Crepes and ice cream at our local swiss cafe!
I picked up a few fantastic natural and sustainable products from Biome today. Kin Kin Naturals Dishwashing Liquid - not only all natural but made locally (Queensland made)!! Jack N Jill Toothpaste which is the boys' favourite. Some Banjo Carob bears. 100% natural aluminium free organic roll on deodorant. Honeybee Wraps - I'm not just using these for lunches but also in the fridge and to cover bowls replacing plastic wrap. And a new vegetable scrubbing brush. So much goodness!
Otis is doing some classification work. He is classifying vertebrates. Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Bird and Mammals. While birds and reptiles might be simple there is some complex thinking going on here too. A shark is classified as a fish but a whale and dolphin are mammals! Loving this work!!
I have found a local stockist and now I'm starting my own MUD Australia collection. It's Australian porcelain and it's divine.
Stamp love. Otis' strawberry patch!
On a stormy Australia Day we head not to the beach but to the pool. Happy Australia Day from these two little Aussies!
Both boys are wearing awesome Know Yourself Tees. LOVE and educational tee!! c/o Know Yourself who are all about teaching children self literacy.
Such cute designs, Smafolk tees for Otis.
These school holidays have been so rejuvenating. All this sunshine, swimming and free time is just the best. The boys are reading in the community garden attached to our local library, the scent is amazing!
Really awesome book. "Mum, we can do this?". Absolutely!
More work using the Movable Alphabet. Above Otis isn't writing sentences, he is copying words from the Miss Rhonda's Readers Phonetic Word Cards (and his and Caspar's name). Below I am working with Otis, he knows these letters but so often gets them mixed up.
Snip, snip, snip!
Threading bells and beads onto wire. Fine motor skills!!
Over the weekend the boys made this cute little mobile. Good for keeping those little hands busy and the bells make a lovely sound on the hanging mobile.
My husband had two deaths in his family last week including his grandmother. He is overseas and with no chance of coming home I did what I could, I cooked. I tried to cook the tastiest, healthiest yet wholesome meal for his family. I couldn't help but sneak a quick pic of our colourful carrots.
Last year Otis was also diagnosed with a speech concern, same issue as Caspar's just to a lesser extent. So here we are we with two children now in speech pathology. This speech pathologist was recommended to me by two teachers and was a Montessori child herself, she actually attended the same school my boys go to now. Now I will recommend her! It feels like we've wasted years (almost five years) with Caspar in speech pathology with very little results, this is a fresh start that has begun with a very thorough and specific diagnosis and plan (something we've never had before). To fresh beginnings!
Animal anatomy models - my kids are obsessed!
Caspar's library find, he took around an hour to read it and he loved it. For all Guinea Pig fans.
New Year's resolution for 2016 - cook and eat more vegetarian meals. Cook book a gift from my sister (highly recommend).
Another one by Caspar, all the models actually go, they work with the remote.
One of Caspar's IQ Key creations. This set has 30 models and then of course you can make your own designs.
Caspar and Otis, a little too early on Christmas morning.
Christmas Eve 2015. Merry Christmas to you and your family. xx
I was worried these were for younger children however I am so thankful that we gave them ago. Many of the designs in the book are challenging, they are perfect for my boys (4 and 8 yrs). We are using two packs of these and Caspar (8yrs) made this pictured below. A really fun open ended toy.
Hand carved stamps. Caspar (8yrs) above carving the stamps and Otis (4yrs) below using the stamps. Totally inspired by Eve and her girls.
Playing with light - Otis' light crystal.
Beautiful Christmas scenes… my kitchen table.
Caspar using the Duo-Scope Microscope (we've had it for years and it's the best microscope I've found for kids) - available at good science/toy shops in Australia (if you are looking check out here). Caspar has been using it since he was around 4 years old and now he's a pro.
Drawing with warm colours. Cute top Otis!
Oh my goodness - this looks so relaxing! Wooden boats including this amazing raft on the water table.
Using beautiful watercolour paints to make Christmas cards. Tomorrow we will simply fold them in half, write a message inside and post in colourful oversized envelopes. I think the recipients will love them! These are mostly for (great) aunts and uncles, I will also pop a small pic of the boys inside.
On our art table today. Otis' snail. We've been using Paper Magiclay. Otis has been using so much plasticine that I wanted to try other materials while he was so clearly interested in modelling. This is really soft and pliable and it dries light just like paper. It has a really stretchy texture too.
Using his imagination to make puppets (materials from our Reverse Garbage box).
Otis' Eco House is built and ready for Christmas day. These are the dolls and kitchen set he already has and I want to perhaps get the pet and garden set to go with it. I can't wait for him to see it. I am also really impressed with the quality, it is really solid.
We spent our Sunday at the local Koala Sanctuary, the boys love it there!
What I am reading, all incredibly interesting. Big Magic, The Wife Drought (Australian) and I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being A Woman! Big Magic is inspiring, The Wife Drought is thought provoking and Nora Ephron's book is full of good humour.
All these crafting materials! What can we do with these?
Otis is giving ME a lesson on composting!
Otis painting a guinea pig. We have been drawing with oil pastels then painting.
