My little nephew turned one this month. His birthday came at a busy time. We packed some well meaning gifts but I was disappointed we didn't send anything hand made. My sister recently sent me some pictures of a 'posting' toy she had made. Simple cards that can be 'posted' into a hole cut out of a shoe box. It reminded me of all the easy DIY, home made activities that children of this age just love. My sister is also a busy working mum and I'm hoping she will enjoy some further Montessori inspiration! So I made some time... Read more →

Do your children use a work mat at home? I wonder at what age it is introduced? In the past Otis has worked at his table or straight on the floor. This is the first time he has used a work mat. I felt like a real teacher rolling it out slowly and deliberately. As you can see Otis wanted to sit on it. I only have two rules. 1. The work stays on the mat. 2. The mat is rolled up and put away when we are finished. When I met with Kate last week I realised that we... Read more →

Honestly when I first read about teething necklaces I thought the child must chew them. I hesitated thinking what a choking hazard! You know the child isn't supposed to chew the necklace at all, they simply need to wear it against their skin. Caspar wore his infrequently and it didn't appear to help at all. However Otis is happy to wear his all the time. He doesn't notice it and you cannot even see it, it's usually hidden beneath his clothes. The theory is Amber has healing properties and can help relieve the pain of teething. The Amber needs to... Read more →

Along with shoes we also ordered these toilet learning pants from Michael Olaf. Otis has been wearing training pants for a while like the red ones in this post although as you can see they are bulky and absorb much like a nappy, neither Otis or I could even tell he was wet. I was looking for pants that were; Absorbent enough there is no puddle but the child still feels wet Easy to see the child is wet Slimline, not at all bulky Easy to get on and off, even for a very young child Made from natural fibers... Read more →

We bought Otis's first cube chair before he was born. I always liked the look of two chairs together, such a cute concept. Because these two chairs have different stains they don't match perfectly but I still love using them together. Otis used the Me-Do-It chair as a weaning chair. At six months he couldn't sit up like this, he needed the support. He is currently using the Me-Do-It chair in his room and this combo is for his snack area. I love that it is compact, when friends come over we have two chairs and they can be used... Read more →

I featured the above photograph on Tuesday for the Photo of the Day but I liked it so much I wanted to feature it here too. I know many of you are book fans, big book fans. I have written about why read to your baby before but things are now different for Otis. He can choose, open and read his own book. I love capturing these quiet moments of him reading to himself. At twelve months I endeavor to teach him; How to hold a book (carefully and the right way up), I don't correct him if he holds... Read more →

I love seeing how children develop. Watching an infant creeping to a crawl. Cruising to walking. I have mentioned Otis walking with his walker wagon before (here and here). It's perfect for a beginner because it is so stable. Now that Otis is more confident on his feet he has taken to walking with anything. The Wheely Bug. He's not just cruising here. He's actually walking around the entire house, even over carpet with these. A stool. The Cube Chair. The high chair. I have also recently noticed how tall babies look once they start walking. One moment they appear... Read more →

We had finished playing Connect Four when Caspar and Otis begun to fill the frame with tokens. No strategy just having fun putting all the tokens in. Watching Otis's hand action made me think he was ready for a coin box. I have not purchased a coin box and when Caspar was little I made one out of an empty yoghurt container. This DIY is a compromise. No natural materials and not beautiful. It's functional but still a compromise on the traditional Montessori material. I asked Caspar to give Otis a lesson. Caspar loves this. He is channelling his teacher.... Read more →

During the school holidays it's important for us to take the opportunity to spend some days at home. I don't want my children to feel bored easily. I want them to use their minds and imaginations. Not to look to me for something to do, for entertainment. So we allow them as much free play as possible. Outside I try not to hover but stay nearby. Otis is frequently physically constrained by closed doors. But leave our back door open and this is where you will find him. Here or at the strawberry patch. It was actually rainy today. While... Read more →

It's nice to remember that some of the best materials can be made with items already in our home. Here I have used empty spice bottles, some seeds, nuts and lentils. With beauty and the use of natural materials at the forefront of my mind. I copied the idea from Sara here. Sara used jam jars. I like the little jars our vanilla paste comes in but I didn't have enough. Used baby food jars would work well too. Read more →

Using a stacker is good for a child's hand eye coordination, concentration, focus and spatial awareness. Some stackers are also good for learning shapes and colours. These are the stackers we are using and rotating with Otis at twelve months. 1. Rainbow Stacker. This looks beautiful sitting on the shelf. 2. Ring Stacker with Colour Discs from Beginning Montessori. This stacker is a favourite of mine because it is really four stackers in one (have a look at their site to see what I mean). Different sized discs makes this suitable for a wide range of skill levels and keeps... Read more →

Breakfast cereal in a bowl with a spoon. Otis eats around three-four mouthfuls before he starts putting his hands in the bowl. I feed him a little then remove the bowl and give him his plate. He eats the rest of his breakfast with his hands. We take Caspar to school and come home to tidy the kitchen. Otis eats snacks from his snack draw. He's eating the green Organic Puffs from Happy Baby. We are out of bananas so no banana snack today. For morning tea Otis eats some hot cross bun at his snack table. I have ordered... Read more →

Did you see Sara's post at Feeding the Soil of Henry helping in the kitchen? I loved it so much I recently tried something similar with Otis. He wasn't really interested though. He just kept on sitting down. Sara got me thinking. How young is too young to help in the kitchen? Well of course age is no limit. It's more important to think about the skills and interests of your child. I know Otis loves bananas and peeling a piece is nice and simple. A perfect fit for Otis. He did at first try to eat the banana without... Read more →