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 →


Last weekend I attended a felting workshop to make a Waldorf/Steiner birthday placemat and birthday crown. I loved the process (and outcome) so much I couldn't wait to try felting again. I wanted to make an ocean/beach theme play mat for Otto (3yrs) like the ones I'd seen on Etsy (here and here). There is something powerful about making toys and playthings by hand. They are made with love and intention and made specific to the child. The child can see the time and effort that goes into it. It can also show the child how we can work with... 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 →


Toddlers can peel - HWM I get most of my Montessori at home ideas from activities I've seen in Montessori classrooms. I've learnt how to put together trays, which tools to use, and how to present the work. It's also useful to observe children in the classroom and see how they respond to the work. But what if you can't get to a Montessori classroom, perhaps watching videos or images online is the next best thing. Today I'm sharing peeling (with a vegetable peeler) work. Not all of these examples are from classrooms, many are from Montessori homes. Adventures in... Read more →


My two older children went back to school this week leaving Otto (3 years) at home with me. We started the week at Bush School. As much as possible I give Otto the option to or not to wear shoes at Bush School, he loves walking on a balancing tree and climbing trees barefoot. Does anyone have children like this, or are they ok climbing with shoes on? Otto is using the WEDGiTS Building Blocks (from our Toy Library). I've seen them around, even in Montessori toddler classrooms but I hadn't used them myself. They can be stacked and used... Read more →


Today I want to share with you a little basket I've put together for Otto (3yrs) about Cicadas. Otto is fascinated by the Cicada shells frequently found at his Bush School class. I didn't know a lot about Cicadas so I started researching. They are SO interesting! I wanted to share some of this knowledge with Otto so I put together an interest basket. Have you used basket like this before? They can be used to spark an interest or to further develop an interest. The idea is to observe the child and follow what captures the child's attention and... Read more →


Do you have a good toy library near you? We've recently discovered our local toy library and it is fantastic. Our local 'toy and games library' is located within our public library which makes it super accessible (easy to find, central location, easy parking, good opening hours, safe) however, there is a membership fee and a separate borrowing card. We can borrow up to eight toys at once, which we've found is more than enough. Our toy library caters to children from 6 months to 12 years of age. We've found all the toys to be high quality, in good... Read more →


In the last couple of weeks, we've been trying out two new children's kitchen and chef knives. Of course, I want to share them with you! I've also included in this review two children's knives that are made by small Australian businesses. So if you are in Australia, I've got you covered. All these photos were taken in one day so this will also give you a good idea of how we use children's knives in our home. For a review of Children's Kitchen and Chef knives worldwide (EU & US) read here. "Arranging the cooking and dining areas for... Read more →


Most of our garden areas are child friendly. We have a few vegetables planted in our front yard and Otto (3yrs) has his own little patch for digging and a pot for strawberries. Recently Otto planted a small herb garden and I could see how much he enjoyed tending to it. Over the last couple of weeks, we decided to provide another gardening area for Otto that was child-centered and entirely his own. Previously his gardening tools were piled up in our garage and this space allows us to have all of his garden tools together and organised. The thing... Read more →


I'm always interested to see what tools and toys other Montessori families use in their homes. Today I have compiled a list of the top materials ordered by HWM readers through Amazon in the year 2020. Some of these were predictable but there were also a few surprises! This post includes a ton of product links, if that isn't your thing please skip this post. I started writing this as a list of the top five items but for a few categories (like books), I found the list so interesting I just kept on going. The best selling items were... Read more →


Play dough is a staple in our home all year round. It holds my three-year-old's attention far longer than any toy. As with many of our activities, I rotate the items on our play dough tray regularly. Perhaps every two weeks I will update the play dough tray but sometimes it happens naturally when the play dough is left out or my child finds his own materials to add to the tray. Play dough has to be the most affordable, effective, and engaging learning material for young children. Using what you have at home it's also super easy to add... 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 →


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 →