Do you have some dress-ups at home or some doll's clothing to use in a language basket? Above we have used doll's shoes to explore "Whose shoes are these?". We look at the shoes and their features to determine who might wear the shoes or where someone might wear the shoes. For example, we might wear flippers to swim in the ocean. For a young child (Otto is three years) they can use this to build language for example learn the names of things, and also to make associations, thinking about what goes together or what community workers might wear.... Read more →


I am always looking for new and interesting snack ideas for my children. In case you are too, here are eight snack and food prep trays that we've used recently. Jam on Pikelets - spreading strawberry jam onto pikelets. We often use crackers for spreading activities so it's nice to use pikelets for something different. Melon Balls - my three-year-old finds this difficult but it's worth the challenge. We use a small melon baller and some cocktail picks to make it easier to share. I've cut the rounded end off the melon so that it sits flat on the chopping... Read more →


Are you looking for ideas on how to use children's scales or balance buckets? Scales can be fun for exploring weight, quantities, more than/less than and heavy/light. Many of the items we can use with scales can be found in nature or around the home. "Children naturally have an interest in all aspects of mathematics, weight, order, systems, series, time, quantities, and symbols and so forth. We can serve the development of the mathematical mind by feeding this interest, giving sensorial experiences first." Child of the World: Global Education for Age 3-12+ by Susan Stephenson. Here are a few ways... Read more →


This term Otis (in yr 4) is an Eco-Warrior representative for his class. This means he gets to take out the compost and do other environmentally responsible tasks. He started a discussion about what we could do to reduce our waste at home. Otis and I thought about starting a worm farm. We previously used the Bokashi composting method but it was no longer suitable for our growing family. We decided to try a worm farm. Otis helped to set it up and does most of the maintenance. A great flow-on effect is the whole family has been involved in... Read more →


The title is slightly misleading as all of these snacks have had some adult involvement, however once they are presented to the child of around three, they may be able to do the rest themselves. Presenting snacks like this allows the child to develop practical life skills like peeling, slicing and spreading. These activities can also help develop fine motor skills. Here are a few snacks that we've enjoyed this week: Fruit Kababs - using cocktail sticks (sharp one end, blunt the other) the child threads cut grapes, raspberries, blueberries and cubed rockmelon. We could make similar with apple, orange,... Read more →


I love gardening with my children. I aim to make it a relaxing experience where we can connect with each other and connect with nature. With a little bit of preparation gardening with children can fun and also extremely rewarding. Gardening is also a great way to develop practical life skills in a real, meaningful way. My Montessori gardening tips include: Use child-sized tools - a small spade is much easier for the child to hold and manipulate than a heavy and bulk adult's tool. Children can use smaller child-size tools with greater accuracy and less frustration. Use real tools... 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 →


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 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 →