Are you looking for cute tops or tees for your children? I'm often asked about Otto's tees so I wanted to share some of our favourites. These all have a fun bee or gardening theme. Many of these are made with organic cotton and the tees on Etsy are often hand printed. Organic Bumblebee T-Shirt - this is such a cute tee with a large bee print (EU). Organic Bugtime T-Shirt (EU) Organic Kids Grow Your Own T-Shirt - in green but also available in white (UK). The smaller sizes (<3yrs) have snap buttons at the top. (AU link here).... Read more →


One of the easiest and cheapest ways we can incorporate fine motor skills into practical life activities is by using mini tongs. Mini tongs and tweezers can be used by children from around 18 months right up to around five years of age. Adult tongs are too bulky for young children and require a whole hand grasp. Smaller tongs are much easier for the child to manipulate successfully and tweezer-like tongs are fantastic at strengthening the muscles in the fingers and promoting the pincer grasp. There are tons of mini kitchen tongs and tweezers that are suitable for children so... Read more →


Many people would say there is no need for practical life trays in the home. However, I find there are plenty of examples where the work is best presented on a tray. A tray keeps all the materials together and defines the work area. For a young preschooler, it also helps to satisfy their need for order, everything they need for the activity is on the tray. Here are four trays that we used today. The key for me is to keep the practical life trays as real as possible. There is a lot of transferring work here and it's... Read more →


Cook books are a wonderful way to introduce children to cooking. We can use cook books to promote healthy eating and for the development of a whole range of practical life skills. Alone or add an apron or utensils, cook books are also awesome to give as gifts. There are cook books designed specifically for toddlers and preschoolers. Here a few that I like the best!! Personalised Banana Muffin, Zucchini Muffin and Rainbow Fritter Cook Books. These are by Story Antics who have many other personalised cook books perfect for the age ranges of around three years+. They are cook... Read more →


I love exploring science and nature with my children. My older children enjoy using their microscopes (they have used the DuoScope and Celestron InfiniView Digital). Otto (3 yrs) has started using his very own First Microscope and it exceeded all of my expectations. It is super easy to use, the view is clear and accurate and Otto is crazy about it. The First Microscope teaches the child: how to hold, carry and look after a microscope about magnification the parts of the microscope and names - while we aren't giving official lessons it's easy through using the microscope for the... Read more →


Yesterday we launched our very own Children's Street Library. A Street Library or Little Free Library is a small box you put on your street to share books with your neighbours. It's a wonderful way of supporting the circular economy and building connections within your community. To begin the process we spoke with our neighbours and friends on our street to share our ideas. Otto and I visited six or so Street Libraries within walking distance of our home to see what they look like and to see what books they stock. We wanted to make ours a Children's Street... Read more →


Have you used CelMix before? CelMix is a cellulose powder, when mixed with water it acts as a thickener. I've read many times that it can be used for finger painting, making gel paint, papier mache and other paper crafts. I've been so curious about how it works it was time to give it a go! As the CelMix comes in a powder that you add to water, it is up to you how much to use. I started out by measuring and following the instructions precisely but I quickly found myself making adjustments. I suggest using the instructions as... Read more →


I am concerned that children (including mine) are spending more time learning about bugs with plastic models and books rather than by using and observing the real thing. Even though many bugs and insects can be found right on our doorstep, backyard, and neighbourhood nature strips. "A child, who more than anyone else is a spontaneous observer of nature, certainly needs to have at his disposal materials upon which he can work." - Maria Montessori, The Discovery of The Child. Children are natural explorers, they are curious and love to look, touch, listen and observe everything that is going on... Read more →


Signs and symbols are important methods of communication. Often young children are interested, sometimes captivated by the signs and symbols in their environment. Signs and symbols can be intuitive, instinctive and children can pick up on their meaning quickly. I've found that by teaching children the basic signs and symbols they see in their environment, the child becomes more creative and starts writing and drawing their own signs and symbols. How do we approach teaching signs and symbols for a three-year-old? I take a lot of photographs from around our neighbourhood. I use photographs in our nature journals, story and... Read more →


Sewing and threading are excellent activities for strengthening and working the child's hands. This fine motor work is so important in preparing the hand for writing. However, I've found this work is not always attractive to the child. I decided to make a variety of sewing cards (to rotate) that will call to my child, I've used some interesting shapes that will help him develop and progress through sewing and threading skills and I've also used some themes that will appeal to him on a personal level. Threading Cheese (similar) - this is a preliminary sewing activity that we used... Read more →


I don't talk a lot about gross motor skill development at home. My children develop many of their gross motor skills through the work (and play) they do outside of the home including on nature walks, exploring, riding bikes and scooters, sports and climbing trees. However the children are now spending more time at home and we wanted some outdoor play equipment that would meet their needs individual needs for movement. We wanted something that the children wouldn't tire of easily and that could be used all year round. Trampolining it was! Our trampoline as pictured was designed by play... Read more →


We are doing a lot of language work right now. My three-year-old is learning the sounds of the letters and is also learning what the letters look like. Although these are not traditional Montessori materials we've started using an Alphabet Puzzle and the Alphabet Roll. Using the Alphabet Puzzle the child is able to hold and feel the shape of each letter. As the child finds the letter and then finds the place on the puzzle where the letter fits the child becomes acutely aware of what the letter looks like (visual discrimination). The child can see the similarities and... Read more →


I love Montessori Continent Boxes. As Otto (3yrs) isn't attending a Montessori preschool this year I want to set up some Continent Boxes at home. Continent Boxes are nice materials to have at home as you can personalise the contents and make them relevant to your family. The Montessori Continent Boxes are as much about Culture as they are about Geography. We show the child the physical location of the continent through maps and the globe. We share the culture of the people through photographs, models and artefacts. In a classroom, the Continent Boxes are likely to be complete. We... Read more →


I love children's books about the natural world. Today I am sharing a few children's gardening books that are particularly beautiful and that have inspired me to take action in our own home. Easy Peasy: Gardening for Kids - This is absolutely the most beautiful children's gardening book. The illustrations are so bold and vibrant. This is also a little whimsical and supports reusing materials from the home and making do with what we have. Includes 20 activities that promote gardening anywhere and everywhere (pots, containers, balconies). Extremely easy to follow. Also contains non-activity pages that include facts and information... Read more →


Are you looking for something new to make with your children? I love making Gnocchi with Otto (36 months). I set the activity on his low cooking table so he can reach everything he needs. Bringing the activity down to the child's level is a good idea if possible. It tells the child 'this is your baking'. The child takes the lead and I am there to help and guide when needed. Gnocchi is great for children who like to get their hands dirty and for those who love play-dough. The Gnocchi dough needs rolling and cutting and this rolling... Read more →