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Showing posts from February, 2016

Easter Baskets for Montessori Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Updated 2021

I have spring on my mind! This week we are finally getting above freezing temperatures here in Minnesota and it feels like spring is right around the corner {and I hope that's true!} But, its reminding me that Easter really is right around the corner. And, with that, it's time to start thinking about Easter baskets for Montessori babies, toddlers and preschoolers
We celebrate both the religious and the secular portions of the holiday. But, honestly we don't make a big deal about the "Easter bunny" or anything like that. For us, the baskets are just a small gift to celebrate the miracle that is Easter and the end of our Lenten preparations. 

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I, personally, just always keep our Easter baskets pretty spring and nature themed. I think that's just a beautiful way to tie them back to the religious new-birth that comes with the Easter holiday. So, my suggestions heavily …

Montessori Toddler Trays -- How Do You Set Up Toddler Toys in a Montessori Way?

An important part of a Montessori environment is having an orderly and prepared space. The phrase "a place for everything and everything in its place" is often used. This means that toys and materials should be neatly placed on shelves instead of thrown into a toy box or bin. But, it also means that each tray should be neatly organized and accessible. 
This doesn't just make your environment look neat and organized, but it actually entices a child to the materials themselves. By having everything neat and organized, a toddler can see the material, and easily remove it from the shelf. It can also give clues to the toddler about what should be done with the toy or material. 

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When I first started Montessori, I believed that throwing everything onto a tray was good enough. However, over time I've come to realize it's more nuanced than that. Here are some considerations that I make when presenting materials: 

How h…

Montessori Friendly Toys 16 to 19 Months

As of yesterday, Nora is officially 20 months old. I can't believe she is getting so close to 2. As she gets older, I wanted to share some of her favorite toys over the past few months. 

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{Left to Right; Top to Bottom}
Stacking ConeIkea Shape SorterSchliech Mama and Baby Cows -- for free play and for object-to-object matchingGrimm's Nesting BoxesAnimal finger puppetsRing StackerCircle Size Puzzle {similar}Ring Counting -- used for color sorting not for counting, only one of each color usedAnimal Puzzle {similar} -- this is vintage Melissa and DougBeads on Pegs puzzleSimple Shape SorterBean BagsVehicles around town {UPS, USPS, Taxi}XylophoneAnatomically Correct Dolls {Boy, Girl}Stacking Cups-- we have several versions of these so just depends which we have out You'll notice that many of the toys have been featured before at some point or another. Much like I don't push Nora to academics, I also don't rush her to mov…

Let's Stop Rushing Toddlers

We live in a fast world. I can order food online and have it delivered to me an a matter of minutes all without ever interacting with anyone. It's that fast. In a matter of seconds I can look up any information I've ever wanted or needed to know. 
This speed creates a certain pressure. Have you felt it? There's a pressure to keep up, to move at lightening speed, to skip steps and make leaps. The same is becoming true for other aspects of life -- for child rearing and education. Kindergarten is the new first grade; preschoolers are the new kindergartners; toddlers are the new...

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Well, what are toddlers? Still toddlers! But, yet still they face all the pressure to push academics. To teach toddlers ABCs, to teach them to count. There's a rush to teach them all these abstract concepts. I know I feel it. There's an expectation that they be working toward a goal. That they become little people capable of regurgitatin…

30+ Awesome Montessori Friendly Magnet Toys

I'm always looking for fun and engaging Montessori friendly toys for my children. Finding the right materials for an environment can be a challenge and there's something fun about that! These 30+ Awesome Montessori friendly magnet toys fit the bill.  
With Henry's 5th birthday right around the corner, I was surprised to find so many excellent ways to explore magnets! While some of these would be perfect for older kids, many even a younger toddler like Nora could enjoy! 
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Building Toys
Imaginets Magna-Tiles-- a hands down favorite in our house!  Magformers Guidecraft Better Builders-- another popular choice with my kids, even toddlers can build with these.  Brio First Magnetic Blocks
Tegu Blocks -- we have these, but I have to be honest, they are not well loved. They are not easy to build with and a bit limiting. But, many Montessori parents like that the magnets are safely tucked inside and that they are natural.
Patterns and P…

A Day in the Life: The Other Stuff

Yesterday, I shared some pictures and our daily rhythm and routine. And, while it really does look like an average day, I still feel like it's just a little too perfect. I don't want to be the blogger that only shows the perfection, because that's not real. 

Because even in a Montessori home, toddlers crawl on tables. And kids run around wild and throw things. All while being at different stages of being undressed. 

And, the carpet sweeper gets opened up and 1,000,000 quinoa scatter on your newly vacuumed floor. And, your kids play with lightsabers and Batman dolls. It all happens to me. 

Just like there are times I lose my cool, and there are times when I just want to sit around. Or I look around my house and every material and toy is scattered around. Nothing is perfect here, no one is perfect. But, still, life is great. 
If you liked this post, don't miss: Imperfect Montessori Morning

The Daily Rhythm in Our Montessori Home

I get asked a lot for a schedule of our day. How we structure our homeschool time, our playtime and regular life. This isn't an easy question for me to answer, because the answer is always the same but different -- I follow the child. I don't force any specific list of activities on my children or force them to pick certain materials. I prepare the environment and let their interests lead. 
However, we do have a rhythm or routine that we generally stick to. Maria Montessori identified that the ideal work periods for children should be three hours long. So, I try to structure my day in three hour chunks. While my kids aren't "working" in a classroom per se the whole time, this does provide enough structure for us all.

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So, I thought I would share our typical routine with examples from a random day. Just a note about the pictures -- I don't think they accurately reflect how much I am working, playing and read…