I love a good sensory tub but I know there are more authentic sensory experiences for toddlers. Cooking can be a wonderful authentic sensory experience. Is there another activity where the child can use all of their senses? Sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch? The thing about cooking is the child can experience heat - the sound, smell and feel of the food cooking. They can contribute to a family snack or meal. You know that toddlers can cook safely? Toddlers have been doing it for years in Montessori schools and communities. It is the Montessori approach that has inspired... Read more →

I don't want to sound pushy, but I want to check-in to see if you are providing a creative outlet for your children. Are you providing time and space for self expression? It doesn't have to be grand or expensive. It can be as simple as some pencil, paper and a few minutes of uninterrupted time. Perhaps your children aren't interested? Perhaps your children are already doing lots of crazy exciting creative things! One area of creativity and self expression that I'm particularly interested in is mark making, or drawing. "For youngsters aged two to twelve, expressing themselves through art... Read more →

At the start of the year I made a wish list of the materials that I wanted to try. Mirrors were at the top of the list. I have been interested in mirrors and their role in children's play, driven by questions about the Reggio approach. For the last couple of months we've been using mirrors in open-ended play mainly with loose parts and in explorations but also with art. "Pay attention to how your children currently interact with mirrors in your home and encourage them to use them in different ways. By placing a few in the play area,... Read more →

What is cognitive development in early childhood? "Cognitive development means how children think, explore and figure things out. It is the development of knowledge, skills, problem solving and dispositions, which help children to think about and understand the world around them. Brain development is part of cognitive development." - Help Me Grow Cognitive development encompasses a child's working memory, attention, as well as a child's ability to manage and respond to the experiences and information they experience on a daily basis. Cognitive development activities include problem solving, cause-effect relations, part-whole relations, naming and classifying, sorting, organising - making sense of... Read more →

I have a family of five to cook for and I love it when everyone pitches in, yes even the toddler. While using a peeler might not have the same status as using a knife and cutting, it's still a very worthwhile skill for toddlers (and preschoolers) to learn. Can a toddler use a peeler? Yes, absolutely. But it requires practice and close supervision. The best peelers, those that are easiest to use are ones that are reasonably sharp, so you want to teach your child to use the peeler safely from the start, this includes using the peeler but... Read more →

This year has been difficult for Otto (2yrs). After moving in January it's taken us months to fully set up our prepared environment to the point that everything is working and functional. But it's so worth it, and it's worth taking time to get it right. As Otto's environment and little spaces in our home came together I noticed a change. Slowly he has taken on more responsibility for his personal care, slowly his level of concentration, patience, perseverance and ability to play alone returned. Having his own snack cupboard is just a small but important part of our prepared... Read more →

Six toddler activities that Otto (two years) enjoyed today! 1. Crayon pencil drawing on a mirror. The crayon pencils go on so smooth and it is a really different feel to drawing on paper. Our crayon pencils wipe off easily with a dry cloth. Otto is using the Stabilo Woody 3-in-1 and the Lyra Groove Triple pencils. 2. Sweeping the stairs. 3. Watering the plants. 4. Painting with monster trucks. Otto is obsessed with monster trucks and they have an interesting tyre tread. Otto first did this activity in his toddler art class and has loved it ever since! 5.... Read more →

My toddler loves transferring work. I wanted to set up some fresh transferring working with tweezers but I wasn't sure which tweezers to use. Whenever I am not sure about what materials to use I try and give my toddler a choice and see what he uses. Here are a few tweezer options he tried today. I'm still not sure which ones we will use but I now know that he is able to use them all with a high level of success. Above Otto (2yrs) is using the Learning Resources Jumbo Tweezers. These really are jumbo, you can see... Read more →