Are you looking for some beautiful Montessori toys for your children? Only recently I took the plunge and ordered some materials from Heir+Loom Kids. I love the combination of the timbers they use and how well they work with the Montessori philosophy. While they have traditional Montessori materials like the interlocking discs, palmer and pincer grasp blocks they also have new materials like the toddler peg toys and the first jigsaw. You can tell someone with a Montessori mind is behind this company. It should come as no surprise that Janishi Hightower designer, maker, and, owner of Heir+Loom Kids has... Read more →

One of our most used toys is the stacking and pegging board. Both Otis and Otto have loved them from around 14 months, once they could comfortably sit unaided and use two hands together in a coordinated way. Some pegging toys are harder to use as the pegs click together, others slot into each other easily. I have found them to be toys that last, they remain popular for over a year, perhaps even two years. They are initially a challenge as the child has to work really hard to put the pegs together. Then later it is fun as... Read more →

While it's nice to bake from scratch, using organic ingredients from the farmers markets, in my world the occasional cake mix is ok too! In fact, my kids love them! Most are very child friendly, with pre-measured ingredients and clear instructions. Today I thought I'd share some of our favourite cake mixes and perhaps you'll share some of your favourites too! Using a cake mix, your child will still have a baking experience, it's all about the fun and the company. They will learn the basic ingredients that go into a cake - often we have to add the eggs,... Read more →

If you are visiting Cornwall, the Eden Project is a must see! I had high expectations and it did not disappoint. It's huge, it's amazing and it's so inspiring. It has to be the largest environmental learning centre I've seen. The Eden Project was built on a disused clay quarry and the aim was to showcase some of the world's most significant plants. But what it really does is showcase the relationship between plants and people and the amazing biodiversity we have on Earth. "Eden is a gateway into the relationships between plants and people, and a fascinating insight into... Read more →

empower VERB Make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights. For many Montessori families, practical life in the kitchen is a significant part of the child's day. We want the child to feel comfortable, confident, and, empowered in the kitchen but how do we make it work? Make the child feel welcome. Ensure the child knows they are welcome to help at (almost) any time and make it meaningful. I like to think there is always something a toddler can do. If they can't help for example you are in a rush then... Read more →

Did you hear this week the Montessori Centenary Child's Garden won Gold at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show? It's such fabulous news!! "Celebrating the pioneering vision for Early Years education introduced in Britain by Maria Montessori in 1919, garden designer, Jody Lidgard’s, first Chelsea Flower Show Space To Grow garden reflects the very principles at the heart of a Montessori approach to education. Child-led and future-driven, the garden was designed to provide a Montessori classroom space to nurture children, teaching them about the natural world alongside the modern technology that is the future of horticulture." - Montessori St Nicholas.... Read more →

I've been feeling overwhelmed. Yesterday my older children had their school sports day. Today Otis left for camp. We are travelling over the weekend and next week Caspar has his school camp. My husband is currently working a lot and I'm struggling to stay on top of things. Montessori parents can give the impression that they can and should do it all, organised home, tidy bedrooms, planned trays and activities. Today I want to share my overwhelm but also a few really good quotes from Montessori authors. "We are all human and there are great demands today on all parents.... Read more →

My children love to use the light table, it's easy to see how it is educational for preschool or primary students but what about for toddlers? The light table is wonderful for toddlers as it provides: an inviting space to learn, it has a warm glow, it's inviting especially in a dark corner or on a dark rainy cold day/week/month. the opportunity to explore familiar items in a different way. Items like feathers and leaves look different when backlit. for the exploration of shape, light, reflections, silhouettes, colour theory. hands-on learning opportunities, some fine motor work. open-ended free play that... Read more →

"Some objects are rapidly mass-produced by press or machine and are exactly alike. Others are made slowly by hand, and each is different from the other. The value of handmade objects is that each carries the individual imprint of the artist who created it." - Maria Montessori, The Child in the Family. There are so many reasons to love handmade! Etsy is my favourite source of handmade materials. There is so much knowledge and skill within the Etsy Montessori community. I love all of these items. We have 1-4 put aside for Otto for when he is ready, but all... Read more →

Today I thought it would be fun to share some of Otto's art experiences. We started the morning with painting outside. I put the cover on our water table and it's perfect for Otto to paint on. We have some acrylic A3 sheets, paint, toddler paint brushes, pinecones, wool, paint pots and spoons (for spooning out the paint). Otto also picked up and used some sticks and feathers. Spooning out the paint was his favourite part, perhaps this is the transporting schema. The acrylic sheets are fantastic for finger painting. We usually have playdough on our art shelves but I've... Read more →

This morning I took a couple of pictures of Otto cooking eggs. At 20 months he is able to crack the eggs into a bowl, I will fish out any eggshells, he can add some herbs and pour the egg onto the hot plate. He can stir the eggs but needs help spooning the eggs in to a bowl before he sets the table and eats the eggs. There is no need for him to be a bystander and watch me cook. We tidy up together. We will make pancakes on the hotplate once he is able to flip with... Read more →

A mop is one of the many practical life materials we have in our home. Otto loves mopping as he enjoys splashing around with water. Mopping is such valuable work, the child uses their whole body and the satisfaction at the end is priceless. Above Otto is using the mini Vileda mop and bucket set. I love the bucket but I wish the mop head was thicker. We put just a few inches of water into the bucket with a touch of cleaner (we use a KINN floor wash as we enjoy the natural lavender) so our floor isn't swamped.... Read more →

Have you read the New York Times "Making Playgrounds a Little More Dangerous"? It made my heart sing, I'm feeling a little over our local playgrounds which increasingly look like the plastic "safer" versions of the playgrounds in this article. We've stopped going to the playground altogether and chose to go to our local Nature Reserve instead. It's been hard to convince some of our friends, especially when they prefer the indoor playground variety. While indoor playgrounds are much cleaner/drier/warmer/safer, the nature reserve has so much to offer our children. Here are a few reasons why we prefer the Nature... Read more →