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Showing posts from March, 2016

My Montessori Favorites at IKEA

It's no secret in the Montessori community that IKEA has a ton of Montessori friendly products! I mean, just look at this post from Kylie at How We Montessori, seriously the Montessori is strong at IKEA! 
So,after seeing this post about the new line of children's furniture and accessories at IKEA yesterday, I got the itch to go! When I woke up to a cold, rainy spring-break morning, I knew today was the day! I'm fortunate enough to live really close to one, and my kids love going to play in the little rooms. After a long morning of spending all the monies (just kidding, Morgan!) I wanted to share some of my favorite Montessori IKEA finds! 
Shelving
Besta Shelving: I love this open shelving. Its my dream to replace my shelves with this.  Kallax -- another very popular choice!  Rast -- perfect for small spaces Trofast -- these can be used with bins for storage or with open shelving! We use these in our classroom!
Bedroom
Toddler Bed: Legs can be cut down or removed for young childr…

Montessori Friendly Bird Themed Materials

As the weather warms up and the birds return to Minnesota, Henry suddenly has an intense interest in birds. If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably noticed that he has been gravitating toward birds and I've been scrambling to keep up. As a Montessori family, I try to follow my children's interests as much as possible. So, if one day its birds, I want to give Henry as many resources as possible to let him explore that interest.


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One way I did that was creating simple matching cards with these beautifully illustrated bird stickers. I simply laminated the stickers, cut into cards and printed out labels. To make the cards self-correcting, I added a number to the back of each label and picture. Easy and so well loved!


But, as I've been searching for ways for Henry to explore his new found interest, I realize there are so many amazing Montessori friendly bird themed materials available! Many looked so amazing that I h…

Montessori Inspired Pollution Work for Preschool

With Earth Day quickly approaching, I've been thinking about ways we can instill a love of Earth with our children. For Henry, like most young children concrete examples work best to give him a clear picture about why pollution, in particular, is such a problem in our world. So, I created some Montessori inspired pollution work for preschool for him to explore this important concept. 

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These are trays that we also used last year that have stuck with Henry all year long. He still talks about this work every time we see pollution in our everyday lives.  Air Pollution


This simple tray simulated air pollution with a candle. I would light the candle and Henry would blow it out. We would then talk about where the smoke went and how it would effect the earth if it was dangerous pollution. The card had a definition of air pollution that we could read and a picture of a factory emitting air pollution into the air. 

Land Pollution 
This w…

Object-to-Picture Matching for Montessori Toddlers

When I think about object-to-picture matching, It feels like one of the most quintessential Montessori materials. It's just use so frequently that I immediately think "Montessori" when I see it. 
It's also one of those activities that can keep a wide range of children happy. There are times when Henry at 4/5-years-old has enjoyed matching pictures and objects. I'm just focusing on toddlers here, though. 

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Like object-to-object matching, object-to-picture matching has some very important benefits for toddlers. One, it again helps with vocabulary, moving from left-to-right and providing order. However, object-to-picture matching also helps toddlers to explore abstraction. 

In other words, it helps toddlers start to make the connection that what they hold in their hand is the same as what they see on the picture. The picture of an apple is an apple, and the apple they are holding is an apple. This sort of abstract…

Object-to-Object Matching for Montessori Toddlers

Toddlers are in sort of unique situation. They are starting to have the tools to classify the world around them through their language, exploration, and a strong need to for order. This creates the perfect opportunity to introduce matching work. 
Not all matching work is the same. For toddlers, it's best to start as concrete as possible -- with objects. Then, over time move to more abstract concepts. Typically, many Montessori toddlers move from object-to-object matching, to object-to-picture matching and eventually picture-to-picture matching. I'm hoping to dedicate a post to each in the next few days!

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Matching skills are important for a variety of reasons. They help to develop the visual discrimination skills necessary for reading. They also help instill order, concentration, moving from left to right and many other valuable skills. While toddlers don't need to be working on formal academics, working on these pre-read…

How to Hang Your Montessori Mobiles

One of the most beautiful parts of a Montessori infant environment is the wonderful mobiles. These mobiles, in my opinion, really are a beautiful work of art made just for your baby. They help to develop concentration, visual tracking depth perception and so much more in your infant.


