As I've show pictures of my toddler drawing and tightly grasping a pencil, I've been asked a lot about pencil grip. For a child in the first plane of development, especially in the child under three I would never correct pencil grip. Another one I'm asked about is how the child holds their scissors, unless it is a safety issue don't fix them. Role model and work along side them, surround them by peers of all ages (who can also role model), give clear and precise demonstrations but don't fix them, they are learning from the experience, and will learn... Read more →


Are you looking for some new art trays to try? Here are eight that we've tried this week. Tape - my toddler is in a huge scissor phase so he likes this tray, I have coloured tape, children's scissors and card. The card is from Reverse Garbage but the back of cereal containers or other card packaging would work well too. The child cuts pieces of tape and arranges it on the card. Mirror - painting with a cotton bud on a mirror, fantastic for developing fine motor skills. We loooove using our pencil crayons on the mirror too. Car... Read more →


a. / b. / c. / d. / e. / f. / g. / h. / i. / j. / k. / l. / m. / n. / o. / p. Perhaps it is the wind and rain, although we are still going for our nature walks we are spending more time inside and my toddler is loving ALL the cutting, pasting, and sticker work! Sometimes we use sticker books how they are intended, by sticking the stickers in the books often on predetermined pages. Most of all we use stickers for collage work, presented on a tray. Although we... Read more →


This is a friendly reminder that there are huge benefits to using paste and a brush before using a glue stick - especially for toddlers and preschoolers. Montessori schools often have young children apply paste with brushes or small spreaders as opposed to glue sticks. It serves as an opportunity for the child to develop their fine motor skills and pincer grasp preparing their hand for writing. If at home you are going to do some collage or pasting work with a young child try using paste and a brush or a little glue spreader, we don't need to set... Read more →


Do you have a toddler that loves to use scissors but is perhaps bored with the usual cutting strips? Here are some other engaging activities we've been using at 2.5 years. Above is an idea from Days with Grey. It is so much fun and the child can cut one handed - they don't have to hold a paper strip or other objects. I've put a small model animal into each section of a muffin tray. I've then used coloured craft tape to tape the animals in! Days with Grey use painters tape and I'm confident that Washi tape or... 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 →


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 →


Today Otto (2yrs) attended his first toddler art class. The studio was beautiful, amazing and vibrant. I felt so inspired that I made some adjustments to our art shelves as soon as we got home. But what had me thinking was the focus on process art and how many product driven arts and crafts my other children did at the same age. I know that product driven art and crafts can be useful for a variety of reasons and are often used around cultural events (Easter, Christmas, at school fairs). But do children in the first plane of development need... Read more →


Today I'm sharing five things we've enjoyed this week along with a few links and interesting Montessori inspired home tours. 1. Otis' (8 yrs) favourite podcast. He is naturally inquisitive but this podcast really gets him thinking and he often has more questions after listening to an episode!! I often subscribe him to new podcasts for him to try but this remains his favourite. Some of the others include Tumble, Wow in the World and Fun Kids Science Weekly. 2. Caspar (12yrs) is currently reading speeches that changed the world, he loves the section on Gandhi. 3. Moving house means... Read more →


"The hands are the instruments of man's intelligence." - Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind. Hand strength is essential for activities like writing and using scissors but it is also essential for daily living tasks like doing up buttons, pulling on shoes, tying a bow or pouring a drink. Often we focus on coordination, the pincer grasp and the refinement of movements and touch, which are incredibly important but developing the strength of the entire hand is fundamental. How do our toddlers in the precious first three years of life spend their days? Are our lifestyles becoming too passive? Are our... Read more →


Play dough is one thing that is guaranteed to keep my toddler (27 months) happy for a very long time. He may use his play dough tray anywhere from five minutes to an hour and five minutes. It's lovely. But I need to remember to rotate the play dough and some of the materials every so often. We recently removed our Autumn themed play dough and put in some Christmas themed dough and materials. I make notes as I see new ideas and I thought I would share some of the notes I made in preparation for our Christmas play... Read more →


We often think about developing fine motor skills in order to prepare the hand for writing. But what about preparing the hand for drawing, isn't that just as important? Drawings are communication, they are expression, they are meaningful, they assist in developing individuality and creativity. We mustn't think that writing is always the end goal, drawing and creating is pretty important too. And guess what, your toddler can already do it! Fostering creativity through drawing is always a priority for our toddler. Because toddlers can't always tell us what they want, they don't always know they want to draw unless... Read more →


Puzzles are a big part of my toddler's work right now. Yes, he likes to play outside or tear around the house on his wheely bug or trike but he also has moments of concentrated work and a lot of that time is spent doing puzzles. He loves wooden peg puzzles but also the two and four piece jigsaw puzzles. These are the puzzles that he is using at 26 months, that we are rotating. Some of these he has been using for a few months and has mastered, while others are newish and are more of a challenge. Some... Read more →


Over the weekend I presented Otto with his first sewing tray. He does a lot of threading so this feels like the next step. I needed to demonstrate but it didn't take him long to get it. It felt a little like two steps forward and one step back as he like to poke the needle through and then reposition it and poke it again, without threading it. But toddlers (and perhaps all children) like to test, they like to experiment and in their own time they will find their way. I don't feel like there is a need to... Read more →


This style of tap tap hammer toy was used by both of my older boys at their Montessori toddler classes. As Otto isn't currently attending a toddler class I thought I would try it with him at home. It turns out he loves it too. I like it because of the fine motor skill work. Otto likes it because of the hammer and he is allowed to hit things! There is some risk involved which requires the toddler to handle the pins with care. It also requires a lot of self regulation and self control. If Otto threw the pins... Read more →