What do you put on your clay tray or with your toddler clay work? In the past I've presented clay with lots of bits and pieces like small craft sticks, mosaic tiles, dried beans, gum nuts and other items from nature. This week our clay tray includes more tools, rather than sticking things in the clay I want my toddler to explore the clay with his hands, to change the shape of the clay, to model and mould it. A toddler size spray bottle to keep the clay moist. Textured rolling pin. "Clay has a utilitarian purpose—it can make bowls... Read more →


Are you looking for some new art trays to try? Here are eight that we've tried this week. Tape - my toddler is in a huge scissor phase so he likes this tray, I have coloured tape, children's scissors and card. The card is from Reverse Garbage but the back of cereal containers or other card packaging would work well too. The child cuts pieces of tape and arranges it on the card. Mirror - painting with a cotton bud on a mirror, fantastic for developing fine motor skills. We loooove using our pencil crayons on the mirror too. Car... Read more →


a. / b. / c. / d. / e. / f. / g. / h. / i. / j. / k. / l. / m. / n. / o. / p. Perhaps it is the wind and rain, although we are still going for our nature walks we are spending more time inside and my toddler is loving ALL the cutting, pasting, and sticker work! Sometimes we use sticker books how they are intended, by sticking the stickers in the books often on predetermined pages. Most of all we use stickers for collage work, presented on a tray. Although we... Read more →


I don't want to sound pushy, but I want to check-in to see if you are providing a creative outlet for your children. Are you providing time and space for self expression? It doesn't have to be grand or expensive. It can be as simple as some pencil, paper and a few minutes of uninterrupted time. Perhaps your children aren't interested? Perhaps your children are already doing lots of crazy exciting creative things! One area of creativity and self expression that I'm particularly interested in is mark making, or drawing. "For youngsters aged two to twelve, expressing themselves through art... Read more →


How have you been? We have been busy with school work and lots of arts and creative play. We have been getting of the house at least once a day for exercise and we are incredibly grateful for a backyard and nice weather! Here are a few small things that I've enjoyed this week. Above Matching Community Workers. Otto (2 yrs) loves learning about community workers. We are using Community Helpers Pocket Cards with some Wooden Model Workers. This is great for language development. It was also initially challenging as the models are not identical to the cards. For example... Read more →


I hope you and your family are well. It's been such a stressful week for everyone. Here are a few things that I've been enjoying. 1. Juicing oranges. We love our electric juicer. For a toddler this really helps to set them up for success. Otto (2yrs) can make enough juice for the whole family, and it's a lot of fun too! Highly recommend! 2. Growing Beans! This is a fun activity for young children as the beans sprout and grow so quickly. Unlike when they are grown in soil, the child able to see the roots and all of... Read more →


We are starting to spend more time at home. While we aren't in total lockdown (my older children are still at school) Otto and I are home most of the time. Luckily we have a smallish but safe backyard to play in and the weather has been gorgeous. I have been heavily influenced by some of the process art I've seen at our toddler art classes. Our classes have been cancelled for now so along with a lot of other work, I'm making sure I offer some interesting art experiences. I love the idea of a painting texture wall. We... Read more →


We don't run to a schedule and almost every day looks different. But our days are child led. For us this means a whole lot of free play outside! Today I felt the need for some new materials. What was in order? A trip to the toy store, some online shopping? No! A morning visit to our local Reverse Garbage. I phoned ahead to make sure they were open and I spoke to Kirsten (Creative Director), who I have proclaimed an expect in early childhood loose parts play. Kirsten later greeted us at Reverse Garbage (Sydney) and showed us around.... Read more →


Today I'm sharing five things that I've enjoyed this week. Some of these are small moments but these are the things I treasure and want to make note of. We have been doing so much work, play and exploring outdoors. When living in the UK I kept a tally of how many hours we spent outdoors but here in Australia I don't need to, it's just not an issue. We are outdoors almost all day. Otis also walks to school so we are spending a lot less time in the car. This spot underneath a Eucalyptus tree is lovely and... Read more →


Today Otto (2yrs) attended his first toddler art class. The studio was beautiful, amazing and vibrant. I felt so inspired that I made some adjustments to our art shelves as soon as we got home. But what had me thinking was the focus on process art and how many product driven arts and crafts my other children did at the same age. I know that product driven art and crafts can be useful for a variety of reasons and are often used around cultural events (Easter, Christmas, at school fairs). But do children in the first plane of development need... Read more →


"The hands are the instruments of man's intelligence." - Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind. Hand strength is essential for activities like writing and using scissors but it is also essential for daily living tasks like doing up buttons, pulling on shoes, tying a bow or pouring a drink. Often we focus on coordination, the pincer grasp and the refinement of movements and touch, which are incredibly important but developing the strength of the entire hand is fundamental. How do our toddlers in the precious first three years of life spend their days? Are our lifestyles becoming too passive? Are our... 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 →


We often think about developing fine motor skills in order to prepare the hand for writing. But what about preparing the hand for drawing, isn't that just as important? Drawings are communication, they are expression, they are meaningful, they assist in developing individuality and creativity. We mustn't think that writing is always the end goal, drawing and creating is pretty important too. And guess what, your toddler can already do it! Fostering creativity through drawing is always a priority for our toddler. Because toddlers can't always tell us what they want, they don't always know they want to draw unless... Read more →


I've been reading Creative Children's Spaces: Fresh and imaginative ideas for modern family homes by Ashlyn Gibson. It's not Montessori in approach but there are floor beds featured (house beds) and good art display options. I love the idea of using a restaurant tab (or check) grabber for displaying art, or prints, or photographs so much that I ordered some straight away. A young child can use them easily and independently. I am also a fan of the slightly industrial looks. Perhaps in our next house I will put one in the kitchen, or living area or near the children's... Read more →


If you have more than one child creating a safe and enticing art area can be difficult. While I have three children only my eight and two year old use this area. Previously I've set up this area just for my toddler and I had six or so activities on trays. Now we have a combination of loose materials and a few trays out. This area is in our playroom and often my toddler is here being supervised by my (super relaxed) husband and sometimes by my twelve-year-old son. So for safety and to reduce scribbling on walls, I have... Read more →