It's really great to get out of the house sometimes into a completely new environment. Thanks to their work at the art centre both boys are really into modelling with plasticine. It is sooo good for their hands, they can work on something for hours (Caspar needs to build up his hand strength to improve his pencil control, it's something we have been working on since he was young). And their art shelves at home have been refreshed and changed up (simplified) a bit.
Working on baby turtles.
Otis finished his artwork at the art centre, I love this idea of using blue cellophane as water!
Otis' wonderful up-cycled elephant planter (above centre) at school. Love this idea - very creative teachers! Otis has been talking about this for weeks!
The cutest display!
This gorgeous candle from Lemon Canary arrived at just the right time. It says My Christmas Kitchen but it's currently burning in my office. It is divine. I adore all of Jasmin's work and highly recommend for a gift for yourself or for loved ones, each parcel is so personal and is so exciting to open. I have heaps of the travel candles and what can I say, love, love, love!
The most beautiful flowers (and a few new books)!
Otis was laughing so hard at the food processor - he could not stop!
Can't keep him out of the rose garden and I don't want to deny him the chance to smell the flowers! Adventuring at New Farm Park today. Brisbane City is in the background.
Stocking up at Biome and our first time at the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre! It's impressive.
Produce from school. Does your school have a vegetable garden and chickens? I think most schools have similar and it's such a good experience for the kids. Even better when we can bring it home!
I love getting a peak inside the classroom. Above Caspar is working on the large bead frame.
Learning how to light candles for the first time. All of the candles are made from beeswax, so lovely! Tomorrow we have an international giveaway from one of my favourite clothing companies! Hint - Otis' new shirt is from here.
Sweeping at Grandma's.
Otis made this entire salad, while visiting Grandma.
Love that feeling! Running along the beach.
Otis using the flower press, I love seeing those little hands at work and to create something, to preserve something beautiful.
A fresh box of side walk chalk, love the colours. c/o Crayola.
A nice place for a nature walk and some exploring.
An after school visit to the playground. We haven't been to this one before, it's not in our neighbourhood but it has lots of shade - which is a huge deal around here. Summer is on it's way and Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer - in the world.
I'm pretty happy to put these in the school lunch-boxes. Otis wanted 'chocolate balls' just like Orlo. I tracked down Orlo's parents and hassled them for the recipe. They use the I Quit Sugar Superfood Protein Ball Mix with Cacao and Chia. You need to add hot coconut oil, rice syrup and water to the mixture but once it has cooled down it is totally child friendly. Otis loved to roll the balls and to roll them in the coconut.
A year or so ago I picked up this perspex display from the stationary store. I think it's usually used as a display for shops, it is the perfect little display for feathers, leaves or personal artwork! This is an A5 size and it's just right.
Happy Halloween! We had two bat costumes planned and ready to go however at the last minute Caspar's Grandma gave him a thrifted Star Wars costume. Otis is a little bat (he has his mask on his forehead?). We went to a Halloween Street Party and the community atmosphere was just the best. Everyone was super friendly, dressed up and excited. It didn't really matter that we don't usually celebrate Halloween we just loved to be a part of the community event.
We don't usually participate in Halloween activities however this year we will be attending a local street party. Otis' costume is nearly complete.
Love Europe (this is the Europe puzzle map)! A quick pic taken today at school. I love that at a preschool level children are learning about geography and all the countries that make up Europe!
Pencil sharpening can be difficult to master but it's a great practical life activity for hand/arm strength and coordination.
Otis and I made puff pastry (from scratch) for the first time this morning. It was much easier than I had expected. No kneading just lots of rolling and folding.
Otis is spreading some jam, then he twisted the pastry and we baked them. Like strawberry jam swirls.
Here Otis is putting the tops on these little chicken pies. His has an 'o' on it. We are going for the rustic look. When cooked our homemade pastry wasn't as light as the pre made/frozen types we've used but it was still golden brown and delicious. Highly recommend to at least once have a go at making it from scratch.
Although the pastry is freezable we tried to use it all up. Otis is using the cookie cutters, and loving the repetition, we baked these and the boys ate them all up with their pies.
New Soft Star Shoes are a must for summer. These sandals are just the best, they are so safe for children's feet. Soft and comfortable.
Today we went exploring and found this gorgeous beach at Caloundra. Further up there is a patrolled area where the boys enjoyed swimming and the waves. However I loved exploring this area, all the rock pools the best.
"Do you know what happens at Spring? The flowers come out." Yes, they do. Otis is loving the playground after school, we walk there so we get a bit of a nature walk in, I personally don't find the playground inspiring but I feel like it's their childhood right.
Is this risky behaviour? Small kid, sharp knife, lots of tomatoes.
Anyone else having difficulty getting around this spring? Birds are swooping us everywhere. It's our first October in Brisbane and we are still learning where the nesting trees are. This is obviously a nesting tree. We didn't see a nest but right at this point Otis gets attacked by a screeching and flapping bird. We made a quick exit. We will come back, this is an excellent climbing tree.
Awesome hike today. Above so many tadpoles resting in the shade. For local readers this is on Mt Coot-tha. Really beautiful and a nice break.
I don't know why we haven't done this before, Otis loved and concentrated on scooping out all of the avocado. An easy step for a child to do.
Otis with his sand tray, nothing flash just sand and a few tools.
Today while baking bread Otis and I decided to try a few new things. I blame Pinterest (my Kids in the Kitchen board is here). This is Otis braiding the bread above and below is his bread turtle. Too cute!
