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Showing posts from June, 2020

Practical Life - Making Popsicles

Summer weather has reached Minnesota and I couldn't be happier about it. We don't get a very long warm weather season, so I try to take advantage of every second that we get. With this warm weather comes requests by my children to have popsicles every afternoon for snack. And, while I personally love the sweet sugary ones from the store, they are way too big and way too filled with junk to eat that often. So enter a perfect practical life work for the summer - making your own popsicles! 

This is something that Gus can do pretty much independently which is super nice, and they are much healthier than many of the kinds we can buy at the store. The other great thing about them is that you can pretty much customize the flavors to anything your kids like. In our house, we often experiment and the popsicles are just whatever little bits of ripe leftover fruit we can find. 
These are a few of our kid friendly favorite recipes. The exact amount of each thing we use depends on what we ha…

Shelf Help Ep. 18 - Getting Organized!

Let’s talk storage solutions — behind many Montessori spaces is a well organized storage system! From books and toys to art supplies and clothing, Nicole and Amy are sharing their favorite storage and rotation solutions. Here are some tips on what has worked and what hasn’t in their Montessori homes.
Shelf Help will return July 13 after a quick break.
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes: Radio Flyer Walker WagonPregnancy and Baby Books for KidsIKEA KALLAX ShelvesIKEA BILLY ShelvesIKEA FLISAT Book StorageForward Facing BookshelfDish rack used for booksHow do you store and organize Montessori toys and materials?IKEA BESTA ShelvesToy Rotation in Our Montessori HomeAmy's Art CartSummer Capsule Wardrobe PlannerMontessori Toddler Wardrobe - IKEA Besta HackAmy's dresser drawersIKEA STUVASprout Kids Wardrobe Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If yo…

How We Approach Montessori Sound Games + Some Tips

It can feel like such big work to try and support your child's journey toward reading and writing. There can be a lot of pressure to make sure your toddler "knows their letters" or isn't falling behind somehow. Thankfully, there are some things we can do to support the learning journey at home*. One of those things is playing sound games! 
See other posts in this series: Pincer Grip - Preparing for Language Work Montessori Language Fundamentals to Remember What are Montessori Sound Games and Language Objects?
We started sound games with Gus about a year ago at age 2.5! It feels like forever ago, but I want to include that detail because I think sometimes parents can feel like they are failing if their kids aren't interested or don't "get it" right away. There is sometimes a tendency to only share online when something is happening quickly, so the longer, slower cases go unnoticed. 
When we first started playing sound games, we started with just one object…

What We're Reading Lately - Together and Independently

Now that school is officially out for the summer, we have more time on our hands than ever before. With most of our regular summer activities cancelled, we are pretty much home all the time. This leaves lots of time for reading, which just happens to be one of our favorite things to do! I thought I would share some of what we're reading both together and independently! This list is far from exhaustive but here are some of our current favorites (you'll notice a lot of summer themed) by age. 
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The books listed under together are those that I read with or to the kids. Those listed as independent are those that they are reading on their own (throughout the day.)  Teddy (9-months-old)Teddy is really getting to the point where he will sit for a few minutes and look at a book. He's much more into moving around though so we keep it short and sweet. 
Together: Peek-A-Boo! | I Can
Independently: An older version of this IKEA fabric boo…

Montessori Baby Bibs

Teddy is well into the Montessori weaning process - that is starting solid food. He eats meals either at his weaning table or at our family table three times a day. The process has looked really similarly to our other kids. But, one thing that we have done differently this time is that we have been using a Montessori baby bib. 

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Yes, Montessori baby bibs are a thing! And, they are awesome. Unlike traditional bibs (which we have used with our older kids) Montessori bibs are larger, designed to be used independently, and actually handle the mess of solids. Unlike traditional bibs that have velcro, snaps or ties in the back, Montessori bibs are designed to be pulled on and off over a baby's head. There are a couple of styles of Montessori bibs, but the most important part is that they are easy to get on and off, large, and very durable.

At this point, Teddy doesn't care too much about helping with the bib, but I know that really …

Shelf Help Ep. 17 - Montessori Baby Joy!

Amy has a huge surprise! In today's episode, Nicole and Amy talk about pregnancy and preparing for a baby in a Montessori home. From movement areas, to baby essentials and the importance of floor time, we discuss getting started with Montessori from birth. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes...Entertaining a Toddler with Morning SicknessMontessori-inspired newborn essentialsSnuz-PodMontessori and Baby Wearing - Some Quotes to ConsiderMINDE Mirror Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If you are interested in finding Shelf Help in a podcast app, it is available on Apple | Spotify | Stitcher | Google.
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Honoring Juneteenth

