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Showing posts from October, 2015

Gross Motor for Older Toddlers

As most parents of toddlers know, toddlers of all age crave gross motor play! They are smack in the middle of the sensitive period for movement and they need to move their little bodies. It's frankly amazing how much energy these little tiny people have. 
I've been asked to follow up my previous post about Gross Motor Play for Young Toddlers with some ideas for older toddlers! As Nora quickly approaches 18-months, many of these ideas have been on my mind! I personally look for things that will last a long time and can be used indoors and out. I also look for things that work a variety of muscle groups and provide unique and different challenges.

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Trampoline 
Radio Flyer Ride 2 Glide 
Balance Bike
Climbing Dome 
Soccer Ball 
Wiffle Balls 
Slide
Rock Steps 
Balance Board
Bilibo
Foam Wedge 

Any of these are fun for both indoor and outdoor play which is great as winter approaches. In fact, many of these things would still be (and are) wild…

DIY Size Discrimination Work for Toddlers

Like many toddlers, Nora loves to place small objects inside another object. Whether its sticks into a shaker, or balls into a jar or even toys into their basket, Nora loves this kind of work. In order to give her a little more variety, and to challenge her a bit, I created this DIY size discrimination work for toddlers

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Here, the goal is to match the width of the object (the wooden dowel) to the correct plastic slot. Only when all the pieces are in the correct slots will they all fit! 
To make this material, you'll need: 
4 different widths of PVC pipes 4 corresponding sizes of wooden dowel  A small box  -- I used an old box from Ikea Super Glue

After purchasing the PVC pipe and dowels, I had Morgan cut them with a saw. We cut the PVC to 5 inches and the wood to 6 inches. Then, I took the plastic pieces and arranged them in the box. It took a few attempts to figure out the configuration that would work best and include the mo…

Biology for Montessori Toddlers -- Self Discovery Basket with Printable

When you think about a toddler, learning science may not be the first thing that comes to mind. They seem so little and helpless, so they can't possibly learn scientific principles, right? Well, I would ask you to look closer at toddlers -- aren't they the ultimate scientists?! Especially when it comes to the natural world, toddlers are always exploring, hypothesizing, testing and analyzing. It is in their nature to touch, taste, smell and explore everything!

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I personally think it is our job to put a name to all of the things that toddlers are discovering. While they certainly don't need any help making discoveries, they often need us to provide a name for all the amazing things they have found. 

When it comes to biology, Nora has many interests. She loves animals, for example. But, above that she loves studying people -- and not just any people. Nora loves herself! She loves looking at herself, she loves poking at her…

Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day 2015

Today, I am the face of sorrow. The face of uncertainty. The face of pain. I am the face of pregnancy loss -- unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss, to be exact. For those of you that don't know my story, after Henry but before Nora was born, I suffered four back-to-back miscarriages. 
There is nothing I can write that can properly describe the pain and anguish that pregnancy loss creates. It makes you doubt yourself at every level. "Did I do something to cause this?" "If I had done XYZ could this been prevented?" The answer is, of course, a resounding NO. 
After the doubt comes the isolation. The feeling that you are totally and utterly alone. That no one truly gets your experience. This of course is not true either. An estimated 1 in 4 pregnancy ends in a loss. But the silence is deafening. 

If you have suffered a pregnancy loss, you are not alone. And I sincerely hope you get your beautiful rainbow baby. 
Today, is also a day where I think of the past -- thi…

Laminated Rainbow Leaf Sort for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Autumn is in full swing here in Minnesota. And, I wanted to take full advantage. While walking home from church, Henry and I took the opportunity to collect as many different colored leaves as we could. When we got home, we took them and sorted them into a rainbow. 

As Henry ran off to play in the unseasonably warm weather (it was 80 in October!) I gathered the best of the leaves for this project. I picked smaller, flat, colorful leaves since I knew I wanted to laminate them. 

I had done a similar project last fall with laminated leaves. The ones that were sealed as tight as possible (and were therefore flat, held their color the longest). Once the leaves were selected, I cut off the stem and laminated! I cut around them leaving a bunch of room so the seal would remain tight. 

I love this project because it is so versatile. For young toddlers like Nora, these can be used simply for exploration! She loved the way they felt! For older toddlers, they could be used for color sorting!

For…

Montessori Inspired Toys 13 to 16 Months

It's been a while since I've shared some of Nora's favorite toys. She's nearly 16-months-old now {how did that happen?!!} and loves a mixture of fine and gross motor work.

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Ikea Shape Sorter; Assorted Cars; Window Blocks; Linked Rings;  Peg Pounder; Baby Doll
She's finally returning to her shelves after a long absence where she just wanted to climb and haul. While I think the sensitive period for gross motor still drives a lot of her daily activities, it has been nice to see her take out different work. 



Pop Up Toy an absolute favorite (even Henry loves this one); Schleich Animals still a must have! 

Lately, she's even started to make the connection to take work to a table or work mat. It's been amazing to watch. I've even seen her return work to the shelf {but not to the exact right spot} from time to time.


Ball Pounder excellent way to get some gross motor and maximum effort play in; Wooden Peg Game th…

Young Montessori Toddlers in the Kitchen

One of the things that makes Montessori unique is its emphasis on practical experiences for young toddlers. From the time the children start eating, they are presented with opportunities to help in the kitchen in real and practical ways. And, therefore, there are so many practical life opportunities for young Montessori toddlers in the kitchen.


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There are so many ways that even the youngest toddler can help in the kitchen. I am by no means someone who enjoys cooking/baking/generally being in the kitchen, but these ideas even work for me!

With Nora, we started offering food when she was 6-months-old at her weaning table. From that time, we have given her a glass plate, cup and silverware. This has given her the opportunity to practice the same skills she sees us doing as we eat. Nora uses a spoon. For her, it has just been a natural part of learning how to eat.


But, as Nora started standing, climbing and walking, she has gained othe…