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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

6 Montessori Inspired Trays for Toddlers that Love to Pinch

The closer Nora gets to 3-years-old, the more I have noticed that she becomes more and more interested in refining and strengthening her hand movements. I have noticed this by watching what she actually does while she is playing. I watch as she gravitates towards work where her hands are busy. I also noticed that she was starting to walk up to different things {including some of the pets and people in the house} and pinch them. It wasn't out of malice, but out of genuine curiosity.  Seeing these signs, and knowing that reading and writing were around the corner, I started introducing more work incorporating a pinching motion. Similar to the squeezing motion , this work allows her to work those all important hand muscles as she moves toward the refined pincer grip she will need for writing.   This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. So, here are six tray ideas that encourage that pinching motion:  Tiny Pom-Pom Drop This is a simple little transfer t...
Monday, January 30, 2017

Talking to Baby -- Montessori Baby Week 9

Augustus is now officially 2-months-old! With each passing day, this little bundle of life is unfolding before me. Each discovery he makes and milestone he reaches, is completely fascinating. Even being my third baby, getting to know this unique and whole person is an undeniable privilege....
Friday, January 27, 2017

5 Ideas for Toddlers that Love to Squeeze

I have mentioned before that Nora (2.5-years-old) is seeking activities that help to build her hand strength . She must unconsciously know that she will need all those muscles to be ready as she embarks on the sandpaper letters and eventually writing in the coming months. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. So, I have been making sure we have plenty of work available to her to help with this drive. I've identified two ways that she currently enjoys building hand strength -- squeezing and pinching. These two are closely related (opening and closing of fingers) but slightly different. Squeezing is more of a whole hand motion where pinching is a much more refined (pincer) grip. I'll highlight, pinching activities soon, but here are five ways that we have offered squeezing work to Nora. Orange Juice Not too long ago, I posted a video on Facebook of Nora making orange juice. It's one of those activities that she will return to over...
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

On Our Library Shelves

We are huge readers in our house. It's just one of those things that we spend significant amounts of time doing together. As a result, I spend a lot of time searching for quality books to fill our shelves. Since it's impossible for us to purchase every great book out there, we are frequent visitors of our local library.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. And, since I love looking at other people's Montessori-friendly book shelves, I thought I would share what library books we are reading this month!  My First Chinese New Year   Can You Say Peace?   Bones: Skeletons and How they Work One Morning in Maine   You Belong Here Henry and Mudge Get The Cold Shivers Pet Show!   Sleep Tight Farm Homes In Mom and Me Lola Plants a Garden   These have all been great choices! As you can see, I try to pick a combination of {non-fantasy} fiction and non-fiction choices. I look for books that are content rich and have interesting...
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Montessori Baby Week 8 - The Octahedron Mobile

Oh, my baby Gus is now 8-weeks-old! This past week has marked some new and interesting changes in Augustus and in our Montessori environment. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. First, Gus was getting over a bad cold and all of a sudden all but stopped napping. His typical (to this point) hours long naps suddenly fell to just 20 or 40 minutes long. While awake, Augustus was a lot more alert. He is now following voices with his head and  spotting me from across the room. He is also moving like crazy. He's starting to scoot around a bit on his back, and get his hips and shoulder off the ground in an attempt to roll. The Montessori Baby Octahedron Mobile With these obvious changes, I figured it was probably time to accept that Gus is getting bigger and introduce a new mobile in his movement area -- the Octahedron. The Octahedron mobile is the second mobile in the Montessori visual mobile series . The mobile, itself, appears simple. It is three O...
Friday, January 20, 2017

Our Children's Montessori Kitchen

If you have been following me on Instagram , then you know that my kids have their own small kitchen work space in our kitchen. I've frequently shown Henry and Nora working in their kitchen, and have long promised a post featuring it's details. Well, here it is! This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Our Montessori kitchen is used for nearly  everything the kids do in the kitchen. The unit itself is part of the toddler play kitchen series created by Community Playthings. It's three separate pieces that are designed to fit together in a variety of configurations. We chose to have the unit wrap around our main kitchen counter so the kids were right in the action. Kitchen Unit / Hand Mirror / Hand Towel {similar} The kitchen itself is divided into a few areas. First, there is the counter space. This is where Nora and Henry do all their food prep, and other kitchen work. I love that they have enough space to spread out, while keeping their fee...
Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Practical Life for the Winter -- Toddler Nose Blowing

Winter is in full swing here in Minnesota. And, sadly, it will be for the next couple of months. With winter comes an endless stream of coughing, snotty noses and other bugs. It's especially bad this year with Henry in school full time. I don't think we have made it a week without one of the children having a runny nose. So, I thought I would share one of those practical life activities necessary for any parent of toddlers -- nose blowing! Even Maria Montessori discovered the importance of this seemingly simple task. In the Secret of Childhood , she described how intensely grateful the children in her first class were to learn how to blow their own noses. She said: "But no one really teaches them how they should blow their noses. When I tried to do so, they...indicated that I had not only treated them with justice but had enabled them to get a new standing in society…I have come to appreciate the fact that children have a deep sense of personal dignity."   ...
Monday, January 16, 2017

Montessori Newborn Nursery -- Montessori Baby Week 7

I cannot believe Augustus is 7-weeks-old this week! Everyday he is becoming more alert and responsive and curious. He's turning his head toward noises and, despite dealing with a bad cold, he is starting to smile socially. It's wonderful! With all this alertness, we've noticed that Gus is starting to be more easily awoken by the noises in our home. So, this week has marked the first week of him transitioning to naps in his bedroom on his floor bed. Therefore, a tour of his Montessori newborn nursery is in order!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Augustus' nursery is hands down my favorite place in our house right now. It is just that wonderful combination of peaceful and calm. I wish we could spend more time enjoying this space. I've tried to make the space work for him now, but also set it up in a way that not too many changes will need to be made as he gets older. Although, I do anticipate we will need to update again once he beco...
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Modeling with Beeswax

Now that Nora is officially 2.5-years-old, I can seen signs that she is moving on from toddlerhood and moving into the so called "conscious absorbent mind" of the 3 to 6-year-olds. With this transformation, I have been very aware that writing and reading are right around the corner.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With these observations, I want to make sure I'm finding new ways to engage Nora to keep up with her interests. And one thing I've noticed is how interested she is in things that require hand strength. She was starting to squeeze and pinch everything, exploring how her fingers could really grip the world around her.  At this point, I knew I wanted to introduce some sort of new modeling clay to her. While she has used playdoh since around 1-year-old, I wanted something a bit more mature. As I searched for an appropriate clay, I came across these beeswax modeling strips . And, after making beeswax candles for Christmas, I ...