Today marks the holiday Juneteenth - a day honoring the emancipation of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas (2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.) Sadly, this holiday is new to me - even at as someone with a BA in history. This is unacceptable and I will not repeat this educational whitewashing with my own children. 
Since I am still learning about the holiday, I figured that many of you must be as well. So, I wanted to share how I plan on honoring the day with my family this year:  Participating in the Juneteenth Storytime on The Conscious Kid with Henry, Nora, and Gus. Making art work inspired by Nicole's work on The Polished Playhouse and decorating our front picture window with the project we create. Using sidewalk chalk to wish our neighbors a happy Juneteenth - hopefully inspiring anyone who doesn't know about the day to google it Downloading the Juneteenth Joy activity pack from Afrocentric.MontessoriI will personally be tuning into this broadcast to learn more ab…

Our Outdoor Montessori Spaces

Maria Montessori never intended for children to stay inside working all day. In fact, she said children should be allowed to move freely between the indoor and outdoor prepared environments as they pleased. Here at our home we try to make that a reality for as much of the year as we are able. Our children's playroom is actually a sunroom that has a door that opens to a small deck and then our backyard. 
We've taken that deck and turned it into a space where the kids can work and play. Further into our backyard we have a swing set for them to play, a large vegetable garden, herb gardens, lots of bird feeders and baths, and several smaller flower gardens. Every space is open for the children just like the inside of our house. Here's a look at our outdoor prepared spaces:  Deck
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Shelf: We have a small all-weather outdoor shelf on our deck this year that organizes the kids' materials for outdoor work. This is a mix of practi…

What are Montessori Sound Games and Language Objects?

Recently, I've been working on a series of posts dedicated to sharing how we support language development in our Montessori home. In particular, I've been sharing how we support our children's journey towards reading and writing. Today, I want to continue that series by talking about two fundamental ways we support a child's language journey at home - sound games and language objects. 
See other posts in this series:
Pincer Grip - Preparing for Language Work Montessori Language Fundamentals to Remember Language Objects 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.
I'll start with language objects because they are so often used while playing sound games! Language objects are miniature objects in the form of common items, animals, and food that can be used for a variety of learning from toddlerhood through around age 6. These tiny objects strongly appeal to older toddlers and preschoolers and entice them to ta variety of kinds of language work. 
These small objects…

5 Kid Things We Loved in Quarantine

Here in Minnesota Covid-19 related restrictions are starting to ease up a bit. But, we aren't at the point of really going especially with the children. This past week we hit officially three months of being at home every single day. It's been challenging to be home so frequently and to have to skip so many of our favorite activities - I don't think I've missed the library so much ever before! 
After three months at home, I thought I would share 5 of the children's things that have helped get us through these long months at home and that I anticipate will help keep us going over the summer months.
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Pikler Triangle
Our Pikler Triangle from Sprout Kids has been so great for helping my kids get their energy out over the past few months. It's big enough that even Henry (9) and Nora (5) have used it a bunch. Gus has been most into it using the indoor slide and jumping right off of it. It's been the perfect way to…

Shelf Help Ep. 16 - Losing Your Cool as a Montessori Parent

As a Montessori parent we might feel a lot of pressure to be perfect all of the time. In today's episode, Nicole and Amy break down this myth and talk about the times where they struggle to keep calm and respond with grace. We talk about strategies we use with our children, with our environment, and with ourselves to find calm. Plus, a look at what to do after you lose your cool.  Show Notes...Building our HouseBummer in the SummerPippi Longstocking SeriesNicole's Instagram | Amy's InstagramA Look at Quiet Time - FAQsMontessori Parenting - Finding the JoyBeing a Montessori Parent on *Those* Days Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If you are interested in finding Shelf Help in a podcast app, it is available on Apple | Spotify | Stitcher | Google.
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What if My Child isn't Using Montessori Work Correctly?

I get this question a lot from parents so I wanted to really think deeply about how children use materials that are placed in their environment. This could be a toy or activity, a more traditional Montessori material, or even practical life work. What do you do when they just don't do it right? 
"So long as a child is actively interested in what he is doing and there is no harm in his activity, he is definitely working on his own development. Besides any new idea he may be grasping, he is developing concentration and self-discipline...Our part is to give help when we are asked. If we are careful not to interfere with a child's activities and interests as long as they are not harmful, nature will see to his development." Maria Montessori, Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents
"So never interfere when a child is working by himself. Don't be preoccupied about whether he is making mistakes, you must not correct him at this moment. The important thing is not that the …

Montessori Materials at Home at 5

Somehow my tiny precious rainbow baby Nora is graduated from Children's House this  past week after 3 years in her classroom. Obviously, with Covid-19 the end of the year has been different than what we had hoped or were expecting. But, it's been a fun glimpse into all the work that she is capable of and a blessing having some extra time with her. 


That being said, her school has been fantastic in supporting her continued learning through this difficult period here at home. One of the first things I did when we knew school was going to move to a distance learning plan was set up a dedicated work shelf for her. Typically, we stick to mostly practical life and open ended toys at home, with just some work to support her here and there. But this time is different. 
So, I thought I would share materials that have been on her shelves to end the school year at home:  MathNora seems to really like math and was just starting to move into work with the chains as school ended. Since we don&…