IN THE KITCHEN WITH 17 MONTHS OLD TODDLER

We love to cook…Actually the truth is I don’t like to cook so much but as my little one is big fan of kitchen, all the utensils and specially gas stove we really spend majority of our time there. What one loving mother doesn’t do for her child 😀

Whenever my son is sleeping and I have some time I always think what to do. Is this the activity my little one would love to do or it’s still too difficult for him? Most of the time I answer to myself…”This he would love to do. This you can do with help of child. This is his favorite. This he would love to learn for sure.” So I end up writing blog and leaving all the work to my toddler at home. Child labor? What to do, he just loves all that adults hate, so as the best mother, I allow him to learn. 😛

There are lot of practical life activities we do at home and I would like to sum up all we did in the kitchen in his 17th month (yesterday he turned 18) 🙂

He loves to put things in pots and stir and stir and stir.

Pouring the rice from small jar.

First he breaks eggs and then adds pre-cooked homemade pasta.

Adding some food color to our homemade non-toxic play dough. You can read about it in the post Make super easy non-toxic play dough in 10 mins.

Dry spooning.

Officially this activity started as spices smelling activity but little one decided to make his own spices mix which we now use in kitchen.

Peeling the onion is awesome activity to develop fine motor skills.

Play dough cooking. How? See in older post.

Every morning preparing tea for dad…

…and coffee for mum 🙂

Another great activity for fine motor skills development.

 

How to start with MONTESSORI MOBILES FOR BABIES

The common mistake of the parents is that they think newborn babies do not remember anything and that’s the reason they keep little ones unattended and alone. But the first years are the most important ones. Whatever child’s absorbent mind soaks in is creating his personality. First 6 years child absorbs all the available information and learning happens without the efforts, naturally. If you are expecting baby or have one infant at home and you are reading this article you just started your Montessori lifestyle 🙂

You really don’t need a lot to prepare the environment for little one so you incorporate Montessori principles directly from birth. All you need is mattress on the floor/floor bed, mirror, mobiles, order and time. I would like to get more into details of Montessori visual and tactile mobiles.

Montessori mobiles are first specially designed materials used for the smallest babies to develop the eyes, vision and focus. As the sight of the baby changes also mobiles changes. You can make them at home by yourself or you can get ready made ones.

Montessori mobiles are completely different from typical mobiles you can get in toy stores. Made simply and precisely from beautiful materials, without noise interrupting babies attention, they are great for learning about fixating the eye sight, following the movement, focusing on colors and dimensions and later developing motor skills. 

HOW TO INTRODUCE VISUAL MOBILES:

You can introduce new mobile every 2 weeks or once you see your baby became bored of the recent one. You don’t have to get rid of the old mobile, you can again take it out whenever you feel like if your baby is its fan. Agastya just felt in love with his Gobi Mobile and his love lasted till he was 7 months old and managed to remove the sphere and throw it to our dog 🙂

Following weeks are approximate only. All depends on babies interest. So prepare your mobiles in advance, hang one and just watch your baby.

  1. 2 – 6 weeks old babyThe Munari Mobile – baby sees only contrasting colors of black and white. Munari Mobile is developmentally appropriate. Not overstimulating or overwhelming neither. Develops both vision and concentration.

                                                  Source: www.lecoinmontessori.com
  2. 6 – 8 weeks old babyThe Octahedron Mobile – “The octahedrons are designed to lay the foundations for future understandings of geometric proportion, relationships and patterns. “ At Home with Montessori. Octahedron introduces basic colors.

                                                                                                                                               Source: www.mothering.cz
  3. 8 – 10 weeks old babyThe Gobi Mobile – The Gobbi mobile consists of light weighted spheres (so they can move in air) in graduated shades of one colour to stimulate the visual sense.

