what he touched. Touching it also so I knew how it felt, so I would experience the same textures. We had a really beautiful day.
Otis using clay.
There are two trays on Otis' art shelf that have been there forever and he uses them so much I don't want to rotate them. Gluing/pasting and stamps.
A few more pictures of Otis and his 'practical life' work from today.
I love having Caspar's science experiments in the kitchen. This one is 'Striped Celery Snack: How Water Moves Up Stems'. He found it in Science Experiments You Can Eat and it shows how the water moves up through the xylem. The best thing about this book is Caspar can find the experiment himself. If it was an idea I had he probably wouldn't be as interested.
Caspar and Otis on the jumping castle at Floriade. They had the jumping castle and slide to themselves. Otis didn't go down the slide here, he backed out and went down the stairs.
Recent photographs of Otis' butterfly garden. If the plants continue to grow I will continue to take photographs. I think these would look lovely in a photograph book, showing Otis the stages from him planting the seeds to the actual plants/flowers.
The boys and I have been unwell this week so there has been lots of quiet time and rest. Here Otis is enjoying some fruit matching cards. I made these cards for Caspar so it's great to be able to get them out for Otis to use.
Otis is enjoying cutting this soft banana with a serrated knife.
There has been over watering and re-digging but much to our excitement (and possibly surprise) Otis's butterfly garden has started to grow, the seeds have sprouted.
The colour and light in this photograph is a bit crazy but the bokeh is real. Otis is using the outdoor black board - it's nailed to our fence just above the sandpit.
A busy but beautiful kitchen table.
Otis - doing his own thing. Sweeping the leaves and then dumping them.
Caspar having fun in the tree at a friend's house.
Caspar jumping out of the treehouse onto the trampoline.
Caspar in the treehouse with a 3.30pm sun.
Otis is so much like his brother and they are both like their dad. Happy Fathers Day! Welcome September and hello Spring.
Caspar is planting Sunflower seeds throughout our garden beds.
Otis smelling the wonderful wattle that now fills our city. Come spring and Canberra is full of bright yellow bursts of wattle.
After reading about this application on Swiss Miss, then on Design Mom, I down loaded it for Caspar. The Human Body by Tinybop is really an application I would recommend. I would say for five years and up for children with already a good knowledge of the human body.
The boys on their way to a Batman Birthday Party! We only had one Batman costume so Otis settled for being a knight.
Another shot of Caspar researching.
Signs of spring!
Otis is currently very interested in eggs. He asked to keep some in his fridge - which I initially thought was a good idea. Then he dropped two raw eggs on the floor. He also peeled, sliced and ate three (once cooked of course!).
Some photographs from our nature walk today. It was cold but sunny.
No post tonight as I'm having a few technical difficulties (I've already spent a couple of hours cleaning up my hard drive!). Tomorrow, all things going well, my post will be about the child in the second plane of development. Here the boys are enjoying some beautiful clay. Otis does what he always does with playdough - sticks in craft sticks, match sticks and buttons. Caspar has made some pinch bowls. You can see how dark it is in our house, I'm ready for Spring!
Some new additions to the aquarium. Otis likes to sit and watch. Caspar drew a Hermit Crab and put it on the wall. We realised we don't know how many legs a Hermit Crab has. Another research idea!
Otis loves cutting so we keep a cutting tray out. By the end of the day he has always cut all the strips.
Caspar is entranced by photography on the iPad.
Otis is a little obsessed with band-aids right now! This shows that Montessori in the home doesn't need to be expensive, the dustpan and brush Otis is using cost $2.
Otis cutting snack. He's now wearing his brother's apron.
Over the weekend Caspar used the hot glue gun by himself for the first time. He was really hesitant but handled it easily. The hot glue gun adds another dimension to Caspar's making that is hard to achieve by other means. That strong hold especially for solid and heavy items like shells, twigs and seedpods.
Last night the boys made their own dinner. I helped to boil the water for the pasta. The boys (mainly Caspar) peeled and grated the carrot, grated cheese, washed and cut the broccoli. When the pasta was cooked and drained they mixed it in with the vegetables and cheese along with a little olive oil. Child made raw vegetable pasta!
I love the bits of paper both boys are bringing home from school. Caspar is only five, I love that he can do multiplication - thanks to Montessori!
Today after lunch with a friend we visited the nearby playground.
This is from yesterday. This is work I found Otis doing on the window sill. Perhaps he was drawn to the light and warmth coming through the window. Our days have been really cold and wet. I haven't taken my camera out for this reason and the house has felt so dark. Perhaps today I'll take my camera out.
Otis and I made pizza for dinner. It was hard not to fix his with one big pile of cheese in the centre, I gently tried to show him how to spread it out. Otis had another try at grating, it's generally something I would leave until he is a bit older but he wants to help so much.
I'm about to update our what we are reading page. Here are three new books that we are reading. The Listening Walk is a classic and Otis loves it. Highly recommended for toddlers who love to listen.
This air plant sits on our kitchen table and is therefore looked at closely everyday. Now much to our excitement it's flowering.
Painting with found things. Everything was found in Caspar's making box. Cellophane, foil, lids, paper rolls, netting, string, egg cartons and corrugated card. Great for experiencing different textures and different sounds when painting. We were painting on the floor too, we put down some butchers paper first - so much easier for big painting projects.
Washing the floor. I give him his own little bucket, it only has an inch or so of water in it. Often he will wear his rain boots while doing this which helps to prevent slips.
Otis could you come and wash some potatoes please? He uses a small mushroom brush to clean the potatoes, it's the perfect size for those little hands.
What is important about this from a Montessori perspective is that this isn't an activity set up for the child, we are preparing a meal and the potatoes actually need to be cleaned. I could and have set this up at the kitchen sink but there wasn't enough clear space, plus it's nice for him to spend time working on it at his level/child sized table.
Otis is in charge of the compost. This is our bokashi bin.
The activity/photo of the day album can be seen here. Click on the individual photograph for the description.