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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Some {Screen Free} Thoughts on Restaurants

One of my favorite things about living in a city is the wide variety of restaurants available for us to enjoy. It's something we do quite often. And, more often than not, our children are with us as we enjoy these new experiences. We want our kids to appreciate the experience as much as we do. We want them to fully engage in the experience, but we also want to enjoy it ourselves. It can be a tricky situation.  We often see children glued into a variety of electronic devices when we're out to eat. Phones, iPads, and game consoles are common sights in restaurants. But, as a screen-free family, that simply is not an option for us. I want my children to be fully engaged in the experience, and all of the wonderful opportunities it presents. I don't want them simply to be quiet or busy. But, there are somethings that we do to help make the experience more enjoyable and successful:  Chose the right time to go. Don't wait until everyone is starving to attempt a b...
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A Few Favorite Board Book Series

As you folks probably know, I'm a huge children's book nerd. I love reading to my kids and I cannot overstate how awesome it is for your kids and for you to read to them early and often! Finding good board books for babies and toddlers, however, can be a little overwhelming. There are so many board book choices out there and narrowing down some Montessori friendly choices takes some work.  But, if you look, there are a bunch of really great choices. Many of them are part of a series of books perfect for Montessori babies and toddlers. Here are a few of my favorites:  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Andrew Zuckerman Creature Series -- This series is so awesome and features simple text and stunning real pictures of animals. It was one of Gus' very favorites from babyhood and he will still happily read these at 20-months.  Series includes: Creature Colors ; Creature Baby Animals ; Creature Sounds ; Creature Numbers Helen Oxenbury ...
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Summer Nature Collections in Our Montessori Home

I get asked a lot about what kind of science work I do with my kids. Or, what kind of work parents should make for their kids. And if I have any ideas for science shelves. ...
Monday, July 23, 2018

Sandpaper Letter Hide and Seek - a Fun Extension

Since Nora is not in school full time this summer, we have some Montessori materials on her shelves for her to work with. One of the things she has been very interested in lately has been learning all of the letter sounds. In order to switch it up and make it fun, we have been playing a little hide-and-seek game!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Basically, I had her pick a handful of the sounds that she is working on. No particular rhyme or reason to it, but I don't like to play with an overwhelming number of options. Once she picks, we review the sounds together using a Montessori 3-period lesson. Next, we take turns hiding the sandpaper letters around the room. I never make it particularly hard because I don't want the game to become too frustrating for her.  Once they are hidden, I will ask her to go find the sounds. "Can you find /s/?" Remember, we don't use letter names at all at this point with her, so everything...
Friday, July 20, 2018

Hitting, Biting, Pinching -- Montessori Young Toddler Weeks 31 to 33

We all know that not all toddler behavior is amazing. And, the same is true in a Montessori home. And over the last couple weeks we have seen an increase in difficult behavior. Part of it is just Augustus’ age, and I think part of it is that Gus doesn’t have many words yet. His expressive language has developed a little bit slower than average and with only a handful of words (and a couple of signs) Gus struggles to tell us what he wants. This obviously leads to some serious frustration which leads to physical behavior. Mostly hitting, biting, or pinching, and usually directed towards Nora.  Also, we have older kids that are also struggling with boundaries. Nora is very attracted to the heavy job that is picking Gus up, for example. Which Gus doesn’t like and so since doesn’t have the words to stop it, he lashes out.  So, what do we do about it!? Here are a few things we do to help lessen these behaviors: Physically Block My first goal is always to be a physical barrie...
Thursday, July 19, 2018

A New Montessori Toddler Bedroom

We recently rearranged Augustus' bedroom to acknowledge the fact that he is no longer a tiny baby. I don't know where the time has gone. I feel like I was just taking pictures of him on his topponcino in his Montessori nursery . And, yet, here we are. He's ready for more. And, we've had to make some changes!  The first big change is that our rocking chair has been taken out. While adult furniture makes sense for a nursery, it doesn't for a toddler room for a couple reasons. One, it's not scaled to Gus' size making it big and frustrating for him to try to use independently. Two, it's size also made it a little less than ideal to be alone with Gus in his room. He was starting to climb it I didn't feel like that was safe with him alone in the room any more. While we are still nursing, we just do that in his bed now. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. On Gus' shelves: Large Ring Stacker ; stacking cups ;...
Monday, July 16, 2018

What We're Reading - June 2018

It's been a little while since I've shared some of the Montessori friendly books that we've been reading! But, let me assure you that even if I don't share what we are reading, we are reading! Every day we try to read for at least an hour. It doesn't always happen, but with good books around it's not terribly tough!  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Here are some of the books we've been reading lately: The Girl in the White Hat * |  The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever |  Mama, Is It Summer Yet? |  And Then Comes Summer  |  Little You   The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Picture Book Edition | The Children's Garden: Growing Food in the City |  Ramadan  |  On the Wing  |  I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness   The Other Side  |  My First Tennis Book  |  Pecan Pie Baby | Emily's Blue Period   *denotes elements of fantasy  These were all g...
Friday, July 13, 2018

What Should My Child's Montessori Floor Bed Look Like?

