Articles from January 2017

January 31, 2017

6 Montessori Trays for Toddlers that Love to Pinch

6 Montessori 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. 
January 30, 2017

Talking to Baby -- Montessori Baby Week 9

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.
January 27, 2017

5 Ideas for Toddlers that Love to Squeeze

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
January 25, 2017

On Our Library Shelves

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
January 24, 2017

Montessori Baby Week 8 - The Octahedron Mobile

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
January 20, 2017

Our Children's Montessori Kitchen

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
January 17, 2017

Practical Life for the Winter -- Toddler Nose Blowing

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."  
January 16, 2017

Montessori Newborn Nursery -- Montessori Baby Week 7

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
January 11, 2017

Modeling with Beeswax

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. 
January 09, 2017

Montessori Baby Week 6 - First Mobiles

Montessori Baby Week 6 - First Mobiles
I can't believe that Augustus is already 6 weeks old! And, I can't believe that I am just getting around to doing a formal post on his first mobiles. At this point, I have introduced two mobiles to Gus. The first is my DIY Munari-inspired mobile, the second is a DIYed traditional Munari. While, I'm only writing about them now, I want to make it clear that these have been used since birth!  Week 1 / Week 2 / Week 3 / Week 4 / Week 5   This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. The Munari mobile is the first in the series of Montessori visual mobiles for babies. These mobiles are carefully ordered to help develop an infant's senses and concentration. They are essentially the first "work" of the child. These experiences are important and start to help the child form impressions of the child's environment! In the words of Maria Montessori, "The things {the child} sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.&q
January 04, 2017

Black and White Images -- Montessori Baby Week 5

Black and White Images -- Montessori Baby Week 5
When babies are born, they are not able to distinguish between colors the same way that older babies, children, or adults can. In fact, it even takes some time for infants to see any color at all! { Read more about infant eye development here. } As a result, new babies love high contrast images, like black and white pictures, since they can more easily distinguish them. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. In a Montessori baby environment black and white pictures are often present. These images provide some visual stimulation for newborn's and provide and opportunity for a baby to concentrate and focus. It essentially becomes an exercise for the baby's eyes. In addition to our black and white Munari and Munari-inspired mobiles {more on those next week!}, we have many black and white images in our home for Gus to look at. Although I am writing about them in week 5, we have actually used these images since birth. It's just that as he has more