We've been doing a ton of art lately, more than cooking or other practical life activities. I love to pair a book and an art activity, this week we tried two art activities with Leo Lionni books! ❤️ Pairing the two helps to create a connection between the child and the book and it makes us look deeper into the story. Here are six art trays that we've enjoyed. Remember to follow your child including their interests, developmental needs and skill level. These activities don't need to be presented on a tray. We can put them on our art table... Read more →

My preschooler loves art. He loves getting his hands covered in paint and he's attracted to all kinds of brushes, stamps and printmaking. Here are six art trays that we've tried recently. Painting with a Spring Whisk. I found this spring whisk (similar) while out for a walk and immediately knew it would be fun for painting. The child can press the whisk down and it springs back up. It's good for printmaking and it's addictive! The child presses the spring whisk into the paint and then onto the paper. This was a huge hit and I'll remember to get... Read more →

I was really interested in trying some symmetry drawing with my preschooler. It looks like a fun way to teach children about symmetry and art. I initially downloaded these insect symmetry drawing cards but once I had them I could tell they were way too hard for my four-year-old. I made up some of my own cards by downloading basic images and removing half of the image. As this was the first time presenting this work to my child, I gave him a mirror to show him what the complete image would look like. This was really tricky work. Flowers,... Read more →

My preschooler is a pre-writer who loves scribbling, drawing and other mark-making. We have lots of crayons and pencils (also charcoal, oil pastels, and, chalk) available for drawing but I still keep a look out for other interesting ideas that involve creative mark-making. My older children have enjoyed using Spirographs but we hadn't used the Spirograph Junior Set before. I was hesitant to try the Spirograph Junior Set as I couldn't find a detailed review and I didn't know how durable or suitable it would be for this age. I also couldn't find a set second hand, this needed to... Read more →

In Montessori classrooms and homes, children often use real materials, real glassware, real utensils, real knives, real hammers and saws. The children are in a prepared environment that includes caregivers who provide supervision and support. We ensure the children are given the skills to gradually over time use real materials in a safe and age-appropriate way. We may provide alternative or safer versions like a knife with a rounded tip - but it's still a real knife. I've previously used a real hot glue gun with my children at four years. I've closely supervised and no one has got hurt.... Read more →

We are at the end of a 7-day isolation period. Staying at home and not being able to go out means I've been preparing more activities than usual for my preschooler! I've raided our art cupboard and art books to put together a few new art trays. These activities are generally appropriate for children 3-5 years old. These activities allow the child to focus on one activity or one skill at a time. The art trays can be used: to introduce a new skill. to introduce new materials. on the kitchen table for the children to work on after breakfast.... Read more →

We are mid-way through a 7-day isolation period and my preschooler has been desperate for some new activities. It's also been rainy so my mind goes straight to art. I've raided our art cupboard and put together a few new art activities! These activities allow the child to focus on one activity or one skill at a time. The art trays can be used: to introduce a new skill. to introduce new materials. on the kitchen table for the children to work on after breakfast. after preschool/daycare/school alongside a healthy snack to relax and decompress. in the afternoon while the... Read more →

I love bath crayons but I know not everyone feels the same. Bath crayons are softer than regular crayons and some are really creamy and smooth. Using bath crayons in the bath is a fun alternative to drawing on paper, and the child is for the most part drawing on a vertical surface (bath or bathroom tiles). Bath crayons can be used on: windows glass doors perspex or acrylic sheets or easels mirrors tiles - we have spare white tiles that we also use for play dough and clay. If you already have bath crayons and don't want them in... Read more →

Every couple of months I re-read one of Susan Stephenson's books. Susan is adamant that there is no place for Montessori Materials in the home. For the most part, I agree with her. If you want to see how she homeschooled you can read Montessori Homeschooling: One Family's Story. We do have a few Montessori materials in our home but one that you DO NOT need is the Montessori Dressing Frames. I picked up these dressing frames in the UK but there are lots of other, free alternatives if we just look around our home. There are lots of dressing... Read more →

We've always done a lot of drawing at home, we also do a lot of prewriting, hand strengthening activities like pegging, using scissors, pasting, painting, sewing/threading, play dough and clay play. We've recently started drawing with geometric tools. These are fun to use for developing fine motor skills and for developing creativity. Have you seen Frank Stella's Protractor Series? It's spectacular! I presented the geometric tools on a tray. We've used a ruler for measuring before but not drawing, so I demonstrated to my preschooler how to use use the ruler and other tools like the protractor. We are using... Read more →

I decided to try a few Montessori workbooks with my preschooler and I was so surprised I had to share them with you! Montessori workbooks especially for the 3-6 yr age group feel like a bit of an oxymoron. We want the children's learning to be hands-on, using real-life experiences as much as possible. But for the child learning to write and needs a lot of practice, a Montessori workbook may be very helpful. Times have changed too, now more than ever parents are teaching their children at home. Montessori workbooks are affordable and easy to use. If your child... Read more →

Do you have a really fantastic indoor play centre near you? Most of the play centres I've been to have large slides and ball pits. The Play Studio recently opened near us and it's a completely new concept. It's a truly wonderful space with great staff, ideal for playdates, somewhere to go on a rainy day or just somewhere interesting and educational to visit with your child. The Play Studio is a Montessori, Reggio and Steiner inspired play space. Some of the sessions commence with a teacher-guided process like an art activity or songs, in other play sessions, the children... Read more →

There are two trains of thought when it comes to children's knives. There are those that are happy for their children to use 'child safe' knives. These are knives like the Rikon Kuhn KinderKitchen and KiddiKutter (AU), that can be used from a young age as they are blunt, they are not sharp enough to cut a child's hand. There are others that prefer their child to use a 'real' (sharp, but with a round tip) knife as soon as practicable. In all of the Montessori toddler classes I've attended, the children use real knives under close supervision. The benefit... Read more →

We know that Montessori materials can be expensive. If your child is learning to read or write you may be looking for an affordable option for a Movable Alphabet. Our wooden Movable Alphabet cost around $70+AUD plus postage. The cheapest option for a Movable Alphabet would be to cut letters out of cardboard. Another affordable option is to find wooden craft letters and paint them. Although here in Australia, I've only found wooden craft letters in Capital/Upper Case letters. It is important in this early stage of learning that our children are using lower case letters. There are also Movable... Read more →

My children love to use clay. Mostly we do open-ended clay play, without any prompts or suggestions on what to make. Occasionally though I like to show the children a technique or make larger sculptures, or give them project ideas. I have lots of different resources for using clay with young children so I decided to make a list of the skills or techniques that we can teach children from around three years with clay, but perhaps from two with play-dough. Clay play techniques to teach children: Squeeze Press Smooth Flatten Mould Cut Knead Crumple Straighten (roll out flat) Crush... Read more →