Otto (36 months) is now cutting and using scissors with greater accuracy. To help him further improve his accuracy and also improve his fine motor skills we've introduced a range of cutting strips. I love using cutting strips with images as they also help promote language development and they are much more interesting for the child to use. At this age I like to use cutting strips where there is a bit of a gap between the images as they are easier for the young child to use. Here are some of our current favourites. Construction Vehicles Dogs Cars &... Read more →


It's easy to prepare an activity and put it on your shelves. It's much harder to prepare an activity that meets your child's developmental needs and is also attractive to the child. My toddler doesn't love pasting and he will walk past most pasting trays. I know pasting is a valuable skill so I set out to make some pasting trays that he will actually use and enjoy. I recently watched a video of a Montessori guide who suggested cutting out images for the child to paste from magazines and wrapping paper. My magazines didn't have many useful images but... Read more →


I've been inspired to try some woodwork with Otto since reading Learning Through Woodwork: Introducing Creative Woodwork in the Early Years by Pete Moorhouse. Otto turns three this month so I wasn't sure how to start. Learning Through Woodwork contains good tips for introducing woodwork and it has lots of beautiful photographs of children 3-4 years old working with wood. The author believes that the preschool years starting from three is the ideal time to start woodwork! This feels entirely in line with the Montessori way of thinking. Today I want to share three ways I've introduced woodworking to Otto.... Read more →


There is some thought especially with Occupational Therapists that young children would benefit from using crayons before moving onto other drawing materials like markers. Although my toddler on occasion uses markers, I have to agree and it's not just crayons. I feel there are many reasons why young children would benefit from using pencils, oil pastels, perhaps even charcoal and paint sticks before using markers. Using a marker it's very easy to produce a mark on paper. You can hold a marker at almost any angle with varying amounts of pressure and it still works. Markers are smooth and consistent,... Read more →


Converge = come from different directions and meet at one place, to move towards one single point. Convergent thinking = bringing our thoughts together to find one correct answer. Is a left brain process that may be logical, precise, systematic and ordered. Diverge = depart and go forward in different direction/s. Divergent thinking = generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. Uses left and right brain thinking. May be more free-flowing, less ordered, non-linear, and more spontaneous. Supports out-of-the-box thinking. I have been finding that in society, in our homes and schools there is a lot of value placed... Read more →


I've been feeling inspired by Reggio style children's self-portraits. The Montessori and Reggio Approach have a lot in common. Both are child-led approaches that respect and trust the child. "Right at the heart of the Reggio Approach is the very powerful image adults have of children. Every child is seen as strong, confident and competent. Strong children have their own ideas, express opinions, make independent choices and are able to play and work well with others. This powerful image of the child needs adults who listen to children and trust them to make responsible decisions. In the Reggio Approach listening... Read more →


Many of us are spending a lot of time at home right now. I know there is one thing that will keep my toddler very busy and learning at home every day of the week. That is art and creating! I've been reading and learning about children's art spaces in Montessori and also in Reggio environments. While this art area is uniquely ours I wanted to share it with you. This art space is on our back deck, it's an almost seamless indoor/outdoor environment. The deck is covered and is suitable for working in all year round. Our art environment:... Read more →


I've been reading In The Spirit of The Studio: Learning From The Atelier Of Reggio Emilia (a fantastic Reggio book) and art is on my mind. This week I've refreshed our art area and introduced an awesome easel. Otto is almost three so I feel the need to add some more interesting elements especially in the area of mark making. So I've sought the perspective of other Montessori parents and teachers. Here are a few Montessori art shelves I've found interesting in homes and schools. This is in the home of a 4 and a 11 year old. They have... Read more →


Nature journaling with a toddler? Is it possible? It is possible and it can be a lot of fun too! It's nice to make a few observations while out in nature especially if we visit the same spot regularly. We can make observations about the big things like the wind or the raging waves, or about the small things like a tiny crab claw found in the rockpool. Here are three ways we enjoy nature journaling with our two year old. Mark Marking/Drawing We take a journal or notepad and some pencils for mark making and free drawing. I don't... Read more →


I recently presented Otto with his first sand tray! He isn't interested in phonics or letter recognition but he loves drawing and mark making. A sand tray is a wonderful way to encourage and develop pre-writing skills. The child can draw a picture and then shake the tray to start over again, it's fun and economical. Like finger painting, this is a good way to encourage mark making without the child having to use a tool. Sand is tactile and feels wonderful. I suggest using a fine, dry sand. Here we've used fine salt that I've coloured. I love to... Read more →


Has your toddler started to draw people? A few months ago Otto started to draw circles, then he started to draw circles within circles and then he started to draw faces with two eyes and a mouth. On Sunday night (at two years, 10 months) he started to draw people with legs and arms. I had been patiently waiting for the moment to happen and it did not disappoint. He has been drawing these 'tadpole' (or potato people) ever since, and lots of them. They are adorable! Here are a few notes that I've made about this stage from Children... Read more →


Want to take a peek into a really beautiful, colourful and vibrant children's art studio? Before the COVID restrictions came into place Otto and I loved attending the process art toddler class at the Little Ginger Studio in Sydney (Randwick). All of these pictures were taken in March (2020), a week before the studio closed due to COVID. The studio has now reopened but they are only running drop off classes (no parents allowed) for children over the age of three. You can see all of their classes listed here. Danielle Falk is the founder of Little Ginger Studio. Danielle... Read more →


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 →