Overhead Projector Play and Learn

ohp, play, learn, overhead projectorPin it

Inspired by our recent trip to the Light Play! Exhibition, I have been even more desperate for an overhead projector for our play and learning at home. Lucky me! I have a teacher-friend who has managed to get me an old overhead projector (OHP) from her school as they are upgrading. As a result, I have been looking for inspiration for what we can do with it (especially things that we cannot do on our light table) and thought I should share my finds!


ohp, overhead projector, letter tiles, diy, light tablesource

Creating activities with letter tiles. This could be adapted for numeracy and a form of Montessori-inspired moveable alphabet. I think the added element of light and projection would make the activities more engaging.

alphabet, ohpsource

All kinds of transparencies (printable, diy, etc) can be used for letter recognition, letter tracing, and sight words.


ohp artsource
colour mixing, ohpsource

I particularly love the possibilities of art through sculpture with light and shadow:

ohp, sculpture, blockssource

Of course there are all kinds of opportunities with tracing too:

tracing, ohp, overhead projectorsource
tracing, overhead projector, ohpsource


Geometric patterning:

ohp, patterningsource
ohp, geometric shapessource


fractions, ohp, lightsource

Matching and sorting: here they match shapes and sort colours. This could be adapted for any number of educational activities!

ohp, light, matching, sortingsource


Exploring natural items:

agate slices, nature, light, ohpsource

Viewing x-ray images from a different perspective. Also HERE is a great idea for DIY x-ray images.

xray, x-ray, ohp, overhead projector, light tablesource

Expanding Play

Shadow puppets!

shadow puppetssource

Block play with an overhead projector.

block play, overhead projector, ohpsource
blocks, sky line, ohpsource

Projecting background images for imaginative play! How fun!

overhead adventures (12)_edited-1 overhead playsource

& what about small world play! (with loose parts too)

small world, loose parts, play, ohp,source

I am so excited to try some of these activities and extend our play and learning with light. I hope you saw something that inspired you! If you have any other ideas, please share below! You may find me linking up at these great sites!


Exploring Light, Shadow and Reflection

We went to our local art gallery which has a brilliant light play exhibition at the moment. I also browsed through the inspiring Reggio Emilia exhibit ‘The Wonder of Learning: the Hundred Languages of Children‘. It was incredible but unfortunately did not allow photography. I wish I could have had a child-free look and took notes!

light, shadow, reflection, reggio, light table, ipswich art museumPin it

Anyway, back to the Light Play! exhibit. What they had on display was packed full of ideas that can be adapted for learning and fun at home. It is the epitomy of open-ended exploration, inquiry and play.

light table, reggio

First to attract Lucy were the light boxes. There were so many opportunities for learning and exploring.

How do the objects change when placed on the light box?
Are their many shades of colour? Why?
Can you change the colour of an object by placing another object on top? Why?

Note the tower of measuring cups that a girl created over the time we were there.

light table, reggio

Lucy was attracted to everything colourful. I loved that many of the manipulatives on the light tables were simple, attainable and affordable items light cups, measuring spoons and shot glasses. There were lots of mirrors as well to add another dimension to the experience. They also had these great transparent geometric solids:
view through geometric solids

light table, zoobs, sparkle, toys, reggiozoob sparkleI saw some Zoobs (sparkle variety) at a local store and wondered how they would go on a light table. I really loved how the containers to hold them were transparent too.

 ohp, overhead projector, reggio, light
Cameron went straight to the overhead projectors (OHPs) which looked impressive taking up lots of wall space. I have an awesome friend who is giving us an OHP soon so it was great for inspiration.

New questions came up like:
How do the sizes of the materials change on the projector?
Why are some objects brighter than others?
Why are some items that are colourful not colourful on the projected image?

ohp, reggio
I saw a few adults creating patterns on the OHPs too. One child spent most of their time getting in front of the projected image and marveling at the colours on her shirt and skin.

ohp, reggio, light, overhead projector
Lucy was more fascinated by the OHP itself. She kept pointing at and questioning it.

reflections, reggio
The reflections corner was completely bypassed by both Cameron and Lucy (unless you count Lucy donning one of the sparkly wigs.

shadows, reflections, reggio
Cameron’s favourite area was the shadow sculptures. He loved shining the torch on the disco ball and making it reflect off all the walls. I used the sculptures behind him to show him how translucent objects can cast coloured shadows and how moving the torch further/closer and side to side affects the shadow.

light table, web cam, reggio
This is the only area that would be hard to replicate at home – the webcam + projector light table. It’s was very engaging. Cameron spent a lot of time with the liquid timers (see below) in front of the web camera and watching it on the screen, in the mirror and in front of him. They were mesmerising.

light table, liquid timers, reggioSet of 3 liquid timers at Edex

It sure gave me a lot of inspiration for materials, experiments and play with light/shadow/reflection in our home. I definitely want to set up some shadow play after seeing Cameron’s enthusiasm. I hope you gained some inspiration – thank you for reading!

You may see me linking up here.

