Have you tried any blindfold activities with your child? If your child goes to a Montessori school, it's likely they have tried some sensorial activities like the pink tower, knobbed cylinders, thermic tablets, perhaps even the trinomial, binomial cubes or roman arch while wearing a blindfold. What is the point? Wearing a blindfold takes away the child's sense of sight, and therefore the child needs to rely their other senses especially touch. Wearing a blindfold helps the child to develop their stereognostic sense. When using their stereognostic sense the child creates a mental picture through touch; as the child feels... Read more →

Does your child cook independently? Montessori families often teach young children to cook things like eggs pretty early, so this isn't a new thought. But just in case you haven't tried it yet, or your child is still young, I want to put it out there. There are a ton of benefits to teaching your child to cook, and when they are ready, they can cook independently. There is no need to rush or push your child, but if you involve your child in cooking from the start, their independence will build slowly. This morning Otto, mostly independently (I helped... Read more →

Have you watched the Netflix series Old Enough? What are your thoughts? If you haven't seen it, Old Enough is a reality show from Japan that captures children as young as two (yes toddlers!) doing their first errand. The children are filmed running errands independently, like delivering or collecting dry cleaning, shopping at the fish market or walking home and making juice. Often the children are walking kilometres; some of this takes place in rural areas, but there are some errands set in city streets; some children independently cross busy roads and catch public buses; most children do it alone,... Read more →

Want to see some of the art and craft activities we've tried this week? These are all a little bit different. Pasting leaves and blowing colour bubbles could be enjoyed by toddlers (from around 18 months). While making stickers or using transfer paper is best suited to preschool children and could be enjoyed by children much older! Let's take a look! Leaf art - we've presented some collected leaves, paste, cardboard, scissors, and Look What I Did with a Leaf by Morteza E. Sohi (UK here)(worldwide here). We've used Look What I Did with a Leaf to inspire us and... Read more →

I'm always on the lookout for Montessori materials, or similar products that families can use at home for a really good price or that can be DIYed. I recently ordered these wooden letters for some crafting activities, but when they arrived I thought they would be an affordable option for a Moveable Alphabet. They are all lowercase in a simple print font. They are a light natural colour, so they are easy to paint. They are approximately the same size (height and width) as the Movable Alphabet we usually use. The letters shown here are all lowercase - affordable crafting... Read more →

Sandpaper Letters are one of the most used Montessori materials in our home when my children are between the ages of three and five. Some children tire of them, but we still have them on our shelves, and Otto works with them periodically. It is important to say we do tons of practical life (including cooking, cleaning and handwork like sewing) and art (including playdough, clay and using scissors), so there are lots of other ways we assist our children in developing fine motor skills required for holding and controlling a pencil. We have used a few different variations of... Read more →

Over the last two years, I've attended felting workshops with a fantastic Steiner (Waldorf) educator. I've made a birthday crown, a placemat, seasonal mats and children's playthings. The crafting sessions have been for adults, but I keep on thinking about how much my children would love them too. So I've started to do some felting at home with Otto. We began with wet felting as it's easier to do with young children (than needle felting), and children often enjoy playing with water and soap. Today we made some Halloween decorations, but we could make Christmas decorations or even little toys... Read more →

There is one really easy thing you can do to promote early literacy in your home - put some magnetic letters on your fridge. Or on your dishwasher or on a metal cabinet. Magnetic letters are just like the Montessori movable alphabet but on a magnetic surface! We can put our child's name with magnetic letters on the fridge to help them recognise their name. We can use the letters to help with letter recognition. The children can play and start to put the letters together, later they can write their own words and even write notes. Otto loves to... Read more →

I Spy is a fun and easy game to help develop phonemic awareness. We can start with just two items that the child is familiar with. Above we've used three fruits. "I Spy with my little eye, something which starts with o." "Yes!! Orange starts with o". To start playing I Spy, I use items in a tray or on a work mat, mostly using small language objects and household items. Below we are using six items. Below is an example of when we've used six items, but three of them start with c (crab, cow, cat). Over time we... Read more →

We've been doing lots of Halloween-themed art activities this week. Here are eight activities we've tried. Most of these activities are suitable for children 3-5 years+. 1. Spider puppets - using cardboard spider cutouts, a rod and string. These could also be used for Halloween decorations. We could present these with paints or crayons, but here we've used markers. 2. Spider painting - I found some old cardboard spiders in our Halloween decorations, and I thought it would be fun to try some negative printing. We put the cardboard spider on the paper and then used a roller to paint... Read more →

Have you started getting ready for Halloween? Otto (5yrs) is really looking forward to Halloween and has been asking for all the Halloween arts and crafts. Around the five-year-old point, I find my children really get into the scary and spooky side of Halloween. Here are a few activities we've tried so far. Most of these activities are suitable for children 3-5 years. Scratch paper bats - my children love scratch paper; it's a great 'quiet' activity, we often use scratch paper when travelling, and we have it in our busy bag that Otto takes when waiting at his brothers'... Read more →

As part of my studies, I recently read The 21st Century School Library: A Model for Innovative Teaching and Learning. It's an excellent book that considers different literacies including textural literacy, visual literacy, information literacy, digital literacy, technological literacy and racial literacy. The author covers some of the ways he teaches these literacies in a school library setting. While I consider these literacies in my studies I also consider these literacies at home with my children. The author writes one way he addresses visual literacy is by setting up a Pattern Play station in the school library. "Pattern Play. This... Read more →

Paper weaving has meaning in both Montessori and Froebel philosophies. No matter your style of parenting or education preference, paper weaving is a great activity for developing fine motor skills, spatial awareness and early mathematical skills. In Montessori, weaving is a practical life activity. In Froebel, weaving is both a gift and an occupation. Have you read about Froebel? There are lots of similarities between the Froebel and Montessori approaches. Froebel believed that children gain a deeper understanding of the world around them when given opportunities to interact with concrete activities and use carefully selected hands-on manipulatives. Sounds familiar, right?... Read more →

Is your child easily frustrated by crayons? Often young children find pencils and crayons too hard, they require too much pressure to make a mark and the child fatigues easily and may give up in frustration. If your child doesn't like crayons or pencils, I suggest giving oil pastels a try. Oil pastels are rewarding; they make a mark with very little pressure, they are responsive, soft and smooth on the paper. Oil pastels come in a wide variety of colours, the colours are highly pigmented, vibrant and rich. They are affordable and easily accessible. Our local stationary shop has... Read more →

In the last couple of weeks, we've been focusing on drawing with oil pastels and creating with clay; however, every couple of days, I will also set up a new and interesting art tray. Some of these are just for fun, others are to help develop fine motor skills. Let's take a look at the last eight art activities we've tried! Salad spinner art - I cut some cardboard in a circle the same diameter as the bottom of our salad spinner. I presented this with some small squeeze paints (ours are from Kmart AU), the paints are small enough... Read more →