I Spy is a fun and easy game to help develop phonemic awareness. We can start with just two items that the child is familiar with. Above we've used three fruits. "I Spy with my little eye, something which starts with o." "Yes!! Orange starts with o". To start playing I Spy, I use items in a tray or on a work mat, mostly using small language objects and household items. Below we are using six items. Below is an example of when we've used six items, but three of them start with c (crab, cow, cat). Over time we... Read more →

We've been doing lots of Halloween-themed art activities this week. Here are eight activities we've tried. Most of these activities are suitable for children 3-5 years+. 1. Spider puppets - using cardboard spider cutouts, a rod and string. These could also be used for Halloween decorations. We could present these with paints or crayons, but here we've used markers. 2. Spider painting - I found some old cardboard spiders in our Halloween decorations, and I thought it would be fun to try some negative printing. We put the cardboard spider on the paper and then used a roller to paint... Read more →

Have you started getting ready for Halloween? Otto (5yrs) is really looking forward to Halloween and has been asking for all the Halloween arts and crafts. Around the five-year-old point, I find my children really get into the scary and spooky side of Halloween. Here are a few activities we've tried so far. Most of these activities are suitable for children 3-5 years. Scratch paper bats - my children love scratch paper; it's a great 'quiet' activity, we often use scratch paper when travelling, and we have it in our busy bag that Otto takes when waiting at his brothers'... Read more →

As part of my studies, I recently read The 21st Century School Library: A Model for Innovative Teaching and Learning. It's an excellent book that considers different literacies including textural literacy, visual literacy, information literacy, digital literacy, technological literacy and racial literacy. The author covers some of the ways he teaches these literacies in a school library setting. While I consider these literacies in my studies I also consider these literacies at home with my children. The author writes one way he addresses visual literacy is by setting up a Pattern Play station in the school library. "Pattern Play. This... Read more →

Paper weaving has meaning in both Montessori and Froebel philosophies. No matter your style of parenting or education preference, paper weaving is a great activity for developing fine motor skills, spatial awareness and early mathematical skills. In Montessori, weaving is a practical life activity. In Froebel, weaving is both a gift and an occupation. Have you read about Froebel? There are lots of similarities between the Froebel and Montessori approaches. Froebel believed that children gain a deeper understanding of the world around them when given opportunities to interact with concrete activities and use carefully selected hands-on manipulatives. Sounds familiar, right?... Read more →

In the last couple of weeks, we've been focusing on drawing with oil pastels and creating with clay; however, every couple of days, I will also set up a new and interesting art tray. Some of these are just for fun, others are to help develop fine motor skills. Let's take a look at the last eight art activities we've tried! Salad spinner art - I cut some cardboard in a circle the same diameter as the bottom of our salad spinner. I presented this with some small squeeze paints (ours are from Kmart AU), the paints are small enough... Read more →

Have you ever thought about how to integrate chess into your Montessori environment? My two older children learnt to play chess at their (Montessori) schools. Many of their schools also had chess clubs, so they could practice playing with their peers. Until now, I've never had to teach a child how to play chess. I am thankful that Otto (4yrs), the youngest of three children, has two patient older brothers to play chess with, but he still has to learn the basic skills. If you want to know more about learning chess in a Montessori way, you must read No... Read more →

Have you used drawing prompts with your children? It's something I really love to do. I believe in process art and believe children benefit from free and open access to art materials. But I also like to present art activities to stretch their minds and their imaginations, to introduce new concepts and to encourage exploration of art, form, colour and materials. We recently had little visitors, and I put out some drawing prompts, paper, oil pastels, markers and pencils. It was a complete success! The four and five-year-olds loved the spirals, stairs and hearts. The seven-year-old loved drawing arrows and... Read more →

It's NOT the Stork! / Amazing you! / Only for me At around four years old, my children start asking questions about babies and where they come from and have questions about body parts. Four years of age is also the time we discuss nudity and privacy with our children. It's when we teach them about keeping their clothes on and keeping their private parts for them. One of the easiest things we can do for our children from birth is to call our body parts by the correct name. Yes, let's normalise penis, testicles, scrotum, uterus, vagina and labia.... Read more →

It was Father's day today here in Australia. To celebrate Otto (4yrs) made waffles for the whole family. This is a wonderful idea for children who love to play cafe or shops. Our waffle-making station is on a child's table, so it is at the child's height. This is useful for the child who needs to run around take orders, make the waffles and then deliver them, there is no getting up or down from the kitchen counter. We use honey, icing sugar, strawberries, banana and blueberries. I made the waffle batter in advance, but the child could easily do... Read more →

Grab your child and some clay. Today we are going outside to strengthen our hand muscles! It's been a while since I've shared a clay tray. When I've been studying, I've had little energy for messy play. Working with clay doesn't have to be messy, but it always has the potential to get messy and absolutely requires some emotional energy to wipe everything down. So if not today, save this idea for when you are ready. Or get your clay tray organised - so when the time is right, your tray is ready to go! I have three children and... Read more →

Sometimes it feels like the preschool world is obsessed with talking pigs (peppa & george), a deep sea exploring polar bear, cat and penguin (octonauts) or a family of Australian dogs (bluey). While there is a place for make believe, I want you to consider, just for a minute, the world of reference, the world of encyclopedias, the world of non-fiction - for preschoolers! To create children who are critical thinkers with a strong foundation in reality, I want to encourage you to start a little children's reference library. I want my children to know how to research and how... Read more →

Has your child ever asked what the difference is between a turtle and a tortoise or between a crocodile and an alligator? Children are curious and often notice similarities and differences in the things around them. Sometimes looking at similarities and differences means looking closer, paying attention to the smaller, finer details. When asked about turtles and tortoises, the only difference I could think of is that turtles like water and tortoises don't. I also didn't want to give my child the answer; I wanted us to find out the answer together. Pursuing the idea of similarities and differences, I've... Read more →

A few friends have asked about the Doddl cutlery range (UK here) (AU here). Without seeing it in person or using it, I couldn't form a firm opinion or recommendation. The Doddl set is recommended for children 1-5yrs, so I decided to test it with my four-year-old. 🍽 Doddl cutlery is recommended by feeding and development experts, but how does it rate from a Montessori perspective? When you pick up the cutlery, you can feel how it is designed for little hands. The plastic (BPA and Phthalates free) handles are chunky and easy to grip. I suggest the fork and... Read more →

I've been super busy studying, and studying at home with a four-year-old has been much harder than I anticipated. Otto asked me for some new activities, which he has never done before. It was a reminder to update his shelves. I don't have a lot of time, I just finished one assignment and have another due on Monday, so I made some simple printouts that I hope would appeal to him. I can download and print the Etsy activities straight away, so I don't have to look for workbooks or wait for something to be delivered, within half an hour... Read more →