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Showing posts from July, 2018

Some {Screen Free} Thoughts on Restaurants

One of my favorite things about living in a city is the wide variety of restaurants available for us to enjoy. It's something we do quite often. And, more often than not, our children are with us as we enjoy these new experiences. We want our kids to appreciate the experience as much as we do. We want them to fully engage in the experience, but we also want to enjoy it ourselves. It can be a tricky situation. 

We often see children glued into a variety of electronic devices when we're out to eat. Phones, iPads, and game consoles are common sights in restaurants. But, as a screen-free family, that simply is not an option for us. I want my children to be fully engaged in the experience, and all of the wonderful opportunities it presents. I don't want them simply to be quiet or busy.

But, there are somethings that we do to help make the experience more enjoyable and successful:  Chose the right time to go. Don't wait until everyone is starving to attempt a busy restaurant…

A Few Favorite Board Book Series

As you folks probably know, I'm a huge children's book nerd. I love reading to my kids and I cannot overstate how awesome it is for your kids and for you to read to them early and often! Finding good board books for babies and toddlers, however, can be a little overwhelming. There are so many board book choices out there and narrowing down some Montessori friendly choices takes some work. 
But, if you look, there are a bunch of really great choices. Many of them are part of a series of books perfect for Montessori babies and toddlers. Here are a few of my favorites: 
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Andrew Zuckerman Creature Series -- This series is so awesome and features simple text and stunning real pictures of animals. It was one of Gus' very favorites from babyhood and he will still happily read these at 20-months. 
Series includes: Creature Colors; Creature Baby Animals; Creature Sounds; Creature Numbers


Helen Oxenbury "I..." Series -- T…

Summer Nature Collections

I get asked a lot about what kind of science work I do with my kids. Or, what kind of work parents should make for their kids. And if I have any ideas for science shelves. 

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One of the easiest answers to those types of questions is to look to nature. The natural world provides so many amazing opportunities for small children to learn that we don’t even have to create anything elaborate.we just have to observe and give our children time with nature. And often, a collection or two will spring up out of this time together. 
How do you support a collection at home? 

Provide containers, baskets, trays, or other places to safely store a collection Lots of outside opportunitiesLeave your judgement at the doorClear some space - dedicate a nature tableBring a bag with you when you’re outside Look closely with your child - share their excitement Keep it local - doesn’t have to be a vacation thing Teach your child responsible collection techniqu…

Sandpaper Letter Hide and Seek - a Fun Extension

Since Nora is not in school full time this summer, we have some Montessori materials on her shelves for her to work with. One of the things she has been very interested in lately has been learning all of the letter sounds. In order to switch it up and make it fun, we have been playing a little hide-and-seek game! 

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Basically, I had her pick a handful of the sounds that she is working on. No particular rhyme or reason to it, but I don't like to play with an overwhelming number of options. Once she picks, we review the sounds together using a Montessori 3-period lesson. Next, we take turns hiding the sandpaper letters around the room. I never make it particularly hard because I don't want the game to become too frustrating for her. 

Once they are hidden, I will ask her to go find the sounds. "Can you find /s/?" Remember, we don't use letter names at all at this point with her, so everything is done by sound. She…

Hitting, Biting, Pinching -- Montessori Young Toddler Weeks 31 to 33

We all know that not all toddler behavior is amazing. And, the same is true in a Montessori home. And over the last couple weeks we have seen an increase in difficult behavior. Part of it is just Augustus’ age, and I think part of it is that Gus doesn’t have many words yet. His expressive language has developed a little bit slower than average and with only a handful of words (and a couple of signs) Gus struggles to tell us what he wants. This obviously leads to some serious frustration which leads to physical behavior. Mostly hitting, biting, or pinching, and usually directed towards Nora. 

