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Showing posts from November, 2017

Waldorf Paper Stars

A couple of months ago, you may remember that my dear friend Amy came to visit. While she was here, she brought a Waldorf paper star inspired kit for us to do together after the kids went to bed! Yay for crafting with friends! We tried it together and it was a lot of fun! Fast forward to now, and I've decided that I would love to make more of them as decorations for Christmas! 
If you aren't familiar with Waldorf paper stars, they are colorful folded stars made from kite paper. The thick, yet translucent paper makes the most beautiful designs when folded and glued together. And, don't even get me started on how lovely it looks in the sunlight! 

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So far, I have made five {only four pictured} and they are really soothing! I'm not very good at making them perfect, but I am really enjoying the process! I have used this paper for making all of my stars. 
Tutorials Here are some easy to fol…

Our Advent Box - Advent Ideas for Montessori Families

My favorite time of the year is nearly here! I love Christmas time and everything about it! Simply everything about this time is magical. And, if it's magical to me, I know it's even more so to my children! Since Advent is such a small window of time, I like to be intentional about how we are celebrating the season together.
In the past, we have always done some sort of Advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas. They have typically been something store bought and have worked well. But, we had so much fun with our fall bucket list, that I wanted to do something similar for Advent! So, I decided we would do an Advent box.

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Basically, I bought a pretty Christmas box {just a cheap gift wrapping one} and each day the children can open it to find a Christmas themed activity that we will do that day, or a small trinket gift. I thought I would share my list in case anyone is still looking for ideas on how to celebrate t…

Outdoor Exploration - Montessori Baby Week 51

Maria Montessori often wrote about the importance of time in nature with children and having a connection to the natural world. There is so much to be learned by watching and experiencing all the world around us. There is beauty in nature, harmony, strength, resilience, and order. These things are naturally attractive to a child. This is a really great collection of Montessori quotes on the importance of nature from How We Montessori, if you want to read more of Maria's words directly! 
I often write about all the things that Augustus is up to inside, which can make it seem like we aren't spending time outside. This is more of an "I don't bring my camera outside as much" issue than a "we're not outside" issue. In fact, we try to go outside everyday! 

And, this isn't a new or recent development, Gus' outdoor time started when he was just a few weeks old -- despite the fact that he was born at the beginning of winter. We would bundle him up an…

5 Things You Can Do Today -- Montessori Baby

Montessori is a way of life that starts at birth! But it can be a bit overwhelming to think about making a ton of changes to your home when you are trying to take care of a baby. The good news is that Montessori with babies doesn't have to be that hard. Making a few changes to respect your baby and give opportunities for independence and concentration is all you need. 

There are some steps that you can take TODAY to incorporate Montessori with your baby. Here are 5 things YOU can do TODAY! 
Take your baby {no matter your baby's age} outside, sit down with him/her and watch your baby explore. Don't direct exploration, but label your baby's discoveries. 
Choose your baby's favorite 5 toys, place on the floor, low shelf or along the edge of a blanket. Let your baby explore freely. 
Hang a low piece of art in a play or sleeping space - make it high contrast for tiny babies, make it realistic for older ones. 
Dedicated a spot on the floor {in the bathroom or near where…

A Little - Pikler Inspired - Climber with Lily & River

Somehow one year has flashed by in the blink of an eye; somehow my tiny baby has morphed into this fantastic little tiny toddler. In just a couple of days Augustus will officially turn 1-year-old. Since his birthday falls so close to Thanksgiving, we have celebrated a little bit early. And, we're celebrating with a Lily & River Little Climber

If you have followed Gus' story, then you know he has had some physical limitations from the time he was born including torticollis and low muscle tone. Everyday this awesome little baby overcomes those challenges on his perfect little path. And, because he is so amazing, Gus has made giant leaps and his doing wonderfully. He is on the verge of walking, but will be fitted with ankle braces in the very near future, to help support him through this process. But, as always, we will follow his lead, give him space and time, and prepare the environment for his success!  

And, now, that environment includes one of these awesome climbers!…

An Unexpected Treasure Basket -- Montessori Baby Week 50

I have talked about using treasure baskets many times with Montessori babies. A small basket with a variety of interesting things is a great way to allow your baby to explore a variety of objects, textures, sounds, and other sensory experiences.

We have done lots of treasure baskets with Gus. Most I just pick a few object I think he would like to explore and stick the basket on his shelf. But, this week’s surprised me! And reminded me that Montessori doesn’t have to be nearly as complicated as it can look/feel.
This week, I bought a small set of perler bead templates from IKEA for the older kids. At some point, Gus got a hold of them and was hooked. They are just simple shapes with with a bit of texture. So I threw them in a basket, and put on a low shelf for Gus. And, he loves it! 

So, remember there is power in simplicity! There is amazement in the everyday. There is wonder everywhere. Baby toys don't need to be complicated, expensive, exotic or big. Be creative, look around, o…

Montessori at Home Inspiration

Over the last month or so we have been extensively renovating our kitchen and art area. More on that later, but we have finally finished it this week! It has been fantastic to have the project done and have a functional everything back in place!
With our fresh new Montessori space {below} I'm feeling so inspired by Montessori spaces again! I've said it before and I will say it again, Instagram has so many amazing spaces that I just cannot get enough of. If you are planning or renovating a Montessori space for your home, here is some new inspiration for you!

Our new space! I'll have to do another tour soon!

