Following Spramani's series on Montessori toddler art I've been focusing on the skills my toddler is developing during his art experiences. We can focus on the process, not the product. What is my child learning or achieving during the process? I'm observing: What does he enjoy? What skills is he working on? What are his hands and arms doing? What is he most focused on? How can I further assist his experience? What can we do next to meet his developing needs? I have all three children (1,8 and 11yrs) home during the summer break (it's only the first Monday)... Read more →

"If we had to live just one day in an environment such as the one we prepare for our children, I believe we also would find it painfully uncomfortable...If these mothers prepared an environment at home for the child that conformed to his size, to his energy and to his psychic faculties, the child would be at liberty and a great step would have been taken toward the resolution of the educational problem - the child would have his own environment." - Maria Montessori, The Child in the Family. "We must give the child an environment that he can utilize... Read more →

Montessori Glue and Paste Box

I have just ordered our first Montessori Gluing Box. Previously we've used a gluing tray, with a small dish for the little bits and pieces. The Montessori Gluing Box is one of those 'at school' materials that I never thought we needed at home. However, I'm about to introduce Otto (21 months) to gluing, none of my children currently attend a Montessori school and we don't have any spare trays. Gluing is always such a popular activity for my toddlers that it just makes sense to have a dedicated box! But what goes in one, what is it supposed to... Read more →

Have you ever wondered how to introduce colour theory to your toddler or young child? Montessori art teacher and teacher trainer Spramani Elaun joins us again today to share her tips on learning art basics through colour mixing play. This is an activity that I've set up for my toddler and it was a total hit, I'll continue to try this over the summer holidays! This is also a good activity to try with siblings or, in playgroup or classroom setting. I hope you enjoy! ------------------------------------------------ Little minds are always ready to explore. Isn’t that one of the best parts... Read more →

Does everyone have at least one Melissa and Doug toy in their home? Melissa and Doug have some great toys suitable for Montessori homes, their toys are relatively affordable and for most families, they are easy to find. I've always found their quality to be good. Due to their widespread availability, they are easy to put on wish lists for family or friends to give for birthdays or Christmas. I've even seen and used a few Melissa and Doug toys in Montessori parent-toddler classes. Today I'm sharing some of the Melissa and Doug toys that we've enjoyed for the one-year-old.... Read more →

Art is as important in the Montessori environment as practical life, language or mathematics. It should not be dismissed (by parents or teachers) as less than, or as simply 'play' not 'work'. However, as a parent, I find there is more information available on the benefits of reading to a toddler or cooking with a toddler. Yes, these are important but today, let's talk about art and specifically about clay. Art with toddlers is often dismissed because of mess. Art can be messy but it doesn't have to be, use only a few materials in small quantities, prepare your surface... Read more →

Today I'm sharing six new trays for a Montessori toddler. Otto is using all of these at 21 months. While his favourites are still using the stacking pegs, lock box, and the light table all of these trays are well used too. Above are farm magnets on a metal tray. Earth Tiles on a metal tray. The metal tray makes it easier to play with the magnetic tiles and also keeps them all contained. Threading using felt shapes and an embroidery needle. You can see previous threading work here. Colour matching. This is also great for one-to-one correspondence. Otto also... Read more →

500ml / 250ml / 150ml What type of pitchers and drinking glasses do your children use? When you have your first child it's hard to know what size to get or what designs will work, often it takes a little trial and error to get it right. Today I'm sharing our most used pitchers, drinking glasses and mugs. We have a few others but these are the ones we use the most and have survived two or three children. Water dispensers have become popular in Montessori homes but I suggest that children also need the opportunity to learn to pour... Read more →

For toddlers, I love to set up a nature or observation tray rather than a nature table. I like to keep all the small pieces contained within the walls of the tray. My toddler understands he can observe, touch and manipulate all of the items but they must stay in the tray. Only now at 21 months are we moving away from a nature basket which has served more as an exploration/treasure basket to a real observation tray. A Montessori observation tray is not small world play, it's not small parts play, it is about observing up close and with... Read more →

One way we can increase our art literacy is through books. Today I'm sharing five ridiculously good art books for toddlers and preschoolers. These are all board books that are engaging, they are simple but sophisticated. Often they introduce one concept at a time such as line, shape or colour. I have listed them in order starting with my favourite, but they are all amazing and I highly recommend them! The language used in these books is absolutely fantastic for building vocabulary and comprehension. My toddler is 21 months old and is in a sensitive period for language. He loves... Read more →

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 →

Image supplied by How we Montessori/Kylie D'Alton You may have noticed that we do a lot of art in our home. Even on sick or rainy days the oil pastels are used and paint is in abundant supply. I love it and Otto responds really well to it. However art is not my strength, often I feel like I don't know what I am doing and I question how it is best to teach art to toddlers. I also want to know how art is presented in a Montessori environment, is there a Montessori way of doing toddler art? I... Read more →

It's almost summer and the summer fruits have started to appear at our local farms and markets. Cherries are perhaps Otto's favourite!! But first, we have to remove the pit! Last weekend we went strawberry picking at a pick-your-own farm. It was so much fun but of course, we came home with a ton of strawberries. Otto has been using this strawberry slicer since he was around 14 months old. It is sharp so be careful. Ripe and small strawberries are the easiest for the young toddler to slice and make sure they keep their fingers out of the way!... Read more →