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!


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.


Freedom in Montessori

Montessori Mythbusters Freedom
Today I have another installment in the Montessori Mythbusters series.
I’m joined by the lovely Isil from Smiling like Sunshine who is here to debunk some misconceptions surrounding freedom in Montessori.

smiling like sunshine
One of the things that people ask about is the freedom in the Montessori education. Some people think that freedom means no discipline and do not like it. On the other hand some people think that Montessori education is too structured and there is no room for freedom.

According to Montessori, the child should be able to freely choose his/her own actions and should only be prevented from doing so if s/he may hurt himself/herself or the others. The freedom in the Montessori environment does not mean doing whatever the child pleases, it means to be considerate. Montessori stated that:

Freedom is understood in a very elementary fashion, as an immediate release from oppressive binds; as a cessation of corrections and of submission of authority. This conception is plainly negative, that is to say, it means only the elimination of coercion. From this comes, often enough, a very simple ‘reaction’: a disorderly pouring out of impulses no longer controlled because they were previously controlled by the adult’s will. ‘To let the child do as he likes’, when he has not yet developed any powers of control, is to betray the idea of freedom.

Montessori argued that if children were left to behave as they like or misuse the materials that were available, it would lead to the development of abnormalities. Therefore it is the teacher’s task to observe the children and guide them within this limited freedom. A very young child or a deviated child needs guidance from the teacher until s/he is able to do his own choices. On the other hand, normalized or older children will be given more freedom.

In the Montessori environment the child has freedom of choice (doing  an activity or not doing an activity), freedom of speech, freedom to rest, freedom of movement, freedom to make mistakes,  freedom of repeating an activity as long as s/he wishes to do so, freedom to socialise and freedom to choose who to work with.

Montessori viewed freedom as a development of natural guides which she defined as “horme”. This development happens by education.  The teacher should follow the children and present them with activities that “engage the child’s whole personality” . When the child is engaged and concentrated, this leads to the coordination of movements and a mental order which in time helps the child become more effective to make decisions about his/her own work and own behaviours.

Therefore, real freedom is a consequence of development and the construction of personality and that it is a long road which every child must travel to attain maturity. Montessori stated that

“It is clear therefore that the discipline which reveals itself in the Montessori class is something which comes more from within than without. But this self-discipline has not come into existence in a day, or a week, or even a month. It is the result of a long inner growth, an achievement won through months of training.”

Montessori saw freedom as the single most important factor in allowing children to develop as spontaneous, creative individuals. This freedom however is linked to responsibilities and the responsibilities are linked to the ground rules of the environment. The child has the freedom to choose an activity from the shelf and work with it as much as s/he desires, however, s/he is then responsible to return it back to the shelf where s/he found it so that another child can use it. The ground rules guide the child to be respectful to her/his self, to others and to the environment. Freedom is also facilitated by the organisation of the classroom, accessible shelving, work cycle and cycles of activity.

The children in a Montessori environment are given the freedoms that allow them to grow a self discipline which is necessary to lead a creative and successful life.

Isil is a Turkish mum living in the  United Kingdom and writes at Smiling like Sunshine..She is a former economist and is training to be a Montessori teacher. She has a six year old daughter and a three year old son. On her blog, she writes about children’s books, kids activities, Montessori education and parenting.
You can find Isil on Smiling like Sunshine.

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.

Is Modern Montessori a Scam?

As part of my Montessori Mythbusters series, I went in search of recent Montessori criticisms. I cam across Fabrics and Fun, who have a new series on why she believes Modern Montessori is a Scam. Have a read – what do you think? Any valid points? Anything you would add or do you disagree entirely (and why)?

Montessori Mythbusters - Is Modern Montessori a Scam?

I will let you know my thoughts tomorrow and discuss any views shared with me here or on my facebook or twitter.