I am preparing to review natural toothpaste for children on the blog. So far the boys have used/reviewed seven different types! I think they only have one or two more to try. I can't wait to share the results with you.
End of season Soccer wrap-up. It's not at all about the medals. It's about a season well played. Countless nights of training and game days. Working hard on skills and playing in a team. Satisfaction. Well done boys.
Otis working with his vegetable cards. He is doing some initial sound work. He is reading and say the letter that each vegetable starts with.
You know I love natural toothpastes for children. We will be reviewing a ton of natural toothpastes on the blog next week. While shopping I also picked up some new toothbrushes - aren't these kid's ecotoothbrushes cute?
This is an entry in Otis' Luna journal.
Today with visited our local wildlife education centre. We really don't take full advantage of our national parks, like where this centre is located. Above Otis is being cautious in the bird avery and below the boys are watching the platypus having a yabbie for lunch. This was a really clear viewing and the platypus was so active. Oh and the boys saw a real life quoll for the first time!!
Today we took the boys for a swim then a long hike. The wildlife was amazing. The birdsong was beautiful. We made it 5km with both boys. There were so many families kayaking here and now I'm really wanting to give it ago. Does anyone have experience in kayaking with young children?
We are within walking distance of this fantastic pool. It's at my husband's work so on the weekend we often have it to ourselves or only have to share it with a few, the boys always have a good time and come home exhausted. On the way home today we were swooped by some Plover birds - eek!
Proof that our terrarium is still alive. We've had to move it a couple of times, it can take weeks to find the perfect spot for a plant!
Caspar is using our geometric solids to make his 3D shapes, here he is measuring and cutting the Wikki Stix.
This product is so amazing, I'm annoyed that no one has told me about it. So many applications and educational uses. I'll post some more pictures tomorrow.
Blocks + Bruder = good time.
Leaf dusting is a beautiful, gentle Montessori practical life activity. Once a week we take all of our indoor plants outside for some extra sunshine, fresh air, a good water and often a fertilise also. This a great time for some leaf dusting and it's especially nice when it is child initiated.
Making a colour wheel using the So Awesome Colour and Shape Deck.
We are absolutely loving these school holidays. Monday at the beach!
Some small country town garden inspiration (we took a day trip on Sunday)...
Loving this so much!
Spring! Lots going on in the kitchen!
Some clay work with bits and pieces (wooden parts and feathers c/o Child.com.au)
I love this matching planets work! (Using these cards)
Nothing remarkable about this picture of Otis and his egg plant except - I love the colour, he found the most perfect colour crayon for his drawing (yes, they are still drawing egg plants and I love it, vegetables on the art table!).
It is obviously spring around here!! Gosh I love the Brisbane seasons. Anyway, I'm looking through our library and materials and pulling out a few spring related books and things that Otis may like!
I don't care how old they get, I'll keep putting fresh flowers on their work table!
The boys' were sketching these cute little eggplants and then Otis came up with this creative painting.
Love Otis' work today.
Otis has this cardboard cubby house. Late Friday afternoon he decides to paint it. I loved it white but a little colour could work??
Our wall world map came with optional QR codes for many countries and cities. You can see we've put on the QR code for Italy (right near Rome) and Caspar is shown here scanning it. After scanning he gets information on Itay including a map, flag, demographics etc. A really fun educational tool.
What are these boys doing?
New wallet cards - Emotion and House.
This picture is a few weeks old but I don't think I have published it. Even though he is still learning many of his letters and sounds he can still make words! It makes me think he will soon be ready to use the movable alphabet. (Otis is using these blocks, this two part tray is from Michael Olaf)
New fabrics thanks to an Umbrella Prints sale. I have some ideas… what to make??
Sunday, trying to teach Otis how to make smooth (lump free) pancakes! He's getting there.
Sunday was Father's Day here in Australia. I love the inside of this card Otis made at school.
Queensland, you are mighty fine. Today was beach day!
On the way home from the beach we decided to take a quick detour to the strawberry fields! What a fantastic idea! I wish I had my camera (these are iPhone pics) the strawberry fields were gorgeous. So, so many strawberries. We've grown our own strawberries before but this is a commercial farm, the boys also got to see the packing operations and see all the work that goes into growing so many strawberries.
Progress shot above.
More bedroom pics.
Enjoying new audio books!
I'm putting up wall paper in the boys' room, so I've moved some shelves to fit in this small play area until their room is finished. Fingers crossed for the wall paper, I hope it turns out ok.
Australian animal puppets.
I grew up in a very small country town in a farming district. However I have two city boys! These pictures were taken today after school - the learning doesn't stop once school is finished! At least now they've seen a sheep dog in action and watched a sheep being shorn!
Finding some nice spots around Brissie. The boys are enjoying new puppets, Otis has a sulphur crested cockatoo and Caspar has a platypus.
Otis making pizza! He loves it so much this afternoon he made all three pizzas - he was totally in the zone. Yes, you can see a nice little bruise under his eye - from jumping on the couch and hitting a hard edge.
Otis' dream-catchers (shot in bad light) from today's delightful peace activities at school. School provides him (and his family) with so much, so many ideas and thoughts - today's peace celebrations were really something else. Feeling lots of love for our school community!
Otis' peas are growing on our balcony/deck.
