Sunday, 30 August 2009

Last 21 month post (Practical life)

At the beginning I was all gung ho with the practical life monthly update posts. I still am but don't have as much to tell as I listed most of the things L does in the first couple of posts. This has been a hard month for me for a number of reasons so it feels like I've let some practical life things slip. Sometimes I just think it's not worth the energy if she isn't into it. One of those things is clearing her table. She still sets it but as there is not incentive to clear it she just wants to get on with other things(don't we all!).

Some things that she has been doing are:

Practising putting lids on and off of jars. She's had this activity for months and always comes back to it. She loves getting the treasures out and always remembers which jar they go back into.
As I mentioned in a previous post she's also been cutting some of her own food. I'm hoping to get around to showing her how to spread soon as well.
We are also working on getting her own toilet paper and pulling up her own pants which is difficult because they keep getting stuck on her bum!

She also puts her shoes away. Sensitive period for order anyone? : )

Some potty anecdotes: (don't worry not too gross!)

For Christmas we got L a doll that came with a small potty and sink thinking it would come in really handy when potty training. It turns out we didn't use it for that purpose but now that she is potty trained she loves to have all of her dolls and babies sit on the potty and then flush it (it makes a really satisfying flushing sound). A few weeks ago I was in another room and L was playing "potty" with her dolls. I could hear her saying "now doll do a pee", "now L do a pee" but didn't think much of it until she came to me with the tiny doll potty full of pee!! She was so proud of herself and of course there was pee everywhere. One of those times when you don't know whether to laugh hysterically or cry. Anyway we had a conversation about where L does her pees and where dolls do their pees and haven't had a repeat thank goodness!

It seems like since she's been potty trained L's favorite pastime is having all of her dolls, animals and everything else go to the bathroom. Everything that is dirty seems to have poo on it and if she is convinced that any of her clothes have poo or pee on them (which they don't) there is no way she will wear them until they are washed.

Yesterday when I was out I got L a package of 12 little tropical frogs. She was having a blast playing with them and I wasn't paying much attention when I heard "go pee". Turns out all of the frogs were having a turn doing a pee on her caterpillar pattern block frame and then getting pretend toilet paper to wipe and wash their hands!!! Don't ask my why that was their toilet. Too funny!

Nature's Rainbow

Today L and I went out for a long walk at our favorite park. It was a beautiful day but I can already feel the air changing from summer to fall. It seems like the summer has just flown by (at least the weather part!). Life sure changes when you have a young child. We were up and at the park by 9am on a Sunday morning!
I have been excited to try out this idea I saw on a number of blogs at the beginning of the summer but have been waiting until L was a bit older. Today was the day. So simple yet so cool!

I painted on the colors ahead of time. We'd been to this park recently so I knew which colors we would be sure to find. At first I had to point things out to L but she soon got the hang of it.

I think I enjoyed this activity even more than L and I can see us doing it again and again. Once she's older it would be great to just find all different hues of green or all fall colors. I'm going to have to get some more paint as I only have white and the primary colors and I don't think my mixing skills extend that far!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Puzzles, puzzles all day long

I found these animal puzzles and also some construction vehicle puzzles at the boot fair for 50p! They are 3,4,5 and 6 pieces and L can't get enough of them. This is the first time that I have really seen a sensitive period so blatantly in action! She does them over and over again. I like these puzzles because she has to first sort them into piles and once she has done one she has to push it off of the mat to clear a space for the next one. They are not only teaching her about puzzles but also how to organise her work space.

I also made up this song for cleaning the puzzles up. Something along the lines of This is the way we.... but we would sing L.... is putting the elephant away, elephant away, elephant away, L.... is putting the elephant away into the box. I've also tried it in other areas like clearing her table and it seems to be transferable. Woohoo! Simple but it works a treat at the moment and I'm milking it for all it's worth while I can!

I also found some great African animal cards at the boot fair for 10p. They have very detailed descriptions on the back which we can use later on. After looking through them L matched her animals to the ones on the cards. There was a similar activity posted on The Wonder Years a little while ago.

Monday, 24 August 2009


I was just checking out The Artful Parent and she's got some great art activities that I want to try out with L. That brings me to the point of this post. There are so many amazing blogs out there. Too many amazing blogs!! Does anyone else feel totally amazing blog overloaded?

