Nature walks are an essential part of our day. For my older children it gives them a chance to step away from their school work and it give us all some fresh air, much needed time outside + a big dose of Vitamin D. While we try to vary where we walk inevitably we spend a lot of time in the same areas. To mix things up a little bit and bring some new interest to our regular walks we have started going into our nature walks with a theme! It really does help us to view the same area... Read more →

I love a good sensory tub but I know there are more authentic sensory experiences for toddlers. Cooking can be a wonderful authentic sensory experience. Is there another activity where the child can use all of their senses? Sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch? The thing about cooking is the child can experience heat - the sound, smell and feel of the food cooking. They can contribute to a family snack or meal. You know that toddlers can cook safely? Toddlers have been doing it for years in Montessori schools and communities. It is the Montessori approach that has inspired... Read more →

I have a family of five to cook for and I love it when everyone pitches in, yes even the toddler. While using a peeler might not have the same status as using a knife and cutting, it's still a very worthwhile skill for toddlers (and preschoolers) to learn. Can a toddler use a peeler? Yes, absolutely. But it requires practice and close supervision. The best peelers, those that are easiest to use are ones that are reasonably sharp, so you want to teach your child to use the peeler safely from the start, this includes using the peeler but... Read more →

My toddler loves transferring work. I wanted to set up some fresh transferring working with tweezers but I wasn't sure which tweezers to use. Whenever I am not sure about what materials to use I try and give my toddler a choice and see what he uses. Here are a few tweezer options he tried today. I'm still not sure which ones we will use but I now know that he is able to use them all with a high level of success. Above Otto (2yrs) is using the Learning Resources Jumbo Tweezers. These really are jumbo, you can see... Read more →

I've never met a toddler that doesn't love a little spray bottle!! Mini spray bottles are fabulous for developing hand strength and can be used for lots of practical life activities. Needs some ideas? Mini spray bottles can be used in the home for toddlers and preschoolers for: Care of Self Activities spraying hair, to smooth it in the mornings or to add a leave-in conditioner. cooking, spray water on bread before baking. Care of the Environment Activities window washing, or mirror washing. in the kitchen to wipe counter-tops, wipe down tables, clean out fridge, general dusting, to put in... Read more →

What are the first threading/lacing materials you use at home or in your classroom? Perhaps threading beads? With Otis we used pasta (penne) and cotton reels but with Otto, I noted that it was easier if the items where much thinner. Otto's first threading activity was using the wood pieces pictured above. 1. Wooden Disks - completely natural, handmade by a small business. I love the texture too. If you had a drill this could be a DIY. 2. Oversized Buttons - later these will be useful for colour and language work. These also stack so could be used like... Read more →

Often we can create Montessori style activities using materials we already have in our home. This one is super simple but really engaging. If I want to create a new activity for Otto I will think about what he likes doing and have a look around the house to see what I can find. Otto is currently loving his open close tray so why not add an activity which involves matching lids to their containers. I love this one (above and below) as the jars are exactly the same except for their size. They are glass so he knows he... Read more →

In our home we use brushes everyday. We use them for scrubbing, brushing and general cleaning! Why not offer your child the opportunity to clean alongside you or perhaps give the child their own brushes for their own work? It's an easy way to introduce five minutes of Montessori into your day! There are many child-size brushes available and they can make a difference, they are easier for the child to use and coordinate, but don't let not having a specific child size bush stop you or your child. Using a brush can be good for developing fine and gross... Read more →

Montessori 'Action' or 'Command' Card are really easy to use at home. They are simple to make; they can be hand-written or printed. They can be adapted to your child's level of reading, from simple consonant-vowel-consonant words to complex phrases. Otis is still learning some of his phonograms, and he knows some sight words (such as 'the'), so I know I can mix up the cards and include some that are easy and some that are more challenging. Unlike other Montessori activities, I think this one is really good to do at home; it doesn't take away or duplicate any... Read more →

OK, this is a really easy one. Ready? Do you have a magnifying glass? Good! Go and get it and put it in a basket with a few interesting things. Got it? Perhaps in a basket (or a tray) with some fabric scraps, wool, cotton or silk. Perhaps in a basket with some shells, flowers from the garden or leaves or seedpods. Perhaps in a basket with a few vegetables or herbs. The more interesting and attractive to the child the better! A young child such as a toddler might need some help, perhaps a demonstration on how to hold... Read more →

Introducing tongs to a child as young as eighteen months is a great way to build hand strength, develop fine (finger, hand) and gross motor (arm, shoulder) skills, build coordination and provide an opportunity to cross the midline. Using tongs with transfer work allows the child through repitition to develop focus and concentration! All of these tongs (pictured above) are from Amazon or Montessori Services. Although I recommend having a look if you are near a kitchen specialty store - often it's easier to get a feel for the tongs in person. Searching mini tongs, sugar tongs, ice tongs or... Read more →

Today we tried some taste testing and it was so much fun I thought I would share it with you here. This is almost a five minute Montessori activity, it's really easy to set up with just a few pieces of fruit and a blindfold. With this blindfold taste test we only used foods the boys like. Otis had no idea what he was about to eat. He uses his sense of taste to determine which food he had been given. Here we used raspberry, strawberry, watermelon and banana. The boys then swapped around except Caspar already knew which foods... Read more →

Matching, identifying and naming herbs! This is one of my all time favourite activities and it's perfect to do at home where herbs may be abundant. Our garden has some of these herbs which Otis can identify immediately. However there are a few here he isn't so familiar with. Otis is in the sensitive period for language and using the cards is a great way to introduce the written language and reading to this activity. When working with this activity I also see if Otis can identify the herbs using smell only. Read more →

Once I found the right sized box this activity took me less than five minutes to make. A cardboard box with two holes (for the chid's arms) = Montessori Mystery Box. This is a fun game that depending on the child can last anywhere from five to fifty minutes. The idea is to isolate the child's sense of touch. They can identify objects by touch only. We like to play this in lots of different ways. By the child feeling a box with lots of items. As they touch or discover with their hands each object they try to identify... Read more →

In my last order from Karla I asked her to pop in a set of folding cloths for Otis. I didn't use them with Caspar (although he would have had access to them at school) and I really wish I did. I think I've mentioned previously that Otis has a tendency to rush his work, while enjoying the task he is quick to finish and move onto the next thing. I'm hoping the folding cloths can be just one of many activities where I can show him how slowing down and being accurate/precise is important. Folding cloths like this would... Read more →