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Showing posts from March, 2017

Exploring Toys -- Montessori Baby Week 17

When babies are born, the Montessori mobiles are their first materials. As they get older they start wanting more and more to explore. Within a couple months Montessori babies are ready for exploring toys. Once babies discover their hands, they start becoming more and more adept at using them. And, soon, it's not just their hands that are getting in on the action, but their whole bodies -- their feet, mouths, legs, and bellies. As this happens, suddenly our job in preparing the environment changes! 

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Augustus is officially 4-months-old and he has hit this point big time! He is much less interested in staring at a wall, but wants to move, feel, and do. On the day he turned 4-months, he actually rolled for the very first time in hot pursuit of his favorite toy -- a Calmies ball. He is still my slowest gross motor baby, but the wheels are turning on how to grasp, mouth, hold, drop, and move objects around the environment.  "Ou…

Montessori Practical Life: Honey Lemon Tea

Since winter will never die, Nora and I are both sick again. I have strep, boooo, and Nora has a bad cold. So, we are looking for a little extra relief and something to fill our long, slow morning. Honey lemon tea fit the bill, plus it was some seriously awesome Montessori inspired practical life. 

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For Nora, I just used hot water. Nora isn't ready to pour hot water like that, so I took care of that part. For an older child, putting on and pouring the water would be a great way to extend this activity. Then, she chose and cut the lemon. She is using a nylon knife. At this point, she was able to squeeze lemon juice into the warm water. 

A younger toddler with less hand strength could use a juicer to get the lemon juice. Then, it could be poured into the warm water. 

Next, Nora squeezed honey into each of the cups. I just sort of let her go with it. You could have it pre-measured for a younger toddler to pour into the drinks. An …

What We're Reading -- March

It has been another fun month of reading around here! I seriously cannot stop sharing all the amazing library finds we have been collecting recently. These Montessori friendly titles have been wonderful and I would happily recommend them all! Without further ado, here's what we're reading in March

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Lenny & Lucy* | Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems* | A Butterfly Is Patient | Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois
Waiting for Wings | Sidewalk Flowers | They All Saw a Cat | Spring for Sophie
Black Cat & White Cat | Leo Loves Baby Time | Tigers (Big Cats)
My Pen* | Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour the Tea | Whistle for Willie | All the World
* denotes small amounts of fantasy 

My favorite for the month was hands down All the World. Such a sweet book. Nora's favorite was Spring for Sophie which she has been repeating lines from all month. Henry's favorite was They All Saw a Cat (followed closely by Le…

Montessori Baby Week 16 -- The Butterflies Mobile

As you may know, I have a bit of a Montessori mobile obsession! I just think these beautiful mobiles are just the perfect work for little babies. And, it's a good thing that Augustus is just about as obsessed with these as I am. Lately, Gus has been obsessed with the butterflies mobile. This easy DIY has been a big hit as Gus' eyesight and tracking continue to develop. 
As I mentioned before, Gus' eyesight has been a bit of a concern for us and his doctor. He has been classified as having "slow visual development" at this point so any extra practice tracking objects and stimulating his visual sense is wonderful. But, even if he wasn't having any issues, we would still be using this gorgeous Montessori mobile. 

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This one is new for us and is not one of the visual mobiles that we used with Nora. But, I'm so glad I made it. To make it, I used the free printable from Midwest Montessori. I simply printed ou…

Organizing your Montessori Play Space

In a Montessori environment the types of things that we have available may be a bit different than those in mainstream environments. But, they may not be. The biggest difference between a Montessori play space and a typical environment is how the space is organized. Organizing your Montessori play space is an important part of making the room engaging and available to your child.

For me, the most important thing to remember about creating a Montessori play space in your home is that you need A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place. If you make that your guiding principle it is much easier to move forward with creating a space that you and your child will truly love.
How Do You Organize a Montessori Play Space?  There are many things to keep in mind when organizing a Montessori space. Know that your space will be unique and does not need to be a carbon copy of anything someone else has created in order to be "Montessori." Make it your own, and have it fit the needs…

Using a Play Gym -- Montessori Baby Week 15

As I have said many times before, the freedom of movement is extremely important for babies, especially in a Montessori environment. We want to prepare a space that a baby can explore without restricting the baby's ability to move around. Montessori also strives to do this in a way that is not overstimulating to a baby. This is often done by using a movement area. But, when you have other children, sticking to one part of the house is unrealistic. This is where using a play gym can come in handy. 

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Play gyms come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, colors and textures. Many mainstream play gyms have those mats with the bars over head and may include lights, sounds, or hanging toys for the baby to "enjoy." We avoid those in Montessori, specifically because we aren't interested in toys that entertain rather than engage. Those types of lights/sounds can also be overstimulating. Thankfully, there are lots of grea…

A Montessori Approach to Purging Your Toys

Becoming a Montessori family has been life changing in so many ways, most obviously with the amount and type of materials we use in our home. Once you see why having so many toys is a problem, or when you make the decision to move towards Montessori, it can be completely overwhelming. But, taking a Montessori approach to purging your toys is possible! And, it doesn't exactly mean that you have to throw away everything you have and start over with only expensive wooden toys. It will mean taking a hard look at what you have and whether it really fits with Montessori.

One note, however, Montessori is at its core about following your child's own path and respecting your child as a whole person. So, if your child has a toy, lovey, book, or whatever that your child super loves or is super attached to, but it doesn't fit Montessori ideals, don't take it away. Follow your child, that is more Montessori than whether or not you own some specific consumer product. 
How to Purge You…

Montessori Inspired Volcano Study

Since Henry has started school, I haven't created anything that looks like Montessori work for him. He gets enough work at school, so home is for a different kind of work -- opened play and exploration. But, recently, an intense interest has been sparked in Henry which has led me to create this Montessori inspired volcano study.

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This interest in volcanoes was first sparked in Henry when he read a Magic Treehouse book about Pompeii. The book discusses the disaster in a very shallow and age appropriate way. But, it led Henry to ask so many questions about volcanoes that I knew we just had to explore them further here at home. However, I knew that I wanted to stay away from going to much deeper about the tragedy at Pompeii so we are sticking to the earth science side of things!

Felt Models 
The first thing I made for Henry is a set of felt models. When we read the book, it occurred to me that Henry really had no idea what a volcan…