I'm finding I just can't decide if I should follow or bookmark. How many blogs can one follow? How many bookmarks can one have? I'm already getting confused with the ones I have. I'm trying to keep everyone straight (who has how many kids, where they're from, if they're teachers or homeschoolers etc. ) and then I go and stumble across yet another amazing blog that I just have to follow in fear of loosing it again in cyberspace oblivion!

I can't believe that I've only just come across such blogs as Adventures of A Rainbow Mama and DomesticallyBlissed. Hello where have I been? Then there's the fantastic new blog Sunrise Learning Lab and the lovely Anne at itty bitty love who's posts always put a smile on my face. Of course there's also my all time favorites, Making of a Montessori Mum, The Wonders Years and Chasing Cheerios who I'm always excited to read new posts from. That's only the tip of the iceberg. There's soooo many more!

OK I think this has ended up turning into a bit of a blog love fest! Anyway just wondering if anyone else is amazing blog overloaded and how they are dealing with it?

What we did with the cutouts

This is what we did with the cardboard cutouts from the pattern block frames I made. Glued pom poms to them! L was a lot more interested in putting the glue on than the pom poms.

We used the rest of them to reenact The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

We inserted some healthier vegetarian options for some of the food and were having great fun until L decided to pull all of the pom poms off of the butterfly. I have to say I got quite frustrated and had to step back and remind myself that this was supposed to be for her and not me! : ) We can always glue them back on (I'm sure she'll love that!)

Saturday, 22 August 2009

More cardboard creations

I've been picking through our recycling pile again to make these recent activities. L is big time into puzzles at the moment so I thought I'd try and make some personalised ones. This one is of her and her Dedo who lives in Macedonia. I found a four piece puzzle template here, glued the picture onto a piece of cardboard and then traced the template onto it and cut it out. It's a bit fragile (just like most of my homemade things!) but I figure it teaches her to be gentle and take care. I would like to make lots of these puzzles with her far away relatives on them but I think we'll have to get a new ink cartridge first.

I saw these pattern block mats on a blog somewhere (sorry can't remember which one) and thought I'd try them out with L. I got the templates from here. First of all I just printed them off on paper and let L try them. They were a bit too slippery so I made cardboard frames so the pieces stay in place more easily.

She especially likes the caterpillar.

As you can see because I made them myself they are not all uniform and I will have to cut down some of the shapes so they fit in the frame better.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Cutting Food

I just have to mention this amazing site that my mom found that is filled with any type of coloring sheet you could imagine. I love it because most of the pictures are very realistic. Check it out here if you haven't heard of it before.

L got the Melissa and Doug cutting food for Christmas and has always enjoyed playing with it but last week I actually gave her a lesson on how to cut the food properly. I was surprised that she picked it up so well and follows all of the steps (including cutting it on the chopping board).

After a week of practice with the play food I decided to try her with a banana. I put some small guide cuts in to show her where to put the knife.

She got the idea and was soooo proud of herself for cutting her own banana. I think we'll practice with a few more bananas and then I'll move on to some other soft fruit like strawberries.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Nature Bugs

We got this idea from Aayla do! Montessori. It is so cool. We went to the park with our basket and collected all sorts of things to make insects out of. L can't get enough of finding things to put in her basket. We then found a picnic table and got to work. L got very excited when I got out the "glueb" and wanted more and more to stick everything together. Although she wasn't able to actually make any bugs on her own she understood the concept and asked for me to make the caterpillar on the stick.

Our creations. Daddy was a bit too ambitious with his bugs at first and kept complaining that the glue wasn't good enough. Next time I'll get a glue gun for him!!

This was so much fun for all of us that I know it will be a project we do again and again as L grows up. We took the bugs home and they're now sitting outside on our windowsill. L keeps checking to see if they've flown away!

Monday, 17 August 2009

What we've been doing

These are some of the things we were up to before I dropped the camera...

Family body tracing. We all really got into this and after doing our hands and feet moved on to heads and then full bodies! Obviously it was too exciting for me as I dropped the camera a few minutes after I took this picture.

Ice excavation. Idea courtesy of Chasing Cheerios.