Also, we have older kids that are also struggling with boundaries. Nora is very attracted to the heavy job that is picking Gus up, for example. Which Gus doesn’t like and so since doesn’t have the words to stop it, he lashes out. 
So, what do we do about it!? Here are a few things we do to help lessen these behaviors:

Physically Block
My first goal is always to be a physical barrier between two c…

A New Montessori Toddler Bedroom

We recently rearranged Augustus' bedroom to acknowledge the fact that he is no longer a tiny baby. I don't know where the time has gone. I feel like I was just taking pictures of him on his topponcino in his Montessori nursery. And, yet, here we are. He's ready for more. And, we've had to make some changes! 

The first big change is that our rocking chair has been taken out. While adult furniture makes sense for a nursery, it doesn't for a toddler room for a couple reasons. One, it's not scaled to Gus' size making it big and frustrating for him to try to use independently. Two, it's size also made it a little less than ideal to be alone with Gus in his room. He was starting to climb it I didn't feel like that was safe with him alone in the room any more. While we are still nursing, we just do that in his bed now.
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On Gus' shelves: Large Ring Stacker; stacking cups; size sorting; books
You'll…

What We're Reading - June 2018

It's been a little while since I've shared some of the Montessori friendly books that we've been reading! But, let me assure you that even if I don't share what we are reading, we are reading! Every day we try to read for at least an hour. It doesn't always happen, but with good books around it's not terribly tough! 

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Here are some of the books we've been reading lately:

The Girl in the White Hat* | The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City ForeverMama, Is It Summer Yet?And Then Comes Summer | Little You
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition | The Children's Garden: Growing Food in the CityRamadan | On the Wing | I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness
The Other Side | My First Tennis Book | Pecan Pie Baby | Emily's Blue Period
*denotes elements of fantasy 

These were all great choices! My personal favorite was On the Wing, i…

What Should My Child's Montessori Floor Bed Look Like?

One of the things that sets Montessori apart from so many other types of parenting philosophies is the floor bed. Maria Montessori was a strong advocate for protecting a child's freedom of movement from birth and that included sleeping on a low bed instead of in a crib or cot. This allowed a child the ability to go to sleep when he/she was tired and to wake when he/she was ready. She said,  "One of the greatest helps that could be given to the psychological development of a child would be to give him a bed suited to his needs." 
But, practically, what does that look like? What should my child's Montessori floor bed look like? 

The answer is that there is no set in stone way that a floor bed has to look. But there are some general things to keep in mind! However, having an elaborate frame isn't necessary. Often as simple frame around the bed makes the room feel much more finished and beautiful. In the end the bed should look inviting, welcoming, and obviously be …

A Few Potty and Potty Seat Options to Support Toilet Learning

Just like any endeavor as a Montessori parent, toilet learning involves a little bit of prep work on behalf of the parent. Mostly, it comes in the form of preparing your environment for success. When it comes to toilet learning, creating a toileting space where your child can be successful will make all the difference. I was just talking about this in Cultivating Spaces this week, so I thought I would share some more thoughts here. 
It seems like it would be straight forward to make a toilet accessible, but it turns out that there are so many more options than I could even imagine. There is literary everything from a tiny urinal to a race car mini toilet! Yikes! With so many options it can be difficult to figure out what will work best for your space and your child. So here are some thoughts on different potty options and some Montessori friendly examples. 



This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Permanent Toilet Seats  A permanent toilet seat is one that you use in rep…

A Few Montessori Materials for the Summer at 4

Since it's summertime and Nora (very newly 4) is home full time, I have put a few new materials on her shelves to catch her attention and interest! These are things that support the work she has been interested in at her Montessori school, or has shown interest in here at home. As always, they are a combination of a few DIYs and some toys. Not featured is her play farm which is still what she plays/works with more than anything else. She also spends a lot of time working in our art area. 


Here's a look at what's on Nora's shelves this summer:

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Butterfly Matching: This is an easy DIY where Nora matches each half of a butterfly to make a whole. This work isn't particularly challenging for her anymore but she likes it. I got the printable here from Eltern vom Mars, one of my favorite Montessori blogs. 
DIY Spindle work: As I mentioned before, Nora loves the spindle boxes at school but I didn't want to buy one j…