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Showing posts from January, 2018

Montessori Friendly Toys and Materials 12 to 14 Months

Shortly after Augustus turned 1-year-old, he started walking in earnest. As he has been perfecting his walking and other gross motor skills, toys and shelf-work has taken a MAJOR backseat for him. He just isn't as interested in sitting still to complete a stacker or puzzle. And, as he has gotten older he's less interested in oral exploration of rattles and things like that. These factors have combined to mean that Gus just doesn't use toys as much as he did between 10 and 12 months. 
But, he still has materials available. And, you may notice that many have a gross motor component to them! So, if you have a new walker, or young 1-year-old that won't play with toys, or won't play with many toys, don't feel discouraged. These are some of the things that have been available to Gus, but don't get the impression that these are used all day, every day! 

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Here are Gus' toys by column from left to right:

Montessori for Under $10

Montessori sometimes has a reputation that it is really expensive. Sometimes people think that in order to "be Montessori" you have to spend a ton of money on fancy wooden toys. But, in reality, there is so much Montessori to be done without spending a ton of money. There's so much that I can't possibly share every DIY, or easy to purchase product. But I wanted to share a few ideas that come to mind. 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Parenting First, and most importantly, you can make changes to your parenting style to be more inline with Montessori. These ideas cost NOTHING and are more important than anything you could buy. This includes showing respect to your child, offering your child choices in daily life, getting on your child's level to speak with your child, following your child's interests, and just slowing down to your child's pace! These are the important Montessori changes that cost nothing but make all the difference.  E…

The Need To Throw -- Montessori Young Toddler Week 8

Young toddlers are busy. Busy, busy. They have things to explore, things to do, things to see. They have a drive to move. And, this movement is not without purpose. Movement is the vehicle by which they learn. Movement is king. Movement is more important than still. Movement is vital. 

Maria Montessori said, "this is the new education of movement, and in a child's home life the same principles should apply...the child whose life at home is strictly ordered according to the convenience of grown-ups without knowledge or consideration of the natural movement and active interest of childhood is in the worst possible state of mind and body, either for obedience or good manners." These are harsh words for parents, but a good reminder. Montessori is not all about little trays and shelf work -- especially for toddlers. It's about letting children follow their natural desires to perfect their inner being. And, that cannot happen without a lot of movement.  "A child is a…

Montessori Friendly Juicing Options for Kids

About four years ago, I was at a thrift store and found the most perfect little juicer. It was a tiny glass pitcher with a matching glass juicer that sat on top. It was the perfect size for little hands. Then, the little pitcher was perfect for pouring right into a cup to drink. I loved it. But, in Montessori home where children are handling glass, accidents happen. 
In this case, during our recent kitchen renovation, the juicer was placed somewhere Gus got access to it and he accidentally dropped it. And, the perfect little pitcher smashed. Ever since, I have been on the hunt for a new, perfect little juicer for my kids. The right tool is so important. If the juicer is too big or too small, or too hard to pour, the process is going to be too difficult for a younger child to complete. 
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stainless juicer | glass juicer | smaller two-piece juicer | larger two-piece juicer | vintage style juicer | one-piece vintage style juicer | mini p…

Montessori Self-Care Essentials for Winter

We're in the thick of our long, cold, dry winter. Which for the kids means, runny noses, chapped lips, and dry skin. Mostly these are just simple inconveniences that can be solved with a little chap-stick and some lotion after baths. But, I don't know about you, but if I try to put these things on my kids on my own, it doesn't go well. I get a lot of resistance and end up not being able to successfully apply some much needed relief. 

So, I'm taking a different approach this winter - because as with all self-care tasks, it's just so much easier to get my kids involved in the process than trying to just do it myself. To do this, I've put together a small tray with some Minnesota winter essentials. It's just a small travel sized lotion and some color coded chap-stick! This way, after baths, after hand-washing, or any other time during the day, they can start to independently use the tools they need to care themselves. 

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Baby Proofing in a Montessori Home

We seem to live in a culture obsessed with safety, or at least I do. There seems to be a million different rules for how to keep babies and young children safe in our dangerous world. And, incidentally, a product you can buy to make your world a safer, better place. Baby proofing has become a whole industry of toilet locks, bumper pads, locks, and covers.

This can be sort of a challenge for Montessori families. Montessori emphasizes the freedom of movement, the need for young children to explore and manipulate their environment, and generally just trusts kids with "dangerous" objects {like knives, or working tools} from a much younger age than most mainstream parents. In Montessori, it is the adult's job the prepare the space to make it safe and accessible to children, not our job to place roadblocks to exploration in our home.

But, this doesn't mean that Montessori homes don't take precautions to keep babies safe. But, it has to be balanced with these other Mon…

Entertaining a Sick Toddler -- Montessori Young Toddler Week 7

It's been a long week here, Gus has been super sick with some sort of bad cold/flu-ish symptoms. With a high fever, we have been at home, snuggling our days away and pretty much not doing anything else. These kinds of weeks are always so hard, not only because it's awful to see your baby sick, but also those little bodies want to just keep moving even when they know they are super sick. They can go through periods where they just don't feel good, but they just have to do something. This can be especially challenging, if you don't let your toddlers use screens. 

