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July 2019
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I believe that a good play mat promotes play. It promotes freedom of movement, it promotes concentration and it promotes creativity. In a world where we are bombarded with messages about baby swings, bouncers and baby seats, I'm here to share with you the benefits of a play mat and lots of free, uninterrupted floor time. I view the play mat a little like a Montessori teacher would view the work rug. Only for an infant or young toddler the space is larger. The play mat marks out the child's area "this area is mine" and it provides a safe... Read more →

Etsy is a constant source of inspiration. Here are a few Waldorf and Montessori finds that I'm loving and buying from Etsy. Waldorf Wool Felt Birthday Crown - Otto is turning two next month and I've been looking for a birthday crown for him, isn't this one lovely? The crown that I decided to order is this one with interchangeable numbers. Apfelmaus - the mouse in the apple. We have this on our shelves (for open ended play) and it's adorable, Otto loves it. Garden Play Dough Kit - fresh play dough inspiration, ordered! I love how the play dough... Read more →

My toddler can't count so that excludes him from many board games. But he can recognise and identify shapes and colours!! He doesn't always wait his turn but he's learning and a cooperative or non-competitive game is always a good place to start. Caspar (11yrs) and Otis (8yrs) still have a week before school goes back. This week Caspar is at Hockey Camp so Otis and Otto (23 months) have a lot of time to play together. They have been loving Colorama. Have you tried it before?? It's a fantastic first board game for toddlers. We've had Colorama in our... Read more →

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. There are so many fantastic activities we can prepare for our toddlers using materials found around the home. Sometimes we just need a little reminder. My toddler loves to unpack the dishwasher and put the dishes away. But he doesn't always get the chance, often his brothers unpack the dishwasher when he is not around. Due to the height of our cutlery drawer he often just puts all of our cutlery in one spot in the drawer. A cutlery sorting tray is super easy to put together and appeals... Read more →

It's easy to over look language work for other toddler activities such as practical life and fine motor skill work like puzzles and other manipulatives. When I look at pictures of our previous Montessori parent toddler class there is a lot of language work on the shelves, there is a lot more language and categorising/sorting work than I was offering. Noting that Otto will not be attending a parent toddler class until we are back in Australia, I've sought some inspiration for making more language work for our home. Previously our language baskets have been based on animals, transport, fruit/veg... Read more →

Today I spent some time in a Doll House (and accessories) store. It's like a dream for Montessori parents and teachers with every life-like miniature and replica you can think of. I brought home a whole heap of materials ready to make some language work for my toddler. Here are a few activities that inspired my Doll House store visit!! Above is an adorable set of cleaning tools. How lovely is the hand-stitched label and bag! This one is so sweet and I'm absolutely using this as inspiration for some matching and language work for my toddler! Nichole has a... Read more →

My toddler loves to play with locks!! It's a lot like doing a puzzle, you need to put the key into the lock in just the right way. Using a lock and key is fantastic for the child's developing fine motor skills, coordination and concentration. Best of all many of these activities can be put together using materials found around the home. Here are five lock and key activities my toddler (at 23 months) is loving: 1. Cash Box - this is a favourite!! The idea is the toddler can post or insert the coins and then use the keys... Read more →

I recently discovered this absolutely gorgeous photobook about unconventional schools. It's an amazing book, it's ground-breaking. I've never seen a book like it. If you are passionate about schooling or unconventional methods of education you might like it too! Let's Do This is a photo book with nearly 300 images of six unconventional schools from around the world. Featuring schools from Bali, San Diego, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and, California. Touching subjects like; Making Movement, Nature Schools, Engaging Education, Project-Based Learning and Interdisciplinary Learning. This book is visually stunning, I had chills reading it, it will take your breath away!!! "What... Read more →

Have you been to Ikea recently? They have a lot of really cute, new items suitable for a Montessori home or perhaps the classroom. When I go to Ikea I usually pick up lots of baskets, trays and, baskets. They have many of these new in stock. Here are a few new things that I'm currently loving at Ikea: FĂ–RMEDLA tray with non-slip bottom - a lovely tray at 13 x 13 inches. For a food preparation tray, drink station or craftwork. Really practical! OSTBIT bamboo tray - (UK link) 25 x 33 cms, this has a nice 2cm edge/sides.... Read more →

Let's talk about travel potties. Are they a necessity? I could not be happier with our current travel potty. It has been am-az-ing. Earlier this week we flew to Copenhagen with Otto (23 months), without any potty/toileting accidents. No wet pants. Using the toilet or potty was my biggest concern for our summer travel. But I shouldn't have worried. I understand that a big part of this process is physiology, Otto is physically able to hold on or wait to use the potty. He will not use a public toilet and he won't pee standing up outside, on the grass... Read more →

Did you know that Beginning Montessori are closing? After ten years of making (by hand) quality Montessori materials, Carrie and Shane have decided to close up shop. Beginning Montessori has a special place in my heart as my children have used almost all of their materials. When Otis was little, Beginning Montessori were one of only a few stores making infant materials. I wish Carrie, Shane and their two sweet daughters all the very best for the future!! When you order from Beginning Montessori you know you are ordering from the best. Carrie was part of the first class of... Read more →

We work hard to create a multi-sensory learning environment. What this often means is creating lots of real-life experiences. When I think of using our sense of smell I'm thinking of walks in the forest, scented flowers in the garden or in flower arranging, harvesting and caring for our children's herb garden and of course cooking with lots of herbs and spices. But I wanted to create an activity, a tray that we could put on our shelves that would specifically use my toddler's sense of smell. I created a scent or smelling tray. I put a range of herbs... Read more →

When I set up our toddler 'writing' station I put our block crayons into a cute crayon holder. I had put them in the crayon holder previously when presenting the crayons in a tray, but this time it was different. This time my toddler (at 22 months) was much better and more consistent with putting them away and more specific with the colours that he wanted to use. I could see how practical and useful the crayon holder had become. The crayon holder promotes order - the child can easily find the colour crayon they are looking for, it's easy... Read more →

Matching activities are pretty standard in Montessori but have you ever tried matching or sorting using a compartment tray or muffin tin? I've found it a lot easier to work with my toddler this way. My toddler (22 months) has progressed nicely through matching and sorting work. We have had success in object to object, object to image and image to image matching however we have mostly used objects that are very different visually, like a model cow and sheep, or garbage truck and digger. The matching activities shown here are with objects with more subtle differences. What I've found... Read more →

These are the sweetest little birds, I loved them as soon as I saw them. They are plush birds that play authentic bird songs. They are lifelike enough for the child to recognise them with accurate colourings and patterns. I've put a collection of these singing birds into a basket for Otto (22 months) to explore. Most of these birds can be found in our garden, with the exception of the Woodpecker which we've only heard at Forest School and the Puffin which we have watched on live webcams (around Scotland and Wales). The Blackbird, Robin and Tits are very... Read more →