Articles from January 2016

January 29, 2016

Color Themed Treasure Baskets for Toddlers

Color Themed Treasure Baskets for Toddlers
Toddlers are amazing! They explore and absorb everything around them. In a Montessori environment, we try to provide as many opportunities to explore as possible. Color themed treasure baskets for toddlers and babies are a great way to do that. A treasure basket is a collection of small items appropriate for open-ended exploration.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. A treasure basket can literally be made of any random group of objects. I personally really love to do color themed baskets for young toddlers. I think they provide an awesome introduction to colors. However, not every Montessorian agrees. Many think of them as unnecessary. Many question if they really are used in a "Montessori" way or if they are just used to drill colors for toddlers. Or, some think there are more natural sensory experiences available.  Typically, in a Montessori environment, toddlers are not taught colors. Instead, they absorb them from being in a lan
January 27, 2016

Meaningful Montessori Choices for Babies and Toddlers

Meaningful Montessori Choices for Babies and Toddlers
I know I've said this a lot lately, but I'll say it again...Montessori is not just about the things but it's about how we view and treat children. This shift in how children are treated does not start at 3, 4, or 5 when children start school, but it starts from birth.  Children are individuals deserving respect from the moment they enter this world .  What does this mean practically? I think that means a few things. One, it means talking to babies and toddlers, not talking around them. This means talking to even young babies about what we are doing with them and around them. It also often means stopping to wait for a response, even if the baby isn't verbal. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Two, I think respecting babies and young toddlers means offering meaningful choices. Despite popular belief, even babies have the ability to make choices. The older a child gets the more capable they are to make decisions.  What kinds of decisions
January 22, 2016

The Intersection Between Montessori and Waldorf

The Intersection Between Montessori and Waldorf
Montessori is one of many different alternative and natural learning schools of thought. These alternatives to traditional parenting and education offer families a different way of raising their children. From attachment parenting, to RIE, to unschooling and Reggio, there are many options available that don't fit the traditional mold.  T his post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Waldorf education is one of these options. Waldorf, like Montessori, focuses on the needs of the individual child. Children are to be respected as whole beings. They deserve respect, dignity and a carefully prepared environment. Materials are beautiful, natural and open ended.  However, there are some important distinctions between Montessori and Waldorf. Waldorf engrosses a child into a world of nature, but also fantasy. Gnomes and fairies are used to illustrate and explain academic ideas. A heavy emphasis is placed on the arts, drawing and poetry. Formal academics -- like
January 20, 2016

2 Minute Montessori Activity -- Toddler Ball Drop

2 Minute Montessori Activity -- Toddler Ball Drop
Need to keep a toddler entertained? Have 2 minutes? You need to make this! This easy ball drop has kept Nora, Henry and every other child that has come into our house in the last 2 weeks busy! There is just something about this simple material that has them all engaged.   All you need for this ball drop is: 3 Gallon Water Jug  (or any large jug with small opening), some ping-pong balls and another basket/bucket. Just set the jug somewhere next to the bucket/basket of balls, the temptation to place the balls will be too great for a toddler to ignore! Then, the toddler can tip the jug over to dump out the balls, and start again. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. There's an added challenged dumping the balls back into the smaller bucket. The container is large (but light) and the handle makes it easy to pick up! This motion is perfect for reaching maximum effort -- something toddlers crave! Also, it helps toddlers fulfill that desire to dump .
January 18, 2016

Toddlers & Dumping -- Why do Toddlers Dump Everything?

Toddlers & Dumping -- Why do Toddlers Dump Everything?
There are so many parenting questions that plague us all! Why don't our babies sleep? How can my child survive on three crackers and a carrot stick for lunch? Why do toddlers dump everything? We've all been there, right? Speaking of dumping toys, have you ever walked into a beautiful organized space with a toddler?! The whole situation is ripe with possibility. You are excited for all the amazing work that lies ahead. Then, your toddler walks up to a newly organized shelf and dumps the work to the floor. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. You scramble to pick up the pieces while your toddler hurries to the next basket or tray and dump, dump, dump... Pretty soon the environment seems trashed and you're ready to throw something {or someone} out the window.  Sound familiar?  I know it does to me! I've seen both my children on occasion walk up to something in our home, dump it out and walk away. So, Why Do Toddler's Like
January 16, 2016

Easy Wall Art for Kids

Easy Wall Art for Kids
One important part of a Montessori environment is making an environment beautiful for the child. This means using child sized furniture, and natural materials. But, it also means hanging art for a child to enjoy at a child's level. While we as adults hang things on our walls, its often too high for a child to actually ponder and enjoy. By hanging art at a level where they can enjoy, it often changes the whole feel of the child's area. And, thankfully, it doesn't have to be expensive or complicated, easy wall art for kids is completely possible!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Regularly changing these images can keep children's interest and expose your child to a variety of artists/experiences. But, in reality, purchasing a ton of artwork for your children's spaces is expensive! And time consuming.  But, it doesn't have to be! Wall Calendars! Friends, calendars are often made with high quality, clear images on thick paper.
January 15, 2016

A Montessori Toddler at Work

A Montessori Toddler at Work
The other day I sat down to take some pictures of some of the work that has been on Nora's shelves over the last couple of months. (Stay tune for that!) And something magical happened -- Nora appeared from her play to join me.
January 12, 2016

DIY Montessori Flag Pin Map

DIY Montessori Flag Pin Map
The 12 Months of Montessori series is back for another year! This month's theme is culture and I'm happy to be sharing a project that I've been working hard on for many months -- my DIY Montessori Flag Pin Maps . These maps seamlessly combine culture, and Henry's favorite subject geography.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. I'm not going to lie to you, this project has been one of the most time consuming DIYs that I have undertake recently. While I'm super happy with the outcome, I want to let you know right away that it is a bit tedious. To make these maps, you'll first need to gather supplies. You'll need: Cork -- smaller sheets for the smaller continents, larger sheets for the bigger ones Tracing paper  Wall Map -- this is something I recommend any homeschool classroom or Montessori house have anyway!  Permanent Markers Scissors  Tape  The first step is to hang the wall map. Then, you will need to tap