As I have mentioned before, many of these lovely mobiles are easily and cheaply made. They last from the time your baby is born until he or she is mobile. First come the visual mobiles, then the tactile ones.

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But, practically, where do they fit into your home? How are they hung?

For us, all of our visual mobiles were hung in Nora's movement area. This area was found in one corner of her bedroom. This space was specially designed for her and her alone. To hang the mobiles, we used a hanging plant bracket and some ribbon.


I attached the ribbon to the bracket using a keychain ring. Then the end of the ribbon had one as well. The ribbon was attached thr…

Montessori Treasure Baskets

A Montessori treasure basket is one way to play with babies. They are baskets that allow babies to safely explore the world around them. Treasure baskets don't have to be complicated to provide valuable exploration for babies. Treasure bins are typically recommended for babies that are able to sit up on their own and who are eager to explore their environment.


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The idea is for babies to discover these objects on their own without intervention or instruction from an adult. If you want to use a treasure basket at home, I recommend storing it somewhere where your baby can access it on their own. When they discover the basket, sit back! Let the baby manipulate the objects however they see fit, even if its isn't a way that the way the object is intended to be used. 
After awhile, I think it is fine to start adding simple vocabulary to the objects. "Spoon," "ball," "bowl." But, remember your child sho…

5 Trays for Toddlers that Love to Peel

Toddlers love to do practical work! In reality, they need very few toys and just want to be involved in everyday life. Recently, Nora has been very interested in peeling the clementines for snack. Peeling is a great way to strengthen hand muscles and increase concentration. 
Nora loves peeling so much that I've noticed that she has been taking clementines from her snack area and peeling them without actually eating the fruit. So, I've put together a couple of other easy Montessori inspired ways that she can work on peeling without actually wasting fruit.

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1. Washi tape on a tray -- Here, just place some washi tape on the tray and peel! So simple! I like washi tape because its not super sticky and can easily be ripped by a young toddler or preschooler. I was actually surprised how much Henry has liked this tray!



2. Crayon wrappers -- Yes, I broke these crayons. They tiny pieces are perfect for encouraging a pincer grip. Just a …

Montessori Friendly Books from Birth to Six

I love to read, love it! I want to instill that love of books and reading to my children. So, we read! And, we read a lot! On average, we read together between 1 and 2 hours a day. But, what are we reading?


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I try to keep the books in my house as Montessori-friendly as possible. However, the exact meaning of what is "Montessori-friendly" when it comes to books can be a hotly debated topic. I know that I cannot settle that debate here, so I will just add my personal thoughts. For me, and my family, we shy away from fantasy. By fantasy, I mean adult created ideas that don't actually happen in real life -- talking animals, for example.

Babies 0 - 18 Months 
Black & White
Mama and Baby! (Indestructibles) -- perfect for even mouthy babies!  Hush, Little Horsie Global Babies Everywhere Babies Smile! -- Sweetest pictures and read everyday here My Face Book
Animals (Baby Touch and Feel)
Touch and Feel: Farm
Machines at Work Board Boo…

Our Montessori Language Objects

In Montessori, children are taught -- as much as possible -- with concrete materials. This is true whether a child is learning about math, science or, in this case, to read. Montessori language objects are small objects used for a variety of purposes. Everything from starting to identify the beginning sounds of words, to decoding larger sentences language objects make the act of reading concrete. 

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Kids tend to love these miniature objects. They are so tiny {most of mine are under 1 inch} and just fun. However, to buy an entire set of these language objects is pricey. Therefore, I've been on the hunt for the perfect objects for a long time. 

A: Alligator, Airplane, Ant
B: Bat {sport}, broccoli, bell, bat {animal}, bib, button, bike, ball, brush 
C: Cat, candy, cup, cow, cap, car, candle, cauliflower
D: Dog, dish, drum, duck, dolphin
E: Elf, eagle, elk, egg, eggplant 
F: Fox, fan, football, flower, fork, flipflop, fish

It's hard to…