One of the things that sets Montessori apart from so many other types of parenting philosophies is the floor bed. Maria Montessori was a strong advocate for protecting a child's freedom of movement from birth and that included sleeping on a low bed instead of in a crib or cot. This allowed a child the ability to go to sleep when he/she was tired and to wake when he/she was ready. She said,  "One of the greatest helps that could be given to the psychological development of a child would be to give him a bed suited to his needs."  But, practically, what does that look like? What should my child's Montessori floor bed look like?  The answer is that there is no set in stone way that a floor bed has to look. But there are some general things to keep in mind! However, having an elaborate frame isn't necessary. Often as simple frame around the bed makes the room feel much more finished and beautiful. In the end the bed should look inviting, welcoming, and ob...
Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Few Potty and Potty Seat Options to Support Toilet Learning

Just like any endeavor as a Montessori parent, toilet learning involves a little bit of prep work on behalf of the parent. Mostly, it comes in the form of preparing your environment for success. When it comes to toilet learning, creating a toileting space where your child can be successful will make all the difference. I was just talking about this in Cultivating Spaces this week, so I thought I would share some more thoughts here.  It seems like it would be straight forward to make a toilet accessible, but it turns out that there are so many more options than I could even imagine. There is literary everything from a tiny urinal to a race car mini toilet! Yikes! With so many options it can be difficult to figure out what will work best for your space and your child. So here are some thoughts on different potty options and some Montessori friendly examples.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Permanent Toilet Seats  A permanent toilet seat is one that you use in...
Monday, July 9, 2018

A Few Montessori Materials for the Summer at 4

Since it's summertime and Nora (very newly 4) is home full time, I have put a few new materials on her shelves to catch her attention and interest! These are things that support the work she has been interested in at her Montessori school, or has shown interest in here at home. As always, they are a combination of a few DIYs and some toys. Not featured is her play farm which is still what she plays/works with more than anything else. She also spends a lot of time working in our art area.  Here's a look at what's on Nora's shelves this summer: This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Butterfly Matching: This is an easy DIY where Nora matches each half of a butterfly to make a whole. This work isn't particularly challenging for her anymore but she likes it. I got the printable here from Eltern vom Mars, one of my favorite Montessori blogs.  DIY Spindle work: As I mentioned before, Nora loves the spindle boxes at school but I didn't ...
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Montessori Friendly Training Pants + Toddler Undies Options

Since beginning Gus' toilet learning/potty training journey, I realized that our collection of toddler undies was in poor shape. After having a couple of children use them over the past few years we were down to just a couple of pairs that would work for Gus. So, I headed to my local store to pick up some new ones. And, sadly I found nothing but commercialized underwear. Every single pair had some sort of superhero, cartoon, princess, or similar product on it. Needless to say, I walked away empty handed. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  I shared my disappointment on Instagram and got a ton of great suggestions on where to get Montessori friendly options. I thought I would share a few of these for anyone looking simpler training pants/toddler undies options: Gerber Training Pants - these are my personal favorite and my go-to for my family. They come in white but also a variety of non-commercial patterns and colors. They also go down to 18 mont...
Monday, July 2, 2018

5 Things I Do Everyday as a Montessori Parent

In a lot of ways being a Montessori parent is completely the same as a parent that has no interest in Montessori at all. We all still love our children and want the best for them. But, there are some ways that being a Montessori parent is fundamentally different. Sometimes those differences can make you feel miles apart from other parents. As a Montessori parent, there are some things that have been incorporated into my daily routine that may or may not have been there before. These routines are fundamental to how I parent and how our home runs.  Here are 5 things I do everyday as a Montessori parent: Observe Everyday, I take time to observe my children. Maria Montessori stressed the need to observe children and their needs constantly. But she was clear that this need to observe should not be reserved for teachers, but that parents need to have an observing spirit as well. In her book The Child in the Family she said, "the necessity to observe the child before hazarding...