Do you allow your children to pick flowers? I recently questioned this myself but the answer came out really clear. Yes, of course, but only when safe to do so. A child must touch the flower to know the flower. Children need to use all of their senses including touch, they can pull the petals off the stem, they can squish the flower in their hands. This is exploration. We need to satisfy the child's need to touch and explore while respecting the needs of our community and ecosystem. I believe that a child who is in contact with nature... Read more →

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. Do you have an old mini fridge sitting in your garage? Or perhaps a small spare fridge that never gets used? Have you thought about putting it somewhere near the kitchen so that your children can use it? Our main fridges have been mostly unaccessible to children. Our fridges have always had the freezer part down the bottom making them totally inaccessible to toddlers and even Otis now at eight needs a step stool to reach most of the shelves. For all of my children having a little child size fridge has been... Read more →

We've received some excellent book recommendations recently and I wanted to share some of our favourites with you. All of these board books have been chosen to expand Otto's vocabulary or at least to expand the language he is exposed to. He is more and more interested in books with people and especially babies in them. I hope you enjoy this selection too. How Do You Say I Love You? by Hannah Eliot. “I love you” may sound different around the world, but the meaning is the same. This board book features families from ten countries (Italy, Japan, Spain, Russia,... Read more →

When we came to the UK over a year ago I had no idea how to dress my children warmly. Now with a little trial and error I can dress my toddler for hours of outdoor play in almost freezing conditions. Mixing in with other families I have found that most locals use a one piece padded snow suit and in warmer weather a one piece splash suit. We found the snow suits too restrictive and found the splash suits too sweaty. So this is what has worked well for us week after week. Wool hat. Otto will often remove... Read more →

Do you have art materials freely accessible to your toddler/s? I have found it's helpful, it means the art materials get used more and there is no need for the child to continually ask for permission. We have an art easel, large chalkboard and often paints outside, but what about inside? We definitely want less messy art inside. Here is how we make it work. Art materials are stored on trays on low toddler shelves. We keep a toddler size table near the art shelves. Otto is still learning to use the trays so it's easier if the table is... Read more →

Easter is near and this week I started preparing our Easter baskets. I thought it would be fun to share some some of our Easter basket, craft and book ideas! Counting Eggs, Loose Parts / Easter Egg Puzzle / Lacing Rabbit Hollow and Fillable Wooden Eggs / Colour Matching Egg and Cups / Coloured Nesting Eggs Pastel Crochet (Sensory) Eggs / Rabbit Breakfast Board / Wooden Rabbit Puzzle Easter Crayons / Easter Playdough Basket / Rabbit Rattle Otto at 18 months is going through a love of lacing and threading. He isn't interested in colour matching but enjoys placing the... Read more →

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. When I think of Montessori bibs I think of the traditional bibs made in Montessori training like this one. When Otis (my middle child) was weaning I handmade some similar, with the velcro closure on the side. But since having Otto I've found a whole range of bibs that also fit the Montessori requirements. Some of these are even easier for the child to put on independently. The three style of bibs that I've found easiest for the child to use include: Pull on / Pull over style Elastic... Read more →

When we talk about children playing outdoors we often refer to the use of gross motor skills. But there is no reason children can't use their fine motors skills outdoors too. I have found that some children can concentrate better outside, the fresh air and open space can be calming. Every week our Forest School toddler class has an open ended craft activity. They aren't the usual craft activities. They are always nature based and they always require the use of fine motor skills. Is there a better combination?? Often Otto will skip the craft activity preferring to play in... Read more →

One of the most important things we can do as Montessori parents is to follow our children. This means following and meeting their unique and individual developmental needs. It means following their interests, their skill level and working to their time line. It's why we can't provide a comprehensive list of toys of materials you can use at any one age. However, we can gain ideas and inspiration from other parents and families. It's why blogs are so useful, we can take a peek into each other's homes and see what others are using. Here is a list of toys... Read more →

I love indoor gardening, I cannot get enough of it. But I know not all parents share my enthusiasm. Growing plants indoors can provide wonderful learning opportunties for children. Children can get close to nature no matter the weather, they can observe up close the wonders of plant life. Growing herbs gives the child the opportunity to grow their own food and learn about about real food, real flavours. It also allows the child to reap and harvest frequently. "The most pleasant work for children is not sowing but reaping, a work, we all know, that is no less exacting... Read more →

We travel and eat out a lot. It's important that children feel a part of the process and aren't continuously distracted or placated throughout travel, or in waiting rooms or at a sibling's sporting events. However I have three children and recognise there are times when a few distractions can help. Next month we are travelling to France with a group for my husband's work. I am filled with anxiety about how Otto will handle the journey and multiple events. While we will do our best to meet both his needs and my husband's work committments, I have put together... Read more →

The entryway is an important part of a Montessori home environment. It's an area that can serve us and our toddler well if it is thought out and organised. Why do we need a toddler entryway? Promotes order and independence. Allows the child to easily look after and put away their belongings. For the parent it is easier to find the child's shoes and coats, especially useful when you need them in a rush. Empowers the child to participate in self dressing as much as possible. Provides adequate and dedicated space for dressing including putting on shoes and coats, with... Read more →

I hope that it doesn't need saying that there is more to Montessori than toys and materials and that a Montessori home can be created on any budget. But it would be amiss of me not to share or discuss some of our new finds or favourite materials. I had seen this stacker before but it wasn't until I saw a similar one at Honeybee toys that I thought how wonderful it would be for Otto. We love this new toy so much I'm naming it our toy of the year! It is a large toy so it may be... Read more →

It's wonderful when a child, especially a toddler, can do their chosen activity independently from start to finish. I recently wrote a little about the snack containers we have been using. Otto (18 months) can open them independently but cannot close them. It's not so much of an issue as sometimes he will use all of the contents or I am close enough to close the containers for him. But it really bugged me. There must be a better solution, there must be airtight containers that toddlers can use independently? I searched and I found that a lot of people... Read more →

This morning Otto was sitting on the floor trying to put his pants on. He kept on pushing both of his legs into the one pant leg. Then he would kick and scream and throw himself on the floor and it would start all over again. I sat down next to him, trying to work out how to best to help him. I held out the second pant leg and tried to guide his leg into it. But Otto didn't want the help and he started kicking me. Oh, it's such a vicious circle, how to help someone that doesn't... Read more →