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Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Easiest Toddler Christmas Tree

'Tis the season for little hand to want to touch your Christmas tree! And, hey, I'm all for exploration of beautiful and real objects for children. Therefore, we let even our toddlers help to decorate our real tree. But, once that is over, the tree is only for exploring with our eyes (and noses!) We don't decorate and redecorate it but use it as an opportunity to practice patience, waiting and self control.  This is no easy task for a younger child! Over the last couple years, it has been easier at our house with a toddler tree! I'm sure you have seen tons of versions of toddler trees on the internet, but this idea works so well here that I had to share.  It's simple to set up! Just a small tree (you choose the size you want for the space) and a basket of pom-poms! We use a 24" prelighted tree and large poms for ours but really it can work at any scale. The poms stick to the branches so even the youngest toddler can put them on, and they can be r...
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Movement Quotes to Consider - Montessori Baby Week 13

This week something new and exciting has started happening with Teddy - wiggly little movements are starting to make progress. He isn't rolling yet, but all of a sudden he is on the move. You put him down on one spot and find that he is slowly but surely making his way to somewhere else. At this point, I think it's just exploring his ability to move and not intentionally moving toward one object in particular. He may not actually be trying to move either, but his more intentional movement are getting him places. It's been fun to watch (especially after Gus who struggled with movement.) ...
Monday, December 16, 2019

DIY Book Making Kit Idea

Last night Nora says to me, "Mom, I have so many ideas but I don't know how to make a book." This simple statement made me leap for joy because sitting right now in my closet is a book making kit that I'm giving her for Christmas. I can't wait to give it to her and see all the ways she uses it to create. I remember how much interest Henry had in making books around this age and how helpful having all those supplies in one place would have been for him. If you have a child that is right on the cusp of moving to writing/creating more purposefully with paper and pen, this might be the perfect way to introduce it.  The kit itself is really pretty simple! I used this simple stacking organizer to collect the materials. A more open divided tray could also work, but I didn't want Gus (and soon Teddy) to be able to easily open or dump the work. Plus with the top, Nora will be able to carry around. I included some supplies to make and decorate books in ...
Friday, December 13, 2019

Week By Week Activities for Newborns - Montessori Baby Week 12

Now that Teddy has hit 12 weeks, I wanted to do a little activity recap from his time as a newborn. Sometimes it can feel like we have to do so much with our babies, but I don't want it to feel like this with this list. This was just one thing we did that week. The majority of the time, Teddy spent nursing, sleeping, and snuggling. ...
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Preparing Your Environment for Independence with Washi Tape

Let's talk about my new favorite hack for preparing our home environment for independence! Washi tape! A simple little roll of paper tape is helping to give my children more independence than ever before by providing a visual clue of what my children can and cannot use within the environment. This has been especially important in our multi-children, non-readers environment.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Basically, what I'm doing is labeling items with the washi tape ! In our house, Gus is fox and Nora is flamingos (Henry has globes but as a reader he doesn't really need a visual clue.) I place the washi tape on something that they need help remember which is theres. This way they can use the item without needing to ask which is theres or even with any adult led direction. I use this tape specifically because it comes in a variety of patterns and it comes off surfaces cleanly.  So, a couple examples. One, Gus and Nora have very diff...
Monday, December 9, 2019

Developing the Senses - Visual

I've said this before, but  developing the senses is such an important concept in Montessori that I want to talk about it again (and likely again and again!) It is through the senses that children learn, grow and develop. This learning does not stop at the doors of the classroom, or magically appear when a child enters school. It's through the senses that a child is constantly and continuously developing -- from birth.  The training of the senses must begin in the formative period of life if we wish to perfect them later through education and make sense of them in any particular human skill. Maria Montessori Last time I dove into the sense of hearing , but here I want to examine the visual sense. A child's sense of vision will be so important for so much learning. Now, I'm not talking eye sight here, but their ability to track objects, to identify subtle differences, to focus on specific parts of an object - to use their eyes for deeper evaluation. The Sense of Sig...
Friday, December 6, 2019

2019 Christmas Presents

In the past, I've often shared what was on my kids' gift lists, but this year I thought I would actually share a few of the purchases I actually made since I got my shopping done earlier than I normally do. If you are looking for some Montessori friendly ideas, I hope this gives you some inspiration.  ...
Thursday, December 5, 2019

Montessori Baby - Exploring with Feet

Following your baby's interests can seem like sort of a daunting task at times, especially when they can't talk to you or even move all that much. But there are subtle clues for us to pick up and offer experiences related to those clues. This is the power of observation in Montessori....
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

5 Ways to Use a Movable Alphabet at Home

The moveable alphabet is one of my favorite Montessori materials for ages 3-6. It really is genius. Dr. Montessori found that children were able and interested in writing before they could read. So, in Montessori the act of writing is actually taught first, and it's through this writing that children start to read. Children often have so many thoughts and feelings that they want to get out, but often lack the motor control to physically write all of these things. This is where the moveable alphabet comes in. It takes away the need to physically write the letters while giving children the ability to write. It's one small adaptation that makes such a world of a difference to a child.  READ MORE ABOUT THE MOVABLE ALPHABET HERE I'm sure there are almost endless ways that your child can come up with to use the letters of the moveable alphabet but here are 5 ways that we have used the moveable alphabet here at home.  1.  Language Objects/Cards   You'll ne...
Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Introducing a Toy - Montessori Baby Week 10