Celebrating eggplant flowers!
Otis is a stick collector. Currently reading… The Stick Book: loads of things you can make or do with a stick.
Some creating. These are leaves are made from colour diffusing paper - they look fantastic once dried. c.o Child.com.au.
The boys have three days home from school. Caspar decided not to go on school camp so I've kept Otis home too so we can do some exploring. Today we went the wonderful Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Above are flying foxes. So much of our nocturnal work has been coming out with Otis.
The boys haven't (in memory) seen a koala or wombat until today. And this was the first time they have fed kangaroos or seen a platypus, owl (yay for Otis!! It was a native Barking Owl), emus… Although there are lots of animals in captivity they are all native and it was a very different experience to a zoo.
Yes, his first time feeding a kangaroo. It was really special to see him appreciate these animals up so close.
Above is a platypus skeleton - how interesting!
Otis grating cheese. Parmesan is a hard cheese so we use this hand grater. It's great for strength and co-ordination!
More play and fun with colour and shape.
Brisbane Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens.
Playing and climbing after school. It doesn't feel right to call this winter.
Dinner with my three favourite people - it must be Friday night! We book the table near the children's play area. It's why I love this place. The children's play area is just through the little door (inside is painted yellow) next to Otis, it's such a good idea.
A cute little gift.
Collage. The boys had features everywhere!
Otis will often cut out his drawings.
Some artwork on display on shelves.
Otis hasn't used this puzzle set for a while. He was home sick from school today so this was a nice restful activity he found. This is the Going Places - Transport floor puzzle.
Leave the materials out and the children will teach themselves.
Another day, another stencil! Otis is doing lots of work at school with the metal insets which is why I think he is enjoying and wanting to do more stencil work at home. Fantastic for hand control.
Rome Blocks - Otis needs lots of help from his big brother to complete this.
This is what childhood memories are made of - washing the car and having water fights with dad. My husband was home this weekend which is such a rarity. He has returned from being away for two months. Next month he is leaving for a six week exercise and later in the year he leaves for a 6-7 month overseas deployment. We have lots of adjusting to do and we are ensuring there are lots of fun times before the absences really start.
A few pictures from Otis' school parent child night!
Still using Bristle Blocks.
Sewing buttons - love!
Collage with lots of feathers.
We are going crazy for collage around here!
This photograph is from last week. The boys have been experimenting with the coloured stocking pieces we have in their art area. Last week as pictured they covered sticks with the stocking. Today we broke out some wire and started experimenting with wire shapes (such as circles and wings) and cover them with the stocking pieces. It's fun to work with something so different!
The boys are doing much more collage since resorting and restocking our collage materials. We've also found a glue which dries clear yet holds all the wooden pieces and tiles. They are starting to get a little more adventurous.
We found a good local florist today. A really, really good florist. One who will actually talk to children about the plants and flowers. Love that.
Otis with some threading work using natural beads.
Otis has made an addition to his art shelves - dot markers. Not the most sophisticated art material but a lot of fun and entirely by his choice.
More feathers! Are these too nice for collage?
We've had magnetic/non magnetic trays on our shelves before and Otis has used them. However what he likes best - magnets to play with (and a few paperclips)!
Otis is refilling some of his natural collage materials. Oh lovely feathers Otis!
A new book arrived today and first thoughts are we totally love it. Before After.
No words - just pictures. It's self explanatory! Very beautiful. We have the hard cover version and the pages are thick and lush - I'll be thinking of this for gift giving, perhaps for 3-4 year olds! Totally coffee table quality.
Otis playing shops and organising his (Ikea) felt food.
Just getting started on organising and stocking our little art nook. I'll be sharing what on our art shelves on Friday's What's on our Shelves Link-Up. Please come by on Friday and link up to your shelves or art shelves!
Pasting! Love these colours.
Otis' BambinoLuk. I gave this a try not really knowing what I would think. I actually really like it. I love it for exercises in visual perception. Let me know if you would like to know more - I'd be more than happy to post a review. It's completely different to anything I have seen before.
Otis labelling parts of his garbage truck.
Oh my goodness, Caspar is loving this from The Adventurous Mailbox!! This is a product we have been sent to review and I can't wait to tell you more about it. Gorgeous, really special packaging.
Staying up late to watch NASA's live stream of Pluto. It will stream to Australia first!! One hour to go until the closest approach, they should really be in bed but this is a once in a life time opportunity! Using the Eyes on the Solar System app to see the New Horizons Pluto Flyby.
I love these pictures of Otis cutting a spiral for the first time. It's much more complex than other lines he has had to follow. Printable template found at Montessori Mom.
This picture also shows Caspar's (7yrs) hand sewing (top). It's time he learnt a few new stitches. It's nice to have them side by side.
"The most pleasant work for children is not sowing but reaping, a work, we all know, that is no less exacting than the former. It may even be said that it is the harvest which intensifies an interest in sowing. The more one has reaped, the more he experiences the secret fascination of sowing." Maria Montessori in The Discovery of the Child. There isn't a lot of lettuce here but there certainly is enough for one four-year-old's salad! You don't need a huge garden for the work of the child.
Today The Secret Door cooperative board game has been on repeat!
A comfortable place to sit and read!
Another wet and dark afternoon (after a beautiful sunny morning), the boys did some weaving on the deck.