    Photo source: http://howwemontessori.typepad.com
  4. 9 – 12 weeks old babyThe Dancers Mobile – This mobile moves relatively slowly so can be introduced also earlier which can be helpful for teaching baby to fixate the eye sight and focus. 
  5. 12 – 14 weeks old babyThe Rainbow, The Butterflies

HOW TO INTRODUCE TACTILE MOBILES:

  1. start around 12 weeksBell on the Ribbon – Hanging the bell on the elastic would be best idea as it comes back again and again. It is great for developing eye-hand coordination, concentration and learning about cause and effect.

    https://lambrineblog.wordpress.com
  2. start around 12 weeksThe Primary Colors Mobile – When moved, wooden spinning disks in primary colors (red, blue, yellow) attract the child’s attention. Serves as both tactile and visual mobile.

    http://www.beginningmontessori.com
  3. start around 12 weeksRing on the Ribbon – Easy to grasp and if hanged on elastic it returns back after releasing. Great to understand and learn about cause and effect.

    https://lambrineblog.wordpress.com

IMPORTANT POINTS:

  1. Hang them at the time of activity (when baby is not tired). It is ‘work’ for baby and he has to remain active. Mobiles are not used to make baby sleep.
  2. Hang them approximately 25-30 cm above the baby so he can not touch them. (First weeks babies can focus only 30 cm max.and only on slow moving things.)
  3. Once baby is around 3- 4 months old you can introduce tactile mobiles where baby is encouraged to practice batting skills.

When I started with Montessori with my son, I did not have any idea one day I will end up writing about all I learned on our Montessori journey so all the photos used above are from different bloggers. Surely check their websites 🙂 Happy Montessori.

Montessori apparatus – abstract concept made into concrete material.

Few days ago I got into conversation about Montessori toys…As I think about it deeper, the term ‘Montessori’ became just fashion and label for all educational and cool stuff out there but Maria Montessori’s philosophy and her material is about something else. 

Photo source: www.montessoricircle.com
What is Montessori material? 
Montessori material was designed by Maria Montessori herself. As she first worked with mentally handicapped children the apparatus was primarily made for their use. Some of materials were taken from Itard and Sequin and adjusted by Montessori according to the needs of the children in her House of Children. When she made her own apparatus for the normal children she had let the children work with them and she observed the frequency of use and the advantages derived from them. Through the trial and error method she modified her apparatus that allows to detect the defects at an early stage and correct them. For example the sound boxes can detect deafness and the color boxes can detect color blindness.
Maria Montessori is not talking about the toys. According to her, child in process of play works and that’s why she is talking about materials. Materials which have to be presented to child in such a beautiful and organized way that it feels like getting the gift. Only beautiful things attract our senses, allow the brain to work and create millions of new neural connections.

Characteristics of Montessori material:
* Natural materials
* Beautiful – all of the material is aesthetically pleasing.
* Neat and clean
* Complete – all of the material must be complete. This allows the child to finish through the entire piece of work without having to stop and find a missing piece.
* It has control of error – this calls to the child to make the corrections himself.
* Each material isolates one quality – this allows the child to focus on that one quality.
* Limited -there is only one of each material in the environment (building of patience in other children present) and only few qualities are presented to the child. The child is not given every color in the world, but only a selected few. This gives the child the key to the information so it peaks his curiosity.

“The technique of my method as it follows the guidance of the natural physiological and psychical development of the child, may be divided into three parts:
Motor education. Sensory education. Language.
The care and management of the environment itself afford the principal means of motor education, while sensory education and the education of language are provided for by my didactic material.” M.Montessori

Montessori categorized the Sensory Exercises into eight different groups: Visual, Tactile, Baric, Thermic, Auditory, Olfactory, Gustatory, and Stereognostic. The material she developed has either never been seen or never been used by the child in his everyday life. With this said however, the child will receive no new experiences through the use of the material. This was purposefully thought through in order to give the child what he knows, but might not yet realize, and to then refine his knowledge. In order to do this, the material is presented in a specific way or in a specific pattern.

