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Showing posts from February, 2021

Montessori Toddler: A Pegging Challenge

Theodore, like so many other toddlers, loves pegging and posting work! Basically, he loves to put small objects onto something else or into something else. I think it speaks to his sense of order more than anything else. But, oh, pegging is having a moment right now! I remember this phase well with Gus and was more than prepared to give Teddy all the pegging and posting opportunities! 

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The things is, thought, that a lot of the pegging work is becoming a bit too easy for him. While he is still enjoying it and repeating it often, it's no longer providing much of a challenge and therefore he is definitely spending less time with those items. So, I decided to pull out a new pegging challenge for him - the balls on pegs! 
You can find this material in few forms:  Option 1 (this one is 2 sizes of balls) | Option 2 (looks a little less exact) | Option 3 (this is ours)

These were a huge hit with Gus too, but they had to be introduced at th…

Montessori Potty Learning Awareness

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that Teddy has been showing up more and more in his undies in stories and in recent months. Starting when he was around 15 months old (so solidly walking and standing) We slowly started making the shift to undies during the day. I wanted to share a little about the beginning of our potty learning journey and what gains we have seen.

Typically, I would keep my babies bare-bottomed for a long time before using underwear. But, I found with distance learning and big kids on zoom, that was hard this time around. It was too difficult to ensure Teddy wouldn't wander in front of the camera naked or that the big kids would remember not to have their screen on when upstairs. So, he's been in undies more than any of my other kids were at this age. 


A few things to know:  Our goal in using undies at this age is only to give Teddy the opportunity to use the potty and to be aware of how his body is working. I have zero expectations for when he will …

Shelf Help Ep. 43 - A Little Shelf (Rotation) Help!

Themed shelves for every holiday? Weekly shelf rotations? Open ended toys? In this week's episode Nicole and Amy discuss toy rotations in their Montessori homes. We talk about how we approach toy rotations, themed work, and our rotation rhythms. From our own observations, to actually choosing toys, we talk about everything toy rotations. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Show Notes...Nicole's Email ListToy Rotation in Our Montessori HomeWalking through a Toy Rotation - A Step-By-Step GuideRotating Toys - Montessori Baby Week 16What if My Child isn't Using Montessori Work Correctly?Horizontal Ring SliderWhich Open-Ended Toys are "Worth it?"Way to Play RoadsSchleich Animals  Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If you are interested in finding Shelf Help in a podcast app, it is available on Apple | Spotify | Stitcher | Google. 
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In the Kitchen with Toddlers - Sprinkling

There are so many amazing things that children can do in the kitchen! Practical life work really is the center of a Montessori home. At 17-months, Teddy is just starting to get to the point of being interested in kitchen work. Mostly, he still just wants to eat everything that we are using (which totally normal and fine!) 

One kitchen task that he has been super interested in and engaged with has been sprinkling! It all started when Gus came home from school asking for bananas with cinnamon - a common snack in his classroom. Well, Teddy loves bananas so he was all over Gus' snack. So, I was trying to think of a way that Teddy could also get involved in making the snack for himself and it hit me - sprinkling. He could use his fingers (where Gus just uses the bottle) to put cinnamon on for himself. Eventually, I added chia seeds to this snack for a little protein and healthy fat. And, ever since then it's been a favorite snack here for all my kids. 

Anyway, this simple snack has g…

Play Silk Display and Storage

Play silks are one of the most used playthings in our home. From Teddy through Henry, every single one of my children uses play silks daily. They can be anything - capes, bags, dress up, forts, jump ropes, or play scenes. I'm constantly in awe of how much creativity and play they spark. Morgan and I often joke that we could get rid of all of our toys except the play silks and our indoor swing and our kids would find hours and hours of entertainment. 

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But, over the years, we have had some trouble figuring out the best way to store the silks in a way that helps to keep them organized and accessible. For a long time, we kept them all in one basket, but what would happen is that the kids couldn't find the *exact one* they needed and would dump the basket out looking for it. This would lead to the entire collection of play silks scattered throughout the playroom in an overwhelming heap. Come clean up time, no one wanted to restore…

Montessori Bathroom - A Self-Care Station for Toddlers

At 17-months-old a lot of the practical life that Teddy engages in on a daily basis is centered around self-care. In fact, a lot of his day is centered around self-care tasks. He's busy learning how to take his clothes off, put them on, brushing his teeth, wiping his face, "brushing" his lack of hair, potty learning, and feeding himself. Over the last week he's taken a very big interest in putting on shoes and Gus' snow boots. These practical tasks are often the most important work that a 1-year-old can be doing. It's this work that grounds his day. 
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In order to make this work possible we have to prepare our environment for success. Within the prepared environment, Teddy is free to choose this work as he feels called. One change we made some weeks ago was completing his self-care station in our bathroom for Ted. The small towel bar has been in the bathroom for standing diaper changes for some months. The lit…