L used spoons, forks, a spray bottle and a cup and bucket of warm water. It was such a hit that I refroze it right away and did another container for when her friend came to visit.

I bought some emergency vehicle stickers when I was at the craft store and stuck them onto some 2p coins. L takes them out and matches them. I'm also trying to introduce the memory game which she ends up playing her own version of.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Consuming Kids

This is really an extended comment that I felt I wanted to write after reading a post about Consuming Kids from Making of a Montessori Mum.

I'm so glad that she wrote about this topic because I find it is a very challenging one. Before L was born I had strict ideas about toys and what I wanted to expose her to. I was very firm on the fact that I didn't want her to have anything that was branded or had advertising on it. Well that may be easy to do if you live in a bubble! I forgot to factor in gifts from friends and relatives and the fact the she has to leave the house at some point!

As L has gotten older I've tried to keep her away from most things but she hasn't been kept away from everything. I find in some ways my husband is my worst enemy. He doesn't have the same views on TV watching as I do and if he has gotten up early with L (letting me sleep in, bliss!) I have come downstairs to see them watching Thomas and In the Night Garden and all sorts of things that make me feel completely guilty for taking that extra hour of sleep. I've asked him time and again to not put those programs on but at times I feel like a warden. It's not just him though it's all of society that is on his side it seems.

Making of a Montessori Mum talks about having felt a bit silly sometimes for trying to stick to her guns. I feel tired. It's a constant battle going against the grain.

Having said all of that I do feel that in the most part we have been successful. My husband is coming round and L's TV watching is down to only the Jungle Book. (I had to give in somewhere). She has one Iggle Piggle ball and In the Night Garden book that she got from an aunt and some Peppa Pig books that were given to her for her birthday. That is it when it comes to brand names. Needless to say she loves them both. I don't feel that it's right to take these away from her as they were gifts and I don't really think they are doing her any harm. Most of our relatives know about my approach to parenting and consult me before buying any gifts.

When we go round to most of L's friends houses I can see that we are certainly not the norm. Almost every toy is from one TV show or another and I can see where my friends have bought in and sold out to commercialism.

One way that I have gone about slowly introducing L to the mass media market is by sometimes taking her down the toy isle when we go shopping. I let her touch and look at any toy she wants and talk to her about them. When she has explored them we put them back. At the moment she is completely happy with this. When she sees Iggle Piggle on tops and clothing she points him out but is perfectly happy to move on. Thankfully Thomas is still just a train.

I don't feel bad for taking such a "radical" approach I feel good (and quite tired!). As you can see by my past posts most of L's things are home made and she loves them just as much or more than her Iggle Piggle ball. I'm happy to say she also has a red ball and she plays with that one just as much. As she gets older I know that I will be more strict, not less and will try and face all of the challenges that the global mass media try and bombard us with head on.

I am happy and comforted to know that even though I don't have a lot of support from society I have lots of kindred spirits in the bloggers that I follow and I take strength from them daily : )

Back in Business!

We finally got our new camera and we're back in business! We ended up getting a Fuji underwater camera which was in our price range and so far we love it! With a little girl who absolutely loves to swim underwater it's perfect for us.

We started L in Water Babies when she was 10 weeks and she went underwater in the first lesson. Now at 21 months she can swim underwater by herself and can't get enough. We go swimming about three times a week so she is very confident in the water. Once we move back to Canada I'll put her in swimming lessons again and hopefully she will learn to swim above water as well!!

Monday, 10 August 2009

In the mean time...

I still don't have a camera and yes I am going through all of the stages of grief. Thanks for the commiserations and advice. I would LOVE to get the Cannon Powershot D10 but I don't think we can swing the budget that far.

So in the mean time I thought I would talk a bit about books. This is a question I've had for a while now and have been meaning to post about it.
As I understand it the Montessori Method encourages books for 0-6 to be based on reality. After reading Montessori from the Start I was left with the impression that all books introduced to this age group should be "reality" based.
Well this has not been the case in our house. Maybe because we came to the whole Montessori thing too late and had already been reading L fantasy books and most of them are gifts from relatives. I do try to only get factual books from the library but I'm telling you they are really few and far between for this age group!
I would be very interested to hear what sort of books other people read to their children and how they feel about fantasy and the Montessori approach. In my opinion I don't think L even at this age has a problem with distinguishing between the dancing dinosaurs in her book and the ones we saw at the museum this weekend but I could be wrong.