Snapshot of our week

 week snapshot____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
995441_10151843439998969_1134464705_nAn invitation to explore rocks & minerals inspired by Kate

16 month old toddler sorting MontessoriLucy (16 months) playing with her sorting toy

Open-ended play dough playYou can’t go wrong with play dough

horse riding farm visitCameron riding a horse at our farm visit

horse riding pigletsThat’s my little Cameron riding past the pigs
(the mama in the back just had piglets days earlier!)

swinging farmSwinging fun on the farm

horse float care learning farmCam & my niece learning about horse care & checking out the float

feeding ducks lakeWe fed ducks (and turtles, fish, eels) at the lakes

We are really lucky to have a local group and farm that organise the farm visits each month. This was our second visit and Cameron always learns so much from the experience.

Montessori at Home Pinterest Round-Up!

montessori at home, montessori, pinterest, pinterest boards, ideas

  I love Pinterest. It can be used for all kinds of things: party planning, gift wishlists, a virtual cookbook, a blogroll, DIY ideas, etc. I, however, primarily use it to collate inspiring ideas, activities, information and spaces for learning … Continue reading

On our shelves

our montessori inspired shelves

What is new to our shelves this week? Well creative endeavours are still dominant, but after a little toy rotation, our play/work space has some new trays and activities:

letter K k learning

Cameron knows most phonemes and letters, including both lowercase and uppercase. I say most because a few he’s not confident with. One that he is confident with (but gets confused with because it sounds like ‘/c’) is k. This tray is meant to help him work on that.

There is a letter printable from 1+1+1=1 laminated with a whiteboard marker, a stamp, puzzle piece, beanbag, fridge phonics magnet and sandpaper letter. The only items I’ve added are keys, koala, kangaroo and kookaburra. These are all very familiar to him. Lucy very much loves the fridge phonics alphabet song, hence her little hand in the picture.

montessori shelves toddler preschooler

A new activity to our shelves is one of the rare one’s that both Cameron and Lucy can enjoy together. I ended up separating out the larger pegs for Lucy in her own basket to simplify things.

peg mosaic boards

Both of the kids love this and this has been a daily activity for both of them.

montessori sensory toddler rice

This is a simple rice sensory tub for Lucy. It’s messy but she gets very engaged with it. I plan on varying the things that are in it.

marble transfer

This transferring activity was one that Cameron did when he was younger. Now he counts the marbles, concentrates and takes his time to balance them. He initially got frustrated with this activity because the marbles would fall as he was putting another one on.

light table play

Another activity that both of the kids have been doing together every day is playing with these links and reusable ice cubes on their light table in Cameron’s room.

What have you been up to? I’m linking up to these great linkys.


Exploring New Mediums

exploring new mediumsPin it This week we have been exploring a few new mediums and having some creative fun! Cameron is right into drawing, painting and otherwise creating animals, people and scenarios.

sensory corn flour shaving foam After seeing it on pinterest and then on Teach Mama, I knew I had to try foam dough. No cooking required and two cheap ingredients! Sold! All you have to do is mix roughly equal parts of corn flour (corn starch) and shaving foam. It is a really fun sensory experience! I couldn’t help but join in. sensory Cam decided to add our old mud kitchen materials in and they spent ages making ‘cupcakes’ (complete with pink foam icing) & ‘cookies’ and there was lots of mixing & measuring. shaving foam sensory play If you follow me on instagram, you would have seen Cam exploring charcoal for the 1st time. He has been asking for and using this since. Just this evening he used it to draw an outline that he coloured in with paint. charcoal By far the favourite new (well, new set up, we use chalk on the easel and sidewalk chalk outside) medium for us was a new blackboard and dustless chalk. It is great for me because Cameron is very into drawing and can go through tons of paper. With the chalkboard he can experiment all he likes, I can take photos to document his pieces and he can rub it off and go again. Lucy likes it too and is drawn to the colourful pieces. chalkboard blackboard chalk Lastly, I added some great tempera paint palettes to our art resources. Both Lucy and Cameron really enjoyed this! Lucy struggled with the idea that you have to add water to your brush first but was very happy when she worked it out. tempera paint palette Cameron is really interested in drawing and creating animals lately. He has been talking to me about extinction and about the different fur/scales/skin/claws/hooves/horns/tails/etc that animals have that are different to us. Here he painted a rainbow dinosaur. It may be just a ‘mum-thing’ but I can see it! I hope this painting scans well as it’s really sweet. 1004756_10151822627988969_634902344_n_20130715215528553 How has your week been? Have you tried anything new recently? I’d love to hear about it! I link up to these great sites.

share creative ideas

Montessori for my Preschooler

Montessori Preschooler ActivitiesPin it

After sharing several Montessori inspired toddler activities (and here), I thought it was best to try and round up some of the recent works my preschooler has been up to!

