Wednesday, 18 December 2013

18 months- On the shelves

Okay I have to admit I've been totally slacking the last about 5 weeks.  We got out of our great routine and I kind of lost enthusiasm on making up activities.  In fairness though I have been working on another exciting project which I will blog more about after Christmas.
Poor LJ he actually asks me for work and says "roll,roll, roll".  Then I feel all guilty because he is desperate to do things.
These are some of the things he has been doing.
This is great for vocabulary and matching.  I hold all the cards in my hand and give him one at a time.  He says what it is and then (hopefully) places it on the table.  Once all the cards are laid out I hand him the matching one which he has to find.  This is very easy for him now.  They are kept in a little wooden box and he loves to take them out and put them back in as well.

Simply posting little hearts through a slot.  Always fun.
Color tablet box one.  I made these out of paint samples using the three primary colors to start.  Once again the box is a big hit!  It's funny when I did this activity with L years ago she was so gentle with the cards.  LJs cards are all bent and twisted : )  I present a color and name it and then give it to LJ to place on the mat and say the name.  Once they are down I give him the other one to match.
 Sorting colored beads.  Once again only using the primary colors. 
 I filled this glass money jar with water and put a shot glass at the bottom.  Together we took turns putting coins into the slot and watching them sink to the bottom.  I also enjoyed trying to get them into the shot glass, however I don't think LJ even realised it was in there. 
 Thanks to Itty Bitty Love inspiration I sucked it up and got out the lentils to scoop and funnel.  I have to say I was way more enthusiastic about this one than LJ was.  Maybe we'll try it again in a month or so.
...and one of my all time favourite works.  First drop fluffy pipe cleaners into a maple syrup bottle.
 Then try to fish them out.  Very carefully!
 Oooh the concentration!!!
LJ just can't get enough of doing his work and I am the only one that is holding him back at this point.  In the new year I am going to try to get back into that good routine we had going in the fall.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Snow Bath = Awesome!!

One of the activities that L and LJ had in their advent calendars was a "Snow Bath"
This was in L's words "Awesome!!"
I got the inspiration from Growing A Jeweled Rose.  If you want sensory bath ideas this site has them all!
So here is what I did.  First off I put a drop of blue food coloring in the water and added a couple drops of peppermint extract.  I found the perfect foam snowflakes at the Dollar store and added in a little reindeer and polar bear to play with.  I set the mood by bringing in a bedside lamp instead of the bright overhead light and hung a few glowing icicles around the room.
For the snow I used shaving cream for them to paint the bath and themselves with and to make "real" snow I used baking soda with enough cold water mixed to give it a snow texture.  This is sooo cool as it feels and looks like real snow and just melts in the warm bath water.
 I cut out pieces of craft foam so they could make their own snowmen.
They played for ages and much fun was had by all. 
I think we may just do it again!!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Brown Bear Brown Bear-Toddler Story Stones

"Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see?"
We love this book by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle
I thought it would be fun to make up some story stones for LJ and L to play with.  It's been years since I made these Enormous Turnip story stones for L.
This was one of those projects that sounded fantastic at the time but after about the fourth animal I was seriously wondering what was going through my head.  Anyhow I pushed through and now we have these cute story stones to go alone with the book.

For those of you who are interested in making your own story stones I just used regular acrylic craft paint and then covered them with a layer of Modge Podge.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

LJ's Montessori Toddler Room

We've been doing some re-arranging around here.  Both L and LJ have moved on to another stage of development and we needed to make some changes in their rooms to keep up with their needs. 
The first thing we did was to move the Ikea bunk bed frame that L was using into LJ's room.  A little modification and it makes the perfect toddler bed(and climbing frame)!  LJ is still able to enter and exit easily either by the little door or by just climbing over the edge but it is so perfect because it contains him while he is sleeping.  LJ watched the whole move and was absolutely beside himself when he realised that this was now going to be his bed!!
I love that he is now old enough to have blankets, stuffies and pillows.  It makes his sleeping space so much cosier. 
Beside his bed is a basket of books.

