Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2017

Natural Rubber Baby Toys

I've been thinking more lately about all the products we use in our home. And how we can make them more natural. I sort of stumbled upon rubber as an option when I bought a Calmies ball when Gus was a baby. If you remember, he had some physical delays and needed easy toys to grasp. A friend suggested this ball, and Gus loved it. This led me to explore some other rubber options for him. So far, rubber has been one of his favorite materials to chew on. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

Calmies Ball -- one of Gus' favorites, even as an older babyFawn TeetherStrawberry TeetherStar BallRubbabu Balls -- these come in lots of varieties Fish Teether -- We also have this one and it's great for teethingStar TeetherGoatPear TeetherRainbow Sensory BallPacifier -- another favorite for Augustus Owl Teether And, I love that! It's natural so I don't have to worry about chemicals leeching from the toys. They are also beautiful, a nice weight, easy to care for, …

What Did You Do All Day?

I don't know about you, but when I ask my kids "what did you work on at school today?" I always get the same answer -- "I don't know" or "nothing." Every time. I'm not sure why. I can phrase the question slightly differently or open up about my day but, still, I get very little in return.

Nora has been at her Montessori Children's House for about two months now. Every day when she bounds out of the Children's House, I'm curious what she has been up to for the previous three hours. I want to ask all the questions and get all the answers. One, because, I may be a bit of a control-freak, but two, I'm a Montessori junkie and I'm genuinely SO darn excited for her to get the chance to play with everything. 

But, I've learned to sit back and wait. Not to ask her what she did, but wait for her to show me what she has been doing. And, with some careful observation, she is showing me. She may not be showing me the number rods, o…

Watching Play -- Montessori Baby Week 47

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that we are in the middle of a big renovation at our house. The work is mainly in our kitchen, but spilling over to a few other areas of our home. So, we have been living in what can only be described as slightly-organized chaos. The upside to this (other than finally getting some much needed updates) has been that I've been "forced" to sit in one room for a lot of the day. I can't clean, do laundry, or cook. But I can watch. 

And, to be honest, it's been wonderful. Typically, I don't have as much time as I would like to just sit and observe Augustus at play. Life gets in the way more often then I would like. So, to have the time to just sit and watch him has been a welcomed gift. 
Observation is so important in any Montessori environment. It's through observation that we see just what our children's interests are, how they solve problems, and the joy that they get from work. We have to take time to observ…

Montessori Home -- 5 Things You Can Do Today

Much like in a Montessori classroom, creating a prepared environment at home is essential in assisting your child’s development. At home, simple changes can be made to aid in your child’s independence and concentration. 

But, sometimes it can feel overwhelming knowing where to start to make the necessary changes in your home! It can feel like we have to make all the changes at once and then we end up not taking that first step toward independence. So, I've made a couple lists that I will be sharing over the next couple weeks with 5 steps you can take today! Here are my first suggestions: 
Put a selection of books in a basket in an accessible location. 

Add a slip-resistant stool to your bathroom

Hang a low hook in your child's bedroom to hang a coat, robe, or other clothing item

Store your child's shoes in a basket, low shelf, or tray in your entry way

Place a small pitcher of water and a cup at your child's height


These are easy steps you can take today! Even if you …

8 Montessori Videos to Watch from Instagram

It's always one thing to see a still picture of a child at work, or of a Montessori environment, but it's a completely different thing to see a video. A video can give you a very real sense of how an environment and child work and feels, and a realistic expectation for how Montessori works in real life. Plus they are just great to watch! I have been trying to be better about posting videos of my children working instead of just still pictures.


Here are some inspiring Montessori videos from Instagram for you to enjoy! {CLICK THE PHOTOS TO MAKE THE VIDEOS PLAY}
A post shared by diy corporate mom (@diycorporatemom) on Oct 16, 2017 at 8:33am PDT
This DIY sink and kitchen prep area is to die-for! And watching Rosie work is just a joy!

A post shared by I AM Montessori (@iammontessori) on Sep 8, 2017 at 12:23am PDT
I love watching the movement of this fantastic mobile! I could literally watch babies work all day.

A post shared by Jae 🙍 (@pinayhomeschooler) on Oct 19, 2017 at 2:16am PD…

Teething -- Montessori Baby Week 46

This past week, some familiar signs have been creeping back into our lives; pink cheeks, runny nose, late night shenanigans, and an insatiable desire to eat our dining room table have been constant this week. These can only  mean one thing -- teeth. At 10 months old, Gus has six teeth, so we've been down this road before. And, just like with any other interest I notice in Gus, it's time to prepare the environment to fill his needs. 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

Typically, with teething this has meant, creating a treasure basket of different teethers and making that available to him. To create the treasure basket, I just pick a few (3-4) of our favorite teethers, place in an interesting basket, and make it available. Some of our common choices include:

Como Tomo | Winkle | Atom Rattle | Calmies Ball | Wooden Pacifier Clips {we have a couple different kinds he loves} | Rubber Pacifier | Thin Washcloth {get them wet, and freeze} 

Gus can often be found wi…

Baby and Toddler Chairs -- Some Options

Montessori environments aim to allow children to develop as much independence as possible. For babies and toddlers, having the right sized piece of furniture can often make all the difference in allowing them to move independently throughout their home. When we think of small chairs, we often think of weaning. But, the right small chair in a Montessori home can actually be really helpful in a variety of situations. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

In particular, the right small chair can be used to assist in dressing, reading, putting on shoes, working at a table, and of course eating! It really does open up a completely new world when can move around a space without needing adult help or intervention. Just imagine how difficult life would be if you always had to climb up to get on the furniture or had to ask for help every time you wanted to sit down. 
1. 5" Chair7" Chair | 2. Bench | 3. Cube Chair  | 4. 8" Chair  | 5. 6" Chair  | 6. 5"…