“The didactic material for the education of the senses consists of:
(a) Three sets of solid insets.
(b) Three sets of solids in graduated sizes, comprising: (1) Pink cubes. (2)
Brown prisms. (3) Rods: (a) colored green; (b) colored alternately red and blue.
(c) Various geometric solids (prism, pyramid, sphere, cylinder, cone, etc.).
(d) Rectangular tablets with rough and smooth surfaces.
(e) A collection of various stuffs.
(f) Small wooden tablets of different weights.
(g) Two boxes, each containing sixty-four colored tablets.
(h) A chest of drawers containing plane insets.
(i) Three series of cards on which are pasted geometrical forms in paper.
(k) A collection of cylindrical closed boxes (sounds).
(l) A double series of musical bells, wooden boards on which are painted the lines used in music, small wooden discs for the notes.

                Photo source: http://julianagroup.com
Didactic Material for the Preparation for Writing and Arithmetic:
(m) Two sloping desks and various iron insets.
(n) Cards on which are pasted sandpaper letters.
(o) Two alphabets of colored cardboard and of different sizes.
(p) A series of cards on which are pasted sandpaper figures (1, 2, 3, etc.).
(q) A series of large cards bearing the same figures in smooth paper for the enumeration
of numbers above ten.
(r) Two boxes with small sticks for counting.
(s) The volume of drawings belonging specially to the method, and colored pencils.
(t) The frames for lacing, buttoning, etc., which are used for the education of the movements of the hand.
(u) Beads material.
(v) Binomial cube. ” M.Montessori

Most importantly, all of the material could be called “materialized abstractions”. This means that in Montessori materials, abstract concepts are made into concrete materials.
If above written is Montessori material then remaining toys can be called Montessori inspired or educational materials.  

Montessori inspired Holi Celebration for Toddlers

We live in India, country full of people, animals, music, smell and colors… There are all religions and cultures around us so we really get lot of opportunities to learn about different people and their different worlds. As my boy is becoming older I started to think about putting together a kind of calendar with all the world dates, hindu dates, christian dates, pagan traditions.

On Monday 13th of March we celebrated our first Holi together. And because I could not find any event suitable for toddlers I decided to host one and of course Montessori inspired.


Holi, celebrated in Phagun (March), the last month of the Hindu calendar is called ‘festival of colors’. It falls on the full moon day when bonfire (holi) is lit to drive away all the evil and purify the atmosphere. Holi symbolizes the destruction of demonic energies and start of new time, spring. Earlier ashes from the bonfire were applied on the body and remaining immersed in the flowing water invoking prosperity and protection. Nowadays colored powder has replaced ash. The bright colors symbolize new beginnings.


Yes, Holi is very nice festival and I can’t wait for next year once my son is older so we can dig deep into the topic.

For this day I decided to put up all the colorful materials. I divided activities into wet and dry ones. Age range : 15 – 22 months.

Practical life exercise – MIRROR CLEANING and Shape sticking with water
Practical life exercise – WATER POURING and WATER SPOONING
Dry spooning – Rangoli Making- pincer grasp development, eye-hand coordination
Dry spooning – colorful sand – pincer grasp development, eye-hand coordination
Shape sticking – pincer grasp development, eye-hand coordination
Homemade play dough – pincer grasp development, eye-hand coordination
Pincer grasp development, eye-hand coordination
Originally prepared as water pouring activity. Became water spraying activity. Great to develop strength in fingers and wrist, eye-hand coordination.
Rangoli Making – pincer grasp development, eye-hand coordination
Sensory bin with organic colors.
Water pouring activity – pincer grasp development, eye-hand coordination, focus.
Relax 🙂 Water painting.

 

GEMSTONES ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLER SERIES – Part 1.

We love stones of all sizes, colors and shapes as I already have mentioned in my Gemstones activity for child post. 😛

I put together few more easy activities. Adding stones into any play will just offer different way of perception and lot of fun.

