Easter Eggs Montessori activity for toddlers

Easter is coming and I was thinking how to make it special for my little one who does not yet fully gets the meaning of Easter. And I got it! EGGS of course! So creative isn’t it? 😀

My son is just in that phase of life when we have to have scrambled eggs every day, well I have to have as he just loves to break and cook, eating is not that exciting.

So we bought 12 eggs from the street (yeah, here in India, you get eggs on the street)really cheap and rushed home. That happiness in his eyes when after breaking first 6 got another 6 eggs… 🙂 Once all broken he enjoyed making scrambled eggs which we gave to street dogs in the evening. Win – win situation for everyone. Mom has few minutes off, child learning experience and dogs food. Will surely repeat it in coming days.

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.

 

Dry roses fine motor activities for toddlers.

It was a Women’s Day and I got the flowers,yaaaay 🙂 Once they dried out they became great material for sensory play, development of pincer grip, hand-eye coordination, strength in wrist and indirectly writing skills.

What to do with dry roses if your child is only 17 months (or less)?

Separate them into petals to develop pincer grip.
Grind them to develop strength in wrist and arm
‘Cook’ with them to develop circular movements of hand and arm.

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” 🙂

 

 

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 🙂

What NOT TO DO when my child is playing?

Imagine…

You just came to your new office. Full of excitement you are walking to your table. Wearing your favorite skirt and aaah those new shoes you were saving for this moment. You smile at every new colleague on the way. You feel so confident and so happy. All is new and you love new challenges. Then you move your chair and sit. Look all over your table and proudly turn on the computer…

“Wooooow, awesomeeeee!” You turn and people standing around you watching you so closely you can’t even breath are nodding their heads for you. “Oh, you must be the most clever woman living on this planet! Look at her! Isn’t she the most clever woman? Let’s clap for her. Yaaaayyyy”… You just don’t understand what has just happened. “Heeey, my friend didn’t see how awesomely you pressed that button..Come on, show her! Show, show!” You really don’t feel like to do it again so you are just looking at all these people till the woman behind you takes your hand and presses the button again and again so you can listen to another yaaaaayyyyy chores for few more minutes. Feeling all that overexcited attention you just lost your interest in new job…And so much excitement it was at the beginning…

Now let’s try it little bit differently.

Imagine…

You just came to your new grandmas’ house. Full of excitement you are walking to your new play corner. Wearing your favorite skirt and aaah those shoes you were saving for this moment. You smile at everyone around you. You feel so confident and so happy. Every day brings some new challenges and you love it. Since you heard your grandparents have new house with awesome corner for you, you find yourself imagining how you will play and what toys they must kept for you…You sit and look all over your space, take that awesome colorful pencil and start to draw…

“Wooooow, awesomeeeee!” You turn as you got distracted and people standing around you watching you so closely you can’t even breath are nodding their heads for you. “Oh, you must be the most clever girl living on this planet! Look at her! Isn’t she the most clever girl? Let’s clap for her. Yaaaayyyy”… You just don’t understand what has just happened. “Heeey, your daddy didn’t see how awesomely you draw..Come on, show him! Show, show! Don’t feel shy. Why are you shy?” You really don’t feel like to do it again so you are just looking at all these people till your grandma behind you takes your hand and draws some lines again and again so you can listen to another yaaaaayyyyy chores for few more minutes. Feeling all that overexcited attention you just lost your interest in new play space…And so much excitement it was at the beginning…

Do you feel comfortable in any of the situations? Then why kids should? There are millions of situation daily when we just kill the excitement and curiosity of our children. Incurious child = disaster. Not now, not tomorrow but later in his life. He will just not have the sparkle in his eye, no questions in his head, no answers to the difficulties that arise in front of him, he will not have opportunity to discover “light bulb” or “radio” as we-adults took that chance from him in his childhood. 

What NOT TO DO when my child is playing:

