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 →


When selecting gifts for children we like to make an activity kit or bag with a few items that the child can use and play with. We think about the child's interests and choose a theme. These activity kits feel a little more personalised than giving a toy alone and they feel a little more put together. Hopefully the children find them fun and useful! Here are some of our gift ideas for our friends and family. Most of these ideas can be adapted to other themes depending on the interests of the children. We will wrap the individual items... Read more →


My heart skips a beat when I walk into Ikea and see there is new stock out! Here are a few new products that I am loving that may be suitable for a Montessori home, perhaps a few for the classroom too. All of these are new to me however, stock can vary country to country! HYACINTHUS Potted plant bulb (UK) - these are so, so lovely to have inside during the colder months. They look stunning once flowering and it's magical for the children to watch. This is an amazing price too. VINTERFEST Star dish in red - and... Read more →


My older two children are on half term break. We've had a few stormy and crazy windy days, so they've spent more time than usual inside (we still aim for at least three hours a day outdoors). I love to try new art materials with them and I've been holding onto this gorgeous beeswax modelling clay for just the right opportunity. It is a beeswax clay, not a pure modelling beeswax that you might have seen before. It is also at the higher price range so I wanted to share our experience in case you have thought about using it... Read more →


Over the weekend I presented Otto with his first sewing tray. He does a lot of threading so this feels like the next step. I needed to demonstrate but it didn't take him long to get it. It felt a little like two steps forward and one step back as he like to poke the needle through and then reposition it and poke it again, without threading it. But toddlers (and perhaps all children) like to test, they like to experiment and in their own time they will find their way. I don't feel like there is a need to... Read more →


When I set up our toddler 'writing' station I put our block crayons into a cute crayon holder. I had put them in the crayon holder previously when presenting the crayons in a tray, but this time it was different. This time my toddler (at 22 months) was much better and more consistent with putting them away and more specific with the colours that he wanted to use. I could see how practical and useful the crayon holder had become. The crayon holder promotes order - the child can easily find the colour crayon they are looking for, it's easy... Read more →


In Montessori, we often hear "buy the best art materials you can afford". But what is the best, and what is your budget? Often I am guided by the materials I see in our Montessori classrooms and if I'm not sure I'll ask the teacher. Often teachers have used the materials for many years and with many children, they've seen what works. Our most used toddler drawing materials are paint sticks and oil pastels, but we offer pencils too! Whichever you choose I suggest finding drawing materials that work for you and make them freely accessible to your toddler. Imagine... Read more →


Following Spramani's series on Montessori toddler art I've been focusing on the skills my toddler is developing during his art experiences. We can focus on the process, not the product. What is my child learning or achieving during the process? I'm observing: What does he enjoy? What skills is he working on? What are his hands and arms doing? What is he most focused on? How can I further assist his experience? What can we do next to meet his developing needs? I have all three children (1,8 and 11yrs) home during the summer break (it's only the first Monday)... Read more →