At what age do you give your child a camera? Or perhaps you wait for the child to show an interest? I've found that a child as young as three is capable of using basic camera functions including the skills to point and click with some thought and accuracy. We gave Otto a camera for his third birthday. While he loves to use it there are many educational benefits to using a camera at this age. When using a camera the child learns how to capture and document events, places, people, their work and what is going on around them.... Read more →


Are you looking for some fresh magnifying tray or activity ideas for your children? Here are ten that we've tried and enjoyed with my preschooler. Magnifying Glass with Matching Large and Small Cards - as this activity is new to us I've only put out three cards and they are really for observing. Later I will present all the cards and allow the child to match. This is so cute, my preschooler loves looking at the little images with the magnifying glass. Cards found here. Children's Binoculars - with an easy carry bag and a note 'take me on a... Read more →


I noticed Otto loving the geoboard at his Montessori toddler group a couple of weeks ago so I thought it might be time to get ours out of the cupboard. Previously he had been using the toddler geoboard (#2) but perhaps now we could try a larger one like our standard geoboard (#4) or our transparent geoboard (#3) on the light table. At this age the purpose of using the geoboard is for the child to: get to know the material and how it works - for the child to become proficient in using the material so that it can... Read more →


Otto (36 months) is now cutting and using scissors with greater accuracy. To help him further improve his accuracy and also improve his fine motor skills we've introduced a range of cutting strips. I love using cutting strips with images as they also help promote language development and they are much more interesting for the child to use. At this age I like to use cutting strips where there is a bit of a gap between the images as they are easier for the young child to use. Here are some of our current favourites. Construction Vehicles Dogs Cars &... Read more →


It's easy to prepare an activity and put it on your shelves. It's much harder to prepare an activity that meets your child's developmental needs and is also attractive to the child. My toddler doesn't love pasting and he will walk past most pasting trays. I know pasting is a valuable skill so I set out to make some pasting trays that he will actually use and enjoy. I recently watched a video of a Montessori guide who suggested cutting out images for the child to paste from magazines and wrapping paper. My magazines didn't have many useful images but... Read more →


I've been inspired to try some woodwork with Otto since reading Learning Through Woodwork: Introducing Creative Woodwork in the Early Years by Pete Moorhouse. Otto turns three this month so I wasn't sure how to start. Learning Through Woodwork contains good tips for introducing woodwork and it has lots of beautiful photographs of children 3-4 years old working with wood. The author believes that the preschool years starting from three is the ideal time to start woodwork! This feels entirely in line with the Montessori way of thinking. Today I want to share three ways I've introduced woodworking to Otto.... Read more →


We love our Mystery Box, you can see our DIY version here. The idea is very similar to the Stereognostic Bag, the child uses their sense of touch to identify the object/s in the box. The box works well for toddlers as it's harder for them to peek. Using only their hands the child develops their stereognostic sense, the child uses touch to form a mental picture of the object until they can identify or name the object. Recently we have been using mystery boxes (or feely boxes) in a slightly different way. We have been using two smaller boxes... Read more →


We know that toddlers can act crazy, often operating at great speed in unpredictable ways. However, we also know that toddlers are capable of considered and controlled movements, they are capable of being accurate and precise. Toddlers can concentrate and they can determine risk. My toddler loves to jump off steps and stairs. I can see him working out the risk... 'is this too high?' as he decides to jump off the second step rather than the third. Occasionally, he miscalculates and hits the ground a little too awkwardly or too hard, this is good feedback and will assist him... Read more →


Why would we want to make a letter writing tray for our toddler or preschooler? A letter writing tray provides young children with the opportunity to write letters or draw pictures as gifts for friends and family and it introduces the child to the letter writing process including using names, possibly addresses and envelopes. It teaches children about written communication in a real, practical and meaningful way. This may also be a good way to introduce thank you notes or even cards for celebrations. I recognise the wonderful fine motor skills used here too. My toddler loves this tray and... Read more →


Are you attending any toddler or preschooler classes right now? This term Otto and I have been attending a Montessori parent toddler class. It's been wonderful to soak in all the Montessori knowledge and wisdom from those around us. The class is very different from pre-pandemic days. Today was our first day at an Australian Forest School (here they call it Bush Kinder). This class is different to our UK Forest School (which I miss so much) and has also adapted to pandemic restrictions, which is much easier to do outdoors! We are incredibly fortunate that for the rest of... Read more →


There is some thought especially with Occupational Therapists that young children would benefit from using crayons before moving onto other drawing materials like markers. Although my toddler on occasion uses markers, I have to agree and it's not just crayons. I feel there are many reasons why young children would benefit from using pencils, oil pastels, perhaps even charcoal and paint sticks before using markers. Using a marker it's very easy to produce a mark on paper. You can hold a marker at almost any angle with varying amounts of pressure and it still works. Markers are smooth and consistent,... Read more →


Montessori activities don't have to be elaborate or expensive. The quicker and easier they are to put together the better they fit into our every day living. Take clothes washing, an authentic Montessori practical life activity. A couple of buckets, some detergent, water and we are good to go! We use a natural and gentle detergent that is safe for little hands. Making the bubbles is a part of the fun. Wow! My toddler loves all the pouring and splashing. I've prepared this activity outside to give my child freedom to spill and splash a little without adult intervention. Lots... Read more →


When I observe my toddler's block play I see lots of stacking and lining things up, I see the first signs of bridging and making enclosures. He builds ramps and roads. At home he has access to many accessories and he usually chooses cars, or dinosaurs and today I suggested some road signs. Most of all I see he is building towers, cities and often a loose community structure. I love reading about block play and thinking of different ways to enhance the block play experience. I only recently discovered that there are different stages of block play based on... Read more →


There is something comforting and nurturing about making bread with children. The experience of making bread is extra special, it's the kneading, the lovely texture, the rising of the dough, and the warm bread at the end. It's also the surprise, will it rise at all? I keep in mind when making bread with a toddler that the dough can be unpredictable but mostly fixable. Too sticky, we can add some flour. Too dry, add just a touch of water. The child will often spill a little or a lot but we can make it work. What makes this activity... Read more →


Today I want to share this little work area for Otto (2 years 11 months). As he turns three next month this area will soon start changing as I make it more suitable for a preschooler. This is how it looks today. Most of the materials here are Montessori aligned. You've seen many of them before but here are a few new trays/activities close up. Musical Instrument Tray - Alto Saxophone - This is an idea from our Montessori toddler class that I couldn't resist making at home. I've used a language card, model saxophone, a photograph image of a... Read more →