My children love to use clay. Mostly we do open-ended clay play, without any prompts or suggestions on what to make. Occasionally though I like to show the children a technique or make larger sculptures, or give them project ideas. I have lots of different resources for using clay with young children so I decided to make a list of the skills or techniques that we can teach children from around three years with clay, but perhaps from two with play-dough. Clay play techniques to teach children: Squeeze Press Smooth Flatten Mould Cut Knead Crumple Straighten (roll out flat) Crush... Read more →


Today I'm sharing the top materials ordered by HWM readers through Amazon (US) in the year 2021. This post includes a ton of product links, if that isn't your thing please skip this post. I hope you find this useful and that you get some great ideas for your children for now or for the future! Let's start by looking at toddler toys and materials. The Radio Flyer Classic Walker Wagon is popular year after year (mainly due to this article). My children adored the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pound and Roll Wooden Tower and the Galt Pop Up Toy... Read more →


The week before Christmas is fabulously quiet in our home. We are mostly Christmas baking and shopping for gifts. An easy at-home activity with children that requires very few ingredients includes making Salt Dough Ornaments. Salt Dough Recipe 2 cups of plain flour 1 cup of salt 1 cup of water. Combine and knead until smooth. Roll out and cut shapes out with cookie cutters. Add a hole for a string with a stick or straw. Bake in the oven at low heat until thoroughly cooked, dry and hard. We used an oven at 130°c for around 2 hours. Once... Read more →


We've used modelling beeswax many times before but we've always used Stockmar Modeling Beeswax. Stockmar Modeling Beeswax can be expensive and I wanted to try a natural alternative. I decided to try some homemade Modeling Beeswax. Working with Modeling Beeswax is a good activity to develop muscles in the fingers and hands. It can be calming and the children can work on their sculpting skills. Modeling Beeswax is firm and can be warmed by the child's hands which may help to develop perseverance and patience. When cooled it retains its shape so the sculptures can be used on a nature... Read more →


If you are setting up a Montessori home or a Montessori classroom you may need to visit your local hardware store. Our local hardware store Bunnings (Australia) has many useful things for a Montessori home including lots of practical life and storage ideas. Let's start with the obvious, Bunnings is a good place for sourcing indoor plants. Indoor plants are fantastic for care of the environment activities like watering, dusting and generally taking care of the plant. 🌱 Seedlings and herbs are always interesting to grow with children. While there are many seeds suitable to be grown by children, this... Read more →


I've previously written about the Developmental Stage of Drawing as I find these stages in development endlessly fascinating. I recently discovered the Developmental Stage of Writing. I love this chart below as it isn't about what age your child is, but rather where your child is developmentally. It can help us understand where our child is at and what stage they are going into. Source: First seen at Destination Kindergarten, also available at West Hartford Public Schools. My child has just turned four (48 months) and is Pre-Literate. He is in the Symbolic/Mock Letters stage but is also close to... Read more →


Are you looking for some new activities to try at home using what you already have? Colour mixing activities can often be altered to suit children of various ages and many of these activities use household items. To create colours in our colour mixing activities we use: liquid watercolour paints food colouring colour bath tablets I find it nice to use white trays as they provide a neutral background. I've used these activities with my three-year-old so I've started with primary colours only. While he knows a whole range of colours, it's good to give the child a really good... Read more →


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 →