Over the 10 days or so Theodore has really started interacting with the world in a whole new way. He has been much more alert and active during his awake times, but more importantly he is discovering his hands in a new way. Suddenly, he is intentionally grabbing things around him and on occasion even bringing them to his mouth....
Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Taking a Pause

We have a big bench at our dining room table instead of chairs on one side. While I love the bench, it can also be a bit tricky for toddlers to navigate since it has nothing to prevent them from falling forward or backward. Anyway, the point of this story isn't the bench, but the importance of "the pause." Recently, I was watching Gus trying to sit at the kitchen table. He chose to sit on the bench and pulled it way out out away from the table. At that moment, my initial feeling was to jump in and say something. My gut was to remind him that he could fall off both sides while trying to reach the table. But, instead of jumping in, I took pause. Just for a moment to see what would happen.  In that brief moment, Gus attempted to climb onto the bench, but then stopped himself. He looked at the bench and said, "no, this too far from the table, I will fall off and bump my head." Then, he moved the bench to an appropriate spot and sat safely at the table. ...
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

What We're Reading - Thankfulness

With so much talk about Christmas, it can be easy to gloss over Thanksgiving. But, for our family, we really do try to make November a time when we are taking pause to be thankful for the many blessings we have in our lives. While we try to go around the table and say one thing we are thankful for every day of the year, in November we make special effort to give thanks.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  A part of that focus is bringing out some books that focus on family, thanksgiving, and community. These include: In November   - I love that this book focuses on how the natural world prepares for winter but also how we as humans celebrate this change with a time of togetherness and thanks. Before We Eat: From Farm to Table  - This one isn't specifically Thanksgiving themed, but is an important reminder to give thanks to all the people who contribute to the food we eat on a daily basis. I find this especially important during a holiday that is so...
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

How to Observe Your Montessori Baby

For any adult in a Montessori environment, observation is super important. It's through observation that we are going to learn exactly what skills a child is ready for, what interests our child, and where our child might be struggling. Without sitting back and observing our child, we really will struggle to understand what our child needs. Parents of newborn babies are not exempt from this need to observe. It might seem like newborns don't do a whole lot, but when you sit back and observe you'll make a lot of interesting discoveries. ...
Friday, November 15, 2019

Gifts for Montessori Parents - A Peek at MY Gift List

Around this time of year there is always so much talk about what kids would love for holiday gifts but not as much talk about parents. So when my mom asked what I had on my Christmas list, I was a bit stumped. But, I gave it some thought and came up with a few ideas.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Home Accessories: The little details make a Montessori home and so often the things that are appealing to us as adults are still appealing to our children. A few examples that I personally love include: New Plants  - I'll always take a new plant baby!  Letter Board  - I love the round letter board Candle  - these candles are amazing and I love them and want all of them!  Calendar   - I have this calendar but want some more of the holiday coins, everything about it is gorgeous Clothing: Here's one thing I hate buying for myself, but there are some seriously cute Montessori options out there! Montessori T-shirt  - I love the indoor/outdoor s...
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

An Advent Calendar Idea - A Book a Day

With Advent quickly approaching, I’m trying to get all of my Christmastime ducks in a row. I’ve spent far too much time during the past few years scrambling during December that the season becomes less fun and more stressed. This year, I’m hoping to have most of my chores done ahead of time so that I can soak in the peace, joy, and magic of the season. One thing I’ve recently done is pulled all my Christmas books out of our book storage to get ready for our Advent calendar. For the second year in a row, we are going to do a book-a-day Advent calendar. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  To do this, I take all of the Christmas books we have and wrap them and write a number on the front. The kids then take turns opening the book that corresponds to the day. Mostly the choices are random, but if I know we have something special happening then I will pick specific books for specific days. For example, we always buy and decorate our tree the third weeken...
Monday, November 11, 2019

Using a Capsule Wardrobe with a Newborn

In a Montessori environment we want to provide a child with the opportunity to participate in practical tasks as much as possible. Dressing is included in this area. But, in order for that to be successful the environment has to be prepared for success. This often means only have a limited amount of clothes available for a child at any given time. I've found that using a capsule wardrobe with my older kids help to meet this need in our environment. ...
Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Montessori Aprons to Love

When you see pictures of Montessori children working on practical life work, they are almost always wearing an apron. For my kids, putting an apron on is one of the very first steps to a lot of the things they do around the house. Whether it's moping, cooking in the kitchen, painting, or indoor gardening, an apron is available to them to do the task. I love the aprons not only because they are so adorable, but it helps to keep their clothes clean. Plus, the apron helps to center their activity by signaling the start and end of a particular task. ...
Monday, November 4, 2019