I am pretty sure this is just the first part of our gemstone series 🙂


Have fun 🙂

How to survive with your toddler in the grocery shop

Day by day is shopping becoming one of little one’s favorite activities. Now his eyes shines whenever we come near park, near coconuts, near our restaurant and near our regular grocery store 😀

Shopping with toddler is not easy thing. He usually gets very much overwhelmed by all the cool stuff around and picks up everything and keeps it in basket. I have observed when we shop in small local shops he can focus on his task, he can pick up tomatoes only, he doesn’t jump from tomato to mango to pastry to chicken…

I just need to keep his small hands and brain busy doing something needful so he is happy and shopping becomes fun for everyone.

From now on our 17 months old boy is pushing the basket by himself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping is really great opportunity for great motor development (mainly balancing), eye-hand coordination and language. Children at this age love to carry heavy stuff, heavier the better. So why not to help ourselves and develop little ones at the same time? 🙂

What to do in the shop with a toddler? Give him a task.

  1. Ask him to push the basket
  2. Ask him to bring the apples (one by one)
  3. Ask him to put things in the basket for you (keep it a bit away from you so he enjoys walking or running)
  4. Let him pay for the stuff you bought (if you use credit card, let him type the password or at least press the ‘green button’)
  5. Ask him to keep the basket at it’s place
  6. Ask him to help you with a bag (if the bag is very heavy ask for extra one and keep light things inside).

Happy shopping 🙂

Interview with Montessori mother – Katerina Vosatkova

Dear mommies, today I would love to introduce to you one another great Montessori
 mother – Katerina Vosatkova from Czech Republic. Her daughter is 30 months at the time of writing this post and they practice Montessori since she was 6 months old. I love her work and I follow up all her post on facebook. Reading her story might inspire
someone 🙂 Make your coffee and enjoy yourself.

Hi Katerina, how many children do you have?

Hi, I have one girl, Natalia.

How did you get into Montessori education and philosophy?

It happened so naturally through babywearing and attachment parenting. I remember I got very fascinated after getting through the article about guiding kids towards independence. I loved the idea of opened shelves with trays so I immediately started browsing the internet.

Which Montessori’s thought is closest to your heart?

I personally perceive Montessori as a whole. It became our life style and it is providing opportunity for never ending work on myself.

How does your day look like?

Lot of moms are giving me this question 🙂 It is so individual that I can’t provide you with our plan of the day. We sleep in one bed, after waking up Natalia uses toilet (we have toilet downstairs), picks up her underwear and together we wear clothes. She chooses what she wants from the fridge and meanwhile I prepare all material needed so she can prepare her breakfast by herself. After breakfast she does her activities and plays and I clean house and prepare lunch we decide together. Before lunch we go out to garden or forest and after lunch she sleeps for 1,5-2 hours. After nap we usually don’t spend time at home but if we have to then we make something creative. I give Nataly all the freedom in touching, preparing, trying out the things around us without any obstacles. We take care of our animals – hens, rabbits, cat and dog and lot of other
animals we visit in our neighboring areas. When the season is there we grow our own crops and because we live in the beautiful forest everyday nature walks, activities, mushroom, herbs and fruit collecting is must-to-have.

Do you have prepared environment at home? And what about husband, does he educate Nataly Montessori way?

(laughing) When I read about Montessori for the first time, Nataly was 6 months old and because I was studying The Design and Construction of furniture immediately I started to prepare the environment. Our space is one room of 7,5 x 3,5 m size where we had kitchen, sofa with conference table, in the middle there was space for play, bed with attached cot. It started slowly. I made 2 low shelf cupboards for toys and ordered 6 trays. I can still remember how my partner was asking me why we needed it and I didn’t meet with understanding (laughing). From that time on I was nonstop moving the furniture here there and tried to do my best. We exchanged few furniture pieces for opened shelves and furniture that I designed by myself.

My partner takes care of Nataly intuitively, he tries to talk to her, explains her, lets her touch and feel. For “the male” activities she is still too young. They cooperate together mostly during shopping – selecting the groceries, putting them in basket, taking them out, keeping them in the fridge, preparing meals…

Do you have non-montessori friends? Do you change the environment before their children come? Can non-montessori kids work with material?