Otis making faces from magazine cut-outs. Lots of discussion about where the nose goes, about skin colour, 'happy eyes', teeth, eye glasses and wrinkles!
It's a dark rainy day (Winter School holidays) and Otis is typing love notes to his friends. I can't wait to show you the finished letters - too cute!
Some of Caspar's 'Higher Order Thinking' Work.
Finding his place in the world.
There are days when it's all about the waves, sand and sun.
Otis chose to match some model animals to his skin/fur/scale matching cards. I love a little impromptu matching.
Otis, just starting with some frog life cycle materials.
Caspar is working on a Egyptian project and loving working with Hieroglyphs.
Enjoying using some handmade crayons.
I couldn't help but to take a picture of Otis playing his glockenspiel in bed.
I love that Otis is still enjoying these handmade 'opposites' books that I made for him many weeks ago. They have been on his shelves for over a month so I think it's still all sinking in.
It's the (winter) school holidays and I'm thankful for toys like these interconnecting blocks that keep my boys thinking and working. Working and creating with their hands.
The boys received this gorgeous glockenspiel. Only one problem - it requires a bit of a translation. I had no idea the words would be in German (??), I hope the songs translate well! Buzz, Buzz, Buzz, Bees buzz around?!?
Otis has made two snakes (using mobilo).
Caspar loves... marble runs!
The start… It's so much harder than it looks. The main lesson here wasn't about sewing but about patience and perseverance.
Otis with his international flag matching work. Gosh he loves this. He still doesn't remember very many country names but loves finishing this work. Once he has finished matching all the flags he will jump up/cheer and celebrate. This work could be very relevant to a younger child - perhaps with less flags (a toddler could start with three), especially useful if the child is already familiar with those countries or flags.
Otis on his sports day. It was the sweetest day with all the 3-6 year olds running around and participating in their (non-competitive) sports. This is the ball and spoon activity. The child walks with the ball balancing on the large (serving) spoon. A beautiful, lovely day and I feel so fortunate for my family to be a part of this wonderful community.
Otis' play is so lovely and colourful. (This is the Grimm's Wooden Rainbow).
Sports Day today! It's our first Sports Day ever, it's something our Canberra school didn't do. Both boys were excited.
Some of Otis' free sewing/threading work. It's lovely to see what he does when I'm not looking.
Reading… The Happy Mag for Creative Kids.
You know… just some Chameleon play.
This week I read Sewing in the Montessori Classroom: a practical life curriculum and I absolutely love it and I feel inspired. I have the Kindle version which is totally worth the nine dollars. I noticed there are a few sewing steps I have missed with Otis (such as threading a needle) which we are hoping to cover over the weekend in addition to a new sewing project. I'm also making a sewing basket/tray for both children to use - keeping some simple supplies accessible to inspire them to hand sew more often and approach some free sewing. I hope I can at least show our sewing basket/tray next week, but here are some supplies I have started to gather.
Otis drinking from his c-u-p.
Play dough in the evening.
Morning watering ritual and back-to-front pyjama pants! Check out our little pea plants growing!
I couldn't find these online but they are a great bargain in-store. This entire pack of upper case and number stamps for $2 at my local Officeworks. $2 total! Otis is just getting used to lower case but as soon as he saw these he wanted them - how could I say no. In Canberra we lived only five minutes from Officeworks - I miss it so! Although Brisbane Officeworks offers same day delivery which is good for online purchases.
Some of our lovely and delightful Chameleon books.
Where would you expect to find us on a long weekend and celebrating Queensland Week? We had a four day long weekend - the boys and my husband had Friday off and Monday/today is a public holiday. This may be our best winter ever. Today was so freaking beautiful!
Sunday. He's watching his winter crop very closely.
Love, love, love cooperative board games that even a four year old can play!
Love! Japanese Flying Fish.
Cooperative games are fantastic for Montessori children. We will be reviewing our favourites soon. Most we have found are for ages 4-7 years. Perfect for my two children to play together!
This is another photograph Caspar took of me giving Otis a story massage. I love the look on Otis' face. I can tell he is really feeling it.
Otis wearing his new Ramblers. We will be reviewing these on the blog once Otis has well and truly worn them in. What I can say for now is they are buttery soft, lovely bright colours and he has worn them everyday. Oh and I love the flexible sole - perfect for climbing and balancing.
So sorry for all the beach pics but I can't resist. It's our first year here. It's two days before winter and it's 27 degrees, tomorrow it's forecast to be 29 degrees (Celsius). Life is good!
Set One of the Miss Rhonda's Readers are now back in stock! You can see all of our Miss Rhonda's Reading materials here. We've just had a peek of the new Mini Books (pictured above) Five Incredibly Short Stories for Beginning Readers. We don't have these in the shop yet (they can be ordered in the US direct). They are small and the sweetest little books.
Caspar loves the maths materials at school. Montessori math materials amaze me every time - they just make so much sense and are so hands on and practical. This is the seven bead chain.
Pegging is hand strengthening!
We often change around our work/play spaces. The play stands are usually left clear for free/open play. At the moment this play stand is storing some beautiful puzzles. These puzzles are fantastic as with the biology puzzles Otis has been able to 'do' the puzzles for a long time but due to their design he is still learning from them - learning things such as life cycles and anatomy.
