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
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.
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.
Both of the kids love this and this has been a daily activity for both of them.
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.
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.
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.
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):
Solar system shadow match from 2 teaching mommies – a bit hit!
Learning the states and territories of Australia with our map puzzle and nomenclature cards from Our Worldwide Classroom
New language area with shape stencils (our alternative to Montessori metal insets)
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)
Thank you to everyone who shared their opinions on modern Montessori and some of the criticisms made against it. While I agree I could have found a better starting point; it generated conversation, which was my intention. I should put … Continue reading
I do not sort our toys and materials strictly by subject. Mostly it’s just about what fits, what goes together and keeping Lucy’s items down lower.
That said, we have a good mix of manipulatives, musical toys, numeracy materials, language materials, imaginative toys, construction toys and sensory items.
I have moved a table to the middle of the room, where it is now getting much more use from both Lucy and Cam. Lucy sits at it mostly for fun and snacks whereas Cam will do art and activities there.
Collage and basic drawing is a big hit with Cameron and Lucy adores scribbling. She’s really just big into doing anything Cam or I do.
I don’t often bake so I’ve been making a concerted effort to do so with Cameron. We have made and loved a couple of recipes from Wholefood for Children on Kylie’s (from howwemontessori.com) recommendation.
If you follow my instagram, you would have seen our farm trip including Cam’s pony ride. It was as much fun for me as it was for Cameron.
Lucy is loving puzzles. I uploaded a video snippet of her doing her increasing circle puzzle last week. She also loves the mini knobbed cylinders (mostly block 1 where both the diameter and height increase).
Would anyone be interested in a more thorough look at our play/learning spaces? Any questions? I always love seeing other peoples spaces so please share in the comments 🙂
Inspired by my involvement in the Playful Learning spaces eCourse, as well as the great Montessori-inspired bedrooms I see on pinterest and my favourite blogs; I have set up Cameron’s room in our new house. It has been a couple of weeks of tweaking and observing and this is the room as it is now.
As I said in another post, Cameron is sleeping in his own bed now. He is 3 years and 4 months old. We bed share/co-sleep/whatever you want to call it. I have never forced the issue of Cameron having his own sleeping space.
This is for many reasons – firstly it was due to breastfeeding. Both my children slept in a co-sleeper or bassinet for their early months but before long they were sleeping between my husband and I. For us it was simply easier. We sleep better and there is no need for getting up in the middle of the night for anything.
However, we were hoping that Cam would have his own space and bed by around this age. I was lucky, I simply made up his room in a way I thought he would find inviting. I didn’t even bring up the possibility, he saw it and said “Mummy, is that mine?” and I replied “yes, that’s your own bed whenever you want it” and that night, instead of going into our room for a story, he went into his!
The view of Cameron’s room from the door
His toy drawers store animal figures, little vehicles and one has random play things that enhance his pretend play (an eye patch, an ID clip, a camera, a phone, binoculars, etc) and his car garage is on top.
He will still come into us on occasion but the majority of the time he is in his bed. I’m on the lookout for a night light as I think this will help him for those times he wakes up alone in the middle of the night. His door is directly opposite ours which means I can talk to him if he calls out, but I think most of the time it is the dark that worries him.
The kids light table, bookcase and drawers
Cameron chooses his clothing and dresses himself. the blue tub on top stores his underwear. The bottom shelf of the bookcase is Lucy’s, you can see she was playing with her basket of toys before I snapped this pic. On top of the shelf we store Cameron’s toys that are best kept out of Lucy’s reach, as well as Cam’s nature books and field guides.
Anyway, I thought you might like to see some pics of his space from his level. I got down on my knees for these photos! We have high ceilings in this house so it looks different from an adult’s point of view.
These drawers are low and slide easy. Lucy can open them and help choose an outfit for the day.
The light table is an every day activity for Cameron. These are some of his manipulatives.
(I store the rest in my craft drawers)
Although we limit TV, Cameron watches Fireman Sam occasionally and loves playing with these.
I also thought I would share the new fridge shelf for Cameron and Lucy. They have two cupboards too (one for bowls/plates/cups/mugs/utensils/baking tools/etc and the other for snacks) but they are hard to photograph well.
Small glass lidded pitchers and fresh washed & prepped fruit and vege
We usually have cheese cubed and yoghurt too but Cam and Lucy ate it all and I need to prep the cheese with them and buy some more yoghurt!
What do you think? Any suggestions or questions?
At the moment I’m assessing and planning several of the kids spaces in our home. One that is clearly needed in our new home is somewhere to gather our tools and resources for nature exploration. Having a proper backyard has transformed our daily life. We spend so much time outside.
What tips would you recommend for nature investigation? Would you suggest baskets? a shelf? something else entirely? I have space (particularly outdoors undercover) but am thinking of practicality… would a basket be best? Because it is portable?
I’m thinking several baskets [say one for ‘tools’ (such as magnifiers, bug catchers, clipboard, containers) and another for relevant reference books/guides and another for record keeping (i.e. flower press, nature journal, photos of prior finds)] on a shelf?
