"Some objects are rapidly mass-produced by press or machine and are exactly alike. Others are made slowly by hand, and each is different from the other. The value of handmade objects is that each carries the individual imprint of the artist who created it." - Maria Montessori, The Child in the Family. Today is Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. โ„๏ธ Making candles is a lovely way to celebrate Winter Solstice and it's also a fantastic warming, practical life activity. Part of this practical life activity is simply learning the process of how to make candles. We melt the wax,... Read more →


My preschooler loves art. He loves getting his hands covered in paint and he's attracted to all kinds of brushes, stamps and printmaking. Here are six art trays that we've tried recently. Painting with a Spring Whisk. I found this spring whisk (similar) while out for a walk and immediately knew it would be fun for painting. The child can press the whisk down and it springs back up. It's good for printmaking and it's addictive! The child presses the spring whisk into the paint and then onto the paper. This was a huge hit and I'll remember to get... Read more →


I love baking with my children but we often end up making the same things (muffins or banana bread). A baking kit is a nice way to bake something different, something special. Baking kits like this one by Easy Peasy also contain a craft. Children's baking kits are a lovely gift idea, or nice to save for when grandparents, cousins or special guests come to visit! Most children's baking kits are made by small businesses which is just another reason to give them a go. Here are some children's baking kits that look fun and delicious! Australia: Easy Peasy Eco-Friendly... Read more →


In Montessori classrooms and homes, children often use real materials, real glassware, real utensils, real knives, real hammers and saws. The children are in a prepared environment that includes caregivers who provide supervision and support. We ensure the children are given the skills to gradually over time use real materials in a safe and age-appropriate way. We may provide alternative or safer versions like a knife with a rounded tip - but it's still a real knife. I've previously used a real hot glue gun with my children at four years. I've closely supervised and no one has got hurt.... Read more →


We are at the end of a 7-day isolation period. Staying at home and not being able to go out means I've been preparing more activities than usual for my preschooler! I've raided our art cupboard and art books to put together a few new art trays. These activities are generally appropriate for children 3-5 years old. These activities allow the child to focus on one activity or one skill at a time. The art trays can be used: to introduce a new skill. to introduce new materials. on the kitchen table for the children to work on after breakfast.... Read more →


We are mid-way through a 7-day isolation period and my preschooler has been desperate for some new activities. It's also been rainy so my mind goes straight to art. I've raided our art cupboard and put together a few new art activities! These activities allow the child to focus on one activity or one skill at a time. The art trays can be used: to introduce a new skill. to introduce new materials. on the kitchen table for the children to work on after breakfast. after preschool/daycare/school alongside a healthy snack to relax and decompress. in the afternoon while the... Read more →


I love bath crayons but I know not everyone feels the same. Bath crayons are softer than regular crayons and some are really creamy and smooth. Using bath crayons in the bath is a fun alternative to drawing on paper, and the child is for the most part drawing on a vertical surface (bath or bathroom tiles). Bath crayons can be used on: windows glass doors perspex or acrylic sheets or easels mirrors tiles - we have spare white tiles that we also use for play dough and clay. If you already have bath crayons and don't want them in... Read more →


Do you have a really fantastic indoor play centre near you? Most of the play centres I've been to have large slides and ball pits. The Play Studio recently opened near us and it's a completely new concept. It's a truly wonderful space with great staff, ideal for playdates, somewhere to go on a rainy day or just somewhere interesting and educational to visit with your child. The Play Studio is a Montessori, Reggio and Steiner inspired play space. Some of the sessions commence with a teacher-guided process like an art activity or songs, in other play sessions, the children... Read more →


Are you looking for handwork ideas for your preschooler? We've recently started using a Knitting Fork (Lucet) and French Knitting. My four-year-old prefers the Knitting Fork, he finds it easier. Both are great options that may initially challenge the child but produce results fast, especially if you are using chunky yarn. These knitting ideas are fantastic for developing coordination and fine motor skills but they are also really good for showing children how to use raw materials to make something by hand. If using wool we could start by showing the child how wool is grown, we could do the... Read more →


The week before Christmas is fabulously quiet in our home. We are mostly Christmas baking and shopping for gifts. An easy at-home activity with children that requires very few ingredients includes making Salt Dough Ornaments. Salt Dough Recipe 2 cups of plain flour 1 cup of salt 1 cup of water. Combine and knead until smooth. Roll out and cut shapes out with cookie cutters. Add a hole for a string with a stick or straw. Bake in the oven at low heat until thoroughly cooked, dry and hard. We used an oven at 130ยฐc for around 2 hours. Once... Read more →


I love the lead up to Christmas. One way to make this season more meaningful to our children is to involve them in practical hands-on ways. Children can be involved in decorating, baking, choosing or making gifts for others, writing cards and of course wrapping! We decided to try some child-made Christmas wrapping paper. I love these ideas as they make the gifts look and feel extra special and show that we've given some extra care and thought into the wrapping. We tried as much as possible to use craft materials we already have at home. With some of these... Read more →


We've used modelling beeswax many times before but we've always used Stockmar Modeling Beeswax. Stockmar Modeling Beeswax can be expensive and I wanted to try a natural alternative. I decided to try some homemade Modeling Beeswax. Working with Modeling Beeswax is a good activity to develop muscles in the fingers and hands. It can be calming and the children can work on their sculpting skills. Modeling Beeswax is firm and can be warmed by the child's hands which may help to develop perseverance and patience. When cooled it retains its shape so the sculptures can be used on a nature... Read more →


I've previously written about all the good reasons to use crayons before markers. As Otto gets closer to four I've been paying special attention to his pencil grip and drawings. Recently he has been using markers almost exclusively and a solid cylindrical grasp. Markers are easy for the child to use, the child doesn't need to apply much pressure and the marker glides over the paper. They are an easy and colourful way to draw. Crayons require much more effort. So I decided it was time to put away the markers for a while. Stages of Early Mark Making image... Read more →


I recently discovered two fantastic science experiment books for children 3-5 years. I hadn't seen science experiment books for preschoolers before. I was so surprised. The experiments are easy to follow, some of the experiments are familiar and some are new. We've also had a lot of success with the experiments so I really wanted to share. Our most used science experiment book for 3-5 years is Big Chemistry Experiments for Little Kids, we've done almost all of the experiments. I also really like Big Engineering Experiments for Little Kids in the same series. The books are super easy to... Read more →


To prepare our children's hands for writing and using scissors it's important they have lots of hands-on play in the early years. It's imperative that our children are given opportunities to learn through tactile experience that strengthen the hands. Using clay is the best multi-sensory art experience I know for developing fine and gross motor skills. I prepare a lot of activities using play dough as it's easier for us to use inside, but at least once a week I like to break out the clay for all three of my children to use. Generally, our clay play involves open... Read more →