That being said these are our favorite library books at the moment.

The whole family loves this book. We love all of the sounds and the humor. After a few times reading it to L she could say the lines along with us.
Also Rainforest Animals by Paul Hess. The illustrations in this book are so vibrant and the poems are clever and catchy.
Some of our all time favs are the Jillian Jiggs and Hairy Maclary books.

I would really love to hear all of your opinions and what some of your favorite books are. L just can't get enough and we're always looking for a good read!

Saturday, 8 August 2009


I knew it was inevitable and it's finally happened. We were all having a great time doing hand, foot and then body tracing and I was trying to get some pictures. Then daddy made a hat for L which she colored. Once again me trying to snap pics. I was all poised and ready to get the great hat pic and daddy asked if I could get him another piece of tape. I excitedly ripped the tape off in one hand, camera in the other and it happened.

The camera went flying and hit the floor with a great crash. I think one of the lenses broke or something and that's it. No more camera. I was devastated. So now I have to convince my husband that we desperately need another one and will have to forgo getting some other things I was wanting for a while. This might even have to be an early birthday present for me (but I really want a laminater!) : (
You don't realise how important a camera is with a child until you don't have one. It's like loosing part of your body!

Anyway, no more pics for a while until we can get a new one. Hope nothing too exciting happens in the meantime! :)

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Europe, Africa....

About a month ago I was reading a post on Chasing Cheerios about her daughter learning the continents and singing the Continents Song. My first mistake was listening to the song on YouTube with L right there. She loved it and asked for it again and again. Now any time I'm on the computer she asks for the Continents Song. We've played it so much that we all know it by heart. She also watches the graphics on the screen and any time she she's a map or globe she starts to sing Europe, Africa...

Last week when I went to the boot fair I found this for only 50p!

What a find! It's like a continents Twister game. At the moment she just loves to dance all over it while singing the song but I'm sure she'll soon learn where all of the continents are. I know it's plastic and doesn't have Antarctica on it but for now it's just for fun. Once we really start to learn about continents and maps etc. I'll paint Antarctica on or something! We also put all of her stuffed animals onto their home continents and although she didn't really understand we had a blast doing it.
I fished out a little Koala bear that I''ve had for ages, because we didn't have any Australian animals. It has a hat and a boomerang. She was very interested and so we went to the computer to look at pictures of real Koala bears. L looked at me and said, "those ones having no hats"!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Ranting and Raving

OK first the rant.... Why oh why don't the ABC picture books out there use the phonetic sounds??? L is really into alphabet books at the moment and I can't find any that use strictly phonics. We have to fudge over the words like acorns, ice cream, giraffe. You get the point. It is so confusing. I did look at the Jolly Phonics book but I think there are way too many pictures on the page. If anyone has found any good phonic ABC books I would love to hear about them. I'm also trying to find a book where you can trace the letters.

That being for my rave. I would just like to take a moment to rave about the latest book that I have finished reading. Montessori Read & Write A Parents' Guide to Literacy for Children by Lynne Lawrence. I'm sure many of you have read this book already but for those who haven't I would definitely recommend it.
There is a large section on learning about your child's development and how to incorporate the Montessori approach. She includes lots of step by step activities to prepare for reading and writing basically from birth. I loved the easy and straightforward way this book has been written and will be using lots of the activities with L. I originally borrowed this book from the library but it is such a good resource that I decided to buy it.

Here is one of the first activities we've done from the book. Classified cards. I got my camera and took a general picture of one of our rooms. Then took pictures of eight things in that room. I love technology! I was able to do everything on the computer and then print off the pictures, glue them to some card and voila. Personalised classified cards. Here I have done the bathroom and the garden. L can't get enough of these and I think it's because she recognises all of her "stuff". I also put checking colors on the back but as I thought might happen she just uses them to sort the colors! I think we'll leave the checking until she is a bit older.
Each room is kept in a Ziploc bag and all of the bags are stored together in a box. L chooses two rooms at a time to work with.

Here you can see she's put the objects under the rooms but she really likes to put them on the picture where they are supposed to be!
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