Thursday, 29 July 2010

Early green thumb and the crappy side of Montessori!

I am so lucky that my mom has been able to share her love of gardening with L.  In the spring the two of them planted their little vegetable garden with peas, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes,broccoli, cauliflower and two strawberry plants.
This has been such an amazing learning experience on so many levels. 
L can see how plants grow and produce food.
She learns to tend and take care of plants.
She learns the patience of waiting until something is completely ripe before picking it and eating it. 
Every morning after breakfast L checks the garden to see what is ripe and ready for the picking.  Lately it's been peas which she picks and we all eat from the shells.
Yesterday it was the prized strawberry she's been checking on for weeks.  She was soo proud and savoured every last bite!
Today she came into my bed(I was lucky enough to have a lie in)and woke me up showing me her very first teeny tiny carrot that was shaped like an L.

Next year L and her granny have even bigger plans and will be researching ways to keep slugs and other pests away from their prized plants!

*Warning talk of poo coming up*

With it being summer all of us have been enjoying all of the wonderful fresh fruit.  Especially L.  This has lead as you can imagine to some seriously soft bowel movements! The other day L had an accident in her underwear so my mom took her to the bathroom.  While L was on her little toilet my mom rinsed out her underwear first in the toilet, then in the sink and hung them over the bathtub to dry.
Well my little Montessori girl watched the whole thing with wide eyes.  Next day at around the same time L was in the bathroom and all was quite.  I went to check on her to find her underwear hanging on the side of the bathtub again.  I asked her what she'd done and she said " I had an accident so I washed them in the toilet then hung them up"
Yikes! What can you say to that!! The next day it happened again and I realised I'd better nip this new not so desirable activity in the bud.  We've cut down a bit on the fruit and go to the toilet together at "poo" time now!

Another cute little poo story.  L always likes to sit on her little toilet and read books while she's doing her business.  The other day she told my mom she was going to do a poo.  She sat down on her toilet and said" I'm just going to read my Poocock book" not realising her slip.  A second later she did realise what she said and fell about on the floor in a state of giggles.  So did my mom!

Must read post

This post from Pilar at Montessori Matters is a must read for any parent. 

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Gnome Home

As most of you who read this blog may have noticed although I love Montessori I also love a lot of things about Waldorf.  Especially the beautiful crafts.  There are so many wonderful blogs out there for inspiration.
I've been wanting to make a Gnome tree house for L for so long and was finally able to get my husband on board.
Once he gets into something he goes all out.
Here is the finished product!

My husband did the woodwork and I made the gnomes and accessories.

L made the upstairs fire pit and painted the pots while my mom made the rag rug (or as L calls it the activity mat).  It was truly a family affair.

L can play for ages with the little families and it's wonderful to sit back quietly and listen to the goings on in the house.  The other day all the seats were around the rug and they were getting ready to watch a puppet show!  The rabbit also loves to play soccer with the children.
If you have any questions about anything we made just leave them in the comments section.  We got tons of inspiration and tutorials from here, here and here.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Natural Learning

I recently read the Joyful Learner's reflections on Charlotte Mason's Outdoor Life for Children series.  I admittedly don't know very much about Charlotte Mason's philosophies but these reflections really got me thinking.
Today when we were at the beach, the tide was out and L and I were walking toward the water.  L let go of my hand and said "it's okay we're over the barnacles now"
It was then that I realised how much life learning is going on every time we go to the beach. 
Just the vocabulary alone.  The things L really knows.  Not just because I told her about them or we read about them in a book but because she has experienced them first hand herself.
L knows that the ocean is made up of salt water and the lakes of fresh water because she's tasted the difference.
L knows that millions of tiny crabs live on the beach and walk sideways because she's watched them.
L knows that dark purple sand dollars are alive and white ones are no longer alive because she's felt them.

L knows what jellyfish, seaweed, sea grass, starfish, crabs, shells, barnacles, oysters, clams, minnows, driftwood, and tide pools are because she's experienced them all.  Taken them in in her own way.

Now the tide that is a different story : )  It's one of those elusive things that we keep talking about but she never seems to be able to pin down!

So many physical skills are also constantly practiced and honed.  Swimming, throwing rocks, balancing on driftwood, running and jumping over waves, digging in the sand... the list is endless.

What a wonderful way to learn and experience life and nature.  We are so blessed!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

July Nature Table/Childhood Magic Inspiration

For those of you who haven't yet checked out Childhood Magic you are truly missing out on something magical. For those of you who are avid followers like me I'm sure you can relate to wanting to try out everything Ariella does with her children.
Our nature table this month is based on white things from the beach. Every time we go down we look for a new white shell, stone, beach glass or sand dollar.
This little clay sandcastle was the perfect addition. So easy and so much fun to do. L made little people with blankets and pillows which unfortunately were too fragile to keep but she had a great time making them.

