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 →


Montessori inspired tracing boards at so popular right now! They are not Montessori materials but rather inspired by the Montessori way of teaching. They are a tactile way for the child to learn to form letters. The child traces the letters with their finger or a stylus until they memorise the way it is formed, muscle memory develops. Much like how a child would use the sandpaper letters. While I understand the benefits of cursive some of the letters are hard to form. Both of my children struggled with learning cursive 's', 'f' and 'r'. These tracing boards would have... Read more →


"Mark making helps young children make sense of their world, and express their thinking to others. The patterns of marks that you can observe can help you to understand their thought, even before they can express what they mean." - The Ultimate Guide to Mark Making In The Early Years. I've mentioned previously how I believe that toddler mark making is important. It's learning, it's expression, it's creativity, it's communication. Mark making and scribbling is something that needs to be allowed, nurtured and encouraged in these early years. My children including our toddler have free access to pencils, crayons, paint... Read more →


It's easy to over look language work for other toddler activities such as practical life and fine motor skill work like puzzles and other manipulatives. When I look at pictures of our previous Montessori parent toddler class there is a lot of language work on the shelves, there is a lot more language and categorising/sorting work than I was offering. Noting that Otto will not be attending a parent toddler class until we are back in Australia, I've sought some inspiration for making more language work for our home. Previously our language baskets have been based on animals, transport, fruit/veg... Read more →


When I set up our toddler 'writing' station I put our block crayons into a cute crayon holder. I had put them in the crayon holder previously when presenting the crayons in a tray, but this time it was different. This time my toddler (at 22 months) was much better and more consistent with putting them away and more specific with the colours that he wanted to use. I could see how practical and useful the crayon holder had become. The crayon holder promotes order - the child can easily find the colour crayon they are looking for, it's easy... Read more →


I have a toddler (22 months old) who loves to draw. He likes to draw on his legs, he likes to draw on the walls. He will draw wherever he can. I don't want to stop him from drawing, I want to support him! He has an innate need to draw, to scribble, to make marks. We know that a scribble is more than a scribble. It's emotion, expression, creativity, it's communication. The more the toddler can express themselves and be heard, the better!! I want more scribbling, more expression. It's also concentration, focus, autonomy. I've set up a small... Read more →


In Montessori, we often hear "buy the best art materials you can afford". But what is the best, and what is your budget? Often I am guided by the materials I see in our Montessori classrooms and if I'm not sure I'll ask the teacher. Often teachers have used the materials for many years and with many children, they've seen what works. Our most used toddler drawing materials are paint sticks and oil pastels, but we offer pencils too! Whichever you choose I suggest finding drawing materials that work for you and make them freely accessible to your toddler. Imagine... Read more →