I am always looking for new and interesting snack ideas for my children. In case you are too, here are eight snack and food prep trays that we've used recently. Jam on Pikelets - spreading strawberry jam onto pikelets. We often use crackers for spreading activities so it's nice to use pikelets for something different. Melon Balls - my three-year-old finds this difficult but it's worth the challenge. We use a small melon baller and some cocktail picks to make it easier to share. I've cut the rounded end off the melon so that it sits flat on the chopping... Read more →


This term Otis (in yr 4) is an Eco-Warrior representative for his class. This means he gets to take out the compost and do other environmentally responsible tasks. He started a discussion about what we could do to reduce our waste at home. Otis and I thought about starting a worm farm. We previously used the Bokashi composting method but it was no longer suitable for our growing family. We decided to try a worm farm. Otis helped to set it up and does most of the maintenance. A great flow-on effect is the whole family has been involved in... Read more →


The title is slightly misleading as all of these snacks have had some adult involvement, however once they are presented to the child of around three, they may be able to do the rest themselves. Presenting snacks like this allows the child to develop practical life skills like peeling, slicing and spreading. These activities can also help develop fine motor skills. Here are a few snacks that we've enjoyed this week: Fruit Kababs - using cocktail sticks (sharp one end, blunt the other) the child threads cut grapes, raspberries, blueberries and cubed rockmelon. We could make similar with apple, orange,... Read more →


One of the easiest and cheapest ways we can incorporate fine motor skills into practical life activities is by using mini tongs. Mini tongs and tweezers can be used by children from around 18 months right up to around five years of age. Adult tongs are too bulky for young children and require a whole hand grasp. Smaller tongs are much easier for the child to manipulate successfully and tweezer-like tongs are fantastic at strengthening the muscles in the fingers and promoting the pincer grasp. There are tons of mini kitchen tongs and tweezers that are suitable for children so... Read more →


Many people would say there is no need for practical life trays in the home. However, I find there are plenty of examples where the work is best presented on a tray. A tray keeps all the materials together and defines the work area. For a young preschooler, it also helps to satisfy their need for order, everything they need for the activity is on the tray. Here are four trays that we used today. The key for me is to keep the practical life trays as real as possible. There is a lot of transferring work here and it's... Read more →


Cook books are a wonderful way to introduce children to cooking. We can use cook books to promote healthy eating and for the development of a whole range of practical life skills. Alone or add an apron or utensils, cook books are also awesome to give as gifts. There are cook books designed specifically for toddlers and preschoolers. Here a few that I like the best!! Personalised Banana Muffin, Zucchini Muffin and Rainbow Fritter Cook Books. These are by Story Antics who have many other personalised cook books perfect for the age ranges of around three years+. They are cook... Read more →


Are you looking for something new to make with your children? I love making Gnocchi with Otto (36 months). I set the activity on his low cooking table so he can reach everything he needs. Bringing the activity down to the child's level is a good idea if possible. It tells the child 'this is your baking'. The child takes the lead and I am there to help and guide when needed. Gnocchi is great for children who like to get their hands dirty and for those who love play-dough. The Gnocchi dough needs rolling and cutting and this rolling... Read more →


We know that toddlers can act crazy, often operating at great speed in unpredictable ways. However, we also know that toddlers are capable of considered and controlled movements, they are capable of being accurate and precise. Toddlers can concentrate and they can determine risk. My toddler loves to jump off steps and stairs. I can see him working out the risk... 'is this too high?' as he decides to jump off the second step rather than the third. Occasionally, he miscalculates and hits the ground a little too awkwardly or too hard, this is good feedback and will assist him... Read more →


There is something comforting and nurturing about making bread with children. The experience of making bread is extra special, it's the kneading, the lovely texture, the rising of the dough, and the warm bread at the end. It's also the surprise, will it rise at all? I keep in mind when making bread with a toddler that the dough can be unpredictable but mostly fixable. Too sticky, we can add some flour. Too dry, add just a touch of water. The child will often spill a little or a lot but we can make it work. What makes this activity... Read more →


Toddlers are naturally curious. We can use this curiosity to teach the child about the world around them. One way we can do this is through language development. We can provide the child with real and scientific names of things, like species or type names of flowers, birds or dogs. We can connect learning to things that have meaning to the child like sharing books and stories about their favourite pastimes or animals or vehicles. We can also teach them the parts of things that the child is familiar with, for example their body parts and anatomy, the anatomy of... Read more →


Next month Otto turns three!! As he is super excited about his birthday I want to make sure we have some wonderful gifts for him. He is the youngest of three children (all with similar interests) and already has lots of toys so choosing gifts for him has not been easy. Here are five things we've picked out. Personalised Children's Cook Books - I adore this concept. Each book is a recipe book but can also be read like a storybook. You can personalise the name and appearance (skin/hair/eye colour) of the child and the adult helper (typically mum/dad/grandparents but... Read more →


Earlier in the year I featured our little toddler snack area but I didn't show the whole kitchen. Today I want to share all the areas of our kitchen that our toddler uses. Above is our toddler/children's fridge, drink station and baking table. I want you to know that all Montessori homes look different. Do what works for you, I hope you find some ideas here. The key areas for me include access to fresh and healthy food, water, and, practical life tools like food prep tools and cleaning tools. The two main themes are independence and safety. Otto's weaning... Read more →


I wasn't intending on publishing an article on juicing, but this morning my toddler kept on asking to use the juicer, he got all the juicer pieces out and put them on the kitchen bench and just waited until I agreed. He was so eager to do this work! Have you used a juicer like this with your children? My toddler is 2.5 years old, a child closer to two years old might struggle with the strength but many children by three will be able to do this. This work is empowering, it's almost like magic - turning the fresh... Read more →


I recently watched a chef whip up an Arugula (rocket) and Pea Pesto to serve with pasta that I knew my kids would love. He made the pesto with a mortar and pestle (no food processor) and it was really fast. My first thought was - a toddler could do that! Yes, a toddler could do that, but they would need little guidance. My toddler (2.5 years) has done some mortar and pestle work before but it's been more like free play and exploration. This time I decided to work along side him as we needed to turn the arugula... Read more →


Do you have a toddler that loves to use scissors but is perhaps bored with the usual cutting strips? Here are some other engaging activities we've been using at 2.5 years. Above is an idea from Days with Grey. It is so much fun and the child can cut one handed - they don't have to hold a paper strip or other objects. I've put a small model animal into each section of a muffin tray. I've then used coloured craft tape to tape the animals in! Days with Grey use painters tape and I'm confident that Washi tape or... Read more →