To prepare our children's hands for writing and using scissors it's important they have lots of hands-on play in the early years. It's imperative that our children are given opportunities to learn through tactile experience that strengthen the hands. Using clay is the best multi-sensory art experience I know for developing fine and gross motor skills. I prepare a lot of activities using play dough as it's easier for us to use inside, but at least once a week I like to break out the clay for all three of my children to use. Generally, our clay play involves open... Read more →


Flower Arranging is one of my favourite Practical Life, Care of the Environment Activities. Flowers can bring so much joy and beauty to our lives. This morning we received the most gorgeous flowers (c/o Bloom & Bud, Sydney) and I decided to share them with Otto (3yrs) and do some Flower Arranging together. Materials we use: vases - thick glass or transparent vases are useful for children learning how to pour, and knowing when to stop pouring, empty jars can work well too. funnel - useful for filling vases with narrow openings. pitcher with water - or we can provide... Read more →


Do you have Montessori sandpaper letters at home that are not being used as much as you'd hoped? Here are four different ways we are currently using sandpaper letters in our home. I call this a letter jumble as I jumble all the letters in the basket, then ask my three-year-old to sort them! It's easy for him to do and it really helps with his letter recognition. Here I've only used nine letters but I could put out the whole alphabet. I have included sandpaper letters, felt letters, and letter tiles. If we are playing this together I might... Read more →


We have spent the two weeks at home and our art trays have been well used. I've presented a different painting tray each day. Want to take a look? Our painting trays from this week include: round paint stampers - while these are fun to use, they can also help us to talk about size - small, medium, and large or smallest and biggest. uv glow paint - at first this paint doesn't look special but it lights up and glows under ultraviolet light. paint bellows - used with liquid watercolours. The child squeezes the bellows to squirt the watercolours... Read more →


Are you looking for some new scissor activities to try? I've been looking for some new scissor activities that are at my child's skill level but are also interesting and will attract the child. There is no use in preparing these activities if the child doesn't choose to do them. We need to update the children's activities as their skills develop but also as their interests change. We've found all of these activities interesting and fun: Pizza Cutting - these have been the biggest hit. We've used the half fraction right up to sixths. Dinosaur Cut Out Shapes - I... Read more →


Have you tried observational drawing with your children? My three-year-old has been enjoying a lot of observational drawing so I want to share some of my thoughts about it. I want to encourage you, no matter your child's age, to give it a go. Why try observational drawing? Observational drawing can: help strengthen memory - as the child looks at the object and remembers what they see. develop fine motor skills. develop spatial awareness. develop concentration and focus. develop observational skills - the child will look closely at the object and notice certain details, sometimes what the child notices are... Read more →


Have you ever wished someone would come to your home and help put together your Montessori-style playroom? I was once talking to a Montessori teacher friend about how small our home space was and she took a look around and came up with so many options I hadn't thought of. It's amazing what a fresh set of eyes can see. When my friend Ceinwen showed me her children's workroom (pictured above), I couldn't believe how beautiful it was. Ceinwen and her family recently moved into a gorgeous Bondi apartment and they have this workroom just off the kitchen. It's an... Read more →


Today I'm sharing a few magnetic activities that I've used with my preschooler. Sorting Magnetic and Non-Magnetic items is a well known Montessori activity but what else can children learn about magnets in the early years? Wand Magnet & Iron Filings - the child can use the wand magnet to attract the iron filings and move them around the case and out of the red coloured sand. Wand Magnet with DIY Cases - including paper clips, short lengths of chenille twistable stems (pipe cleaners), and metal rings. The child can use the magnet to attract and move the items in... Read more →


Otto (3yrs) asks to paint almost every day. Getting the paints out is such a hassle I was starting to feel bad about saying no. So I decided to do something about it and set up a painting station. This painting station is on our back deck. Although it's undercover we need to put most things away when it rains or gets windy, so everything here is easy to move. We don't have any space inside for large-scale easel painting, so it works to do this outside. It's nice too that we can also move this painting station into the... Read more →


We love to use play dough. We always have a play dough tray on our art shelves but our tray is often cluttered, full of cookie cutters, rolling pins, and other random items. Sometimes my child spends more time looking in the tray than playing with the play dough. So I was considering what a play dough tray looks like in Montessori environments. I've only seen play dough trays in Montessori toddler classrooms (18months-3yrs). The play dough trays I've seen present the play dough with only one tool, usually some kind of stamper or cutter. Presenting the play dough with... Read more →


We traveled to the Gold Coast this long weekend. It's our first time flying since COVID hit last year. I flew alone with Otto (3yrs) and Otto also spent a lot of time watching his brothers' sporting events. So before leaving home I put together eight activities to take with us. These activities are generally open-ended activities that promote concentration and calm, that are also quiet and clean. The activities I prepared include: Colour-blast - we also love Water Wow. Colour-blast uses a special marker that only works on the paper provided. Water Wow is also fantastic as the water... Read more →


1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. I feel strongly about providing children with the opportunity to draw, scribble and make marks. Before we start I want to note there are a lot of reasons to provide crayons and pencils before markers. Crayons and pencils provide more feedback to the child, they may be easier to clean off surfaces and they are by far more eco-friendly. But as our children age, we may find ourselves introducing markers into our classrooms and homes. Many children love using markers, the colours are often super bright and... Read more →


Today I'm excited to share a Montessori make-over for these play/work shelves. What would you do to make this space more functional and engaging for a two-year-old? What would you change? These shelves are in the living area of a Paddington (NSW, AU) terrace. This is home to Nadia (2yrs), Theodore (6yrs), and their parents. This is a multi-purpose living area used as a play space and music area with a piano and guitar just out of view. There isn't enough room here for a children's table and chairs as it would take up most of the available floor space.... Read more →


Today I'm sharing four art activities that we've tried this week. I often share activities using commonly found household objects or items from nature, however, these activities all require specific art materials. All of these activities help to develop fine motor skills. I would recommend them generally from 3.5 years+. Wikki Stix Modelling - we love to use Wikki Stix (AU here) and presenting them on a tray helps to keep them all together and saves the table from getting all waxy. I also like to present them with scissors so my child can cut them to size. As much... Read more →


Today I'm sharing a few of our new practical life trays that are for older three-year-olds to four-year-olds. Otto pictured here is 3yrs and 8months (44 weeks) and these are all new to him, I would not have introduced them sooner as they require a bit of strength and coordination, but you know your child best. A couple of weeks ago I introduced filling the pepper mill and my child loved not only filling but using the pepper mill. So I've expanded on this mill/grinding type of activity. I hope you find some of these ideas useful! This Spice Mill... Read more →