Today I want to share this little work area for Otto (2 years 11 months). As he turns three next month this area will soon start changing as I make it more suitable for a preschooler. This is how it looks today. Most of the materials here are Montessori aligned. You've seen many of them before but here are a few new trays/activities close up. Musical Instrument Tray - Alto Saxophone - This is an idea from our Montessori toddler class that I couldn't resist making at home. I've used a language card, model saxophone, a photograph image of a... Read more →


What is cognitive development in early childhood? "Cognitive development means how children think, explore and figure things out. It is the development of knowledge, skills, problem solving and dispositions, which help children to think about and understand the world around them. Brain development is part of cognitive development." - Help Me Grow Cognitive development encompasses a child's working memory, attention, as well as a child's ability to manage and respond to the experiences and information they experience on a daily basis. Cognitive development activities include problem solving, cause-effect relations, part-whole relations, naming and classifying, sorting, organising - making sense of... Read more →


There are some brands that you can just trust. There are brands that I feel very well aligned with and these are the ones I seek out over and over. When I opened our first Lovevery box I loved everything inside it. When I looked closely I could see that their stage-based approach was spot on and it closely mimicked what I had done with my children, from cute black and white cards, small rattles, to interlocking discs and play socks. It was everything I was looking for. I've been sharing my experience with Lovevery for a while but recently... Read more →


Our family has been through a huge transition. With Christmas, traveling and moving back to Australia my older children have just started going back to school. When we go through transitions or difficult times I always seek out opportunities for my children to concentrate. I find concentration grounding and calming. It's like finding some stillness and quiet in the chaos. Also, it's something that you can't force, you can't make a toddler concentrate, but you can allow for it and provide opportunities for it. When travelling we continue to seek out opportunities for our toddler (2 years) to participate in... Read more →


If you have more than one child creating a safe and enticing art area can be difficult. While I have three children only my eight and two year old use this area. Previously I've set up this area just for my toddler and I had six or so activities on trays. Now we have a combination of loose materials and a few trays out. This area is in our playroom and often my toddler is here being supervised by my (super relaxed) husband and sometimes by my twelve-year-old son. So for safety and to reduce scribbling on walls, I have... Read more →


Blocks are fantastic open ended materials. They are investment pieces that can last a lifetime. Many blocks will appeal to a wide range of children starting from toddlerhood. Our block corner is one of the most popular areas of our home, especially during play dates. Today I'm sharing the blocks that we are currently using. The larger blocks are kept in our block corner but some of the smaller sets are in baskets on shelves in our play area or in our children's bedrooms. 1. Grimm's Coloured Rainbow Geo-Blocks Classic Wooden Set - 30 pieces. This is one of my... Read more →


Today we made some delicious Carrot and Zucchini Mini Muffins. I took a few pictures I thought I would share. In the UK, and perhaps other parts of the world, Zucchinis are known as Courgettes! Above are Otto's little baking shelves. He can access this himself. Mixing bowls, trays, cooling rack. On the bottom shelf there is his watering can, small spray bottle for cleaning and a little bucket with toddler sized cleaning cloths. On the hook there is a chopping board and this is also where his apron often hangs. His utensils like spoons, mashers, whisk are in the... Read more →


When I found out that Lovevery made Toddler Play Kits I almost flipped out. Like a crazy person, I went through all their play kits to see what amazing products they had to offer. When our first Toddler Play Kit arrived: The Realist (for 19, 20, 21 months) I was so impressed. The products are not only perfect for this age group they are of fantastic quality. Our Toddler Play Kit, The Realist is c/o Lovevery. Lovevery is absolutely my favourite and preferred Montessori subscription service for babies and toddlers. Each and every product is designed and made by Lovevery.... Read more →


Do you have art materials freely accessible to your toddler/s? I have found it's helpful, it means the art materials get used more and there is no need for the child to continually ask for permission. We have an art easel, large chalkboard and often paints outside, but what about inside? We definitely want less messy art inside. Here is how we make it work. Art materials are stored on trays on low toddler shelves. We keep a toddler size table near the art shelves. Otto is still learning to use the trays so it's easier if the table is... Read more →


A month or so ago we moved Otto (17 months) into Otis' old room. Otis (7yrs) doesn't like sleeping alone and I always found it difficult at bedtime if I was busy with Otto. So now Caspar (11yrs) and Otis are sharing a room. Otto's new room is much larger. We haven't made many changes. Most of the furniture is the same. Above we've created a little reading nook. Previously Otis had his fossils and rocks/minerals on the wall unit but now we have some Schleich animals. We might even change it over to some of Otto's favourite Siku vehicles.... Read more →


"Toys should be kept in the area where the family lives, not only in the child's room. Shelves are much more satisfying than toy boxes. Having order in the environment creates a feeling of security in the child, and trust in the environment. Baskets, trays, or small boxes neatly arranged on low shelves can be very helpful in creating this order." "If you watch a child you will see which toys he plays with most and which ones just get dropped and forgotten. Try to keep only as many toys available to the child as can be kept neat, and... Read more →


You know I am really passionate about children's environments. Specifically Montessori orientated environments in the home. I honestly believe no matter where you live, the size of your house or which country you live in - you can create a Montessori home, you can create Montessori inspired environments. What do I think are essential elements of Montessori inspired home environments? Light. Music. Natural materials. Plants. A globe. Books. Puzzles. Texture. Colour. Comfort. Warmth. Baskets. Flowers. Children. Love. Be unique, be interesting, be creative! Please feel free to share your Montessori inspired environment or activity and join in our Montessori at... Read more →


Our block area is less organised and frequently less tidy than the other areas in our home. The boys always want to leave our their creations and we are fortunate to have this space where they can do so. The most popular blocks are our large unit blocks. We store them in baskets as they are mostly used outside, using baskets is the only way to facilitate this. We also rotate our smaller blocks. Many of our smaller blocks such as magnetic blocks are often stored upstairs. At the moment we have interconnecting blocks out here (in the white basket... Read more →


In this week's What's on Our Shelves we are looking in the kitchen. I've shown a few pictures of this environment before and it needs to be said that while most of the materials here stay the same, today these shelves are well stocked with snacks, which is not always the case. The children have access to fresh snacks (yoghurt, cheese, vegetables, dips/hommus, homemade muffins or banana bread) in the refrigerator and have more fresh fruit on our kitchen bench. So most of the snacks in here are pantry type snacks; dried fruit, nuts, crackers and a few vegetable chips.... Read more →


This week I wanted feature the new trays on our activity shelves. These trays have rotated in within the last two weeks. The trays are pictured off the shelves so it's easier to see what is in them. Hole Punching Tray. We have a few left over pieces of art work from our homemade envelopes and are using them for hole punching - then for pasting and decorating letters. Stencils. Although we love our shape stencils Otis is ready for more detailed work. The stencils on this tray vary from airplane, boat, car, people, leaves. One pencil is in the... Read more →