Cameron (3.5 years old) is not fond of me taking photos of him while he does activities. I tried to get him on video and the result was hilarious. Here are some of the works on his shelves (including some you may have already seen):

Melissa and Doug construction jigsaw puzzlesThese 15 piece jigsaw puzzles are challenging for Cameron

solar system shadow matchSolar system shadow match from 2 teaching mommies – a bit hit!

making plasticine peopleMaking plasticine people

Hammer tap a shape toyCam is creating more elaborate designs with his hammer tap a shape activity

Montessori-inspired sortingSorting white beans, corn kernels, sunflower seeds and pepitas with his fingers

Kiddie kutter strawberry snackUsing his kiddie kutter to prepare a strawberry snack

Sandpaper numbers and spindle boxCam has regressed with numbers and lost interest. We are going back to basics and trying to have fun.

Australia map puzzle and states nomenclature cardsLearning the states and territories of Australia with our map puzzle and nomenclature cards from Our Worldwide Classroom

Fine motor diy Montessori preschool This is definitely a favourite and it requires a lot of concentration

Garlic press sponge activitySqueezing water out of sponge pieces with garlic press

language centre for Montessori preschoolerNew language area with shape stencils (our alternative to Montessori metal insets)

art materialsSome art materials are stored up higher where Lucy cannot reach

Most of what Cameron does isn’t easy to photograph or is just part of our everyday life (food preparation, cleaning, folding, collecting firewood, sorting washing, etc) and a lot of free play, particularly outdoors. However, I hope this inspired any of you looking for activities for your preschooler! I’m linking up to Montessori Monday (you can see the sites I sometimes link to here)

More Montessori Inspired Toddler Activities

Thank you to those who pinned my previous Montessori toddler activities. I thought I would share how Lucy spent her morning:


Also, a quick word on water beads.. this was my 2nd time rehydrating water beads after letting them dry out.


It works perfectly aside from producing some odd shaped beads (with flat spots, funny teardrop shapes and ovoids)


Still lots of fun 🙂

Montessori Inspired Toddler Activities

I love pinterest. My favourite thing about pinterest is finding DIY activities and ideas from all kinds of sources that I wouldn’t otherwise come across. Most of the activities that I do with Cameron and Lucy are inspired by or a variation of something I’ve seen on one of my favourite blogs or pinterest.

Montessori Toddler Activities

Lucy thoroughly enjoys repetitive and structured activities. She will choose an activity over a toy most times. I have watched lately that she is gaining more control and think that these activities will be a good fit:

Montessori Toddler Activitiesonetwothreefour

There are many blogs and blog posts out there that share some great Montessori inspired toddler activities, toys and environments. Here are some of my favourites:

What activities does (or did) your toddler love to do?

I often share at these great linkys.

Why We ‘Montessori’

montessori, home, toddler, homeschool

I have always been passionate about all things ‘learning’. As a child I spent more time playing teacher than most and many of my fondest memories are those laced with a moment I realised that I helped someone to learn something new. So it was only natural that as a mama, I want to be involved in their learning. It was pretty clear to me, even as I merely dipped my toes into the many facets of the education system, that mainstream education simply wasn’t something I wanted for my children. This isn’t in some elitist, pompous way, but simply that my experiences and values make me feel differently. I was consequently drawn to finding out more about different methods of education.

The best thing about getting involved in this learning curve pretty early, was that I got to make hiccups along the way and find what fits fairly early. Sure, I’d love if I had have studied Montessori prior to having children, had hands on experiences in Montessori classrooms and prepared for things prior to Cameron’s birth. But I incorporate Montessori in our lifestyle for much more than the idealised version of Montessori in my mind.

We are not even close to being ‘Montessori purists’, nor would I want to be even if I could. I love our eclectic blend of lifestyle & learning.

From me (and most others who are interested in Montessori methods), Montessori isn’t about academic outcomes or racing towards independence. It’s certainly not about forcing knowledge.

Montessori, for me, has a lot to do with the unmeasurable, the intangible and invaluable. The life-long love of learning and discovery, the self awareness, the self-confidence, the ability to contribute, be heard, question and challenge things and make mistakes. It’s about working with (not against) the individual child and keeping their childhood.

montessori, activity, vegetables, tot school, language

I love the way that the Montessori method challenges and changes the way that many people view children (as well as many other approaches that I adore – i.e. Reggio Emilia, project-based learning). Cameron and Lucy are little individual people and I get to nourish that. I follow their lead and get to learn almost as much as they do along the way.

montessori, practical life, transfer

Another reason I Montessori is because so many of the menial gripes I hear about motherhood are avoided or minimised due to how our home is set up and the activities we do. For example, I have very little problem with lost or broken toy/material/art pieces because of the emphasis on respect and ownership. Another example is that I don’t have children nagging at me to play with dough or do a drawing – they have all they need at their little fingertips.

easel, kids, montessori, art, painting

Mostly I Montessori because, quite simply, the results are quick and positive. I have witnessed many a proud grin as my son or daughter accomplish something for the first time all by themselves. I have seen countless periods of long concentration by tiny humans engrossed in something seemingly simple. I have witnessed the magic of my little ones repeating an activity again and again.

diy, montessori, colour gradient

That is not to say that Montessori solves all, or that you can’t have these outcomes without it. But it’s worth it for us to make those changes (in our thinking and our home) which have great benefits. This is why, despite the costs, we hope to get our children into Montessori schooling.