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Showing posts from January, 2016

Color Themed Treasure Baskets for Toddlers

Toddlers are amazing! They explore and absorb everything around them. In a Montessori environment, we try to provide as many opportunities to explore as possible. Color themed treasure baskets for toddlers and babies are a great way to do that. A treasure basket is a collection of small items appropriate for open-ended exploration. 

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A treasure basket can literally be made of any random group of objects. I personally really love to do color themed baskets for young toddlers. I think they provide an awesome introduction to colors. However, not every Montessorian agrees. Many think of them as unnecessary. Many question if they really are used in a "Montessori" way or if they are just used to drill colors for toddlers. Or, some think there are more natural sensory experiences available. 

Typically, in a Montessori environment, toddlers are not taught colors. Instead, they absorb them from being in a language rich environment. …

Meaningful Choices for Babies and Toddlers

I know I've said this a lot lately, but I'll say it again...Montessori is not just about the things but it's about how we view and treat children. This shift in how children are treated does not start at 3, 4, or 5 when children start school, but it starts from birth.


Children are individuals deserving respect from the moment they enter this world
What does this mean practically? I think that means a few things. One, it means talking to babies and toddlers, not talking around them. This means talking to even young babies about what we are doing with them and around them. It also often means stopping to wait for a response, even if the baby isn't verbal.

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Two, I think respecting babies and young toddlers means offering meaningful choices. Despite popular belief, even babies have the ability to make choices. The older a child gets the more capable they are to make decisions. 
What kinds of decisions can babies and you…

The Intersection Between Montessori and Waldorf

Montessori is one of many different alternative and natural learning schools of thought. These alternatives to traditional parenting and education offer families a different way of raising their children. From attachment parenting, to RIE, to unschooling and Reggio, there are many options available that don't fit the traditional mold. 
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Waldorf education is one of these options. Waldorf, like Montessori, focuses on the needs of the individual child. Children are to be respected as whole beings. They deserve respect, dignity and a carefully prepared environment. Materials are beautiful, natural and open ended. 

However, there are some important distinctions between Montessori and Waldorf. Waldorf engrosses a child into a world of nature, but also fantasy. Gnomes and fairies are used to illustrate and explain academic ideas. A heavy emphasis is placed on the arts, drawing and poetry. Formal academics -- like reading -- is often de…

2 Minute Montessori Activity -- Toddler Ball Drop

Need to keep a toddler entertained? Have 2 minutes? You need to make this! This easy ball drop has kept Nora, Henry and every other child that has come into our house in the last 2 weeks busy! There is just something about this simple material that has them all engaged. 


All you need for this ball drop is: 3 Gallon Water Jug, some ping-pong balls and another basket/bucket. Just set the jug somewhere next to the bucket/basket of balls, the temptation to place the balls will be too great for a toddler to ignore! Then, the toddler can tip the jug over to dump out the balls, and start again.

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There's an added challenged dumping the balls back into the smaller bucket. The container is large (but light) and the handle makes it easy to pick up! This motion is perfect for reaching maximum effort -- something toddlers crave! Also, it helps toddlers fulfill that desire to dump. The ping-pong balls add an extra layer of excitement, and bou…

Toddlers & Dumping -- Why do Toddlers Dump Everything?

There are so many parenting questions that plague us all! Why don't our babies sleep? How can my child survive on three crackers and a carrot stick for lunch? Why do toddlers dump everything? We've all been there, right?

Speaking of dumping toys, have you ever walked into a beautiful organized space with a toddler?! The whole situation is ripe with possibility. You are excited for all the amazing work that lies ahead. Then, your toddler walks up to a newly organized shelf and dumps the work to the floor.


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You scramble to pick up the pieces while your toddler hurries to the next basket or tray and dump, dump, dump... Pretty soon the environment seems trashed and you're ready to throw something {or someone} out the window. 
Sound familiar? 
I know it does to me! I've seen both my children on occasion walk up to something in our home, dump it out and walk away.
So, Why Do Toddler's Like to Dump?
Toddlers explore eve…

Easy Wall Art for Kids

One important part of a Montessori environment is making an environment beautiful for the child. This means using child sized furniture, and natural materials. But, it also means hanging art for a child to enjoy at a child's level. While we as adults hang things on our walls, its often too high for a child to actually ponder and enjoy. By hanging art at a level where they can enjoy, it often changes the whole feel of the child's area. And, thankfully, it doesn't have to be expensive or complicated, easy wall art for kids is completely possible! 

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Regularly changing these images can keep children's interest and expose your child to a variety of artists/experiences. But, in reality, purchasing a ton of artwork for your children's spaces is expensive! And time consuming. 
But, it doesn't have to be! Wall Calendars! Friends, calendars are often made with high quality, clear images on thick paper. These realistic…

A Toddler at Work

The other day I sat down to take some pictures of some of the work that has been on Nora's shelves over the last couple of months. (Stay tune for that!) And something magical happened -- Nora appeared from her play to join me.

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Toddlers have this reputation for being utterly chaotic and uncontrollable. They whir into the room with this contagious energy that seems to never end. But if you look closer, toddlers are amazing little beings.

Stringing Large Beads on Pipe Cleaners



They are constantly thinking and exploring. I mean, how exhausting to constantly be "on" like that all the time, yet for them, its natural. They have an insatiable desire to touch every object, to test every limit and perfect their every move. For their little absorbent minds soak in everything around them, examining it over and over again, until they know it. 

Color Exploration Sensory Bin


Matching Lids to Small Boxes


I think it's almost impossibl…

DIY Montessori Flag Pin Map

The 12 Months of Montessori series is back for another year! This month's theme is culture and I'm happy to be sharing a project that I've been working hard on for many months -- my DIY Montessori Flag Pin Maps. These maps seamlessly combine culture, and Henry's favorite subject geography. 

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I'm not going to lie to you, this project has been one of the most time consuming DIYs that I have undertake recently. While I'm super happy with the outcome, I want to let you know right away that it is a bit tedious.


To make these maps, you'll first need to gather supplies. You'll need:
Cork -- smaller sheets for the smaller continents, larger sheets for the bigger onesTracing paper Wall Map -- this is something I recommend any homeschool classroom or Montessori house have anyway! Permanent MarkersScissors Tape  The first step is to hang the wall map. Then, you will need to tape the tracing paper over the contine…