Do you know what this means?? Time for another pair of Soft Star Shoes!!!
iPhone photograph - At the beach. It's overcast but still 24-25 degrees! Love a Queensland Autumn.
iPhone photograph - Otis!
Otis exploring the structure of bean sprouts.
A dog Caspar made during a school parent led art session. The body is made from scrunched up newspaper wrapped in wool.
Otis exploring through touch.
I have been taking many more photographs on my iPhone lately - as is the one above. You can see more frequent posts on instagram here. Autumn in Brisbane is just lovely - we are still working outside everyday in sunshine!
Caspar - doing some practical life work. It's not his favourite work but it's an essential part of keeping pets.
Next step - we are finding the patterns in our environment!
Learning patterns with Otis. From My First Montessori Book of Patterns by Mary Da Prato.
Block play with vehicles.
I didn't have my camera with me today so I took some photographs on my phone. A couple of other photographs from today are on instagram. This is more of the Arctic pack that we have been given to review as with the photograph below. As a Montessori parent I usually try to give my children 'real' experiences - and this snow isn't real (who knew instant snow existed?). But Otis showed me why this was such a valuable experience. I'll explain more when I have a complete review finished.
A sneak peek of a product we have been sent to review! Available here.
More spinning top pictures.
Currently growing things in pots!
Thank you Lego for entertaining my children for hours and hours.
Otis is loving these magnetic letters. He love to sit here and play.
They are competing - they are both trying to make the tallest building. Caspar has age and experience on his side. Otis' hair is curly with the humidity.
Otis chopping vegetables for soup. He's trying really hard to cut the pieces small as I had requested.
Otis still learning how to handle this little one. I love this type of engagement, Caspar is teaching Otis how to catch, pick-up and hold the guinea pigs. The guinea pigs are not shy, they crawl all over him.
He's totally got this!
Otis peeling a carrot. Peeler from here.
What should we make??
Our butterflies are emerging.
Soft Star shoes - still going strong!
Our nature table now contains living creatures!
Experimenting... science in the kitchen! Hopefully it will be edible.
Caspar's crafty messyness.
Some days I don't get my camera out at all. This was taken yesterday of Otis preparing vegetables for dinner.
My big seven year-old cooking lunch. I wish I could get him to use the oven though, he doesn't like and won't go near it.
Beautiful tropical flowers blooming on our balcony. Perhaps I can entice the boys into parts of a flower study?
iPhone pics from today of Otis searching for crabs. He found a few
He has a good view!
Otis carefully placing the beeswax candles into the bowl.
Otis being serious and Caspar attempting to sneak away a marshmallow. I'm not sure if at this point Otis knew Caspar was there.
Bath day today! Seeing Caspar care for these little ones is pretty special.
I've been doing a little bit of this today. Download, print, laminate, trim.
Nature table delights.
An awesome pocket guide to Brisbane Backyard Insects. There was much delight as we identified a few bugs we had seen around and finally identified the Pasture Funnel Ants (which leave large piles of soil in the nest entrances) which have filled our front lawn. And Otis' insect hotel built and ready to go into the garden.
Otis loves this type of play. These are fantastic little Siku vehicles.
Learning fractions - a post on this is coming soon.
Christmas Day 2014! I hope yours is grand.
Otis under our tree on Christmas eve - in his new pyjamas, our new tradition.
The Southern Hemisphere's largest solar powered Christmas tree. It looks amazing in the evening.
More handmade Christmas decorations.
Earth looks so small.
Caspar doing some work on the Australian State Capital cities and their locations.
Below, the birds we have seen in our garden today. We love seeing them so close and hearing their calls.
Caspar is learning how to use/read/work from a full (adults) recipe. And showing his brother how it is done.
We have so many dragonflies in our garden. It wasn't long before we found this one to put under the microscope. The wings look amazing at x4. Caspar who has been using the microscope for years learnt a little bit more about magnification.
I've been waiting two weeks for these blossoms.
A new coffee table book - for the kids.
Our new composting system. Seriously though, these two eat almost all of our vegetable waste.
Today we received our Nature Play Passport for an amazing childhood - let's get this started!
I took this photo on my iPhone. Earlier in the week I took the boys to an animal rescue that takes abandoned and unwanted pets. Such a wonderful place - full of volunteers dedicated to animals. Two lessons for the boys - one about caring for animals the other about community service.
I've had Reverse Garbage bookmarked since we knew we were moving to Brisbane. My boys love making things from recycled materials and this place is perfect for that. I'm sure we will be back soon. Another picture from Reverse Garbage from Instagram here.
I'm now convinced that blocks should be stored in baskets not on shelves. Ours are used outside more than inside and these large baskets are perfect for the task.
During National Bird Week - why not paint with Australian Ochre and feathers? P.S This Australian Ochre is now available at HWM Shop here - enjoy!
Should we be packing? Hanging out with homeschooler and Montessori family Dream Before You. Why is it that we find locations like this only days before moving? This is the Murrumbidgee River at Uriarra.
Some at home work for Caspar. Lots of work in this. He's learning terms like length, width, weight. He knows these words but he's learning how to interpret and act on them. He's using terms like centimeters, kilograms, grams, and getting lots of practical life work.
Of course Otis (for the first time ever) wanted Asparagus for dinner! When he saw it at the market he ran over to it 'as-par-a-gus!'. Cards from here.
