Showing posts with label montessori. Show all posts
Showing posts with label montessori. Show all posts

Montessori kitchen help: peeling carrots


I love that Montessori activities are geared toward a lot of practical activities. First, because they teach kids to do every day things, and then, because it's not a long, drawn out, have-to-prepare-lots-in-advance-for thing. This Mama likes that.

Take peeling carrots for example. We needed more carrots to munch on - I buy the larger carrots because they are cheaper and dip sticks better to them than packaged baby carrots (or so my husband says). But, we do have to peel and cut those guys and my daughter can help! (Even in her "wedding" dress.)

One of the books I read suggested letting eighteen month olds do that. Um, no thanks (that blade is sharp, even if I'm standing right there!), but I'll let my three-year-old do it. (What?! Would you let a baby have a vegetable peeler??)

Other safe kitchen activities:

- peeling carrots, duh
- measuring ingredients (baked goods are great!)
- cutting up a banana with a blunt knife for a snack
- spreading peanut butter/jelly on a sandwich
- pouring a drink for themselves

Any other kitchen ideas (for preschoolers) I've not covered?

Why I'm Not Teaching My Child to Read {yet}.


I've not set out to make my child a genius.

I've known this from the time I was pregnant, I wasn't going to push her to be an overachiever. To be impressively smart, for me to brag about her genius. What's the point? She needs to be allowed play, a childhood. She has plenty of time to study - years of her life in education - years that I'm not beginning just yet.

(And, if you wanted me to brag on her, there are so many other things I could tell you!)

It's like there is this unspoken rule in today's North American culture - "you must be a really good mom if your child can count and read and write, so push them! the younger the better and more impressive!" At least that's how I've felt.

Well, frankly, I don't care.

I could care, except I pretty much gave up pushing her from day one. My daughter's personality helps me realize, when she is ready, she will be ready. And not one day sooner. (Trust me.)

And it's not like I just ignore every part of learning - she knows her colors and can count to 8! Ha. She can get dressed, pick up toys, feed the dog and herself. She won't go to kindergarten until she's almost 6, so I figure if I start with letter recognition and writing around the time she turns 4. If she's interested. And even then, I think the best way of learning is incorporated into play - which is exactly why I love Montessori activities. They feel like play with an educational tweak.

I don't WANT her to read at age 3-1/2. I want her to be little. To say words wrong. To learn sometimes just by default - truly, it is amazing how much she takes in without me pushing?

A friend recently told me that there is a marked difference between kindergarteners who attend school half days and whole days, but by the end of first grade, they are basically at the same level. Interesting.

I'm not worried and I am choosing to continue not to be.


I guess the biggest reason behind this stems from desiring a life of simplicity. I intend to write about simple living from several perspectives in the coming months, but it just seems like so much pressure for a mom to have super "smart" children. Pushing, pushing, overscheduling, a thousand activities, know your letters, know your numbers, go - go - go. It doesn't feel free or peaceful or simple to me.

Time for play, space, experiencing nature and un-pressured learning in a home environment (how to interact with each other, cooking with each other, independent play, etc.) sounds much less pressured. And that's the path I choose.

"The most important skills that children everywhere must learn in order to live happy, productive, moral lives are skills that cannot be taught in school. Such skills cannot be taught at all. They are learned and practised by children in play. These include the abilities to think creatively, to get along with other people and cooperate effectively, and to control their own impulses and emotions." source

a DIY montessori weather learning tool


I wanted to make my 3-year old something fun and inexpensive but educational for Christmas. Inspired by this Etsy shop item I forged ahead with making my own felt weather tool for the side of the refrigerator. (Speaking of fridges, have you seen the SMEGs? My dream home is just begging for one...)

Back to the magnetic felt weather tool. I sewed a heavy duty magnet from the craft store into the backing piece before I sewed on the fronts and stuffed them. 

 My favorite piece was the snowflake.

After printing off a snowflake pattern, I placed the paper on the felt and sewed back and forth with a contrasting thread (as you can see, the lines aren't perfect) until all the lines were "drawn". Then, I carefully ripped the paper off - it is easy as the lines are all perforated and just peel off. Sweet!

"Raindrops keep fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'..."

 I ran out of magnets for the lightning, so instead of running out to buy another whole package, I just snipped a piece of velcro (the rough side) and sewed it to the top. It sticks to the back of a cloud or another piece to wait for the rare thunderstorm. (It does leave a bit of a mess pulling away from the felt, but since it's so infrequently used, I'm not too worried about it.)