When I saw Ariella's dodecahedron lantern I knew I wanted to try it out right away. After a bit of help from my husband this is our first attempt.
I'm going to make the next one smaller and use white watercolor paper which I may paint on at the end.   Find a wonderful tutorial for these lanterns here.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

It's summer and I for one am trying to take a break from formal Montessori activities.  L has other ideas though.  I have to say I'm happy, especially in the mornings she will go and pick something now that she hasn't picked in ages and want to do it.
The other day she picked the mystery bag.  After doing it the usual way I made up an extension where I got two of every object and put one of each in the bag.  She would feel one object and then try and find it's match in the bag.  She really enjoyed this and found it quite easy.
We did this wonderful activity that we did last year again but this time I mixed up the colors and L painted each compartment.  She then went round the garden and found things that matched.
After doing our instrument activities and learning about Peter and the Wolf L made her own instrument.  A rain maker.  We got an old paper towel tube and taped aluminum foil to one end.  Then L poured in some rice and we sealed up the other end with foil as well.
We made paper mache out of water and flour and L tore up the newspaper.
Once it was dry L painted it and glued on lots of sequins.  Here she's using it outside since happily this is the only sound of rain we've heard in a while!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Along for the ride

A few months ago I was contacted by CSN stores to do either a review or giveaway.  I chose to do a review.  Amazingly I was lucky enough to win a $40 gift certificate giveaway to CSN stores from Chasing Marcus in the same week.  So we had a fair bit of money to play with.  Well I was like a kid in a candy shop and spent an obscene amount of time looking through their website.
We were hoping to get the Melissa and Doug dollhouse but unfortunately they don't ship to Canada so we decided on getting L a super duper Kawasaki big girl bike!!

L has been riding her strider bike since last December and I thought she was totally ready to start learning how to pedal.

So here it is!  L was SOOOO excited and we were amazed at how quickly it arrived.  It took her a little while to get the hang of the pedaling but now she's whizzing up and down the street.
The bike is very sturdy and will last her a good couple of years.  The amazing thing is that now when she goes back to her Strider bike she can coast and balance really well.  It won't be long before she makes the transition to riding this bike with no training wheels!
I though the service at CSN was great and the bike arrived much sooner than we expected.  Unfortunately I wouldn't order from them again only because of  international fees that are added on top of the price make it too expensive.

Sunday, 4 July 2010


The last little while L has been mostly playing outside and we have been enjoying the summer.  We have managed to fit in some activities along the way.

L is still sounding out simple words.  This is a game we play where I write the word on a piece of Post It note and L has to decode it and the stick it onto the animal it belongs to.  Of course the part L enjoys most is the sticking part.

L also enjoys doing these cvc eggs .  A lot of them she doesn't  bother to read the whole word and just guesses by the first letter sound.  Of course this only works for her until she has two words that start with the same letter.  Once she starts this activity she always wants to go through all of the colors of eggs.
Another exciting way to read is to pull the words out of an egg and match them to drawings that Mummy made.
L has also been experimenting with writing letters on her chalkboard.  We take out a few of her sandpaper letters and she first traces them with her fingers and then tries to write them.  She was so proud when she first wrote her name.
Burning off some energy.  I wrote some numbers onto the stepping stones and then called them out for L to find and jump on.
and of course cleaning the toilet!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Peter and the Wolf

 We've been learning about different instruments and their sounds for about a year now and I printed out some instrument cards for L to name.  We also talked about the different families the instruments belong to-woodwind, brass, strings and percussion and sorted the cards into each of their families.

Yesterday L and I listened to my recording of Peter and the Wolf together.  You can hear a similar version here.  We cuddled on the couch and she loved being scared of the wolf.  When it was done she asked for it a second time and we acted out all of the characters as the instruments played.
We then got out the water colors and painted each of the characters.  At first she was quite abstract but as she went on they became more realistic.  You might be able to make out the Grandfather at the top and a tree and pond on the right.  Anyway I also painted some with the idea of making puppets.

As soon as I got out the scissors L wanted to cut hers out too.  So we made two sets of puppets.
After dinner we put on a puppet show for Daddy while the CD played.  It was fantastic.  L was so into it and SO serious about the whole thing.  She just couldn't wait for the wolf to come on so she could make her ahooo sounds.
Today we put the show on again for Granny with equal excitement and then matched the characters up with their instruments.
This is a wonderful way to introduce children to music and the instruments of the orchestra.
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