Yes, I have few friends who come to visit us with their kids and I must say they love to work with Montessori material and toys. Before I open the door I always remind them our rule – once the play with material is over we always keep it back at it’s own place. I really have good experience. Of course I can see big difference in fine motor movements, patience and concentration.

Do you Montessori outside home also? Do you shop for original materials or are you DIY Montessori mother?

I am housewife, I spend my time designing the furniture for prepared environment of rooms, preschools, day cares and I offer online guidance. From the start of new school year I would like to start working in Montessori day care.

The materials we bought till the age Natalia is 3 years old. After that I don’t have plan to continue as she will be working with montessori material in preschool. If talking about DIY materials, I love them. The most I love to prepare thematic activities.

Which material is your favorite one and which one your child loves the most?

I love all of them. It’s that simplicity and timelessness which makes them special. Natalia’s favorite are till now coin box, cylinder blocks, animals and continents (cards) and of course all the practical life activities.

What gift would make you – Montessori mother – happy?

I am most happy to see the parents working on themselves to become better example for their kids.

Does your child attend any preschool or day care?

We have a beautiful Montessori day care,preschool and school in our neighborhood and right now we attend day care once in a week together for 1 hour. From September she will join preschool for 3 days a week and if everyone will be happy we will continue.

 

Your favorite Montessori book?

Maybe it will sound weird but till now I didn’t read any. I prefer to use internet where you can find lot of amazing and useful information.

Is Montessori way of education according to you only about laminated cards and wooden materials?

No, not even one of that.

What would you recommend to new Montessori mothers and families to start up with?

I would really advise everyone to find some nice Montessori parent who can help them and guide them. That would be very helpful at the beginning.

Thank you for lovely talk Katerina, wishing you and your family beautiful life ahead and easy start of “new era of preschool” 🙂

 

 

GEMSTONES ACTIVITY FOR TODDLER

I just love stones…Stones of any shape, color, size. I collect them everywhere I go because there is never enough stones at woman’s home 😛 I was using them to make jewelry but now they got completely different value! They are our most played material since Agastya was born. He got his first big piece of tumbled ametrin from his great grand mom when he was 2 months because he just starred at it without a movement 😀

So today we have around 100 semi-precious stones in our collection and we love them. I will post more about how we use our crystals in my next post.

This activity is great to develop:

  • hand-eye coordination
  • concentration
  • patience
  • pincer grip
  • strength in writing fingers
  • writing skills
  • language

TIP (colors)

Following activity is prepared for 16 months old toddler who doesn’t show any interest in colors yet. But if you have color maniac toddler at home you can improve the activity and add on color sorting. Just keep different colored bowls to sort the stones in or just simply keep sheets of color papers on the table. If you are just introducing colors don’t forget to start with 2 opposite one (e.g. red & blue) and after your toddler becomes master add on another color. Only after introducing all the colors you can proceed ahead with shades.

TIP (language)

When telling your child names of the stones, make sure you know all before you sit with him, otherwise he will become bored while you search for the exact name. Use only proper names and if you don’t know, don’t try to come up with something, just say “sorry I really don’t know but I’ll search it for you after we are done.” This part is essential for even smallest kids, if they don’t speak, doesn’t mean they don’t learn and don’t understand.

TIP (educational set)

I will slowly start presenting Chakra educational set (click to see) which I made that includes cards, stones, different activities. It’s not yet for 16 months old child but there are unlimited ways how to present it to little ones also.

Agastya loves books. Every time and everywhere 🙂
Practicing pincer grip and eye-hand coordination.
To make activity exciting even for longer time I offered another way of presentation.

 

ONE OF OUR MONTESSORI DAYS

Lot of people are asking me, how does our day look like…It is really not easy to answer this question as every day is different as we go with the flow. Although we try to keep the structure same so order is there. The most difficult part is to find a time to prepare the activities so little one can do all by himself. I try to prepare all while he is having his nap but lot of times it’s not possible and then I end up preparing with him which is stressful for me as I can’t focus. Planning to do some nice time management table to hang on my fridge 😛

Our day starts with brushing the teeth and washing (which is for now fun). And immediately continues in kitchen where we usually spend a lot of time. In the morning Agastya prepares masala tea and coffee. Then sits at the table and eats.

