Are you looking for ideas on how to use children's scales or balance buckets? Scales can be fun for exploring weight, quantities, more than/less than and heavy/light. Many of the items we can use with scales can be found in nature or around the home. "Children naturally have an interest in all aspects of mathematics, weight, order, systems, series, time, quantities, and symbols and so forth. We can serve the development of the mathematical mind by feeding this interest, giving sensorial experiences first." Child of the World: Global Education for Age 3-12+ by Susan Stephenson. Here are a few ways... Read more →


When Otto turned three in September I knew we needed to make a few changes to his bedroom. We want the room to fit the child so we needed to size up with a few things. We swapped out: A small table and chair --> larger table and stool Low infant shelves --> higher shelves Small bookshelf --> greater capacity bookshelf The other significant change we made was to remove learning material like puzzles and only keep open-ended toys in this space. As Otto is now preschool age we've decided to keep most of his learning materials on his shelves... Read more →


Ravensburger Welcome to The Zoo Jigsaw Puzzle - 2 x 24 Piece Today I want to share some jigsaw puzzles that we are enjoying in our Montessori home. My preschooler loves puzzles. I find them fantastic for building focus and concentration, and they help to develop visual discrimination skills. Although we enjoy puzzles all year round they can be especially useful during the school holidays and during colder and wetter months. These are all jigsaw puzzles and not the traditional Montessori puzzles you would see in a school environment. Jigsaw puzzles can be addictive. Once the child falls in love... Read more →


Many people would say there is no need for practical life trays in the home. However, I find there are plenty of examples where the work is best presented on a tray. A tray keeps all the materials together and defines the work area. For a young preschooler, it also helps to satisfy their need for order, everything they need for the activity is on the tray. Here are four trays that we used today. The key for me is to keep the practical life trays as real as possible. There is a lot of transferring work here and it's... Read more →


I love exploring science and nature with my children. My older children enjoy using their microscopes (they have used the DuoScope and Celestron InfiniView Digital). Otto (3 yrs) has started using his very own First Microscope and it exceeded all of my expectations. It is super easy to use, the view is clear and accurate and Otto is crazy about it. The First Microscope teaches the child: how to hold, carry and look after a microscope about magnification the parts of the microscope and names - while we aren't giving official lessons it's easy through using the microscope for the... Read more →


Have you used CelMix before? CelMix is a cellulose powder, when mixed with water it acts as a thickener. I've read many times that it can be used for finger painting, making gel paint, papier mache and other paper crafts. I've been so curious about how it works it was time to give it a go! As the CelMix comes in a powder that you add to water, it is up to you how much to use. I started out by measuring and following the instructions precisely but I quickly found myself making adjustments. I suggest using the instructions as... Read more →


I am concerned that children (including mine) are spending more time learning about bugs with plastic models and books rather than by using and observing the real thing. Even though many bugs and insects can be found right on our doorstep, backyard, and neighbourhood nature strips. "A child, who more than anyone else is a spontaneous observer of nature, certainly needs to have at his disposal materials upon which he can work." - Maria Montessori, The Discovery of The Child. Children are natural explorers, they are curious and love to look, touch, listen and observe everything that is going on... Read more →


Signs and symbols are important methods of communication. Often young children are interested, sometimes captivated by the signs and symbols in their environment. Signs and symbols can be intuitive, instinctive and children can pick up on their meaning quickly. I've found that by teaching children the basic signs and symbols they see in their environment, the child becomes more creative and starts writing and drawing their own signs and symbols. How do we approach teaching signs and symbols for a three-year-old? I take a lot of photographs from around our neighbourhood. I use photographs in our nature journals, story and... Read more →


Sewing and threading are excellent activities for strengthening and working the child's hands. This fine motor work is so important in preparing the hand for writing. However, I've found this work is not always attractive to the child. I decided to make a variety of sewing cards (to rotate) that will call to my child, I've used some interesting shapes that will help him develop and progress through sewing and threading skills and I've also used some themes that will appeal to him on a personal level. Threading Cheese (similar) - this is a preliminary sewing activity that we used... 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 →


I love Montessori Continent Boxes. As Otto (3yrs) isn't attending a Montessori preschool this year I want to set up some Continent Boxes at home. Continent Boxes are nice materials to have at home as you can personalise the contents and make them relevant to your family. The Montessori Continent Boxes are as much about Culture as they are about Geography. We show the child the physical location of the continent through maps and the globe. We share the culture of the people through photographs, models and artefacts. In a classroom, the Continent Boxes are likely to be complete. We... 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 →


Now that Otto is three I would like to see him further develop his tripod grasp. At this age I won't step in and correct his grasp but I but will prepare the environment including the materials to support him. Due to their unique shapes and designs these crayons support the child's developing tripod grasp, they really help the child to strengthen their hand muscles and work the fingers. These aren''t perfect the child can still hold some of them with a whole hand grasp but overall I've seen an improvement with my child's grasp when using these crayons. Crayon... Read more →


There are lots of good reasons to include items from nature in our art trays. Nature items have different textures and smells and provide a different experience to using paper or other stationary items. Using items from nature also: demonstrates resourcefulness - using what is readily available in the environment promotes creativity and out of the box thinking promotes learning about seasons and seasonality - what resources are available and when respects our natural environment leads to further exploration and new ideas/discoveries in using nature in art Here are eight nature based trays we've used recently. Drawing on Paperbark -... Read more →


At what age do you give your child a camera? Or perhaps you wait for the child to show an interest? I've found that a child as young as three is capable of using basic camera functions including the skills to point and click with some thought and accuracy. We gave Otto a camera for his third birthday. While he loves to use it there are many educational benefits to using a camera at this age. When using a camera the child learns how to capture and document events, places, people, their work and what is going on around them.... Read more →