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Showing posts from February, 2017

3 Steps to Create a Montessori Inspired Reading Area

Reading is a hugely important part of our daily lives. Not a single day goes by where we are not reading for an hour or more during the day. In order to make our house as reading friendly as possible, we have several reading areas set up throughout our home. This post features our main reading space in our common living room and 3 Steps to Create a Montessori Inspired Reading Area of your own. Just as we prepare our home for other independent activity -- dressing, eating, working -- it's also important to prepare the environment for reading.

"Having prepared an environment scaled to the child and having been exposed to the freedom created by his impulses toward activity, we have seen characteristics in the child who is tranquilly at work that have never been seen before." Maria Montessori 

3 Steps to Make a Montessori Inspired Reading Area Creating a child-friendly, independent reading space doesn't have to be hard at all! In fact, a beautiful Montessori inspired read…

What We're Reading -- February

I love books, and especially children's books, but it can be so hard to find picture books that fit Montessori ideals. Specifically, books that are realistic, beautiful and light on fantasy. When I find books like this, I want to just shout them from the roof tops! So, here's a look at what we're reading this month. 

Henry and Mudge and the Wild Goose Chase / Googles / Blueberries for Sal* / Henry and Mudge and Annie's Perfect Pet / Wonderful Houses Around the World / How To Be A Cat / Leopards / Beyond the Pond* / Is It Rough? Is It Smooth? Is It Shiny? / The Sound of Silence / Loose Tooth* / The Journey / Grandma's House / How To
* denotes some elements of fantasy 

My favorite was How To! Nora loved Grandma's House and Henry couldn't get enough of Goggles!

What have you been reading to your children lately?

Discovering the Hand -- Montessori Baby Week 12

There are several "firsts" that, I think, parents eagerly await with their babies. The first time the baby rolls, the first word, the first time they sleep all night, and their first step. But, I think there is one that should be placed above them all -- the first time a baby reaches for another object! 

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The hand is so incredibly important to human existence. It's with their hands that children discover their full potential. It's how humans have created tools and technology. It's allowed for written language and art. It truly is amazing. For the infant, it's through discovery of the hand that a child can change and manipulate his or her environment. It's truly a spectacular moment. Therefore, in the words of Maria Montessori: 
"The first movements of his small hand toward external objects should thus be eagerly awaited." 
The exact moment that this discovery occurs will be different for every…

DIY Montessori Color Sorting Crayon Storage

Art is an important part of our daily routine here. I don't consider myself to be all that creative of a person, but I so love watching children create. In particular, I love the way that art combines so many different and important skills for children. It's practical life, it's fine motor, it's sequencing, it's color theory, it's sorting, and so much more.

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Henry was never big into art projects as a toddler, and I honestly think because we never had a very conducive art area or open ended exploration. I got very sucked into Pinterest inspired art projects that he couldn't care less about. Anyway, different story with Nora. She loves art and is engaged in the creative process almost daily.

One way that we keep our art supplies neat, organized, and accessible for both Nora and Henry is through our DIY crayon sorter! I actually made this back when Henry was a toddler and it has been working well for our fam…

Toddler Butterfly Theme for Spring

We have officially entered the part of winter where I can do nothing but wish for spring to come. For many of you, spring probably is right around the corner, not so much for us. But, we can dream away our cold days with butterflies. 

In the depths of the winter grey, butterflies are a welcome burst of color! A couple of beautiful trays are the perfect way to introduce these wonderful insects to Nora. 

First, picture to picture matching! I made these simple cards from stickers that I found at Target. I simply placed the stickers on paper, laminated them, and cut around. Easy! Nora always loves this work. 

The second tray is a wonderful little matching work by Eltern Vom Mars. These lovely images of real butterflies are cut in half and matched. This was a really interesting challenge for her and I think this work will remain on her shelves for awhile. 

Finally, we have been exploring these beautiful laminated butterflies. We have simply been enjoying them and doing simple 2 part lesso…

The Gobbi Mobile -- Montessori Baby Week 11

The Gobbi mobile is  quintessential Montessori. It's easily one of the most recognizable Montessori infant materials. These beautiful, airy mobiles are made from a single color spheres in varying shades. They are then hung at a 45 degree angle, with the darkest color hung the lowest and the lightest color in the highest position. 

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This mobile helps babies work on their visual discrimination skills. The slight change in color is both intriguing and beautiful. And, it has grabbed Augustus' attention in a big way. The Gobbi mobile is the third in the Montessori visual mobile series. It is often introduced between six and eight weeks, sometimes a bit later. 

Gus was so interested in his Octahedron Mobile, that I delayed the Gobbi a bit. So, we introduced around 9.5-weeks and he was skeptical at best. Then, he got super sick and didn't spend much time in his movement area or with the mobiles at all. But, finally feeling bett…

Favorite Montessori Friendly Toys -- 24 to 30 Months

I feel like it was yesterday that Nora was born. But, somehow, my tiny little rainbow baby is this vibrant, bouncy, smart, independent 2.5-year-old. And with this realization that she is no longer a little baby, I realized that it's been awhile since I've shared what she's been interested in over the past several months. 
You may notice that many of these products have been featured before. That's the beautiful thing about quality, open ended Montessori friendly materials they really do last. 

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With these toys, only a select few were out at any given time. Maybe 6 to 10 depending on the other Montessori work I had made. During this time, I was pregnant with Gus, so I think I relied more on toys (as opposed to making some work for her ) than I had in the past. Also, there may have been other things she used during this time, but these were the highlights, and the things she really did love. 

Fine Motor and Logic Toys 

Montessori Baby Week 10 -- Sick Baby Essentials

Little sick babies are just the worst. Not for you, but for them. They are just so sad. And, it can be downright scary in some situations.

I had a different post I was going to write for this week, but then Gus got super sick so this seemed more appropriate. Poor Augustus is only 10 weeks old, but has already had two bad colds and a stomach bug. Yuck. This may only be a problem for poor little babies with eager older siblings that lick carts at Target and then come and give all the kisses and cough in their faces. 
From a Montessori perspective, specifically, I think there are also a few things to keep in mind. One, it's alright to make adjustments. For example, we typically avoid propping Augustus up. This means we don't use pillows to help him sit, or place him in swings/bouncers/etc. But, when he is sick, we do what we have to do, and we know its fine.

Two, we acknowledge feelings and explain whats happening to him. "That cough hurts," "I see you're not …