LJ's shelf area hasn't changed all that much.  I keep a few activities for him which he does when he wakes up or when he's not quite ready to sleep and sometimes he just spends time in his room on his own.  I've also moved the ball tracker into his room. 
 Although the ideal thing is to hang artwork etc. at your child's level I have tried time and again only to have it torn down and either ruined or risking an injury.  So in the end I settled on hanging this beautiful wool village scene I got from Ecuador just a little above his reach.  It is so colourful and vibrant and LJ can see it perfectly from his bed.
The other big change in LJ's room is the dressing area.  We have gotten rid of the change table and replaced it with this little shelf.  On the top we are trying out a little care of self area.  LJ can brush his hair and there is a little bowl that I put a tiny bit of water in for LJ to use for his washcloth.  I am trying out the mirror as well to see if he will leave it be or have it off the wall all of the time!
On the bottom shelves I put out his outfit for the day.  I will leave giving him a choice of two outfits for a couple more months or I know he will just try to put everything on!
Once again there is a tiny stool to sit on while getting dressed but at the moment he just uses it to jump into his bed!
He also has his laundry basket where he puts all of his dirty clothes.

So there it is.  Still very simple and uncluttered.  It is also still my favourite room in our house, so calm and peaceful.  Now if only I can get L's room to have the same feel.....

Friday, 25 October 2013

The Montessori Payoff

I wanted to write a post to record a special moment that happened in our house the other night. 
L has been helping in the kitchen since she was a toddler and has been a Montessori child almost from the start.  Sometimes it has been supremely challenging and exhausting allowing and including her in everyday events such as cooking dinner.  Granted she does not always help. Sometimes she just plain doesn't want to and sometimes I'm just way too tired and don't have the patience but for the most part she does something.
Over the past year I have tried to give her more and more responsibility when making meals.  The other night all of the hard work and perserverence came together.
One of L's favourite dishes to eat and help make is soft tacos.  In the past she has grated the cheese and carrots, chopped spinach and put the tortillas on the plate.  Recently I have taught her how to use the can opener and cook the refried beans on the stove.
This specific night I was super tired and just couldn't get my but off the couch to start dinner.  I asked L to get the beans and can opener out. She yelled at me from the kitchen that she's done it and I still didn't feel like getting up.  I asked her to get the carrots and cheese out of the fridge.  All I could hear was angry protests from the kitchen.  I relaxed for a few more minutes.
When I finally got my but off the couch and dragged it into the kitchen I was blown away.  L had opend the can and had the beans cooking on the stove.  She'd gotten out the grater and had grated all of the toppings and put them on a plate and had gotten the tortiallas ready.  In a nutshell she had made dinner for herself and her brother ALL BY HERSELF without being asked.  She took the initiative and just did it.
Ahhhh I was soooo proud and so was she!

Practical Life - 17 months

I'd forgotten just how wonderful this age is.  LJ wants to do everything for himself and I am trying to give him as many opportunities as I can.  I can remember L at this age being the same.  It must be so wonderful to have every experience be so new and novel and so exciting to realise you can now do so many new things by yourself!
Helping to prepare carrots from the garden.  LJ is scrubbing and taking his job very seriously and L is topping and tailing.  I find LJ is always much more focused when he is working with his big sis.
This used to be L's cupboard but she's now tall enough to reach everything if she uses her stool so it's been passed over to LJ.  I have set it up so he can set his own table.  On the top shelf are all of the items he needs for his table setting and the bottom shelf holds all of the aprons.  I have to admit that just like the Montessori shelves I only allow access to this cupboard at meal times and keep it closed with an elastic the rest of the time or he'd be in there constantly.
LJ loves to be one of the family and put his dirty dishes in the dish washer then push the drawer in and close the door.
 Now that Sweetpea is not with us LJ eats all of his meals at the big table with me or the family.  He is still able to set his table.  He brings over the items and at the moment I arrange them for him but soon I will introduce a place mat that he can put his setting on.
I got this super cute little laundry basket for LJ's room.  He can carry it himself when it is empty and he's been putting his dirty clothes in there for a while now.  So many times when I come in to his room after his nap he is in there trying to put on all of the clothes in the basket and has probably been awake for ages!
The going out area.  I set up this special area especially for LJ in our laundry room.  He can reach the hooks to get his jacket and is able to put on and take off his own boots.  I help him with his jacket and start the zipper for him and he is able to finish pulling the zipper up or down.  Every little bit he can do himself makes him feel so proud and confident. 
I just bought the super cute stool for him to sit on but he's still not quite big enough so at the moment he is more comfortable sitting on the floor.
Allowing LJ the opportunity to do so many things for himself really makes him feel like a part of the family and a capable human being.  I find that the only limitations he has are from me.  These pictures represent the "ideal" or the good days.   It does take a lot of work to keep the home environment "prepared" all of the time and sometimes it just doesn't happen.   I don't always have the cupboard neatly stocked ready to go and a lot of the time Daddy will get LJ ready for bed and all of the dirty clothes will be left in a pile on the bathroom floor(and cloth diaper for that matter!). 
 I think the important thing is to be aware of  our little persons needs and capabilities and try our best to let them experience that feeling of being able to "do it themselves" even if it isn't all of the time.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Toddler Art

It was high time to change the art in LJ's bedroom.  I was excited to try something with both L and LJ this time.
I first found a silhouette of a frog and seahorse on Google images and printed them out.  I cut them out and traced them onto black contact paper.  Once I stuck them on the canvass I let the kids have atter.
As I was browsing the Internet I saw a brilliant idea for toddlers and painting.  Instead of having them dip the brush into the paint pot and make a huge mess the idea is to just dab drops of paint all over the canvass for them to paint.

