I'm not sure how it started but we have been using a lot of stencils this week. Stencils can be fantastic for developing fine motor skills they also encourage the hands to work together. One hand controls the paintbrush or pencil while the other needs to hold the stencil or paper in place. As you can see on our stencil trays, I have secured the stencil to the tray with tape. The child still needs the supporting hand to keep the paper in place and to hold the stencil down. These trays are for a three-year-old, for an older child... Read more →


Are you looking for ways to involve your child in grocery and food shopping? One of the things we've tried recently is using a visual shopping list. We get most of our groceries delivered but during the week we need a couple of short trips for fresh fruit and bread. I looked around for a printable that would work for us. I couldn't find one that was perfect for us so I made our own. I went to our grocery store's online site and saved the images of our most frequent mid-week purchases. I put them together into a list... Read more →


Does your child love role play or pretend play? My three-year-old went through an intense phase where he would play supermarkets all day (thanks to the cash register he received for Xmas), then later he played Doctors and now he plays Handyman. He will play alone but he will often ask me or his siblings to join in. This role play is valuable play and it's not something that needs adult intervention. It's deeply engaging play, I've seen my child immersed in this play for 30-40 minutes chatting away to himself while pretending to serve a customer. As time has... Read more →


Recently while visiting friends I noticed my three-year-old using some first words puzzles. He worked on them with focus and completed the whole box of puzzles repeatedly. The puzzles are simple cvc (consonant, vowel, consonant) cardboard puzzles with a word and a corresponding picture. They are self-correcting - so the child can't go wrong in putting them together - perfect for the 3-4 year age group. I started to look for something similar and I found the Big Box of Little Word Puzzles. I like these as the images are photographic and interesting. The letter pieces can be interchanged from... Read more →


We like to provide our children with a wide range of drawing materials. Recently we've been exploring beginner graphite pencils. Graphite pencils can be soft and smooth providing the child with a lovely drawing experience. Until recently I didn't know there were so many beginner graphite pencils to choose from. I selected four to try with my preschooler. After observing my child draw with all four pencils I found the qualities to look in beginner graphite pencils include: soft - easy to leave a mark, provides good feedback, smooth strong - leads won't break short - the shorter the pencil... Read more →


Are you looking for a few new art activities to try at home? I suggest most of these activities for children from around three years however some like the nature clay collage would be suitable or adaptable for toddlers. All of the materials the child needs are presented on the tray. I use melamine trays (similar) as they are super easy to wipe clean and will contain spills. Some of these trays contain two-step activities. It doesn't matter if the child doesn't follow the steps however they provide a good opportunity for the child to learn to follow steps and... Read more →


In the days since Christmas, we've been writing "Thank you" notes to friends and family. "Thank you" notes require the children to stop and consider what they are thankful for, to show gratitude for the things they have received. Writing thank you notes is more than an exercise of language and writing, it is an exercise of thoughtfulness and reflection. ""Thank you" notes should be a regular part of a child's life from as early as possible." - Susan Mayclin Stephenson - Child of the World: Montessori, Global Education for Age 3-12+. "Children need little urging to draw or write... Read more →


1. Bunny Peek A Boo / 2.Night & Day / 3. Castle Logix / 4. Trucky 3 / 5. Three Little Piggies / 6. Duplo Matching When I choose games and toys I look at the educational benefit to the child. The problem I have is finding activities that my preschooler is attracted to and will use. We want the child to feely choose their activities, and we want the activities to speak to the child! These types of cognitive development games help to develop skills including: logic reasoning problem-solving persistence concentration matching positioning visual perception order some strategy &... Read more →


Over the weekend I ordered a few stocking fillers from Etsy. Many items if in stock locally are still available for delivery before Christmas. If you are new to Etsy, you can log in or enter your location and you can receive a shipping estimate/date of arrival before you place an order. At this stage in December I'm only shopping from local stores but here are a few fabulous gift ideas that I've added to my Etsy favourites that you might like too. Most of these are educational and suited to Montessori families. Dinosaur Temporary Tattoos (US) - temporary tattoos... Read more →


I've been looking for some fun ways to use wool in crafts and activities that promote the development of fine motor skills. Here are seven activities we tried recently. Yarn Sticks - this was much more fun than I had expected! Both my three and nine-year-old loved wrapping the wool tightly around the sticks, these are purely decorative but you could pretend they are wands or add faces for people. I tied the wool to the sticks but we could use glue too. Pasting Wool Worms - this is the activity that my three-year-old spent the most time on, simple... Read more →


(Christina's children James and Lilah reading Montessori abc's) There is a new book on our shelves and I know you are going to love it. It's an authentic Montessori style alphabet book written and photographed by Montessori parents! Montessori abc's (AU link here) is written by Christina Clemer (Montessori-ish Mom) and photographed by Nick Karwoski. It's wonderful to see a Montessori style alphabet book that is so true and genuine. Christina decided to publish Montessori abc's after making a similar book for her son James. Montessori abc's has: a simple easy-to-follow layout engaging and interesting images phonetic words/images a single... Read more →


I recently put together some poetry and story baskets for my preschooler (3yrs old). The baskets ensure I am intentional about the poems I share and they also provide my child with the opportunity to hear a poem when he chooses. Poetry and short stories can help develop phonemic awareness and memorization skills. They are also a good way of developing a love of language. We know that early literacy skills are about listening and speaking rather than about reading and writing. We want to build our child's vocabulary, we want the child to hear and identify sounds, rhyme, and... 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 →


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 →


Today I want to share some of the language materials we have on our shelves. My son is 3 years (36 months) old but age is not so relevant here. You will find these activities are potentially useful for children from 2 to 4 years. Children's interests and ability with language materials vary greatly. It's important that we meet the child where they are at and not feel that we need to rush this very important stage in development. Here are four activities that we currently have on our shelves: Rhyming Activity with Objects - I've presented this in a... Read more →