I am not overstating things when I say that walking changes everything. I love that Otis can now carry things, set his own table. I'm still trying to find the time for him to do this at breakfast. In our home morning tea is much more relaxed. The tray is key here. This one is small enough but it's the sides that make all the difference. Each morning I give him a fresh demonstration, holding the handles and holding the tray up. But once he gets going I don't stop or try to fix him. Sometimes it looks scary but... Read more →

I remember reading that Montessori once allowed the children to knock over the Pink Tower. She realised that this was damaging the cubes and put a stop to it. The Pink Tower is typically presented to children at 3-4 years and is a tower of ten cubes. This is our toddler version, the coloured tower where knocking down is totally acceptable but deconstructing is preferred. I love the physicality of it. As Montessori said in the construction of the tower the child goes through the stages of kneeling and rising. It's also the movement of the child. As a toddler... Read more →

Otis the little walker is getting into everything now. He's been busy sweeping and copying his brother. He doesn't really get sweeping yet. He just pushes the crumbs around the floor. Caspar has been demonstrating with the little broom and dustpan. We have a little bucket nearby so he can take this with him. He will empty the dustpan into the bucket then take the bucket to the rubbish bin and empty it. Giving him another thing to carry around also meets his need to transport things. I've also lowered a lot of our hooks so they are within easy... Read more →

Otis is walking. It feels like I can breathe a sigh of relief. At fifteen, almost sixteen months he is by no means an early walker. The age when children start walking varies so much it's a reminder of how different our children are. It's why so many people tell me their child isn't interested in the same activities as Otis. Now he is walking he's interested in different things too. His top priority is practicing walking. Even better if he can find something to carry. He loves to carry a basket and find things to put in the basket.... Read more →

About a month ago I made Otis an apron, you can see him wearing it in my last post. I couldn't find many aprons for sale for this age group. The aprons 3-6 years are too big. So really similar to Sarah's Apron, I traced the outline of Caspar's apron and made a smaller one for Otis. Just as easy you could take up/in the larger sized apron and then let it out as your child grows. This is great if you can sew and have the time. Recently I found these adorable aprons from GooseDesigns. Not only are these... Read more →

A week of Otis in the kitchen at fifteen months. Otis transferring food. I have my board next to him where I am preparing the food (peeling, cutting etc). When I'm finished with each piece I put it on his board and he transfers it into the steamer/bowl/plate. This is the activity he does the most in the kitchen, he's helping and often samples the food. Tearing oregano and then transferring into a pan (for a yummy pasta sauce). Investigating new foods. Otis has seen beetroot on his plate ready to eat but this is the first time he's seen... Read more →

I had a longer post planned but I decided to update my site tonight. Here it is now as www.howwemontessori.com. Thank you to a friend for the much needed encouragement. All the links to the typepad site will still work but if you create any new links it would be appreciated if you could use www.howwemontessori.com. If you encounter any problems with links or subscriptions please let me know. This is a photograph from a couple of days ago. A little car tracker I found in our cupboard. The benefit of being the second child is having all the old... Read more →

As any parent knows it's hard to rest when you have children. It's also difficult to care for children when you are injured. My leg is still in a splint and besides medical appointments I have not left the house all week. Definitely no nature walks. Otis has been getting restless. I have been searching our cupboard for any old toys of Caspar's that might slightly interest him. Luckily I've found a few. I also remembered how much Caspar loved this scooping activity and thought Otis might just get it. With a very low grip and a firm hand Otis... Read more →

Aim: Create new activity for Otis using items already in the house in under five minutes. Method: Drill holes in recycled containers and present with matchsticks for a threading activity. An oldie but a goodie! I almost feel silly posting something so simple but these are the things we do! This container was recycled and could be used for so many things. It could be used for a coin box or shape sorter. Hannah recently mentioned in the comments a similar activity using blunt kebab sticks. Paddle pop or craft sticks would be good to use too, just cut the... Read more →

Are we limiting our children's creativity by overwhelming them with choice? By giving them too much? By dictating how they will play? Otis is still so young. So much to explore. When I've given him playdough before, I've just given him plain playdough. Then recently with Caspar they started to use tools. The good old rolling pin and cookie cutters. Otis just copied Caspar. Then on another occasion out came some decorations - matchsticks, pipecleaners, you know the like. Once again Otis followed his brother. Now on his art shelf Otis has a few tools with his playdough. But it... Read more →

I originally set this up with six tubes and a rectangular block. Otis made it clear that he would rather sit and only used the bottom tube. Because I was with him, working in the kitchen, I gave him some small pom poms. He also used matchsticks and paddle pop sticks. You can tell when the child is engaged. Repetition. Over and over again. After re-arranging and using only two tubes, Otis thought this was ok too. This could be the easiest and cheapest activity I've posted yet! Read more →

This is a child sized easel which I've shortened by a few inches. Now it's the perfect height for Otis. He uses it everyday. Not always for painting, he will draw here too. We use different types of brushes. I don't know which is best. This one is called Roymac Chunky and has a bulb shaped handle. We use a range of colours but only one colour at a time. We've tried fancier types of painting like painting with string and wool but that just turned into finger painting. Painting with a sponge was successful so I've kept a container... Read more →

Giotto be-be pencil crayons came highly recommended as 'first' crayons. They are soft and easily mark the paper. Honeysticks may be the most eco friendly choice and yes they smell fantastic. Made from 100% natural beeswax and non-toxic pigments. I love that they're made in New Zealand. The unique chubby shape of Honeysticks makes them easier for small hands to hold, but much more difficult for small hands to break! Honeysticks have been "tested in preschools and the kids have tried to break them but they just can't. Plus they love the smell!" - Honeysticks Stockmar Wax Blocks are our... Read more →