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 →


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 →


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 →


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 →


Today Otis (9yrs), Otto (3yrs), and two friends used Glass and Porcelain Markers to decorate plain white plates. The decorated plates would make lovely gifts for Grandparents or other family members. Our friends will later wrap their plates and give them to their parents as surprise gifts for Christmas. Decorating plates (or bowls, mugs) is a fun group activity as younger (3yrs+) children can participate as much as the older children and it doesn't require a lot of time or set up. Otto enjoys drawing and was really into it. The finished plates were so individual and completely adorable. We... Read more →


Play dough is a staple in our home all year round. It holds my three-year-old's attention far longer than any toy. As with many of our activities, I rotate the items on our play dough tray regularly. Perhaps every two weeks I will update the play dough tray but sometimes it happens naturally when the play dough is left out or my child finds his own materials to add to the tray. Play dough has to be the most affordable, effective, and engaging learning material for young children. Using what you have at home it's also super easy to add... 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 →


Now that Otto is three I would like to see him further develop his tripod grasp. At this age I won't step in and correct his grasp but I but will prepare the environment including the materials to support him. Due to their unique shapes and designs these crayons support the child's developing tripod grasp, they really help the child to strengthen their hand muscles and work the fingers. These aren''t perfect the child can still hold some of them with a whole hand grasp but overall I've seen an improvement with my child's grasp when using these crayons. Crayon... 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 reading In The Spirit of The Studio: Learning From The Atelier Of Reggio Emilia (a fantastic Reggio book) and art is on my mind. This week I've refreshed our art area and introduced an awesome easel. Otto is almost three so I feel the need to add some more interesting elements especially in the area of mark making. So I've sought the perspective of other Montessori parents and teachers. Here are a few Montessori art shelves I've found interesting in homes and schools. This is in the home of a 4 and a 11 year old. They have... Read more →


I don't want to sound pushy, but I want to check-in to see if you are providing a creative outlet for your children. Are you providing time and space for self expression? It doesn't have to be grand or expensive. It can be as simple as some pencil, paper and a few minutes of uninterrupted time. Perhaps your children aren't interested? Perhaps your children are already doing lots of crazy exciting creative things! One area of creativity and self expression that I'm particularly interested in is mark making, or drawing. "For youngsters aged two to twelve, expressing themselves through art... Read more →


We don't run to a schedule and almost every day looks different. But our days are child led. For us this means a whole lot of free play outside! Today I felt the need for some new materials. What was in order? A trip to the toy store, some online shopping? No! A morning visit to our local Reverse Garbage. I phoned ahead to make sure they were open and I spoke to Kirsten (Creative Director), who I have proclaimed an expect in early childhood loose parts play. Kirsten later greeted us at Reverse Garbage (Sydney) and showed us around.... Read more →


My children love using cookie cutters! My eight-year-old has a huge cookie cutter collection. Today I'm sharing some activities to do with children using cookie cutters. Most of these are suitable for toddlers and some are for older children too! Cookie cutters are good for building hand strength, coordination and life skills. They can help build creativity within food preparation activities and art. Above, we borrowed these heart shaped cookie cutters from our neighbour, they are adorable. They are perfect for stacking and sorting by size. My toddler (27 months) sorts them and then gets them out again over and... Read more →


Play dough is one thing that is guaranteed to keep my toddler (27 months) happy for a very long time. He may use his play dough tray anywhere from five minutes to an hour and five minutes. It's lovely. But I need to remember to rotate the play dough and some of the materials every so often. We recently removed our Autumn themed play dough and put in some Christmas themed dough and materials. I make notes as I see new ideas and I thought I would share some of the notes I made in preparation for our Christmas play... Read more →