Otto has been playing with the lovely Matador Baby Architect blocks (made in Austria) and it has made me think about how much they are like Duplo or Mega Blocks. While we have plastic toys in our home there is a lot of external and internal pressure to choose wooden (compostable, biodegradable) or recycled plastic products where we can. Here are a few wooden alternatives to the plastic toys we have in our home. a. Earthtiles (back in stock US Spring 2019) (Australia here) are a good wooden alternative for Magna-Tiles or Magformers. You can see ours here. (This is... Read more →

a. / b. / c. / d. / e. / f. Otto hasn't always liked stacking toys. It's a good lesson to follow the child and not to compare your child to others. Now at 15 months Otto frequently chooses stacking materials and will work on them repeatedly. First he started with the ring stackers at around nine months (a. & b.) and then the discs on the vertical dowel (c.). Each one is progressively more difficult. Now at fifteen months he is using the cubes on the vertical dowel (d.) and has really mastered this material. So today I... Read more →

I don't need to know the educational benefits of some toys, I can just see that my children learn from using them, I can see they are engaged, I can see that they are happy! Until recently Otto only had a small basket of blocks out. But you know the things with blocks is that they need a flat firm surface if you are going to build anything big. So today with Otis home from school we put a few of our blocks into a large tray. It was an all round success. Otto pretty much giggled the whole time.... Read more →

I was going to give an update on Otto's bedroom - to show how he has grown into the space. But then I realised I only had photographs of half of the room. But this pretty much is it, out of picture he has a wardrobe, his weaning table and chair and his ball tracker. He has a lot of his toys and materials in our living area downstairs but we always keep a few things in his room to play with before or after bed. This is a favourite spot for reading and playing with his brothers. We've put... Read more →

I recently found a solution to two problems I was facing. I want to share as it might help or encourge you to see your spaces differently! My problem was that I had a toddler who likes messy art and when it's raining we had no outdoor space to play in. Our house is so small the only place Otto can use his art easel without covering the place with paint is outside. We love spending time outside but when it's raining we have no covered veranda, patio or deck to use. I was almost thinking about setting up a... Read more →

Otto received this little red wheelbarrow for Christmas. It's almost as if at this age we avoid expensive gifts because we know the simpler the better. He wants toys that help him to do things. Practical life materials. While his brothers are outside (for hours) kicking a football around, Otto wants to be doing things, he wants to be working with his hands, he wants to be productive. "Human beings of ages want to be able to communicate with others, to challenge themselves, to do important work, and to contribute to society. This is human nature at it's best. This... Read more →

Otto's most prized possession in his lovely little straw broom! Sweeping is the practical life activity that he does the most, second to cutting banana. It's so simple and easy to do. We have found it easiest to start with a straw broom. It doesn't matter which way he uses it unlike a push broom, he is able to move the leaves around. We gave Otto his first broom when he started walking. Then we modelled how to use it. Having a front porch that constantly has leaves is useful too. We sweep the leaves but soon more blow in.... Read more →