As we have only just moved to a place with a backyard full of nature enriched opportunities; we have never established a routine with incorporating nature into our lives. At our last home, there was very little to discover and nature enriched experiences were planned and few & far between.
Now I want to set up an area that can hopefully inspire a more organic and frequent exploration of nature. What would you include for a curious 3 year old boy? What has made for great investigation and memories in your home? What is used time and time again?
Any advice and guidance would be so appreciated!
We finally have a new rental home and are on our way to being packed up and ready to move. I have been thinking a lot about the spaces I want to create for Cameron and Lucy at our new place. A biggie is our outdoor space considering we have only had a tiny square of grass outside at this house.
But I thought today that I would share some of my thoughts on art for children and some of the inspiring ideas and images that I’ve found as I have been doing the Playful Learning Spaces eCourse.
A while ago our creative space looked like this:
Missing from this picture is our document organiser full of different papers and of course their easels. Since then there have been some changes but I’m going to be making even more changes (including having both an outdoor creative area and an indoor one) at our new place.
Art, whether it’s modelling with clay, doing collage, stamping, painting or mark making, is a big thing in our home. Even Lucy, at less than a year old, can spend a considerable amount of time exploring art materials.
Consequently, I try to purchase only quality art materials. How gorgeous is this nature journal with art materials? I want to create something similar for Cameron now that he is making recognisable drawings/paintings.
Variety is something else that I really try to offer to my children. Different papers (textured, coloured, sizes, watercolour paper, canvases), collage materials (sequins, googly eyes, natural materials – pressed flowers & leaves, stickers, foil, papers), crayons (soy rock crayons, beeswax stick crayons, crayon pencils), paints (poster, acrylic, dot painters, watercolour, natural pigments, homemade) just as a few examples.
Accessibility of materials is a big issue when children are young like mine. I want Cameron to have the freedom and ability to access any materials we wants at any time, yet I have to make it safe for Lucy.
Something that I think would really transform Cameron (& Lucy’s) art experience, that I have yet to try, is making art more portable. Whether it is an art caddy, like above, or something creative like this DIY art portfolio in a DVD case.
I think sometimes, simplicity is key.
We have been doing endless activities. Cameron is at the point now where his attention span is really growing and he asks for activities often. He is loving everything Christmas related. Here he is sorting pom poms by size.
These 10-piece number puzzles (from 3 Dinosaurs printables & 2 Teaching Mommies printables – we are using some of the Christmas ones at the moment) are a massive hit at the moment. They are done several times a day.
All in all we are keeping busy and doing well. Cameron is 3 at the end of the month and Lucy is now 8 months old.
Lucy is clapping and vocalising a lot. She loves music and bops along to everything. She still has no teeth (Cam had teeth at 5.5 months! – he was working on his 7th and 8th teeth by now :P) but boy can she eat!
Cameron has adjusted so well to kindy. Next year he will be doing two 5 hour days in the preschool room.
I hope to update after Christmas with my birthday plans for Cam.
Cameron is very very involved with practical life activities at the moment. I don’t really have to create any specific ‘activities’ because he wants to do everything and help with everything.
He is now pretty much toilet trained and I’d say 70% night-trained. He is getting better at brushing his own teeth, washing his hands thoroughly, washing himself (I have bought mini bottles to hold his shampoo and bodywash, which has helped). He likes to help with changing Lucy and is getting more successful with dressing himself (he can undress himself completely and put on hats, socks, underwear, some pants and shoes).
At 2. 5 years, these are the practical ‘chores’ he typically partakes in daily (I don’t expect it or ask him to, he really wants to):
– feed our cat
– help unpack & pack dishwasher
– help round up washing, put in powder & push button on machine
– help sort washing
– help put out the rubbish
– collect the mail
– help prepare meals
– get own snacks/drinks
– helps to sweep
The only thing that I ask him to do is tidy up his toys with me, otherwise everything else is just natural and usually he is the one asking.
Cam’s love for ‘writing’ and ‘lists’ hasn’t stopped and I will always encourage this sort of thing so I have set up a mini desk next to his Daddy’s one with pens, pencils, coloured pencils, alphabet stickers & stamps, envelopes, lined and unlined paper, coloured paper and a personalised return address stamp (all inspired by Playful Learning Spaces – I own and thoroughly recommend the book!). I’m hoping to set up a stamp & address system inspired by Sew Liberated – except smaller, with a business card holder (I will update once I have done this).
This space has been the inspiration for many spontaneous art/pre-writing adventures already. I’m sure it will evolve and grow as Cameron gets older.
Lucy is almost 4 months old and growing up way too fast. She is a master roller, has found her feet, loves grasping toys and is very strong (doing bubby push-ups and trying to get up on her knees already). Lulu is a very sweet natured baby. She is almost always happy and a very good breastfeeder.
Cameron adores her and she adores him right back. It’s so beautiful to see them together.
Also, I have added a pinterest button over to the right on my blog –>