There you have it! Teach your child about weather observation and have fun while you go!

Cost: approx. $4-5 including tax (or less if you use a coupon!)
felt sheets (7 @ $0.25)
stuffing (already had)
magnets ($2.49 - set of 8)

setting the table: a Montesorri approach


Ladybug wants to be very helpful in the kitchen these days and usually I try to let her help "cook" (as far away from the heat as possible), set the table and empty the silverware.

I've been looking for a used, cheap placemat to try out a Montessori idea I came across several months ago. I didn't want to use one I liked, so I waited and finally found one at a local thrift store.

It's not the prettiest craft in the world, but I was more concerned with function over beauty this time around. I used a black permanent marker and traced the utensils and a small plate for the middle. A little cup for a circle and she caught right on!

A little practice and she'll be setting it better than I do most days. :-)

Montessori learning activity: "Does it sink or float?"


I've gathered a bunch of Montessori ideas from the books I've ready and here is our latest experiment.

Gather a bunch of different items that won't be ruined by water, a dishpan (or bucket!) of water and a towel. Then ask, "Does it sink or float?"

Ha! Even the dog was interested. (In the water, that is.) Ladybug didn't quite catch on completely, but it introduced a new concept and we'll bring it out again later.

montessori learning: DIY busy-board


I've recently run into Montessori-type learning for children and it really lines up with what I've been trying to do with Ladybug. For the most part, it seems to be practical learning with every day items to refine motor skills and learn. I'm not really into putting tinies in school per say, but I love that she can learn while we live our normal life. And I can do easy, already in our house, activities to keep her busy like pouring beans or rice into containers, washing dishes, helping me cook, learning why things float/sink or are hot/warm/cold, etc. Montessori really pushes have children-sized things to work with (like child sized tables, tools to work with, etc.) and I agree in part, although I think it can go overboard. Plus, we don't have the space or resources right now to have a miniature-sized everything.

That said, here is a project I've been working on for our 6 hour trip to Iowa this weekend.

A DIY Montessori "busy board".

I used all recycled/vintage items except the black plastic buckle and the metal eyelets - so using what I had, in all this probably cost me about $5.

For this I created (from left top, clockwise) large buttons/holes, lacing, elastic pull & button, buckle, hook & loop, a small snap, zipper, bowtie, and a hook & eye.

Some will be simple like the velcro and zipper ... others will take some practice as her skills develop. I designed it that way on purpose.

 Here it is all undone and ready for a busy two-year old!

And a front to back look. I sewed on all of the notions before I put it together like an envelope pillow. Sort of. Then, Jeremy cut me a thin piece of veneer (left over from THIS project) to fit and make it sturdy.

If I were to do it again, I think I would've:

1) just sewn it together - the envelope was difficult to fit over wood ... it's not flexible like a pillow. ;-) Luckily the vintage polyester (remember seeing THIS dress makeover?) was a little bit stretchy. I thought I may want to put something on the back in the future - so this was the option I chose.

2) I might've left the eyelets off. You really need a good tool to do them right, not just the little kits you can buy at the hobby store. They're a little rough. And I need to replace the ribbon with a reclaimed shoe lace - I just haven't found one yet.

That's it!! what do you think? I'll let you know how it works in the car.

As for resources, here are some books I've flipped through:

And I'm going to read these two ...

Any other Montessori learning fans out there? Any other resources you would recommend?


And here is an Etsy shop full of fun whimsical Montessori learning toys.

 Aren't they cute? I think I've just gotten another project brewing on my list...

(And what about these clouds!)

DIY Sticky Game for Toddlers


I got a great idea from Parents as Teachers and wanted to try it out with Ladybug - a super easy DIY sticky game for toddlers.

1) Take a piece of (old) contact paper and place it sticky side out on a flat surface about as high as your child.

2) Learn with him/her about the light items that stick and others that are too heavy.

(her baby was too heavy.)

This wasn't a long game (it lasted about 10-15 minutes) but it was super fun and she enjoyed it thoroughly. I had fun, too, collecting items that wouldn't break but may or may not stick.

A few things to note:
- the contact paper did leave a little residue behind on the widow.
- I wanted to leave it up for about 24 hours but in about 4-5 it had fallen down.
- Jeremy came home and thought it was "art" that we made. I appreciated that thought! :-)

Have a toddler? Try it out! It's fun.