After food and washing (he eats by himself so washing of whole body is more than necessary) he searches for some playful time and most often plays with his montessori inspired material on his shelves in the room.

From 9am you can see him only with the broom and mop in his hands, cleaning, brooming.

Before his nap he loves to do flash cards. First my turn and then flashes by himself. In the mornings we also listen to the music and dance.

After nap we have have lunch or if the nap was ultra short we cook together. Till night he doesn’t sleep so we utilize the time to do some outings. Shopping, garden, sand pit, visits. Every day he spends some time doing gardening on our terrace and playing with water.

…and again brooming 🙂 very famous activity these days.

And we do some gardening also at our friends place.

Before the day finishes we always go to our restaurant for a coffee and apples. He knows how to put the sugar in my coffee and stirs it every time. After coming home we play and get ready for bed. In the bed we read 2-3 books (or better said we go through pictures and we search for animals on the pages) and I make him sleep in the bed.

10 COOL GIFT IDEAS FOR MONTESSORI MOTHER

Everyone loves the gifts, isn’t it? Same as children mummies also do. If you are Montessori mom, you have your birthday (or you are just awesome) and your close ones really don’t understand your taste, now it’s the time to discreetly share this post on your facebook wall so maybe they will read it 😛

You can find lot of tips for Montessori gifts for our children but what about us? Here is my list of ‘have to have’ gifts…And my birthday is coming 😛

MONTESSORI JEWELRY. Neat and clean montessori inspired jewelry designs for monte freaks 🙂 Isn’t it just cool to wear something so special and with real meaning? Click on the photos to get to websites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAMINATING MACHINE. Oh yes, this one is my top. Montessori parent just needs laminating machine. So many 3-part cards to make…Go for A3 size with both hot and cold lamination. Of course let’s not forget to mention bulk of lamination sheets.

                 Illustration photo.

ALL THE ACCESSORIES THAT ARE NEEDED FOR LAMINATION OR GIFT VOUCHER TO NEAREST SHOP. Yes,we can’t forget about all that ‘wow’ stuff we need to work with laminating machine. Namely, round corner cutter, cutting board, cutting knives, would be great to get paid version of your favorite photo editor to finally get all those awesome features they are offering.

BULK OF ART PAPER, CELLOPHANE, RUBBER PAPER, SAND PAPER. White, colorful, plain, with design, in different sizes and grams. We are always in search of papers, papers, papers. It will really save lot of our time.

DR. MONTESSORI’S OWN HANDBOOK. Like a book of magic incantations. You can get it easily online for free but I always love the feeling of turning the paper pages and seeing my books in the shelves. 

GIFT VOUCHER TO SHOP WITH CREATIVE MATERIALS, WOOD WORKSHOP OR BOOK STORE. If people just can not fit your taste it’s best to give gift vouchers. Montessori mother really spends in shops with creative stuff more than half of her life and other half in book store.

GIFT VOUCHER FOR SEMINARS, COURSES, WORKSHOPS…of course with Montessori topics.

MARIA MONTESSORI DOLL. I am sure every mum or montessori teacher will be pleased to receive something so special like Maria Montessori doll. 

MONTESSORI MUGS. There is great variety of Montessori mugs out there but you can always design your own special ones and make them done in nearest printing shop or even become a bit creative and learn about ceramic drawing.

 

 

 

 

 

MONTESSORI HOMESCHOOL PLANNING CALENDAR. I really wish to have one. Oh, I just need to organize all my thoughts and start getting used to preparing homeschool classes but am so busy with doing other important things that to buy one is better and faster option as to make one..But as I just love creating and working with my hands, I might prepare one.

Happy shopping 🙂