Transitioning to a Montessori Floor Bed with a Newborn

One of the most iconic and well known parts of using Montessori at home has to be the floor bed. Maria Montessori was very clear that small babies and children should not be sleeping in a crib, but on a low small bed on the floor. This gives babies and toddlers much more freedom of movement than is typically seen. In our family, all of my kids have been in a floor bed by 2 years old. However, Augustus was our first baby to be in a floor bed from birth. We are following the same path for Theodore. ...
Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Top 5 Montessori Gifts for Every Age Group

There are so many amazing Montessori and Montessori friendly materials available for children. But, it can be kind of hard to narrow which will work for your family and will be worth the money in the long term. It can also just be overwhelming to look at ALL the choices. So, I decided it would be a fun game to play with myself to narrow it down to MY top 5 Montessori gifts for every age group through lower elementary.  I decided these based on:  my own kids' reactions to these materials the flexibility and longevity of the material Montessori-friendly-ness - a word I just totally made up, but basically, how well does it fit with Montessori.  This was not the easiest of tasks! And, if you're looking for more choice, don't miss my Ultimate Montessori Gift Guide , which is being updated for 2019!  Babies {Birth to 12 months}  Babies are a real challenge because there is so much growth and change over the course of just one year, but here are my top 5: ...
Monday, October 28, 2019

Why Use Montessori Baby Mobiles at Home?

Montessori mobiles are some of the first materials that a baby will use in a Montessori home. They are a great way to engage a baby even before they have a ton of movement. Theodore is my third baby to use the Montessori mobiles from birth. At week 6 week have introduced three mobiles (one DIY and two traditional). For Teddy, here has been our timeline so far: ...
Friday, October 25, 2019

What is a Montessori Sensitive Period? 15+ Articles

One of the most foundational parts of Montessori are sensitive periods. Maria Montessori identified that children pass in and out of sensitive periods throughout their childhood. By understanding sensitive periods, we can get a better idea of what our children might be attracted to in our environments. We can get a deeper understanding of their behavior and what they need from us....
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

IKEA Practical Life -- 4 Ways

I love IKEA! It has so many Montessori friendly items at great prices for families - especially practical life items. But there are so many options that it can be overwhelming to walk into the store and figure out what would work together for a specific purpose.  So, I thought I would put together a few examples for practical life! These are just one possible combination that you could come up with for these areas. Hand Washing Hand washing is a staple in a Montessori home. For older babies and toddlers, a small hand washing station can help children do it independently. Here's one way you could set it up in your home.  L arge bowl + pitcher + nonslip tray + table (cut to size) + sticky hook + washcloth = $48.44 {USD} Flower Arranging Flower arranging is a favorite for toddlers and older children alike. It's so simple to put together with some fresh flowers and a small tray on a shelf! Here's what it could look like. vase ( vas e, vase ) + pitcher...
Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Inviting Participation in a Montessori Home

Since Theodore's birth, a little over a month ago, Augustus has been on a practical life strike. He just isn't interested or is outright refusing. He doesn't want to help wash windows, help with laundry, cook/bake, or help with other cleaning tasks. Things he enjoyed before the baby was born. Instead of an enthusiastic "yes!" all I hear is "no" or "mama, you do it!"  Now, I love practical life. It's hard for me to see days and weeks go by without a ton a participation in daily tasks. I could force it, or ask again and again. It would fill our days with power struggles and strife. But at the end of the day, it's not my choice what Gus chooses to participate in or not. It's ultimately Gus' choice.  Sometimes we can feel like our role as the adult is to require or force participation. We know these tiny children could do so much. We know they are capable. And, we want to cultivate independence within them. Whether it i...
Saturday, October 19, 2019

Montessori Baby Movement Area Essentials

Play and exploration is so important for babies. It is through play that babies will learn and grow. As Maria Montessori made very clear, "play is the work of the child." In Montessori we call a baby's first play space a "movement area." I absolutely love that it's called a movement area because it highlights the most important aspect of a baby's play - movement....
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Some Montessori Inspiration on Instagram

I'm doing a lot of late night nursing lately which means a lot of time on Instagram ! And, that's not a bad thing -- there is a lot of amazing Montessori inspiration to be found on there! Here are a few things that have really inspired me lately. I am in LOVE with this simple entry way: View this post on Instagram A post shared by KP Hill 🌻 (@the.montessori.millennial) on Sep 24, 2019 at 4:51pm PDT I need this Autumn table decoration: View this post on Instagram Some crafting inspiration? And to show that the celebration rings are such useful things 🍁🍂🎃 Crochet pumpkins @just_pootling Crochet leaves @attic24 Needle felted mushroom and acorns 🍄 Grimms 12-hole Birthday ring back in stock #celebratewithgrimms #autumnfun #artsandcrafts #crochet #needlefelting #sundaycrafts A post shared by The Wooden Wagon (@thewoodenwagon) on Oct 13, 2019 at 6:00am PDT ...