I'm not sure how it started but we have been using a lot of stencils this week. Stencils can be fantastic for developing fine motor skills they also encourage the hands to work together. One hand controls the paintbrush or pencil while the other needs to hold the stencil or paper in place. As you can see on our stencil trays, I have secured the stencil to the tray with tape. The child still needs the supporting hand to keep the paper in place and to hold the stencil down. These trays are for a three-year-old, for an older child... Read more →


Last weekend I attended a felting workshop to make a Waldorf/Steiner birthday placemat and birthday crown. I loved the process (and outcome) so much I couldn't wait to try felting again. I wanted to make an ocean/beach theme play mat for Otto (3yrs) like the ones I'd seen on Etsy (here and here). There is something powerful about making toys and playthings by hand. They are made with love and intention and made specific to the child. The child can see the time and effort that goes into it. It can also show the child how we can work with... Read more →


Today we spent a lot of time in the kitchen so I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some practical life work. Above Otto is using an electric juicer. This is super efficient compared to a manual juicer. The child needs strength to hold the orange and press down. When pressure is applied to the juicer it rotates to juice the fruit. It's also faster than using a manual juicer, Otto can easily juice a bag full of oranges. The pouring part is a little tricky. Remember to have a small sponge nearby. A tasty treat and... Read more →


Are you looking for ways to involve your child in grocery and food shopping? One of the things we've tried recently is using a visual shopping list. We get most of our groceries delivered but during the week we need a couple of short trips for fresh fruit and bread. I looked around for a printable that would work for us. I couldn't find one that was perfect for us so I made our own. I went to our grocery store's online site and saved the images of our most frequent mid-week purchases. I put them together into a list... Read more →


Does your child love role play or pretend play? My three-year-old went through an intense phase where he would play supermarkets all day (thanks to the cash register he received for Xmas), then later he played Doctors and now he plays Handyman. He will play alone but he will often ask me or his siblings to join in. This role play is valuable play and it's not something that needs adult intervention. It's deeply engaging play, I've seen my child immersed in this play for 30-40 minutes chatting away to himself while pretending to serve a customer. As time has... Read more →


Recently while visiting friends I noticed my three-year-old using some first words puzzles. He worked on them with focus and completed the whole box of puzzles repeatedly. The puzzles are simple cvc (consonant, vowel, consonant) cardboard puzzles with a word and a corresponding picture. They are self-correcting - so the child can't go wrong in putting them together - perfect for the 3-4 year age group. I started to look for something similar and I found the Big Box of Little Word Puzzles. I like these as the images are photographic and interesting. The letter pieces can be interchanged from... Read more →


Liquid watercolours and clay are my two favourite art mediums. We've been trying a few Waldorf inspired arts and crafts with watercolours, clay and more. Some of them have two steps so I recommend them for children aged three years+. Here are a few of the activities we've tried this week. Wet-on-wet watercolour painting - includes liquid watercolours in primary colours, watercolour paper (soaked in water) and a sponge to remove excess water. The child applies one colour at a time, blending the edges of each colour. This is a Waldorf inspired activity, Sarah has a good guide here. We... Read more →


Toddlers can peel - HWM I get most of my Montessori at home ideas from activities I've seen in Montessori classrooms. I've learnt how to put together trays, which tools to use, and how to present the work. It's also useful to observe children in the classroom and see how they respond to the work. But what if you can't get to a Montessori classroom, perhaps watching videos or images online is the next best thing. Today I'm sharing peeling (with a vegetable peeler) work. Not all of these examples are from classrooms, many are from Montessori homes. Adventures in... Read more →


My two older children went back to school this week leaving Otto (3 years) at home with me. We started the week at Bush School. As much as possible I give Otto the option to or not to wear shoes at Bush School, he loves walking on a balancing tree and climbing trees barefoot. Does anyone have children like this, or are they ok climbing with shoes on? Otto is using the WEDGiTS Building Blocks (from our Toy Library). I've seen them around, even in Montessori toddler classrooms but I hadn't used them myself. They can be stacked and used... Read more →


Today I want to share with you a little basket I've put together for Otto (3yrs) about Cicadas. Otto is fascinated by the Cicada shells frequently found at his Bush School class. I didn't know a lot about Cicadas so I started researching. They are SO interesting! I wanted to share some of this knowledge with Otto so I put together an interest basket. Have you used basket like this before? They can be used to spark an interest or to further develop an interest. The idea is to observe the child and follow what captures the child's attention and... Read more →


Our family loves to read poetry. We read all kinds of poetry. I like to have at least one poetry basket out for my three-year-old. We also have poetry books, we like to perform or recite poetry on our family fun nights and occasionally we will write poetry. The theme for our next Friday Family Fun Night is Michael Rosen, my children love his writing. You will know Michael Rosen from We're Going on a Bear Hunt. He has also written books for older children and for adults. Our favourite Michael Rosen poetry book is A Great Big Cuddle: Poems... Read more →


Are you looking for a few new art activities to try at home? I suggest most of these activities for children from around three years however some like the nature clay collage would be suitable or adaptable for toddlers. All of the materials the child needs are presented on the tray. I use melamine trays (similar) as they are super easy to wipe clean and will contain spills. Some of these trays contain two-step activities. It doesn't matter if the child doesn't follow the steps however they provide a good opportunity for the child to learn to follow steps and... Read more →


Do your children willingly and enthusiastically clean up spills and breakages at home or do they need a little prompting? To encourage our young children to clean up spills and breakages at home we start with good role modeling and continue will a lot of patience and a few child-size tools. We consider: Good role modeling - clean up our own spills slowly and precisely if the child is observing. Starting young - once the child can walk confidently, they can swat down and swipe up a spill, from around 18 months many children will be able to wipe up... Read more →


I love the idea of creating something new using what we already have at home. It's the ultimate in creating because you have to be resourceful and smart. Today I'm sharing a semi-successful dying project using materials we already have and that is safe to do with children. Have you tried tie-dying with your children? We've tie-dyed before using a kit but the children needed to be extra careful with the dye and wear gloves. Recently at our Bush School class, the children tie-dyed using found items (leaves, wild berries) and mud. The mud is said to be high in... Read more →


Most of our garden areas are child friendly. We have a few vegetables planted in our front yard and Otto (3yrs) has his own little patch for digging and a pot for strawberries. Recently Otto planted a small herb garden and I could see how much he enjoyed tending to it. Over the last couple of weeks, we decided to provide another gardening area for Otto that was child-centered and entirely his own. Previously his gardening tools were piled up in our garage and this space allows us to have all of his garden tools together and organised. The thing... Read more →