At this age there are so many skills to learn. Often I don't know if Otis is ready or able to do something until I give him the opportunity to try. Take spreading. He can do it well enough to make a snack, you can see he really needs to use his support hand. Come to think of it it's not unlike pasting. Although spreading requires a rotation of the wrist that it quite unique. You can see how important activities like pasting and spreading are in the preparation of the hand/arm/body for writing. Strength, coordination, rotation, the use of... Read more →

Because Otis wanted to do this activity while I was taking photos of Caspar's making materials I thought why not take a few photos of Otis too. Actually Otis walked right in front of my camera, took the pasting tray and set it up on his table. . We've had pasting on the shelves for couple of months. The other activities on this shelf have been out since Otis first had access to the art centre; crayons with a drawing book to the left and playdough to the right. Otis's easel was kept in this space but now in our... Read more →

You can see pictures and details of Otis's Montessori Nursery here. Now Caspar and Otis are in the same bedroom, the room is still Montessori but it's much more modern. The bedroom is for sleeping, reading and quiet time. Occasionally the boys will bring in toys but with the exception of toys stored in the wardrobe and their bears, there aren't any toys kept in here. Two beds, low front facing bookshelf, book baskets by the bed, clothes within easy reach and low artwork. It's intentionally simple. . . I find it difficult to choose artwork for Otis. He is... Read more →

A little bucket (small enough for the child to carry), some bubbles, a sponge, water and a cloth. They can wash just about anything (think toys, outdoor furniture, gardening tools, bikes). It really helps if the item is dirty/dusty/muddy, this makes the work purposeful in the way the child can visually see their work of cleaning. . I demonstrate to Otis three steps. Wash. Rinse. Dry. But of course there is a whole heap of mischief and splashing in between. . When demonstrating and working along side Otis I pay attention to detail. Washing every last part of the item,... Read more →

While reading the wonderful Good Night, Sleep Tight by Mem Fox, I was reminded of some rhymes from my childhood. This Little Piggy (went to market), Pat A Cake Pat A Cake (bakers man), Round and Round The Garden (like a teddy bear) are such wonderful rhymes they are now a part of our bedtime routine. I started thinking of other rhymes, finger plays and action songs from my childhood that my children (Caspar 5 and Otis 19 months) would like. In addition to those mentioned my childhood favourites that are now favourites of my children include; Five Little Monkeys... Read more →

Care of self is one area that without thought our children practice everyday. Putting on clothes, brushing teeth, washing hands. For Otis preparing snack is also a part of everyday practice. Pouring, cutting, tonging. It's a nice reminder that in the home not all activities need to be presented on a tray, on the shelf. Why not make practical life activities as practical as possible. So many people say they do a lot of Montessori without thought, not necessarily subscribing to Montessori it just seems like a good way to do things. Yes, Montessori or not, a child preparing snack... Read more →

It was a hot day today. While my children spent the afternoon outside with buckets of water and spray bottles - Otis began the day with some super simple indoor water activities. Sponging is an activity that Otis loves at our Montessori Parent-Toddler class. Two bowls, one with a small sponge and some water. The child uses the sponge to transfer the water from bowl to bowl. This is an activity that I have used as a diversion at school. Otis loves water play (like most toddlers I'm sure). If he is taking a long time washing dishes or at... Read more →

Do you know what is in your children's 'non-toxic' paint? I don't because it's not on the label. In the interest of 'blog research' we are road testing some eco and natural kids paints. I decided to start with finger paint. I am more trusting when the paint is on the end of a brush but when it's on their skin for half the day I'd rather know what's in it and know it's natural. For finger paint I think homemade is the best way to go but I wish I had these wee can too paints when Otis was... Read more →

By far the most questions I receive from readers of the blog are about sleep. Argh bedtime! For many it's not easy. A toddler, a floor bed and parents not prepared to sleep train or cry it out - what's the answer? I don't have the answer but I'll share with you our bedtime routine. First some background on 19 month old Otis. He sleeps on his floor bed (most of the time) which is in the bedroom he shares with his brother (Caspar 5 yrs). We don't have a gate on any doors and all bedroom doors are left... Read more →

The eighteen month mark is a significant one in my mind. It feels like it's the change from baby to toddler. Previously I would hold Otis (have him on my hip) as he brushed his teeth, so that he could see the mirror and often I would brush my teeth at the same time. Previously his mirror was in his room, but now the two boys are in the same bedroom there is no room for it. We have recently put his mirror in the bathroom and made some additions to make teeth brushing easier. Along with the low mirror... Read more →

I recently wrote about my greatest toddler frustration.Tammy left a comment fondly reminiscing of using a child sized shopping cart when she was young and wondering why no one has them anymore. Our supermarket has those carts and I had allowed Caspar to use them before but not Otis. Why not Otis? Because I thought it would be a disaster. I thought he would run into people. I thought he would put random objects into the cart. I was wrong. It turned out to be a really good experience. Otis was super serious, I think steering required a lot of... Read more →

This is the way my children like to wash the floor. With a mop and a bucket of water. I only put a few centimeters of water in the bucket - they don't need much. Caspar will wear socks or his rain boots. Be careful the floor gets slippery. This is the mop that Otis and Caspar have everyday access to. If they make a spill this is the mop they will use to clean it up. . I couldn't find a good child sized mop so I went to our hardware store and purchased the small mop head and... Read more →

. Otis arrives at school and hangs his bag on the hook. . He takes his snack out of his bag (today it's strawberries) and walks inside where he is warmly greeted by the teacher. Otis takes his snack to the snack table. He likes to have his snack straight away so he washes the strawberries, slices them (we slice together with a serrated knife) and puts the waste into the compost. At the table (not shown) he sets his placemat, name setting, fork, napkin and drink. Today for the first time he pours his drink (from the little white... Read more →

While writing the last post about cutting with scissors I was reminded about Otis's attempts to use a peg. Using a peg would also be a good for strengthening hand and finger muscles in preparation for using scissors and one day writing. . The above photograph is a month or so old (I featured it previously as a Photo of the Day). Whenever I hang out the laundry Otis helps to set up this small hanger and he will hang socks and some of his clothes. I have previously shown Otis how to use a peg but thought it might... Read more →