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May 2012
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July 2012

As any parent knows it's hard to rest when you have children. It's also difficult to care for children when you are injured. My leg is still in a splint and besides medical appointments I have not left the house all week. Definitely no nature walks. Otis has been getting restless. I have been searching our cupboard for any old toys of Caspar's that might slightly interest him. Luckily I've found a few. I also remembered how much Caspar loved this scooping activity and thought Otis might just get it. With a very low grip and a firm hand Otis... Read more →

Aim: Create new activity for Otis using items already in the house in under five minutes. Method: Drill holes in recycled containers and present with matchsticks for a threading activity. An oldie but a goodie! I almost feel silly posting something so simple but these are the things we do! This container was recycled and could be used for so many things. It could be used for a coin box or shape sorter. Hannah recently mentioned in the comments a similar activity using blunt kebab sticks. Paddle pop or craft sticks would be good to use too, just cut the... Read more →

Yesterday morning I gave Otis tongs for the first time. I gave him a brief demonstration and then let him play. It was fun watching him work it out. I didn't give him a bowl or do any transferring, simply tongs and some food. Within about five minutes he was able to use the tongs to pick up his strawberries. Not long after I strapped Otis into the Ergo. I overextended my knee and suffered a dislocation. Ouch. Have you ever fallen with your child in a baby carrier? Otis was fine but it was really scary. It was also... Read more →

Caspar has sewn with me many times before. Sitting on my lap he loves to use the sewing machine. It was time for me to take that leap of faith and allow him the opportunity to sew by himself. Take ownership of the project. Step in the Cloud9 Cut and Sew Panel. A fun way to engage my little sewist. Cut, pin, cut, sew, stuff, sew! Yes, he did prick himself with a pin a couple of times but nothing more than an ouch. I don't sew with a foot pedal either so it was easy to show Caspar the... Read more →

More Montessori baby goodness. Looking at these little babies with their mobiles brings me much joy. These are gorgeous! These photographs are from Elsa and her son Finley. Above Finley is enjoying his homemade Munari mobile at 9 days old. Finley aged 1 month intently watching a felt black and white mobile. Elsa designed and made this mobile using the Montessori metal insets as templates - what a fabulous idea! Elsa said this was his favourite mobile ever, even at 3 months he was still enjoying it over all others. .. This is Finley's movement area. At 5 months Finley... Read more →

When I started planning Otis's room I had very little to go on. Some old photos from a friend, descriptions in books and only a few images from the internet. The only images of Montessori mobiles I had were from those selling them. Things have changed. My next couple of posts will feature photographs and videos I have received from all over the world. Some spaces are pure Montessori and others are Montessori inspired. All of them beautiful. A sincere thank you to all the families who have emailed me. I have been overwhelmed by your generosity. Your willingness to... Read more →

Are we limiting our children's creativity by overwhelming them with choice? By giving them too much? By dictating how they will play? Otis is still so young. So much to explore. When I've given him playdough before, I've just given him plain playdough. Then recently with Caspar they started to use tools. The good old rolling pin and cookie cutters. Otis just copied Caspar. Then on another occasion out came some decorations - matchsticks, pipecleaners, you know the like. Once again Otis followed his brother. Now on his art shelf Otis has a few tools with his playdough. But it... Read more →

I am a huge fan of Montessori and Montessori inspired mobiles. Often I receive photographs of mobiles being used by infants from around the world. Oh how I love to see children joyfully engaged with their mobiles and nurseries decorated so beautifully in a Montessori way. I would love to share some of those photographs here on the blog for others to see. If you have a photograph of a space including a Montessori or Montessori inspired mobile that you would be happy to share, I would be delighted if you could email me. If you include a caption of... Read more →

I originally set this up with six tubes and a rectangular block. Otis made it clear that he would rather sit and only used the bottom tube. Because I was with him, working in the kitchen, I gave him some small pom poms. He also used matchsticks and paddle pop sticks. You can tell when the child is engaged. Repetition. Over and over again. After re-arranging and using only two tubes, Otis thought this was ok too. This could be the easiest and cheapest activity I've posted yet! Read more →

Does Australian Aboriginal art inspire you? Images from Papunya painting - Out of the desert. Edited by Viven Johnson. We visit the National Museum Australia regularly and have an on-going discussion about the first Australians. It's an important discussion. Caspar recently asked "Why do we speak English?". Really good question. We have been reading Dreamtime stories which have captured Caspar's imagination like no other. They appeal to his boyish nature. We know that Aboriginal art tells a story, it always has meaning. We've researched symbols. We collected and explored natural mediums. Ochre is unique and is very different from paint.... Read more →

This is a child sized easel which I've shortened by a few inches. Now it's the perfect height for Otis. He uses it everyday. Not always for painting, he will draw here too. We use different types of brushes. I don't know which is best. This one is called Roymac Chunky and has a bulb shaped handle. We use a range of colours but only one colour at a time. We've tried fancier types of painting like painting with string and wool but that just turned into finger painting. Painting with a sponge was successful so I've kept a container... Read more →

Giotto be-be pencil crayons came highly recommended as 'first' crayons. They are soft and easily mark the paper. Honeysticks may be the most eco friendly choice and yes they smell fantastic. Made from 100% natural beeswax and non-toxic pigments. I love that they're made in New Zealand. The unique chubby shape of Honeysticks makes them easier for small hands to hold, but much more difficult for small hands to break! Honeysticks have been "tested in preschools and the kids have tried to break them but they just can't. Plus they love the smell!" - Honeysticks Stockmar Wax Blocks are our... Read more →

A shelf for Caspar (4.5 years), a shelf for Otis (14 months), heaps of storage and hanging space. The cupboard has two doors which Otis cannot independently open yet. But when he can it's totally ok. Caspar can reach various paints and painting tools, clay and clay tools, stamps, various glues and fixatives, art aprons and an art caddy. He can ask for help to reach other materials and if there is something he's using often it's easy for me to move it within his reach. Otis can reach his crayon bucket and book, playdough with tools, paint pots, his... Read more →