A post shared by h(OW) we montessori (@ow.montessori.family) on Nov 13, 2017 at 10:30pm PST
I LOVE this space! This wonderful family was a part of my last course -- Cultivating Spaces for Children -- on creating Montessori spaces in your home. I just love what she came up with and how simple and functional the space is! I love seeing pictures like this from alum of the c…

On Nora's Shelves -- Bead Sewing

With Nora at school each day, the amount of toys and materials that she is using at home has gone way down. She comes home from school, eats and then either engages in some practical life work around the house or will retreat to a play area to relax with some of her favorite things. There hasn't been a huge need to create things for her to do.

And, I know that she is getting what she needs academically at school, so I really get the luxury of letting of strictly just following her interests without worry about her meeting some "goal." Not that her Montessori school is all that concerned about that either! 
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One of the things Nora has been enjoying lately is bead sewing. She uses tiny glass beads, and sews them in patterns on fabric. She loves creating designs and patterns all her own. The fabric is just a piece of thick placemat that I found at the Target dollar spot. I cut it to match the size of her embroidery hoop.…

Montessori Friendly Gift Ideas from 6 to 10

In Montessori, the ages of 6 to 12 are called the second plane of development. The second plane brings a whole new world of exploration to the child. They are no longer focused on just the realities of the world around them, but they are interested in figuring out their place in this big world. This is the time when creativity sores, and when an interest in fantasy and imagination take off. Their social group becomes more important, as does their sense of community. 

All of these changes mean that children are interested in very different materials than they were from birth to 6. Gone are the cutesy little puzzles and stackers. Instead, these children crave open ended materials in which to explore, and create. They are ready to deeply explore personal interests, and what is interesting to one child, may not be at all interesting to the next. For these reasons, I can't give you a list of materials that every 6 to 10 year old will love. You will need to follow your own child's …

Starting to Dress -- Montessori Baby Week 49

There are little signs starting to creep in around our house -- besides the fact that these updates are getting dangerously close to week 52 -- that Augustus is going to be a toddler soon. I feel like the last year has gone by in the flash of an eye and suddenly I have this big child grinning at me. Everyday he is getting closer and closer to walking and talking. 

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As these important milestones creep up, I can see that Gus is looking at the world differently. He is actively engaging in the world in a new way. And part of that comes a new found interest in helping to get dressed {and in other practical tasks.}  "As soon as children are able to walk...children must become our best collaborators...all the activities connected with looking after yourself and your surroundings, such as getting dressed, preparing food, setting the table, wiping the floor, clearing the dishes, doing the dusting, etc. These chores belonging to "p…

Add a Low Hook in Your Montessori Home

Do you want to know a super simple way you can help make your home accessible to your children? Add a low hook! By adding a simple hook at your child's level you can help to make an endless number of things available to them. It's such a simple step that could help to make a task available to your child. 
Can you imagine how difficult it would be if every time you wanted a cloth to dry your hands you had to go ask someone to get it for you? Or you had to climb on to a stool to reach? A simple low hook in a bathroom or kitchen can eliminate that problem! 
And, we live in such an incredible time, that you can get a large variety of hooks to fit just about any need that you have. And, bonus, you don't even need to screw a lot of them into the wall and they literally work on a ton of different surfaces!

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hook 1 | hook 2 | hook 3 | hook 4 | hook 5 | hook 6 | hook 7 | hook 8
So, here are a few ways you can use a low hook in yo…

What We're Reading -- October

Another month of fantastic reading! There are so many wonderful books for children, it's hard to go to the library and just pick a few. I seriously could bring so many books home each month, but I have to limit myself by the number that I can carry back to my car! 
Just as a reminder, these are just the library books we have been reading this month. We have many other books in our personal collection that we read frequently, as well. Here is what we where reading in October. 

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SnowBefore After | RoundAlice Through the Looking-Glass* | Once Upon a Northern NightA Leaf Can Be . . .* | Halloween | Fort-Building TimeA Gift for SadiaRainbow Stew | Under the Snow | Most People
* contains some elements of fantasy
Nora's favorite book this month was Halloween. It was an excellent history of Halloween, and though she liked it, I think its a better book for children in the second plane. She mostly enjoyed the funny sele…

Learning to Walk -- Montessori Baby Week 48

Movement is so important in every Montessori environment -- especially for babies. The freedom of movement is an essential tenant in Montessori and its importance really cannot be overstated. It's through movement that children come to know and understand their environment and themselves.

As I've said many times before, we are taking a new approach to movement with Augustus that is more in line with both Montessori and RIE. We have avoided placing him in positions that he is unable to get into on his own, including sitting him up or propping him to sit. But, this didn't just end when he could finally sit up on his own, but it continues now as he is learning to walk. "Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside. Through movement we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas." Maria Montessori …

5 Things You Can Do Today -- Care of the Environment

It can feel like there are so many things you have to do or buy in order to start Montessori! But, it really doesn't have to be that difficult! There are small steps that you can take today that don't cost a lot of money and can be pretty much done by changing a few things in your environment. 

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Care of environment is an important part of practical life. For our home, it means helping to keep the home clean, safe, comfortable, and usable for everyone. Plus, it's an area where children really feel called to participate. Here are five things you can do today, to prepare your home for care of the environment work! 
Designate small cloths for your child to use for cleaning - place in an accessible locationTake out the middle bar of a Swiffer or push vacuum to make child sized Make your garbage can accessible or add a bucket for child's garbageFill a small spray bottle with 1-part vinegar to 3-parts water and show your ch…