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 →

This year has been difficult for Otto (2yrs). After moving in January it's taken us months to fully set up our prepared environment to the point that everything is working and functional. But it's so worth it, and it's worth taking time to get it right. As Otto's environment and little spaces in our home came together I noticed a change. Slowly he has taken on more responsibility for his personal care, slowly his level of concentration, patience, perseverance and ability to play alone returned. Having his own snack cupboard is just a small but important part of our prepared... Read more →

I've noticed a lot of parents using the Little Helpers Toddler Cookbook, so much so that I decided we needed to give it a try. Do you have this cookbook in your collection? It was only released last year so perhaps it's new to you? The Little Helpers Toddler Cookbook: Healthy, Kid-Friendly Recipes to Cook Together has 40 healthy mealtime (dinner or lunch), snack and dessert recipes. It also has: a good range of healthy and easy to find ingredients. good, clear, attractive photographs including a photo for each recipe. easy to follow instructions. instructions that are colour coded so... Read more →

This morning I was cleaning and restocking our toddler fridge and thought it would be fun to take a few pictures of what is in the fridge and how Otto uses it. All three of my children use the fridge but as Otto is the only one that can't reach the main fridge, he uses this fridge the most! Let's take a look. In our toddler fridge we always have: water in a large dispenser sliced fruit and/or vegetables yoghurt a few pieces of (whole) fruit in the bottom, usually apples or oranges dip - hommus, beetroot hommus or avocado... Read more →

Today we made some delicious Carrot and Zucchini Mini Muffins. I took a few pictures I thought I would share. In the UK, and perhaps other parts of the world, Zucchinis are known as Courgettes! Above are Otto's little baking shelves. He can access this himself. Mixing bowls, trays, cooling rack. On the bottom shelf there is his watering can, small spray bottle for cleaning and a little bucket with toddler sized cleaning cloths. On the hook there is a chopping board and this is also where his apron often hangs. His utensils like spoons, mashers, whisk are in the... Read more →

One of the main concerns parents have about children accessing their own snack is their ability or lack of ability to self regulate, that the child will eat everything that is available at once. My advice is to start small, perhaps one banana and one orange and allow the child to choose. At eighteen months Otto now has more food options available to him and although it comes slowly, he only snacks when he's hungry and only eats a small selection of what is available. But how do we manage it? Portion control helps. I only put out what I... Read more →

Otis (7 years) and I often look for recipes to make together. We discovered these cute cinnamon rolls but wanted to make them from scratch and we wanted to make them in a more child-friendly mini size. So we adapted a recipe. They were so fun to make and they taste delicious. They were so good I want to share with you! Most cinnamon rolls recipes use yeast, these are easier for children to make (and are foolproof) using self-raising flour. Ingredients for the Dough: 2 Cups Self-Raising Flour 2 Tablespoons Sugar 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon 100g Melted Butter 2... Read more →

I'm always looking for fresh food ideas for my family so today I'm sharing some of the dips and spreads that my kids are loving. These are colourful, rich, vibrant and perfect to serve with fruit, vegetables, crackers or perhaps some sourdough! Hummus - my whole family love hummus. My number one tip is from Smitten Kitchen - remove the skin from each chickpea before putting them into the food processor. This takes time but is worth it, the result is a creamier and smoother texture hummus. If you haven't tried it before, please give it a go, it makes... Read more →

We've just finished three weeks of spring break. Caspar and Otis have spent almost all day, every day, outside on their bikes, or on the neighbor's trampoline. They always come home hungry. While I often have snacks ready for them, sometimes I am busy with the baby. Sometimes I want them to get their own snacks - you know, life skills and all that. Today I am sharing three snacks that are really popular in our home. Caspar and Otis can make all of these themselves, without any adult help. It's usually Otis doing the baking but Caspar can help... Read more →

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. / 10. / 11. / 12. Does your child's school use cloth napkins? Most Montessori schools do. How about at home? I know many families don't use napkins at all (cloth or paper) but I've found them really useful not only when the children first start with solids (weaning, baby led or Montessori style) but also for teaching grace and courtesy, just plain manners at the dinner table or when out at picnics or eating with friends and family (snack or morning tea).... Read more →

I believe education starts from birth and that a supportive home environment is key! I'm talking health and lifestyle, not just teaching our kids how to read and write. I want to set a good example, be a role model and also involve my children in the decision making in our home. There is no doubt that obesity and inactivity are huge concerns in our society. Too many children don't know what is in their food, are unable to make informed and educated decisions or are unable to regulate their food intake. Parents have to take the lead and I'm... Read more →

My children go back to school on Monday. Much of my focus this week has been on baking and getting together lots of easy lunchbox ideas. While my children are generally happy to eat the same foods every day I like to ensure they have lots of variety. I grew up with vegemite sandwiches (and chips for recess) every day. I can't say I ever remember taking any vegetables to school. School standards have improved since then, the boys' previous school was very strict, and their current school is pretty good at promoting healthy eating. I am not sure that... Read more →

It's been on my mind for a while. I had been making Otis' school lunches for him and I felt really bad about it. I honestly just wasn't organised enough. I often made his lunch late at night, baking at the last minute to fill the lunch box. Argh not ideal. It's not really about being organised it's about priorities, knowing what is important and just finding the time to make it happen. So why is it important they do it themselves? I recently read this article by Dr Angeline Lillard (Professor of Psychology and author of this book). Dr... Read more →

We tried something a little different with our baking today. I wanted to create a recipe that Otis could follow independently. I typed out the recipe and included images of the exact ingredients he would be using. I printed out two pages one with the ingredients and one with the method. I laminated the pages so Otis could cross off the items and steps as he used them. This was a good idea especially for the ingredients as Otis loved marking them off as they went into the bowl. Such a fun process. I put all the ingredients and all... Read more →

A wonderful part of living in Brisbane is that with the warm weather (even in winter) our dough always rises. Always. We've been using the dough recipe from Smitten Kitchen and it's the best. Ever. Each child makes their own pizza. It takes them five, ten minutes at the most. Squishing the dough in-between their fingers. Licking the tomato sauce off their hands. Gently dusting the finished pizza with cheese. Sweeping and brushing off all that flour. So many things we make with the children (baking, bread, pasta) take such a long time. Pizza being so quick is a great... Read more →