Do you have some dress-ups at home or some doll's clothing to use in a language basket? Above we have used doll's shoes to explore "Whose shoes are these?". We look at the shoes and their features to determine who might wear the shoes or where someone might wear the shoes. For example, we might wear flippers to swim in the ocean. For a young child (Otto is three years) they can use this to build language for example learn the names of things, and also to make associations, thinking about what goes together or what community workers might wear.... Read more →


I've been looking for some fun ways to use wool in crafts and activities that promote the development of fine motor skills. Here are seven activities we tried recently. Yarn Sticks - this was much more fun than I had expected! Both my three and nine-year-old loved wrapping the wool tightly around the sticks, these are purely decorative but you could pretend they are wands or add faces for people. I tied the wool to the sticks but we could use glue too. Pasting Wool Worms - this is the activity that my three-year-old spent the most time on, simple... Read more →


I am always looking for new and interesting snack ideas for my children. In case you are too, here are eight snack and food prep trays that we've used recently. Jam on Pikelets - spreading strawberry jam onto pikelets. We often use crackers for spreading activities so it's nice to use pikelets for something different. Melon Balls - my three-year-old finds this difficult but it's worth the challenge. We use a small melon baller and some cocktail picks to make it easier to share. I've cut the rounded end off the melon so that it sits flat on the chopping... Read more →


Today I'm sharing a little about our Land, Air, Water Sorting Activity. I've found this to be a wonderful and engaging activity for my young three-year-old. He loves playing with the animals. He is still learning the names of some of these animals and although this is a Montessori early geography activity, I've found that it easily leads into animal study, specifically the study of feathers, fur, and scales. We use a felt mat that has clearly defined areas for land, air and water. I've presented this with a basket of model Australian animals. For conservation and sense of place,... Read more →


Are you looking for ideas on how to use children's scales or balance buckets? Scales can be fun for exploring weight, quantities, more than/less than and heavy/light. Many of the items we can use with scales can be found in nature or around the home. "Children naturally have an interest in all aspects of mathematics, weight, order, systems, series, time, quantities, and symbols and so forth. We can serve the development of the mathematical mind by feeding this interest, giving sensorial experiences first." Child of the World: Global Education for Age 3-12+ by Susan Stephenson. Here are a few ways... Read more →


I recently put together some poetry and story baskets for my preschooler (3yrs old). The baskets ensure I am intentional about the poems I share and they also provide my child with the opportunity to hear a poem when he chooses. Poetry and short stories can help develop phonemic awareness and memorization skills. They are also a good way of developing a love of language. We know that early literacy skills are about listening and speaking rather than about reading and writing. We want to build our child's vocabulary, we want the child to hear and identify sounds, rhyme, and... Read more →


This term Otis (in yr 4) is an Eco-Warrior representative for his class. This means he gets to take out the compost and do other environmentally responsible tasks. He started a discussion about what we could do to reduce our waste at home. Otis and I thought about starting a worm farm. We previously used the Bokashi composting method but it was no longer suitable for our growing family. We decided to try a worm farm. Otis helped to set it up and does most of the maintenance. A great flow-on effect is the whole family has been involved in... Read more →


Ravensburger Welcome to The Zoo Jigsaw Puzzle - 2 x 24 Piece Today I want to share some jigsaw puzzles that we are enjoying in our Montessori home. My preschooler loves puzzles. I find them fantastic for building focus and concentration, and they help to develop visual discrimination skills. Although we enjoy puzzles all year round they can be especially useful during the school holidays and during colder and wetter months. These are all jigsaw puzzles and not the traditional Montessori puzzles you would see in a school environment. Jigsaw puzzles can be addictive. Once the child falls in love... Read more →


The title is slightly misleading as all of these snacks have had some adult involvement, however once they are presented to the child of around three, they may be able to do the rest themselves. Presenting snacks like this allows the child to develop practical life skills like peeling, slicing and spreading. These activities can also help develop fine motor skills. Here are a few snacks that we've enjoyed this week: Fruit Kababs - using cocktail sticks (sharp one end, blunt the other) the child threads cut grapes, raspberries, blueberries and cubed rockmelon. We could make similar with apple, orange,... Read more →


I love gardening with my children. I aim to make it a relaxing experience where we can connect with each other and connect with nature. With a little bit of preparation gardening with children can fun and also extremely rewarding. Gardening is also a great way to develop practical life skills in a real, meaningful way. My Montessori gardening tips include: Use child-sized tools - a small spade is much easier for the child to hold and manipulate than a heavy and bulk adult's tool. Children can use smaller child-size tools with greater accuracy and less frustration. Use real tools... Read more →


One of the easiest and cheapest ways we can incorporate fine motor skills into practical life activities is by using mini tongs. Mini tongs and tweezers can be used by children from around 18 months right up to around five years of age. Adult tongs are too bulky for young children and require a whole hand grasp. Smaller tongs are much easier for the child to manipulate successfully and tweezer-like tongs are fantastic at strengthening the muscles in the fingers and promoting the pincer grasp. There are tons of mini kitchen tongs and tweezers that are suitable for children so... Read more →


Many people would say there is no need for practical life trays in the home. However, I find there are plenty of examples where the work is best presented on a tray. A tray keeps all the materials together and defines the work area. For a young preschooler, it also helps to satisfy their need for order, everything they need for the activity is on the tray. Here are four trays that we used today. The key for me is to keep the practical life trays as real as possible. There is a lot of transferring work here and it's... Read more →


I love exploring science and nature with my children. My older children enjoy using their microscopes (they have used the DuoScope and Celestron InfiniView Digital). Otto (3 yrs) has started using his very own First Microscope and it exceeded all of my expectations. It is super easy to use, the view is clear and accurate and Otto is crazy about it. The First Microscope teaches the child: how to hold, carry and look after a microscope about magnification the parts of the microscope and names - while we aren't giving official lessons it's easy through using the microscope for the... Read more →


Have you used CelMix before? CelMix is a cellulose powder, when mixed with water it acts as a thickener. I've read many times that it can be used for finger painting, making gel paint, papier mache and other paper crafts. I've been so curious about how it works it was time to give it a go! As the CelMix comes in a powder that you add to water, it is up to you how much to use. I started out by measuring and following the instructions precisely but I quickly found myself making adjustments. I suggest using the instructions as... Read more →


I am concerned that children (including mine) are spending more time learning about bugs with plastic models and books rather than by using and observing the real thing. Even though many bugs and insects can be found right on our doorstep, backyard, and neighbourhood nature strips. "A child, who more than anyone else is a spontaneous observer of nature, certainly needs to have at his disposal materials upon which he can work." - Maria Montessori, The Discovery of The Child. Children are natural explorers, they are curious and love to look, touch, listen and observe everything that is going on... Read more →