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 →


Otto (36 months) is now cutting and using scissors with greater accuracy. To help him further improve his accuracy and also improve his fine motor skills we've introduced a range of cutting strips. I love using cutting strips with images as they also help promote language development and they are much more interesting for the child to use. At this age I like to use cutting strips where there is a bit of a gap between the images as they are easier for the young child to use. Here are some of our current favourites. Construction Vehicles Dogs Cars &... Read more →


It's easy to prepare an activity and put it on your shelves. It's much harder to prepare an activity that meets your child's developmental needs and is also attractive to the child. My toddler doesn't love pasting and he will walk past most pasting trays. I know pasting is a valuable skill so I set out to make some pasting trays that he will actually use and enjoy. I recently watched a video of a Montessori guide who suggested cutting out images for the child to paste from magazines and wrapping paper. My magazines didn't have many useful images but... Read more →


I've been inspired to try some woodwork with Otto since reading Learning Through Woodwork: Introducing Creative Woodwork in the Early Years by Pete Moorhouse. Otto turns three this month so I wasn't sure how to start. Learning Through Woodwork contains good tips for introducing woodwork and it has lots of beautiful photographs of children 3-4 years old working with wood. The author believes that the preschool years starting from three is the ideal time to start woodwork! This feels entirely in line with the Montessori way of thinking. Today I want to share three ways I've introduced woodworking to Otto.... Read more →


There is some thought especially with Occupational Therapists that young children would benefit from using crayons before moving onto other drawing materials like markers. Although my toddler on occasion uses markers, I have to agree and it's not just crayons. I feel there are many reasons why young children would benefit from using pencils, oil pastels, perhaps even charcoal and paint sticks before using markers. Using a marker it's very easy to produce a mark on paper. You can hold a marker at almost any angle with varying amounts of pressure and it still works. Markers are smooth and consistent,... Read more →


Montessori activities don't have to be elaborate or expensive. The quicker and easier they are to put together the better they fit into our every day living. Take clothes washing, an authentic Montessori practical life activity. A couple of buckets, some detergent, water and we are good to go! We use a natural and gentle detergent that is safe for little hands. Making the bubbles is a part of the fun. Wow! My toddler loves all the pouring and splashing. I've prepared this activity outside to give my child freedom to spill and splash a little without adult intervention. Lots... Read more →


When I observe my toddler's block play I see lots of stacking and lining things up, I see the first signs of bridging and making enclosures. He builds ramps and roads. At home he has access to many accessories and he usually chooses cars, or dinosaurs and today I suggested some road signs. Most of all I see he is building towers, cities and often a loose community structure. I love reading about block play and thinking of different ways to enhance the block play experience. I only recently discovered that there are different stages of block play based on... Read more →


Toddlers are naturally curious. We can use this curiosity to teach the child about the world around them. One way we can do this is through language development. We can provide the child with real and scientific names of things, like species or type names of flowers, birds or dogs. We can connect learning to things that have meaning to the child like sharing books and stories about their favourite pastimes or animals or vehicles. We can also teach them the parts of things that the child is familiar with, for example their body parts and anatomy, the anatomy of... Read more →


Next month Otto turns three!! As he is super excited about his birthday I want to make sure we have some wonderful gifts for him. He is the youngest of three children (all with similar interests) and already has lots of toys so choosing gifts for him has not been easy. Here are five things we've picked out. Personalised Children's Cook Books - I adore this concept. Each book is a recipe book but can also be read like a storybook. You can personalise the name and appearance (skin/hair/eye colour) of the child and the adult helper (typically mum/dad/grandparents but... Read more →


Many of us are spending a lot of time at home right now. I know there is one thing that will keep my toddler very busy and learning at home every day of the week. That is art and creating! I've been reading and learning about children's art spaces in Montessori and also in Reggio environments. While this art area is uniquely ours I wanted to share it with you. This art space is on our back deck, it's an almost seamless indoor/outdoor environment. The deck is covered and is suitable for working in all year round. Our art environment:... Read more →


I've been reading In The Spirit of The Studio: Learning From The Atelier Of Reggio Emilia (a fantastic Reggio book) and art is on my mind. This week I've refreshed our art area and introduced an awesome easel. Otto is almost three so I feel the need to add some more interesting elements especially in the area of mark making. So I've sought the perspective of other Montessori parents and teachers. Here are a few Montessori art shelves I've found interesting in homes and schools. This is in the home of a 4 and a 11 year old. They have... Read more →


In today's society, we are inundated with 'fast' toys. Fast toys are so prevalent in mass-market retailers it's easy to forget that we have other options. Fast toys are busy toys that are often cheaply made and of poor quality. They do a lot and may even hold the child's attention but for a short period of time. Slow toys are made from quality materials, may be handmade, they do very little but require the child to use their skills and imagination to use them and they are made to last. Tumi Ishi definitely fall into the slow toys category.... Read more →


Someone needs to write a Montessori/Ikea blog as it feels like you can almost create an entire Montessori home using products from Ikea! I recently visited Ikea and found so many new and interesting children's products. Here are a few that I love for a Montessori home. MΓ…LA Portable Drawing Case - This is new at our Ikea store this week and I love it. It's suitable for my toddler and for my older children. It comes empty but it is a great travel case for paper and pencils and other craft materials. It's good for taking around the house,... Read more →


I recently presented Otto with his first sand tray! He isn't interested in phonics or letter recognition but he loves drawing and mark making. A sand tray is a wonderful way to encourage and develop pre-writing skills. The child can draw a picture and then shake the tray to start over again, it's fun and economical. Like finger painting, this is a good way to encourage mark making without the child having to use a tool. Sand is tactile and feels wonderful. I suggest using a fine, dry sand. Here we've used fine salt that I've coloured. I love to... Read more →


Do you have a child that needs to throw? I find having at least one throwing activity out essential during inside or 'stay at home days'. The last couple of days here have been very stormy, with hazardous winds so outside play has been limited. Bean bags are an obvious choice for throwing. We like to use bean bags for: throwing in or to a target such as in hoops or in buckets, or even a circle drawn with chalk onto the driveway outside. throwing at a vertical target such as a spot on the wall, marked out with painters... Read more →