  • Never distract the child that is deep in play. His brain works 100% when in the state of flow. Play is work of your child. After new information is obtained he can move on to other activity. If we talk about distraction, we talk about both negative and positive one. Means, “wow you did it so well” is causing same disturbance as “oh god,let me show you”.
  • Do not choose the activity for child. Yes, you can offer him some options but let him choose what is best for him at that moment. Tomorrow it can be something completely different. These urges to some activities we call Sensitive Periods. It is important to follow his lead as he is master of his brain and he is being led by the strong power of nature. It’s nature because of which our kids are walking, running, talking, singing, memorizing…It’s not us-parents. Every child can master all the possible abilities because he has that predispositions but if they are not honored and developed in proper way he will just stay illiterate. Living with a wolves will make him like a wolf.
  • Do not interfere in your child’s play till he doesn’t ask for it. As adults we really don’t understand about the awesomeness of the world how our children can see it. Then why to show him how to do some things faster, easier, better if he doesn’t want it? Child is playing because of the pleasure he gets during the process of play. He is not rushing to get the result. He is not stepping on the escalator because he wants to reach second floor…He just loves the escalator. So do not come up with suggestions that will stop your child from exploring and being happy in the process of playing.
  • Do not force your child to finish any activity, if he doesn’t want means he is done. He absorbed whatever was possible and now he can move on.
  • Do not switch the TV or radio on. Do not add anything extra to the space where child is playing. His senses and brain are developing best while isolated. When visual play is going on do not add on auditory experiences. The brain will get disturbed and sight will not develop to its best.
  • Do not rush! We always have soooo much of work around the house, outside the house, everywhere…Do you feel that you give your child whole day’s time and he is still demanding more and more? Just stop yourself! Give your child and yourself one hour of a day where you are 200% his play mate. No cook, no charwoman, no wife, only mother. WHEN OUR CHILD WAS BORN WE BECAME MOTHERS NOT HOUSEWIVES! 
  • Do not check your mobile. That’s so disrespectful to your child. Imagine you are small baby and while you are having your daily dose of breast milk you mamma is browsing facebook behind your head…I must admit, I am still fighting with this one :/

What other DO NOTS would you suggest?

When to crown yourself ‘MONTESSORI MOTHER’?

“Hi, I am montessori mother!” … Sounds cool, isn’t it? But what does it really mean? When are you enough mature, enough clever, enough suitable, enough skilled, enough, enough, enough… to fit into the definition of the term ‘MONTESSORI MOTHER’? You really do not need to know all the dates from the history books, sizes of biggest sea mammals or the speed of the fastest animal. All this and more you can find in books and on internet… To be Montessori mother means to work on yourself, on your inner qualities and to let the old models of education vanish. Understanding the wisdom and capability of child is the most important.

Points to be met to win the title ‘MONTESSORI MOTHER’ are not so far away and are more easily obtainable than one could think. It is just so natural that once you break that wall which was built around you by the old system of school and parenting you will know everything and you won’t need any books or blogs to guide you.

  1. Never forget, your child is the genius. He was borne as genius and will remain like that if you let him. That is the real meaning of ‘parenting’. To let…Offer child safe space to discover the world. DO NOT SAY ‘NO’ INSTEAD SHOW HIM HOW TO DO IT RIGHT. Let him develop his own will and do not pass on him your fears and worries. Those are only yours.
  2. Be present. Nothing less nothing more. Let your child know you are there for him anytime he needs but do not interfere.
  3. Be passive at the moment of discovery. Let the child unfold the truth with his own intelligence. Only then he is learning. Stay active in the moment of true need.
  4. Be the positive model. Do only what you want to child to do. They are one big absorbent mind sucking all the information in like a sponge picking up the behaviors and qualities that an adult models for them. You set the foundation for living in social environment and it must be met with the respect for child’s well being.
  5. Slow down. Our everyday activities are very complex for the brain of small person who just came to our world and really doesn’t know anything. Show the process in slow motion divided into phases.
  6. Do not repair the mistakes of the child. For you it might look like mistake but for someone else not. Everyone has different way. And so does your child. If you feel it is mistake and you really need those shoes standing in one perfect line just put them there once the child do not see. Always remember it is the best he can do that time and by repairing his ‘mistakes’ he can loose interest to do it again..and child without interest equals adult.
  7. PRESENT the activity. Do not just SHOW. Think about it as giving a gift to child. Wrap it in nice colors, natural materials and offer on beautiful tray.
  8. Present the activity once or twice but with full concentration on how you do it. Slowly, steadily, easily.
  9. Do not talk abstractly about the things your child doesn’t know yet. How can he know that real drums have different color membrane than his small ones when he never saw it? Always follow the pattern REAL – ABSTRACT.
  10. Stay in the present. Do not run away into the past nor future. Be consistent and stable entity in child’s life.
  11. Simplify the environment of the child so his mind is not distracted.
  12. Study more about: Absorbent mind, Sensitive periods, Natural tendencies and Four planes of Development. We can not give what we don’t have. We can not teach them to love animals if WE don’t love them. So learn about everything in this world to keep your child genius.
  13. BE A GUIDE NOT A TEACHER!

HAPPY MONTESSORI MOTHERING TO ALL AWESOME MAMMAS.