It worked a treat and LJ really enjoyed painting the canvass with very little mess and stress for mom.

L of course chose her own colors and animal for the canvass.

After the paint had dried we peeled off the contact paper and were left with beautiful artwork!

LJ loves the new art hanging on his wall and is constantly pointing to his painting and telling me it's a frog!.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Montessori Shelves-Table Work

LJ is in a good routine with his Montessori shelf works.  I first introduced only works done on a floor mat to him and he has been really good at getting out the mat and unrolling it (with some help) and also putting it back at the end of his work cycle.
I thought it was time to add in some table works to the mix.  I added a small place mat to his mat box.  I like the idea of using a work mat for all of his Montessori works so he can differentiate between those and other toys he has.
I placed this spooning work on a small tray.  It consists of a wooden bowl, plastic container with lid and a large measuring spoon.  I used Heritage O's for the spooning because he still loves to put everything in his mouth and I thought it would be safer than beans.  I also couldn't bear to think of the clean up if we used rice!
When he was first introduced to the work he went to eat one and I quickly said "Let me show you" and demonstrated how to spoon.  He was delighted and from then on was only interested in spooning and not eating.  He did this work the first time for about 20 minutes.
 After several days of spooning I introduced pouring.  He gets the idea but is not overly interested and does it a couple of times and then messes about with the Heritage O's. 
The ever favourite pom poms in ice cube tray.  LJ loves this one.  I only put one table work out a day and always put it on the same tray so LJ knows which is a table work and which is a floor work.  There still is some confusion though sometimes as LJ wants to do all of the works at the table.  It is a work in progress.
I was surprised at how well he can manipulate the tray.  He hasn't had one spill.  I think it is because of the high edges.

Linked up to Living Montessori Now's Montessori Monday.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Toddler Practical Life-Pita Pizzas!

Tonight LJ and L made their own pita pizzas for dinner.   It reminded me of when L used to make her own pita pizza. Seems like ages ago. This was the first time LJ has done this and I was amazed at how well he caught on and the lack of mess.
 I had L set up a little table in the middle of the kitchen.  It is the perfect height for LJ to stand and L to sit at.  I prepared all of the toppings ahead of time and put them in little bowls. 
Cleaning up after.  My little guy loves wiping so much that he kept on going wiping down his chair the oven and the cabinets.
LJ's first pita pizza.  A little Master Chef in the making I think!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Montessori Shelves and Using a Work Mat

Little J is sixteen months now.  L is back at school and we have managed to get back into some kind of routine.
Now that LJ and I have time in the morning to ourselves I have set up specific shelves for his "Montessori" works.  There is really not much difference between these activities and the ones in his cubicle shelves, however what is totally different is the process in which he does them.
I wanted to introduce a separate area so LJ could understand that anything taken from these shelves needs to be done in a certain way.
As you can see on the right of the first picture he now has a basket with work mats in it.  When first introducing a new work on these shelves I introduced the use of a work mat.  LJ gets the work mat and I help him roll it out.  He then goes to the shelves and selects a work.  It is important that he takes the whole basket or work and brings it over to the mat.  He then must take the work out of the basket to do it.  After he is finished he must put the work back into the basket and return it to the shelf before selecting another work. 
At this point I am not so interested in the actual works he is doing as the whole process.  What is important is that LJ knows he needs to use a work mat to do one of the works on his Montessori shelves.  It is also important to take the whole work over to the mat and of course to return it to the shelf.  I was quite surprised how quickly LJ took to the whole process.  Of course I am there to give him a gentle reminder to bring the whole basket or to help him remember to put the whole work away before getting another but in general he does really well.  I am also there to supervise if things start to go a bit "crazy"  I just sit back quietly and observe and only step in if I must say if he starts walking away from the mat with part of the work.

