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November 2015
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January 2016

Introducing tongs to a child as young as eighteen months is a great way to build hand strength, develop fine (finger, hand) and gross motor (arm, shoulder) skills, build coordination and provide an opportunity to cross the midline. Using tongs with transfer work allows the child through repitition to develop focus and concentration! All of these tongs (pictured above) are from Amazon or Montessori Services. Although I recommend having a look if you are near a kitchen specialty store - often it's easier to get a feel for the tongs in person. Searching mini tongs, sugar tongs, ice tongs or... Read more →

I hope you are enjoying the Christmas break! Our guests left today so the boys spent most of the day in their pyjamas, until we had to go out for new batteries! I love the days between Christmas and New Years Day, the children are so immersed in their gifts and new toys. Caspar's (8yrs) gifts this year were science focused so I thought it would be fun to write about them and compose our favourite STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) toys list. Caspar received various science kits for Christmas including the CSIRO Climate Change Double Helix Science Kit.... Read more →

As it's the school holidays I thought it would be fun to show a few things we have been doing at home. It's so important for us to spend a good amount of our holidays at home - we need the down time. Here are some pictures from today. Above is a really colourful and easy activity. I painted some art paper black and then once it dried the boys drew on it with chalk. The chalk colours come up so vibrant. (We are using Mercurius chalk.) Otis has also stuck on some glittery stars for his nocturnal scene. Otis... Read more →

There is something really fascinating about the medieval times. I think most children go through a period of being interested in history and castles and knights. Play is a great way to learn about or extend knowledge of history. And when we are learning about history we gain a better understanding of our world and possibly our place in it. Both of my children love playing with knights and were thrilled to read and play with Build! A Knight's Castle: Paper Toy Archaeology, which has been provided to us for purposes of review. It is part book, the front section... Read more →

Transferring food at fifteen months (from chopping board to pan), Using a vegetable cutter at 17 months, Using tongs at 17 months, Washing food (and independently making snack) at 18 months. As I've mentioned we have a toddler staying with us over Christmas. It seems like the perfect time to give myself a refresher on what a toddler can do in the kitchen. These are some examples of Otis in the kitchen when he was young. The ages are not necessarily a guide, each child is different and has different skills. I hope this serves as a bit of Montessori... Read more →

1. ECOlunchbox Three-in-One Stainless Steel Food Container Set, 2. LunchBots Bento Trio, 3. LunchBots Bento Cinco, 4. Goodbyn Bynto Food Container, 5. Kids Konserve Nesting Trio, 6. LunchBots Duo Stainless Steel Snack Container, 7. Honeybee Food Wraps, 8. LunchBots Condiment Containers, 9. 4MyEarth Snack Pocket Set, 10. Contigo Autospout Addison Water Bottle, 11. Lifefactory Glass Bottle. What kind of lunch box does your three or four year old take to Montessori school? A lunch box they are comfortable with, one they can open and close easily themselves. It's really that simple. Both of my children started with the ECOlunchbox. It... Read more →

Some seriously beautiful watercolours. Shades of Green. All of this green reminds me of this book. Using Spectrum Mosaics (ours are from here). From this pack - Did you know that due to the way the human eye perceives colour, warm colour appears closer, while cool colours appear further away? How do colours make you feel? Do warm colours relax or stimulate? Beautiful puzzle. Goethe Colour Wheel. Warm colours (sunsets). Our house is full of Christmas bush (the little red flowers in the middle). Cool colours (ocean and the sky). Crayons c/o Crayola. Read more →

Since moving to Brisbane I've had the opportunity to meet more Montessori people than ever before. More teachers, more educators, more Montessori parents. Recently I had the privilege of meeting Ruth Barker from Toddler Education Services. I wanted to share with you a little about Ruth and her work with young people. I've interviewed Ruth below and at the end of the post there is a giveaway for some of her books! For those who haven’t met you before can you briefly introduce yourself with a little background on how you came to working with children and the Montessori method?... Read more →

Have you tried marbling? This was our very first time. I really had no idea how it worked or if it would be ok for Otis to do. Supervision is required (I filled and emptied the water in the tray) but this was a fantastic experience. It's not at all messy, it's all contained and it was great to experiment with. I love the hands on experience with colour! The boys are now on school holidays and this is one of the activities I had ready for them. This turned out to be perfect for both of them. While the... Read more →

A la douce, Montessori on Mars I might just be a little obsessed with toddler shelves. I think I always have been. Here are six toddler shelves that are absolutely adorable. I love capturing these great examples as it really shows how each home is different and how we all can make it work and provide really lovely environments for our toddlers. LePort Schools, I Heart Montessori Lots of colour, lots of natural timbers. Low shelves and baskets. Books and animals. Puzzles and musical instruments. Lots of love and care! Everyday Begins New, Mama & Baby Love Read more →

The boys' cousin will be visiting this month (and staying for Christmas!!). I really want to make him feel welcome but most of all I want to provide him with the opportunity to work and play with developmentally appropriate toys (in a developmentally appropriate environment) while staying with us. Toddlers can often feel unsettled when out of their routine and home environment and possibly frustrated when the environment doesn't match their capabilities. So while I will need to observe him and see if this environment works for him (he can also eat and draw/do other activities at this table) I... Read more →

I've written so many gift guides lately I feel like I need to add a disclaimer. Whatever gifts you buy - please make them beautiful. Buy gifts that will add to your child's life, buy gifts your child can connect with and that will last. Montessorians are known for their love of wooden toys. Although we do have some plastic toys in our home I really love creating natural learning opportunities. I love to have the bulk of our toys and materials being natural and authentic. Toys add to the overall feel of our home and I want our home... Read more →

Our Christmas preparations so far have been extremely modest. Over the weekend we made some decorations which is a real tradition for us. Salt dough ornaments are a favourite because they are so easy and I love their simplicity. We are aiming for a modest and simple Christmas. I have the boys' presents organised (should I build Otis' eco house or give it to him in the box?), their Christmas pyjamas are ready to go and I will probably only pick up one or two more things. Over the upcoming weeks we will continue to make a few more ornaments... Read more →

I love any idea that saves time and makes life easier. Having a drink station in your home is one of those ideas. It will make your life easier. It is really simple and cheap to set up and the children will find is so, so useful. No one likes a child constantly asking for a drink (or for their water bottles to be refilled), if they are hot and bothered it makes it a whole lot worse. With a drink station the child can easily help themselves. Parents of toddlers please note these top two pictures are of our... Read more →