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 →


We have spent the two weeks at home and our art trays have been well used. I've presented a different painting tray each day. Want to take a look? Our painting trays from this week include: round paint stampers - while these are fun to use, they can also help us to talk about size - small, medium, and large or smallest and biggest. uv glow paint - at first this paint doesn't look special but it lights up and glows under ultraviolet light. paint bellows - used with liquid watercolours. The child squeezes the bellows to squirt the watercolours... Read more →


Are you looking for some new scissor activities to try? I've been looking for some new scissor activities that are at my child's skill level but are also interesting and will attract the child. There is no use in preparing these activities if the child doesn't choose to do them. We need to update the children's activities as their skills develop but also as their interests change. We've found all of these activities interesting and fun: Pizza Cutting - these have been the biggest hit. We've used the half fraction right up to sixths. Dinosaur Cut Out Shapes - I... Read more →


Have you tried observational drawing with your children? My three-year-old has been enjoying a lot of observational drawing so I want to share some of my thoughts about it. I want to encourage you, no matter your child's age, to give it a go. Why try observational drawing? Observational drawing can: help strengthen memory - as the child looks at the object and remembers what they see. develop fine motor skills. develop spatial awareness. develop concentration and focus. develop observational skills - the child will look closely at the object and notice certain details, sometimes what the child notices are... Read more →


Otto (3yrs) asks to paint almost every day. Getting the paints out is such a hassle I was starting to feel bad about saying no. So I decided to do something about it and set up a painting station. This painting station is on our back deck. Although it's undercover we need to put most things away when it rains or gets windy, so everything here is easy to move. We don't have any space inside for large-scale easel painting, so it works to do this outside. It's nice too that we can also move this painting station into the... Read more →


1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. I feel strongly about providing children with the opportunity to draw, scribble and make marks. Before we start I want to note there are a lot of reasons to provide crayons and pencils before markers. Crayons and pencils provide more feedback to the child, they may be easier to clean off surfaces and they are by far more eco-friendly. But as our children age, we may find ourselves introducing markers into our classrooms and homes. Many children love using markers, the colours are often super bright and... Read more →


Today I'm excited to share a Montessori make-over for these play/work shelves. What would you do to make this space more functional and engaging for a two-year-old? What would you change? These shelves are in the living area of a Paddington (NSW, AU) terrace. This is home to Nadia (2yrs), Theodore (6yrs), and their parents. This is a multi-purpose living area used as a play space and music area with a piano and guitar just out of view. There isn't enough room here for a children's table and chairs as it would take up most of the available floor space.... Read more →


Today I'm sharing four art activities that we've tried this week. I often share activities using commonly found household objects or items from nature, however, these activities all require specific art materials. All of these activities help to develop fine motor skills. I would recommend them generally from 3.5 years+. Wikki Stix Modelling - we love to use Wikki Stix (AU here) and presenting them on a tray helps to keep them all together and saves the table from getting all waxy. I also like to present them with scissors so my child can cut them to size. As much... Read more →


Many activities in art or sewing rely on the child being able to tie a knot, or rely on an adult being available to tie the knots. At Forest School we often make nature mobiles or garlands which needs lots of knots. Sewing buttons, embroidery work, beading also requires knots and my three year old gets frustrated when he needs help to complete the work. Rope is also a fun loose parts material that can be used in construction, block building or building forts. I decided to present knot tying (as above) as an independent, isolated activity. This is to... Read more →


We've had a crazy week with the children suffering injury and illness, so today I wanted to share something really bright and cheerful. What could be more cheerful than Montessori home art areas? These areas are doable, practical and also beautiful. In some of these areas you can see specifically what activities are presented, what art materials are used, and the little features that make a difference. All of these areas are impeccably organised. I hope you enjoy! Wow, this family has used Magna-Tiles in the windows to create some wonderful coloured light. I can see large post-it note on... Read more →


Let's Try Something New - Unbound Learners Circle Time

Want to try something that's fun and easy to do with your young child? Otto (3yrs) and I have been using Unbound Learners Circle Time and have found it to be a wonderful and enriching experience. Otto isn't currently attending preschool. During the week he attends a Forest School session and a Playgroup. We try to loosely follow Montessori scope and sequence as I haven't found a Montessori online curriculum that suits us. We still do a ton of Montessori work and Circle Time is a nice way to start the day, it takes the pressure off me for a... Read more →


It is forecast to rain heavily for the next 5-6 days. It's not cold but it will be wet enough to keep us from using the art area on our back deck. So while it is still dry and we have the time, we moved our art materials inside. This is a temporary move, perhaps for the week or so, we usually love doing art outside! Naturally, we made a lot of adjustments when moving our art materials inside. We didn't bring in any paints or clay. This area inside has carpet and although we use a rug in our... Read more →


We have stayed home this week. My nine-year-old has been unwell and unable to go to school, I could feel he was down and getting more frustrated as the days went on. Sport is his release but this week he hasn't left the house. I wanted to try a large-scale art activity to help him relax and unwind. "Creating art also helps children wire their brains to regulate stress. Art gives them the tools to learn how to calm themselves down. Tactile cognitive processing occurs when children create art; the neural networks in their brains fire up and signal their... Read more →


I'm not sure how it started but we have been using a lot of stencils this week. Stencils can be fantastic for developing fine motor skills they also encourage the hands to work together. One hand controls the paintbrush or pencil while the other needs to hold the stencil or paper in place. As you can see on our stencil trays, I have secured the stencil to the tray with tape. The child still needs the supporting hand to keep the paper in place and to hold the stencil down. These trays are for a three-year-old, for an older child... Read more →


Liquid watercolours and clay are my two favourite art mediums. We've been trying a few Waldorf inspired arts and crafts with watercolours, clay and more. Some of them have two steps so I recommend them for children aged three years+. Here are a few of the activities we've tried this week. Wet-on-wet watercolour painting - includes liquid watercolours in primary colours, watercolour paper (soaked in water) and a sponge to remove excess water. The child applies one colour at a time, blending the edges of each colour. This is a Waldorf inspired activity, Sarah has a good guide here. We... Read more →