Losing a Pet

Over this weekend, we had to put our nearly 17-year-old dog down. Nettie was blind, deaf, and had stopped recognizing any of us (even by smell.) Over the last week, she had stopped eating and had become increasingly lethargic. It had become clear that her overall quality of life was no longer in a good place. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

Henry and Nora knew that Nettie was an old dog. We had talked to them about it many times. Henry, in particular, loved Nettie and we were clear for the last year that she could die at anytime. But this week, when it became inevitable that we would lose her, our conversation changed from the abstract to the concrete. I asked some of my lovely followers on Instagram if they had any suggestions for books we could read with the kids to help them process this change. Many great books were suggested, and of those I ordered a few:
Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children -- I liked this one because it wasn't spec…

Practical Life with Babies -- Montessori Baby Week 45

I have talked about the importance of practical life with toddlers many times. Practical life work -- and I do mean truly practical work -- is the foundation of using Montessori at home. Getting your kids involved in the kitchen, in cleaning, in self-care, in the real and meaningful work that is taking place in your home is exactly the type of "activity" your child naturally craves. But, this desire and the ability doesn't just magically appear one day. It slowly builds over time. 

Gus is in this phase right now. The more he is able to move and explore, the more I see him watching, attempting, and participating in practical experiences. His mind unconsciously absorbs everything around him, so by being in our family, he sees, experiences, and learns how to participate. We just have to give him the opportunity to practice and show us what he knows! Now that he is really moving a ton, is the moment to give him that time! "The child's conquests of independence are …

What We're Reading -- September

It has been another month of amazing book finds and great reads around here! I'm constantly amazed by the shear number of fantastic kids books available! No matter what your child's interest is, there is bound to be a great book that you can use to explore these interests. Or a good book opens up a whole new world of interests. It can be the spark that a child needs to really become intensely interested in a particular area.  The power of reading is just incredible. So, here are some of the books that we read last month! 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
My Daddy Rules the World | Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for WinterAmelia BedeliaGrandma Is a Slowpoke | We March | RibbitWater in the Park: A Book About Water and the Times of the DayTaking Care of PetsLife-Size FarmWhat Happens on Wednesdays | It's Okay to Ask | Color DanceThe Story of Ferdinand* | Around the World in a BathtubFantastic Mr. Fox* | The Carpenter
* Denotes el…

Our Favorite Geography DIYs

If you have been reading this blog for a long time, then you know that Henry is obsessed with geography. Since he was 3-years-old, geography has had his heart. Even now at 6.5-years-old, he still loves to examine maps, and to use Montessori geography materials. At 3-years-old, Nora's interest isn't quite as intense, but she has still come home from school talking about the world, land and continents. 

Because Henry has had such an intense interest, we do have some DIY Montessori geography work at home. Here is a look at our favorites!  Continent Globe  The continent globe is a staple in Montessori classrooms, it shows a simplified version of the globe by highlighting each continent in a single color. For this simple DIY, you'll need:  Acrylic Paint An Old Globe  Simply use the paint to cover the entire continent in it's assigned color. The traditional colors are: orange for North America, pink for South America, red for Europe, green for Africa, yellow for Asia, brown …

How can Parents Best Support Montessori Teachers?

As a new school year really gets underway, I've been thinking a lot about how to support my children's schools and my children's Montessori guides. Teachers {or guides as we call them in Montessori} in any type of school deserve respect, support, and acknowledgement. They are doing such amazing and important work, and often do it in less than desirable conditions. 
But, Montessori teachers in particular face unique challenges in the classroom. Montessori schools are so different from traditional classrooms, and the relationship between children and the guide are so different, that the support needed can also look different. All these thoughts led me to ask -- how can parents best support Montessori teachers?

Now, I'm not a teacher, so I can't answer that myself. But, I do KNOW a lot of Montessori teachers. So, over the last several weeks I have been reaching out to as many Montessori teachers as I can find both on social media and in my real life. And here's w…

In and Out Work -- Montessori Baby Week 44

For the last couple of weeks, Gus has had one thing on his mind -- putting his toys in something else. In and out, out and in. Doesn't matter what it is, he wants to put it in something else. Then he wants to retrieve it, and try again. And when I think about it, I get the appeal! Things disappear and then come back! Somethings will fit into another container, somethings will not. Its the motion of his hands, it's the sound of the item dropping. It's all exciting! 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 
Once I started to notice this interest, I made sure to put out some toys/work to meet this need. I say toys/work because there is really no distinction at this age. His toys are his work. His work are his toys. In Maria Montessori's words, "play is the work of the child." To him, everything he explores in his environment is his toy, and every toy is his work. It's a beautiful entangled dance, one cannot be separated from the other. 

If you …

Our Montessori Baby and Toddler Placemats

In Montessori, babies and toddlers are given as many real experiences as possible when it comes to eating. What I mean is that they are given the chance to eat at a real table, with real dishes, and the chance to feed themselves. The same goes for other children as they grow. Children are complete humans from birth who deserve our respect, love, and beauty. 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 
Giving them real materials helps to provide all that and more. So many wonderful possibilities and opportunities. A placemat may not seem like much, but it really is. It provides a baby/toddler with the chance to use real materials, it speaks to their sense of order and gives them (or plants the seeds for) the ability to set the table, and it's a beautiful touch. Practically, it can also make eating easier by keeping plates/bowls cups from sliding around. 
Now, there are tons of commercially available {these, these, and these are all beautiful} Montessori placemats. But, I…