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Have you ever wondered how to introduce colour theory to your toddler or young child? Montessori art teacher and teacher trainer Spramani Elaun joins us again today to share her tips on learning art basics through colour mixing play. This is an activity that I've set up for my toddler and it was a total hit, I'll continue to try this over the summer holidays! This is also a good activity to try with siblings or, in playgroup or classroom setting. I hope you enjoy! ------------------------------------------------ Little minds are always ready to explore. Isn’t that one of the best parts... Read more →

Does everyone have at least one Melissa and Doug toy in their home? Melissa and Doug have some great toys suitable for Montessori homes, their toys are relatively affordable and for most families, they are easy to find. I've always found their quality to be good. Due to their widespread availability, they are easy to put on wish lists for family or friends to give for birthdays or Christmas. I've even seen and used a few Melissa and Doug toys in Montessori parent-toddler classes. Today I'm sharing some of the Melissa and Doug toys that we've enjoyed for the one-year-old.... Read more →

Art is as important in the Montessori environment as practical life, language or mathematics. It should not be dismissed (by parents or teachers) as less than, or as simply 'play' not 'work'. However, as a parent, I find there is more information available on the benefits of reading to a toddler or cooking with a toddler. Yes, these are important but today, let's talk about art and specifically about clay. Art with toddlers is often dismissed because of mess. Art can be messy but it doesn't have to be, use only a few materials in small quantities, prepare your surface... Read more →

Today I'm sharing six new trays for a Montessori toddler. Otto is using all of these at 21 months. While his favourites are still using the stacking pegs, lock box, and the light table all of these trays are well used too. Above are farm magnets on a metal tray. Earth Tiles on a metal tray. The metal tray makes it easier to play with the magnetic tiles and also keeps them all contained. Threading using felt shapes and an embroidery needle. You can see previous threading work here. Colour matching. This is also great for one-to-one correspondence. Otto also... Read more →

500ml / 250ml / 150ml What type of pitchers and drinking glasses do your children use? When you have your first child it's hard to know what size to get or what designs will work, often it takes a little trial and error to get it right. Today I'm sharing our most used pitchers, drinking glasses and mugs. We have a few others but these are the ones we use the most and have survived two or three children. Water dispensers have become popular in Montessori homes but I suggest that children also need the opportunity to learn to pour... Read more →

Have you ever thought about starting up your own Montessori playgroup? I have! It would be so much fun but also a lot of work, where do you start? Simone from the Montessori Notebook has developed an online boot camp to help parents and teachers start their own playgroups providing a ton of support and resources. The boot camp is a two-week intensive online workshop that will help participants set up a Montessori playgroup, step-by-step. Simone is one of my favourite Montessorians, she is the author of The Montessori Toddler but most of all she is super friendly, relatable, approachable... Read more →

Montessori art teacher and teacher trainer Spramani Elaun joins us again today to discuss the best art materials for toddlers. I love lists like this as it helps me to reassess the materials we have at home and it gives me ideas on materials to introduce in the future. Spramani also has her own line of art materials which you can view here. There are so many options. I hope you enjoy! ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Trying to control toddlers can be a challenge—to say the least. I have two kids (both grown now) and I remember those toddler years...they were filled with... Read more →

For toddlers, I love to set up a nature or observation tray rather than a nature table. I like to keep all the small pieces contained within the walls of the tray. My toddler understands he can observe, touch and manipulate all of the items but they must stay in the tray. Only now at 21 months are we moving away from a nature basket which has served more as an exploration/treasure basket to a real observation tray. A Montessori observation tray is not small world play, it's not small parts play, it is about observing up close and with... Read more →

One way we can increase our art literacy is through books. Today I'm sharing five ridiculously good art books for toddlers and preschoolers. These are all board books that are engaging, they are simple but sophisticated. Often they introduce one concept at a time such as line, shape or colour. I have listed them in order starting with my favourite, but they are all amazing and I highly recommend them! The language used in these books is absolutely fantastic for building vocabulary and comprehension. My toddler is 21 months old and is in a sensitive period for language. He loves... Read more →

Are you looking for some beautiful Montessori toys for your children? Only recently I took the plunge and ordered some materials from Heir+Loom Kids. I love the combination of the timbers they use and how well they work with the Montessori philosophy. While they have traditional Montessori materials like the interlocking discs, palmer and pincer grasp blocks they also have new materials like the toddler peg toys and the first jigsaw. You can tell someone with a Montessori mind is behind this company. It should come as no surprise that Janishi Hightower designer, maker, and, owner of Heir+Loom Kids has... Read more →

Amazing Montessori At Home Art Spaces

Are you looking for ideas or inspiration to update or perhaps create an art area for your children? I love looking at little areas like this that other families have created in their homes. Here are a few gorgeous examples of Montessori home art areas! The above area shows how well a corner space can work, add a few floating shelves on the wall and a simple hanging area. I love the white art caddy here keeping all the drawing materials together in an ordered way, still very visible and accessible to the children. This is a good example of... Read more →

Image supplied by How we Montessori/Kylie D'Alton You may have noticed that we do a lot of art in our home. Even on sick or rainy days the oil pastels are used and paint is in abundant supply. I love it and Otto responds really well to it. However art is not my strength, often I feel like I don't know what I am doing and I question how it is best to teach art to toddlers. I also want to know how art is presented in a Montessori environment, is there a Montessori way of doing toddler art? I... Read more →

It's almost summer and the summer fruits have started to appear at our local farms and markets. Cherries are perhaps Otto's favourite!! But first, we have to remove the pit! Last weekend we went strawberry picking at a pick-your-own farm. It was so much fun but of course, we came home with a ton of strawberries. Otto has been using this strawberry slicer since he was around 14 months old. It is sharp so be careful. Ripe and small strawberries are the easiest for the young toddler to slice and make sure they keep their fingers out of the way!... Read more →

One of our most used toys is the stacking and pegging board. Both Otis and Otto have loved them from around 14 months, once they could comfortably sit unaided and use two hands together in a coordinated way. Some pegging toys are harder to use as the pegs click together, others slot into each other easily. I have found them to be toys that last, they remain popular for over a year, perhaps even two years. They are initially a challenge as the child has to work really hard to put the pegs together. Then later it is fun as... Read more →

While it's nice to bake from scratch, using organic ingredients from the farmers markets, in my world the occasional cake mix is ok too! In fact, my kids love them! Most are very child friendly, with pre-measured ingredients and clear instructions. Today I thought I'd share some of our favourite cake mixes and perhaps you'll share some of your favourites too! Using a cake mix, your child will still have a baking experience, it's all about the fun and the company. They will learn the basic ingredients that go into a cake - often we have to add the eggs,... Read more →