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June 18, 2020

Our Outdoor Montessori Spaces

Maria Montessori never intended for children to stay inside working all day. In fact, she said children should be allowed to move freely between the indoor and outdoor prepared environments as they pleased. Here at our home we try to make that a reality for as much of the year as we are able. Our children's playroom is actually a sunroom that has a door that opens to a small deck and then our backyard. 

We've taken that deck and turned it into a space where the kids can work and play. Further into our backyard we have a swing set for them to play, a large vegetable garden, herb gardens, lots of bird feeders and baths, and several smaller flower gardens. Every space is open for the children just like the inside of our house. Here's a look at our outdoor prepared spaces: 


Our Montessori outdoor spaces are filled with practical life and fun activities for kids to get them moving and playing outside.

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Shelf: We have a small all-weather outdoor shelf on our deck this year that organizes the kids' materials for outdoor work. This is a mix of practical life tools and art including (top to bottom): 
  • Vases for flower arranging 
  • Watering can
  • IKEA gardening tools 
  • Children's gardening gloves 
  • Extra pots for the kids to plant found seeds 
  • Containers with bird seed for refilling feeders 
  • Finger paint
  • Air dry clay

I also move our art easel outside for the summer and we have a DIY children's picnic table for outdoor work and meals. For outdoor reading and snuggling we have a small loveseat. And, finally, just some boxes (from IKEA) of flowers for beauty and practical life. 


In addition to our deck we have several gardens around the yard. Many are focused on flowers so that we have clipping flowers throughout the spring and summer. But we also have a large vegetable garden where we are growing a variety of food for us to eat including corn, tomatoes, okra, green beans, snap peas and more. The kids are actively involved in helping to plant, weed, water, and harvest each of our vegetables all summer long. 

We also have a small herb garden off of our deck where the kids will frequently be found munching on herbs throughout the day! We also harvest them to cook with in the kitchen. 

Even though our warm weather season is fairly short, we take full advantage of the time that we can get outside to work and play! Just a note that we have made these changes to our yard slowly over the past several years. Outdoor spaces take time to cultivate and that's ok!

Do you have an outdoor kids space?

Our Montessori outdoor spaces are filled with practical life and fun activities for kids to get them moving and playing outside.


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Anonymous said…
Hey there - I have been a follower of your blog & IG since before Gus was born, and have always appreciated, among other things, that the kids' books you share and highlight have always featured many stories about characters of color... while the almost complete absence of any references to race on your blog is really noticeable (as a mixed-race family, race isn't a bonus conversation topic, it's our reality!), even including more than one or two books that don't feature white kids is more than many Montessori blogs do, so thank you for that. I did want to let you know, though, that your return to "business as usual" posts, after brief references to the protests and the larger events going on in our country, has felt... really jarring this week. I am sure you are doing a lot of work, learning and talking behind the scenes, and I certainly respect that you don't have to share about it here in order to make it real. But it has been a rare moment when *everyone* is talking about race and racism, not just those who are impacted by it, and to not spend more time exploring those issues, especially with a large readership, feels (I know this is not at all your intent, it's just how it comes across!) like trying to sweep these things under the rug and move on back to how things were. Again, I say this with all respect and appreciation, as I have gotten a lot out of your blog in the past. But catching up on the social media of many white Montessori folks who I have followed for years has felt like an emotional slog this week as they return to their typical posting content, and it would be really important and meaningful to many of us if you continued to discuss these issues even when you don't "have" to. Just my two cents! Thanks for what you do.
Nicole @ The Kavanaugh Report
Thank you so much for reaching out. I really appreciate your opinion and I will continue to work harder to amplify these important issues about race. I'm sorry it feels that I've moved on, I wont offer excuses but I want to state my intention to do better both here and on social media.