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 
So, I thought I would share a few ideas on how I entertain my sick toddler who is stuck and home and needs some rest. I'm sure there are more that could be added to this list! Books, books, and more books. We spend tons of time cuddled together reading. Peek-a-boo with play silks Warm baths with lots of cups for pouring Cuddling, lots of cuddling. Babywea…

Play Kitchens and Montessori Homes

Practical life is the corner stone to Montessori at home. Giving children the opportunity to independently work at the practical tasks that they are draw to in their home is such a gift. Outside the Montessori world, it's sadly one that many families never give their children. 
Yet, mainstream parenting (and toy companies) seem to understand a child's desire to participate in practical tasks. Except, they don't make it real, or practical. A whole host of pretend toys is available for most practical tasks. You can get pretend vacuums, pretend cleaning tools, pretend watering cans, and pretend food. All pretend. All meant to entice a child to fulfill their natural desires to participate in practical tasks. But, do they really? Are play kitchens Montessori?

In Montessori, it's different. We invite children to real and purposeful work. In the words of Maria Montessori, "We are completely on the wrong track when we believe that expensive tows should keep a child happy…

What We're Reading - Library Books End 2017

You guys know how much we love to read around here! Sorry I haven't done one of these posts in awhile. To be honest, we just haven't been to the library as much as we typically go. We have had some rotten illnesses circulating among us, then with the holidays we just didn't make it. Don't worry we have still been reading, just from our personal collection in addition to these few library books {thank goodness for online renewal!} 
Here's a look at the books we enjoyed these past couple of months! 

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory* | Albert the Fix-It Man | A Field Full of Horses | Shadow Chasers | Niko Draws a Feeling | The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade | Lemonade in Winter: A Book about Two Kids Counting Money | Wet | Sister Day!
* denotes elements of fantasy

This time, Henry's favorite was hands down Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This was a special book we only read to him and he loved it. At n…

Open and Close Basket - Montessori Young Toddler Week 6

If I could sum toddlers up in a couple of words they would be exploration and movement. Everything young toddlers do includes these two words. They are constantly exploring, constantly moving and often blending the two seamlessly into a flurry of activity. As babies get older, they become interested in all of the things in their environment, and our role becomes to let them have the time and space to explore. 

As young toddlers, there is a sudden curiosity about what is INSIDE objects. They want to open, they want to close. They want to figure out exactly how things work and what is hiding inside. There is just an interest interest in every day objects and their functions. But, it isn't always possible to let your toddler explore every single thing you have in your environment. This is where an open/close basket can come in handy. 

An open and close treasure basket is so simple and easy to put together. Just gather a variety of regular objects that open and close. The types of objec…

Toy Rotation in Our Montessori Home

It's that time of year where everyone is trying to figure out what in the world to do with all these new toys they have. Do you put them out? Do you store them for later? If you put them out, what do you do with all the old things? It can be really frustrating, especially since we know that too many toys can be a big problem in a Montessori environment. 

The answer to this problem is toy rotation. This idea that you put out some toys now, and then store the others. You then rotate the toys as needed so that your children have things that fit their interests and present the appropriate amount of challenge. But, what does that practically mean in a Montessori environment? I'll tell you right away what it does NOT mean - rotating your toys on a specific time schedule. 
Keep some of these ideas in mind as you think about rotating toys!  Sense of Order Young children (birth to around age 6) are in the sensitive period for order. They have this incredible sense of order that can be…

Easy Cinnamon Roll Recipe for Kids

My kids love to work in the kitchen! They especially love to work in the kitchen when they are making sweet treats for themselves and for the whole family. One thing that they make over and over again is cinnamon rolls! I have been asked to share this recipe time and time again, because it is so perfect for children to make independently.

See Nora in action making these rolls here. And here!

Now, if you are looking for a gluten free, sugar-free, healthy treat, this is not your recipe. They are still delicious but a sometimes treat for our family. These easy cinnamon rolls are something that my family has been making since I was a little child. It was one of my favorite desserts as a kid, and now that tradition has been passed to my children. That means, that some of these instructions are more guidelines than hard and fast rules, so feel free to adjust to fit the needs of your family. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Ingredients - You'll Need Bisquick Baking …

Montessori Friendly Materials Under Our Tree in 2017

I wasn’t specifically going to write about what my kids got for Christmas this year, because I simply ran out of time before the holiday. But, I went on Instagram and did a live video recently about the books that my children received this year. And, I got so many direct-messages asking me to write a post about what my children received. 
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So, here’s a look at a few of the Montessori friendly materials my kids had under the tree this year. The good thing about doing this after the holiday is that I can share their most favorite choices! Books
Each Peach Pear Plum | Tracks in the Snow | Counting on Community | The Planets | The Shirley Hughes Nursery Collection | Snow Comes to the Farm | Animals in Winter | The First Snowfall | Windows | Singing in the Rain | Geography from A to Z: A Picture Glossary | The Street Beneath My Feet | This is How We Do It
I have been collecting books over the last couple of months to give  to the kids at …