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March 2012
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May 2012

April has given me many wonderful and interesting ideas. How about making butter in a baby food jar? She said it could be done. Empty clean jars with tight fitting lids, clean marbles and full cream at room temperature. Pour the cream into the jars. Put a marble in each. Then shake. A lot. For around five minutes. Even Otis can do it. We gave him a jar of this own. Check out the smile. Keep shaking past the whipped cream stage and you get butter. Pour out the liquid. Some people say rinse the butter with cool water, we... Read more →

I love seeing how children develop. Watching an infant creeping to a crawl. Cruising to walking. I have mentioned Otis walking with his walker wagon before (here and here). It's perfect for a beginner because it is so stable. Now that Otis is more confident on his feet he has taken to walking with anything. The Wheely Bug. He's not just cruising here. He's actually walking around the entire house, even over carpet with these. A stool. The Cube Chair. The high chair. I have also recently noticed how tall babies look once they start walking. One moment they appear... Read more →

We often go to our Farmer's Market for an authentic fresh food experience. Caspar has also grown a lot of fruit and vegetables himself. We take him to a butcher for meat and a fishmonger for seafood. When we buy fish it's usually in fillets with the bones and skin removed. It doesn't resemble the fish it came from. Our fishmonger is a fun place to visit. The whole store is chilled and it's wet. There are boxes and crates packed with ice and sea creatures. We brought home a small selection to explore. This seafood is fresh but it... Read more →

We had finished playing Connect Four when Caspar and Otis begun to fill the frame with tokens. No strategy just having fun putting all the tokens in. Watching Otis's hand action made me think he was ready for a coin box. I have not purchased a coin box and when Caspar was little I made one out of an empty yoghurt container. This DIY is a compromise. No natural materials and not beautiful. It's functional but still a compromise on the traditional Montessori material. I asked Caspar to give Otis a lesson. Caspar loves this. He is channelling his teacher.... Read more →

Oh the things I wish I knew! Only four years ago I was looking for a high chair. A high chair for a Montessori home. We wanted a chair that was: made of timber aesthetically pleasing adjustable able to be used from six-months able be used independently by the child from around 18 months comfortable without a tray so that it could be completely pulled up to the family table. The only one I knew about was the Tripp Trapp. While we love the Tripp Trapp (and the wonderful colours they come in) there are now many others on the... Read more →

During the school holidays it's important for us to take the opportunity to spend some days at home. I don't want my children to feel bored easily. I want them to use their minds and imaginations. Not to look to me for something to do, for entertainment. So we allow them as much free play as possible. Outside I try not to hover but stay nearby. Otis is frequently physically constrained by closed doors. But leave our back door open and this is where you will find him. Here or at the strawberry patch. It was actually rainy today. While... Read more →

Rainy day. Sick baby. From the moment I woke up all I could think about was going back to sleep. While Otis was sleeping I wanted to do something with Caspar that required very little energy. Why did I think French Knitting would be easy? I thought this was for children. Once I got it started I realised this was way above Caspar's skill level, I found it difficult myself. Don't laugh, I'm no knitter. I remembered this idea below, it took me two minutes to make. To demonstrate Caspar sat on my lap. I put my arms around him... Read more →

It's nice to remember that some of the best materials can be made with items already in our home. Here I have used empty spice bottles, some seeds, nuts and lentils. With beauty and the use of natural materials at the forefront of my mind. I copied the idea from Sara here. Sara used jam jars. I like the little jars our vanilla paste comes in but I didn't have enough. Used baby food jars would work well too. Read more →

We may have missed Earth Day but it's never too late to update your recycling and composting areas. I think these printables from Steph at Modern Parents Messy Kids look great. Nice, clear and simple. Updating an area is a sure fire way to stimulate the interest of your child. We compost using the Bokashi system. Here is Caspar showing exactly how it's done. He was proficient even at three. We know composting is good for the Earth. Rich, awesome soil packed full of worms! Edited: I'm glad no one picked this up before I did. Earth Day is on... Read more →

Using a stacker is good for a child's hand eye coordination, concentration, focus and spatial awareness. Some stackers are also good for learning shapes and colours. These are the stackers we are using and rotating with Otis at twelve months. 1. Rainbow Stacker. This looks beautiful sitting on the shelf. 2. Ring Stacker with Colour Discs from Beginning Montessori. This stacker is a favourite of mine because it is really four stackers in one (have a look at their site to see what I mean). Different sized discs makes this suitable for a wide range of skill levels and keeps... Read more →

Learning Together - What Montessori can offer your family by Kathi Hughes This book was only released last month. I think you can see Finn from Sew Liberated on the cover and there are a couple of Meg's photographs inside. There are also contributions from Charlotte (who wrote Let's talk about Screen Time Part One and Part Two) and Meg from At Home with Montessori. There are also many contributions from other parents with lots of real life examples and suggestions. It's such a lovely book visually with lots of photographs and easy to read text. My favourite chapters are... Read more →

What do you think of when you hear 'first shoes', 'first walkers', 'baby shoes'? I was confused with Caspar, I had no idea. I'm not sure with Otis, I'm still looking around. Otis hasn't worn shoes yet, I haven't even purchased him a pair but I think these are our main requirements: Will stay on, even through crawling. Some suggest shoes that go up the leg a little. Comfortable. Enclosed and warm, it's Autumn here! Soft and flexible. Made from natural fibres. Just to clarify while I am happy for him to go with bare feet with the cooler weather... Read more →

This is Part Two and the final in this series. Part One can be found here. Charlotte continues to answer my questions. 2. You have four children, how does screen time work in your house, are there different rules for each child? I have to say at this point that I am not unrealistic about the use of technology now within everyday life, but I do think that children’s exposure to it can wait. We still have one tv in our house and it is still capable of playing dvds, although as explained before no longer has the capacity to... Read more →

Montessori, Weaning, Infant, Cube Chairs. No matter what you call them these chairs help to foster independence in even the youngest child. Some children can sit upright very well at six months. Mine couldn't so a solid, sturdy chair with a back and two sides was essential. At nine months Otis could use his chair independently, he could get in/out/up and down. The child doesn't need to use the chair for weaning, it also makes a great place to sit and work. Here is a round up of some chairs available in the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia. 1.... Read more →