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IKEA Practical Life -- 4 Ways

I love IKEA! It has so many Montessori friendly items at great prices for families - especially practical life items. But there are so many options that it can be overwhelming to walk into the store and figure out what would work together for a specific purpose. 
So, I thought I would put together a few examples for practical life! These are just one possible combination that you could come up with for these areas.
Hand Washing Hand washing is a staple in a Montessori home. For older babies and toddlers, a small hand washing station can help children do it independently. Here's one way you could set it up in your home. 
Large bowl + pitcher + nonslip tray + table (cut to size) + sticky hook + washcloth = $48.44 {USD}
Flower Arranging Flower arranging is a favorite for toddlers and older children alike. It's so simple to put together with some fresh flowers and a small tray on a shelf! Here's what it could look like.

vase (vase, vase) + pitcher + funnel + tray = $29.95
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Inviting Participation in a Montessori Home

Since Theodore's birth, a little over a month ago, Augustus has been on a practical life strike. He just isn't interested or is outright refusing. He doesn't want to help wash windows, help with laundry, cook/bake, or help with other cleaning tasks. Things he enjoyed before the baby was born. Instead of an enthusiastic "yes!" all I hear is "no" or "mama, you do it!" 
Now, I love practical life. It's hard for me to see days and weeks go by without a ton a participation in daily tasks. I could force it, or ask again and again. It would fill our days with power struggles and strife. But at the end of the day, it's not my choice what Gus chooses to participate in or not. It's ultimately Gus' choice. 

Sometimes we can feel like our role as the adult is to require or force participation. We know these tiny children could do so much. We know they are capable. And, we want to cultivate independence within them. Whether it is getting d…

Movement Area Essentials - Montessori Baby Week 5

Play and exploration is so important for babies. It is through play that babies will learn and grow. As Maria Montessori made very clear, "play is the work of the child." In Montessori we call a baby's first play space a "movement area." I absolutely love that it's called a movement area because it highlights the most important aspect of a baby's play - movement.

When we get in to the habit of thinking of movement as play (and subsequently work) then, I think, it's easier to appreciate all the little and big work that babies (and toddlers!) are doing all of the time.  For Theodore at 5 weeks old, this work right now is moving his head, moving his eyes, starting to control those hands and feet. It's big stuff! Even if it look so little to us. The movement area facilitates this work, giving a baby space and time to perfect those movements and those that come after.

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Also, having a place to play/…

Some Montessori Inspiration on Instagram

I'm doing a lot of late night nursing lately which means a lot of time on Instagram! And, that's not a bad thing -- there is a lot of amazing Montessori inspiration to be found on there! Here are a few things that have really inspired me lately.

I am in LOVE with this simple entry way:

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A post shared by KP Hill 🌻 (@the.montessori.millennial) on Sep 24, 2019 at 4:51pm PDT

I need this Autumn table decoration:

Montessori Friendly Alternatives to Popular Baby Toys

It’s that time again! Time to find some Montessori alternatives to popular toys. This time I’m focusing on baby toys. This list was a fun one to make since one of my best friends, Amy from Midwest Montessori, was here this weekend and we did it together. There are some truly overwhelming options out there, but the good news is there are also lots of Montessori friendly alternatives for the same or similar price! 
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We randomly picked 10 of the most popular baby items given as gifts on Amazon, Then, we found a Montessori friendly alternative! Here’s some that we found.
Pull and Sing Puppy instead try the Brio Pull Along Puppy
The traditional option here isn't Montessori friendly because it is just too busy. It is trying to do too much, teaching concepts that aren't appropria…

Protecting and Establishing Points of Reference -- Montessori Baby Week 4

Today, Theodore is a whole month old! I can't believe it's already been a month with this bundle of joy. Being back in baby mode all the time really reminds me how amazing Montessori from birth is. Montessori really is such an amazing "aid to life," one that deeply respects how children grow and develop from the beginning. One of the earliest examples of this respect is the concept of "points of reference." We are literally respecting a baby's earliest experiences - those in the womb - through our actions after birth. Amazing! 

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Points of reference refer to the memories that a newborn has from the womb. It is the familiar environmental conditions and experiences that occurred before your baby was born. These include familiar sounds, smells, and movements. Maria Montessori and those working with her understood the importance of allowing a child to hold on to these comforts during the days and weeks th…