We are celebrating National Bird Week (20-26 October) by bird watching everyday. We are not counting birds but making note of the species we see (of those we know and can identify). Binoculars from here.
This is a photograph I took for the shop, however it's so pretty. A little food colouring in our little fine mist/spray bottles. Lovely! Thank you Belinda (if you are reading!) for the red food colouring!
Observing Otis' puzzle work. He started this one upside down matching the pieces before seeing/making sense of the whole picture.
Beautiful flowers picked fresh from our garden.
Cellophane in embroidery hoops for some colour in the study.
Some outdoor block play. The boys found a bag of dinosaurs while packing, they haven't used these in such a long time.
I think it's really important that kids don't read just kid's books. I'm putting together a list of our favourite nature books and this one is near the top. So, so beautiful.
Planets!! Ours are from here.
I knew it wouldn't take him long to start using the alphabet puzzle letters to form words.
Our bird feeder also housing a spider or two.
Celebrating the long weekend with sparklers!
Inside our cleaning caddy and below on the shelf.
Caspar learning the origins of the names of the days of the week. I learnt a few things too!
This is another puzzle that Otis is really into at the moment. There is a series of them, different images but same number of pieces etc. I'm considering if it's worth buying more in the series or if it's this particular 'airport' puzzle that he likes.
I know I have mentioned this before, this is maths in practice. Caspar used an algorithm to make this pattern.
Experimenting with wind?
Otis with a new puzzle - possibly the most awesome puzzle ever. I've taken a few pics I'll try and post tomorrow!
Happy kids! The trees and grass are so beautifully green. And Caspar has his field guide in his hand.
I'm working side by side with Otis to allow him to observe me kneading the pasta dough.
Trust a three year old with a tray of water and glasses?
Caspar has been interested in volcanoes, not the baking soda and vinegar kind of interest but "what are the coordinates for Mt Vesuvius" kind of interest. This is a diorama he is working on - he's attaching movable fireballs.
Finally there are a few blossoms to fill vases.
Otis in the garden with his dad.
I am not a winter person and have really struggled through Canberra's winter. We've had some extra stress with finding a new house and organising travel and a new school for the boys. A couple of weeks ago I tried a juice detox and it was amazing. I went through Pressed Juices who deliver the juices daily. The flavours were amazing and I absolutely recommend them! Each juice is numbered so you know which one to take in order. It was also really tough for the first two days but so worth it. I feel like it reset my mind and body - getting ready for the warmer months. After my detox I was referred to The Fix which is located locally. Let me know if you have tried it!
Otis made Caspar a fruit salad. It was a surprise for Caspar when he returned home from soccer. Such a thoughtful gift. Apple, banana, strawberry and passion fruit.
Otis is in the sensitive period for practical life. Just try and stop him.
I get asked a lot about materials/toys that young children and toddlers can use by themselves that is entertaining (captures their attention) and is educational. Here are two that Otis loves. Colorino (pictured above and is suitable for children from 2 years) and Colorama (pictured below for children from three years - the child can use independently but is also a fun game for two or more people).
Otis painting after school.
Caspar using leaf rubbing plates. These come out sooo well!!
We have updated our Matching and Language Sets - Australian Native Birds. The cards are now professionally printed on glossy 350 gsm card. We had to make a large print run so if you are interested in our Matching and Language Card sets - now is the time.
Otis being gentle.
We can highly recommend Geronimo Stilton. I'm finding it really difficult to find books at Caspar's reading level that are engaging for him.
Caspar's Zucchini and Carrot Slice going into the oven.
We have a new small lock box.
Otis enjoying some hole punching.
Some colour mixing while I prepare dinner.
Otis sweeping leaves. Oh there are always so many!
Caspar traced and cut out some geomatric solids. Inspiration found here.
Otis is learning how to use the scales/bucket balance. He has moved this little activity from the study to his bedroom.
I think there are six or seven apples in this set. Large to small apples.
Caspar (6 yrs) is almost obsessed with board games. His latest interest is in Battleships. He has actaully taught Otis to play which is fantastic for number and letter recognition.
Caspar has been using some online resources to help with his drawing. These printouts were fantastic. I would love some recommendations on children's sketch/how to draw books for realistic images, people and animals.
We have shared with Caspar and Otis that we will be moving (even though we still don't have a set date). Caspar has been researching our new city.
Otis finger painting.
Now this is a great practical life/maths activity. Caspar is counting coins, he isn't counting the number of coins but their total monetary worth.
Both boys have been enjoying block play before bed. Block play for them now almost always involves scenery or interaction with people/role play.
Look - I'm a bridge!
A totally out of focus shot of Otis walking the line.
It's not often I have one-on-one time with Caspar but we are hoping to make this hike a regular occurrence. It was fantastic and the first time I've taken Caspar out where I have got a work out too. Just what we needed.
What we are reading. I am reading What on Earth am I Here For? By Rick Warren. I'm not particularly religious however I like to think we all have a purpose. The author recommends reading a chapter (each chapter is only a couple of pages) a day. Wow, it's been interesting.
Caspar (not for the first time) has wanted to learn to knit. We've had Kids Knitting by Melanie Falick for a while and although I'm sure it's recommended for an older age group it is a great starting point for children and learner adults alike.