Shelf Help Ep. 42 - Choosing A Montessori School

Deciding on a school can be difficult choice for many families. In this week's episode, Nicole and Amy talk about what they look for when deciding on a Montessori school for their children. They examine some of the "must haves" and some of the things that would give them pause about specific schools. They also have an honest discussion on the pros and cons of public verses private Montessori schools.  Show Notes...Montessori Public Policy InitiativeAMI School LocatorAMS - Find a SchoolNational Center For Montessori in the Public SectorPublic Montessori is a Thing!  Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If you are interested in finding Shelf Help in a podcast app, it is available on Apple | Spotify | Stitcher | Google. 
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Lock and Key Matching

For a long time Gus has loved all things lock and key. You might remember that he was introduced to this work way back when he was just 18-months-old. It was a popular choice on his shelves for months at the time. Then, as he got a bit older we introduced a lock box and coins for him. This work also stayed on his shelf for a long time. But, he still had a love of all things locks. He would carry around any little lock or key he could find. He loved to play with our lock boxes. His interest just wasn't going away. 

So, for Christmas this year, I decided to make him a little lock and key matching set. Just a little way for him to take his love of locks a little further. To do this I gathered a bunch of different locks and keys to make a little set. This time instead of presenting the locks separately, I placed them all on a tray for him to match. He can find the appropriate lock and key set and open/close them. 

The work was a huge hit. None of the locks were particularly difficult fo…

Simple Transfer Work for Young Toddlers

The dark cold winter days are upon us right now. But, Teddy's love of water play is still going as strong as ever. So, I've recently put together a very simple transfer work for him to engage in some sensory-water play and have the opportunity to work on some practical scooping work. At 16-months old it was a huge hit, so I thought I would share. 

I don't do a ton of artificial transfer work at this age (or any age really.) I tend to want to create opportunities for Teddy to engage in more practical, practical life - that is actually scooping something from one bowl to the other in a meaningful way. Like scooping yogurt for snack, or peas onto his plate. But, from time to time, creating a work for the shelf is a fun extension of the real-life learning we are doing everyday. 
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This 2-minute set up was so simple! You need:  Two bins/bowls/water safe containers - I just grabbed an extra I had in my storage room and an old deli …

Shelf Help Ep. 41 - Montessori and Breastfeeding

In this week's episode, Nicole and Amy address breastfeeding and weaning. From those early newborn days through toddlerhood, Montessori parents can enjoy a breastfeeding relationship with their children. We discuss how to create an environment to support that relationship, and how to respectfully stop nursing when the time comes. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Show Notes...Colors by Nicole Kavanaugh1000 Hours OutsideFree and UnfetteredHaakaaHaakaa Milk CatchersElvie Milk CatchersKelly MomWHO Breastfeeding RecommendationsAmy on Confessions on Montessori Mom on Breastfeeding

Thanks for joining me for today's podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a review in your favorite podcast app.
If you are interested in finding Shelf Help in a podcast app, it is available on Apple | Spotify | Stitcher | Google. 


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Introducing Watercolor Painting

At 16-months-old Teddy is starting to show some interest in art exploration. He sees Gus and Nora working on art all of the time and I think that has really spurred an interest in him. One thing he is super interested in is the watercolor paint. This makes sense to me because Teddy loves all things water. He loves getting wet, being wet, dumping water. You name it, if it has water, he is into it. 
For the bigger kids, we are past the point of needing anything really special for them to use watercolor paints. They have access to the easel/paper and watercolor paper sheets. They know how to gather water and the paint they need. It all sits waiting on the shelves in our art area. 
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Teddy, though, is a bit different. He isn't ready for free access to a ton of colors and he can't gather all the supplies he needs. And providing too many paints or too many colors is a recipe for a huge amount of mess, stress, and not a lot of actual p…

On Our Montessori Bookshelves for Winter

I know some of you are probably questioning why I'm writing about winter in February! For some of you in more mild climates, spring is probably starting to creep into your minds. Here in Minnesota, we dare not think about spring for another month or even two more months. Ha! We have a lot of winter ahead and so the winter books remain popular choices among my children. 

So, here are the Montessori books we've been enjoying this winter. I've broken these down a little bit by age, but it's pretty fluid around here. One of the benefits I've found of remaining screen free into the second plane of development is that even my older children still cuddle up for picture books much more frequently than you would expect. 
This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Teddy (12-months +)Snowy Day | The Book of Winter | All Around the Town: Winter
Teddy sometimes will pick some of the books in Gus' category, but he doesn't usually have the patience yet to sit for …