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2 Minute Montessori - Sticks into Shaker

Sometimes Montessori gets a reputation for needing to be expensive, time consuming or difficult to set up. But, not all Montessori activities have to be this way! One of my kids favorites has been this simple sticks into shaker activity! The simple beauty of this activity is that it allows for that all so important burst of concentration that we hope to see in our toddlers and even older babies!  Nora started using this activity when she was just 11 months old . Gus and Teddy have been a little older, but still younger toddlers. Recently, this has become one of Teddy's favorite works. He is quick to grab it and sit placing sticks in and out over and over. For a very gross motor focused toddler, it's a big change for him from his typical choices.  Putting this work together really does take two minutes! It's a small tray, some craft sticks (you could also use q-tips, cut straws, toothpicks, or anything similarly shaped and sized), and a spice jar. To present it, I simply sho
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Learning to Lose

We all know that learning to gracefully lose is a part of being an adult. Or at least, I hope it is. But, for children it an be a very difficult skill to learn. Losing a game, a race, or a challenge can be deeply disappointing, sparking anger and outrage in small children. For a time, these large reactions can be avoided if you skip games or ensure that your child wins. However, these tricks are short lived and guiding your child through a loss is a much better life skill. 

In our house we just had to upgrade to a second game cabinet we love games so much! Games are not something we avoid because losing is hard, but games are another amazing learning opportunity for our children. Here are a few tips on how to teach your children how to lose. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Cooperative GamesEspecially for children under 6, stick to cooperative games. In these games, there isn't one winner or loser. Either the game is not about winning or losing at all or you'…

Shelf Help Ep. 38 - The Baby is Here! Let's Q&A.

Amy's baby has been born and she is officially on maternity leave. Today we have part 1 of a pre-recorded question and answer session where we answer a variety of Montessori questions submitted on our Instagrams. We talk about everything from Montessori with older kids, play spaces for 1-year-olds, and how to approach kids that aren't interested in independent work.  Show Notes...Baby Dorsch DetailsNicole's InstagramAmy's Instagram 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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Montessori Friendly Toys 15 to 16 Months

It's been a couple of months since I shared a  Montessori toy shelfie and some ideas of what Teddy is playing with here at home. Right now, Teddy has two play shelves in our home. There's the one featured in this post and a smaller shelf with a few materials in our homeschool classroom. Those in the classroom are rarely used and are just available for those times where he needs to be with us while we are having a focused work period with the older kids. This work period has mostly shifted to his nap time so he's not using them much. 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 
So, I chose to focus on the materials he uses daily and those that are most accessible to him. This shelf is located in our main playroom and he can choose to use this space whenever he would like. In addition to the shelf of toys, Gus also has materials in this space. There is also our Sprout Pikler Triangle, a ball run, and our large wooden stacker. 

1. Pom-Pom Push - This is one that Ted g…

Supporting Independent Sibling Play

Lately, my house has been abuzz with different small groups of children playing together. This has definitely been one of the side benefits of quarantine over the past 10 months. Without a lot (or any) places to go or people to see, if my kids want to play with other children they largely have to play with their siblings. This isn't always easy for small children, and especially siblings. I find that even Henry (9) and Nora (6) are more likely to be rude, mean, or rough with their siblings then they are with random friends. It makes sense, though! Siblings just have a different relationship. 

In a Montessori home, independent play is really a nice sign (but not the only one) that the environment is working for the children. We want to create opportunities for independence, for concentration, and for self discovery. This can absolutely happen while more than one child plays together. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to support independent sibling play. 
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Shelf Help Ep. 37 - Being a Parenting Team (with Morgan Kavanaugh)

With Amy on maternity leave, Nicole welcomes her husband Morgan to Shelf Help. They discuss how they started using Montessori and his role within their home. He shares his favorite and least favorite parts of Montessori at home. We also discuss how to get on the same page with Montessori with your parenting partner and answer listener questions about dads and Montessori. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes...Getting Your Parenting Partner On Board with MontessoriThe Magic of the Topponcino7 Wonders - DuelAzulTokaido 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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Shelf Help Ep. 36 - Our Birth Stories

In the last episode for 2020, Nicole and Amy chat about their birth stories. As Amy's due date approaches, we reminisce about our previous pregnancies, and birth experiences. From hospital births with interventions, to pain free unmedicated labor, we talk about how our babies were born and the first times we met each of our children. (CW: Miscarriage) Show Notes...None 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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