Are you looking for some new art trays to try? Here are eight that we've tried this week. Tape - my toddler is in a huge scissor phase so he likes this tray, I have coloured tape, children's scissors and card. The card is from Reverse Garbage but the back of cereal containers or other card packaging would work well too. The child cuts pieces of tape and arranges it on the card. Mirror - painting with a cotton bud on a mirror, fantastic for developing fine motor skills. We loooove using our pencil crayons on the mirror too. Car... Read more →

Wow, what a week! It has rained consistently for over two weeks and I've been working extra hard to remove negative language about the weather and mud! Today I'm sharing a few links that things that I've been enjoying: Friday was National Forest School Day. Otto had a blast at Forest School with lots of water and mud play. I encourage all Montessori families to have a look at Forest School activities especially, for toddlers and preschoolers. How cute is this Bug Box via Conscious Craft. I enjoyed this peek into a Reggio Emilia inspired classroom at Nature Play. Benedykt... Read more →

I've been reading Block Play - The Complete Guide and I was super inspired to set up our very own 'block corner'. Since turning two Otto has really got into block play. Previously we had a few blocks in a basket on his work shelves or in a large tray and some outdoor blocks. But having this little block corner really prioritises block play. It also gives him space for large block play. Blocks are fantastic for building skills like coordination but also for developing concentration, focus, problem solving, spatial awareness, visual perception, creativity, child-led and independent play. Here are... Read more →

Montessori maths looks a little different at home compared to what you may see in the classroom. At home, I aim to make maths a part of our everyday living and I aim to do it seamlessly and effortlessly! At home with my toddler I want to build mathematical vocabulary and mathematical literacy. Maths is everywhere around us. We don't need to teach it to our children as much as we need to provide them the opportunities to explore math concepts themselves. We also can't discount the learning that happens during open-ended play, Otto pushes his tractor fast down a... Read more →

"Mark making helps young children make sense of their world, and express their thinking to others. The patterns of marks that you can observe can help you to understand their thought, even before they can express what they mean." - The Ultimate Guide to Mark Making In The Early Years. I've mentioned previously how I believe that toddler mark making is important. It's learning, it's expression, it's creativity, it's communication. Mark making and scribbling is something that needs to be allowed, nurtured and encouraged in these early years. My children including our toddler have free access to pencils, crayons, paint... Read more →

A few new activities, at 24 months. Above is a sock matching game. At first, I was disappointed thinking it might have been better to just match with real socks, but there are eighteen pairs in this set and Otto loves it and does it over and over. This is a junior Colorino game. I was getting ready to donate it when Otto started playing with it again. I take a couple of the clear bases and a small bag of dots with us when I take Otto to a workout class. He simply enjoys connecting the dots to the... Read more →

Stereognosis - the ability to perceive and recognise the form of an object in the absence of visual and auditory information, by using tactile information to provide cues from texture, size, spatial properties, and temperature, etc. The Mystery Bag (3-6 years) from How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way; The mystery bag has long been a favourite children's activity. Usually it is simply a cloth bag or box with a hole for your child's hands, through which she can touch and manipulate objects that she cannot see. To play you will need a collection of small object with... Read more →

Have you seen a wooden Montessori style placemat before? I recently came across this one and I absolutely love it. It's so unique and that I really want to share it with you. It is made from solid acacia wood here in the UK. It is laser engraved so the child knows exactly where to put their fork, spoon, knife, plate and cup! It is super smooth and practical. I love that it is personalised so that Otto can start to recognise his name and has ownership over it. It's beautiful!! If you are wondering it wipes down easily too.... Read more →

Stacking, Sorting and Sequencing toys are fantastic for the child's brain development. Patterning is really early maths! When developing patterning skills the child is able to identify repeating shapes and colours, identify similarities and differences, identify relationships to one shape or colour to the others. They often learn to count or even skip counting. They can identify groups of things including 'what comes next', learn recall and work on memory development. Copying or recreating a pattern is also an important step and is great for cognitive development. By recreating a pattern children can also strengthen problem solving skills, spatial awareness... Read more →

Someone needs to write a book about schemas and Montessori. As a Montessori parent, I've found it immensely helpful to learn about schemas, how to identify them and how to support them. Most resources refer to schemas in play settings not a Montessori or work environment. But practical life can be a fantastic way to support a schema. The aim of practical life isn't to keep the child 'busy'. We want to satisfy the child's needs, to build skills, develop concentration and sense of self. Practical life absolutely build self-confidence, the child can see what they are capable of. But... Read more →

Today we made some delicious Carrot and Zucchini Mini Muffins. I took a few pictures I thought I would share. In the UK, and perhaps other parts of the world, Zucchinis are known as Courgettes! Above are Otto's little baking shelves. He can access this himself. Mixing bowls, trays, cooling rack. On the bottom shelf there is his watering can, small spray bottle for cleaning and a little bucket with toddler sized cleaning cloths. On the hook there is a chopping board and this is also where his apron often hangs. His utensils like spoons, mashers, whisk are in the... Read more →

Five, maybe more, things that I am loving from today! 1. Animal stamps and pumpkin spice play dough. I'm using these to teach my toddler to be gentle and not to press too hard into the play dough. The scent from the spiced play dough is divine! 2. Our nature tray. We found these lovely pinecones under a huge conifer. We have some little acorns and acorn caps and lots of Autumn leaves all from our nature walks. 3. Autumn-themed stickers - for fine motor work, for concentrating and for slowing down. 4. This awesome paint tray all the way... Read more →

My toddler is going through a language explosion. In a matter of months, he has gone from knowing a hundred or so words to perhaps thousands. It has been exciting and wonderful to watch. I want to share some of the activities that we have used that have been the most helpful for language development from around 18 months. Our top three types of language work: Point and name type books - these style of book isolate the image/object and are good for pointing and naming. Montessori recommends reading a whole range of books to children, not just children's books,... Read more →

Did you know that Monday 16th September is National Play-Doh Day? I prefer the home-made version but it's a wonderful day to celebrate everything Play-Doh!! Above you can see our play dough invitation has started to include some Autumnal ingredients including pumpkin spice play dough, woodland animals including the squirrel which have magically appeared in our back garden, lots of pine cones and some warming spice like cinnamon. Here are a few other links and things that I've been enjoying this week. I wish this was closer - Scandinavian forest school in the UK at Little Scandinavian. This is good... Read more →

Most often I have just one child at home and it's easy for me to forget about grace and courtesy. In the classroom, it's essential to the harmonious workings of the environment. So grace and courtesy is something that I've been thinking about. Here are a few areas of grace and courtesy that we've been doing or I'm trying to remember to more of with my toddler: saying 'please' and 'thank you' - also no 'thank you'. saying 'hello', 'how are you', 'good-bye', 'see you next time', 'see you tomorrow' - general greeting people at the door or when visiting... Read more →