I generally keep four different works on the "Montessori shelves" and rotate one out every couple of days.  I've also found that once his Montessori work time is over (which is decided by himself) I remove the baskets from the shelves.  I've found that this helps in not having him continually go back to them and take pieces out later in the day.  If he would like to do more work and we both have some free time then he will get his work mat out and point to where I keep the baskets.
 The "Mystery" Bag.  Later on this is used to stimulate the stereognostic sense by having the child locate a known item in the bag without looking.  At the moment LJ is just using it as a bag of discovery although I think he will be soon ready to try the "mystery" aspect.
 Color matching.  I got these little wooden cups and bulbs from the craft store and painted them as shown.  The object is to match the colored bulb with the pot.  I decided to just paint the inside of the pots with the color to make it more of a challenge.  LJ mostly loves to manipulate these and sometimes matches the colors depending on what type of mood he is in!
We are blessed with living very close to a wonderful market that has goats on the roof, fresh fruits and veggies, yummy ice creams and best of all tons of super cool wooden toys.  I have to restrain myself every  time I go there to not buy up the store!
This adorable little fishing game came from the market.  LJ loves it and so does L.  This is quite a process to set up as he has to remove the "water" then add the fish before he can go fishing.  Once he has caught a fish he must put it in the red bucket.  LJ does this work several times throughout the morning.

 Lacing beads.  I wasn't sure if he was ready for this but low and behold he is!  It took him a little while to work out after several demonstrations but he is now able to make necklaces.  I taped a piece of straw onto the end of the shoelace with yellow tape to help LJ push it through the bead and also for him to easily locate the correct end.
I introduced a basket of wooden African animals along with smaller plastic animals for matching.  LJ knows the names of all of them so I figured matching wouldn't be much of a problem.  I made the mistake of saying can you find the mommy zebra.  Well that started off a frenzy of mommy and baby kissing as well as LJ kissing all of the mommy animals.  Seriously too cute!

 LJ loves to roll up his mat and put it away.  We sing a little roll, roll, roll song as he does it.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Autumn Changes

Midway through August I realised that I needed to make some changes before September came along.  Although we had a wonderful summer and the weather was amazing it was also exhausting for me.
Ever since having LJ my health has just not been as good as it was before.  I had to make the excruciatingly hard decision to not take Sweetpea back this autumn.  I realised that it was just too exhausting for me and I really need to take time to work on trying to get my health back as much as I can.

So it's just going to be LJ and I again now that L is back in school.  It was very sad to say goodbye to little Sweetpea and I'm also sad about not being able to do all of the Montessori activities I had planned over the summer, however I know in the long run that I made the best decision for me and my family.

L has started Montessori elementary and so far she loves it!  I get these convoluted stories about what happens at school and it's impossible to decipher fact from fiction these days.  The other day when I picked her up she said to me " Mommy I am respectful of my clothes".    Haha not something you are going to hear from a regular grade one child I'm sure.  Now if only she'd respect them enough to not leave them all over her bedroom floor!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Little J 15 months activities

Phew finally midway through September and I am just now able to catch my breath!  Where did the end of the summer go?  It seems like August just started and the next thing you know L is in school and the leaves are changing!
Here is a catch up post on what Little J was up to in August at 15 months.
Scrubbing apples.  We have a wonderful apple tree in our yard.  Both L and Little J enjoyed eating the apples from the ground as well as helping to make blackberry and apple sauce.  This picture looks so civilised but it quickly turned into chaos as Little J decided it would be way more fun to tip out all of the water and roll the apples off the side of the deck!
 Painting al fresco.
On the shelves.  We didn't really have any strict "works" over the summer.  I found it way too hard with L around as she always wants to interfere with what ever Little J is doing. 
From the top left we have:
The shoe basket.  LJ is still obsessed with shoes and dressing himself.  We also have worked on sorting the shoes into pairs.
Stacking boxes, shape sorter and then the ever popular open and shut basket.  I keep rotating different containers in this basket.
Bottom left is a emergency vehicle puzzle with little knobs to develop the pincer grip.  An etch-a sketch type drawing board which we had when L was little.  It is great fun to draw and then push the lever across to erase all of your work! 
Melissa and Doug tool box.  Hammering is the number one favourite at the moment.  Little tow truck with wooden sorting shapes.  The tow truck has a magnet on it to attach the shapes to.  This is from Ikea.

These are just a few of the things that Little J got up to this summer.  What is not shown is LJ's love of climbing.  He will climb anything and everything.  The number of times I've been out of the room for two seconds and when I come back he is actually on the kitchen table searching for scraps!!  He certainly keeps me on my toes!
Related Posts with Thumbnails