Caspar (6) has joined a Rubik's Cube Club at school. What fun! I love how the parent who coordinates the group has put the child's name on all the cubes. Too cute. Caspar loves it much more than I expected and it's much more mathematical than I expected!!
Otis' easel has been outside for the last few months. It's beautiful to be painting outside. Rascal (our dog) has not yet put his face or paw in the paint but I am sure it will happen. He has stolen a painting or two off the easel when Otis wasn't looking!
Otis sorting and learning the names of dried beans. I have a little giveaway at the shop for the sorting tray here.
We are at the end of the school holidays. During the holidays Caspar (6yrs) completed two research projects. When he researches something now I completely let him go. I make no suggestions, I don't prompt, I don't look for or find resources. I completely let him go. I only provide help if he asks for it - which is usually for spelling. His first project was on where and how Lego is made. This was so interesting! His second was about hermit crabs. He wanted to know more about them. Here he is measuring 'Sheldon'.
Otis makes banana snack for friends. This is a lovely way for a young child to participate and a nice way to greet guests.
We love these crochet eggs a Easter. They are from Etsy from a couple of years ago. They are suitable for babies - they enjoy the texture and even adults can't help but to pick them up.
Although Otis cannot read I've found it useful to label the little bottles we use in the bathroom - considering all the solutions look similar. Transferring soap, shampoo and bubble bath into little bottles was the best idea we used a few years This allows littles ones especially toddlers to use the bottles without the fear they will empty an entire large bottle - which would previously happen frequently.
Otis pasting in his journal.
Contrast on our kitchen table. Beautiful roses from our neighbour and the rest of the table covered in Lego.
Otis has just started to get into making! Making things from our making (recycling/construction) box. Caspar was working at the table on his Lego and Otis spontaneously pulled together these materials to make a trumpet! I put down the paper and placemat and helped to pour the paint. He did the rest.
We are still loving these architectural prints on the wall in the study.
Otis with his threading (straw) bracelet that he made at school.
This week we've had a plumber and a repair man come to our house. We see the postman almost daily. The mechanic occassionally. Firefighters often as we pass the fire station. We've been discussing the people in our neighbourhood.
At Caspar's last Little Athletics meet Otis raced in the Toddler Race. Every toddler took home a tshirt. Thank you Queanbeyan Llittle Atheltics. P.S It was my first time to Queanbeyan!
Otis washing the dishes. He is wearing a terry cloth apron from Goose Designs here.
Earth is also a sphere.
Stacking geometric solids.
Otis doing an air/land/water activity.
One of Caspar's giant sunflowers. Although it's started to wilt we haven't cut it as we love seeing the bees enjoy it.
Merry Christmas! Christmas for us is hot weather, seafood (although I cooked turkey and pavlova Christmas Eve) and the slip 'n' slide.
Studying Cicadas and their cast skins. Found on a nature walk around the National Carillon which is on it's own little island. As fascinating place even without the Cicadas.
Caspar's International Space Station.
After getting dressed Otis finds a comfortable place for some reading.
I really miss blogging regularly. I hope I can get back to it soon. Today Otis used the sand tray for the first time.
At six (years old) I'm finally becoming comfortable with Caspar's use of technology. I noticed children using this application in the Cycle Two (Montessori) classroom and I couldn't wait to check it out for myself. As the teacher told me 'the only ethical frog dissection'. Wow, it's amazing and can be taught on our lounge room floor. This one is narrated and I love the voice - just like a science professor, you can learn more about it here.
This might be a bit too much for some adults and some children, however it will also appeal to many children ready or interested in this area of study.
Love Canberra and it's National institutions.
We recently swapped materials! These lovely cards are from Free Spirit Kids.
A pack of large paint brushes provides inspiration for some painting.
Otis has been spending some time working with shells. Listening, feeling, observing. Sorting, counting. They are so beautiful to work with.
The boys getting some love and attention from their Grandparents.
Otis matching the sound (from the CD) to the picture. He loves to hear the fire engine, the owl and the flushing toilet.
Caspar looking very anxious before his puppy's first health check. Turns out we have one very healthy pup!
Otis asked for an egg for breakfast. Peel. Slice and eat.
More magnet work.
In our garden. Bees. Yellow and lavender.
And Caspar's sunflower seeds are starting to grow.
A sneak peak of one of the books Otis is currently reading. Beautiful isn't it?
Otis takes his barn outside, playing very quietly.
Awesome, Colourful Rainbow Blocks.
Otis partakes in a spot of modelling! He loved every minute.
Shop business cards. Each set has a different quote.
Otis at 30 months!
Caspar's spring flower.
Today while at our 'quiet place' I really focused on Otis's hands and feet. Observing what he touched. Touching it also so I knew how it felt, so I would experience the same textures. We had a really beautiful day.
Otis using clay.
There are two trays on Otis' art shelf that have been there forever and he uses them so much I don't want to rotate them. Gluing/pasting and stamps.
A few more pictures of Otis and his 'practical life' work from today.
I love having Caspar's science experiments in the kitchen. This one is 'Striped Celery Snack: How Water Moves Up Stems'. He found it in Science Experiments You Can Eat and it shows how the water moves up through the xylem. The best thing about this book is Caspar can find the experiment himself. If it was an idea I had he probably wouldn't be as interested.
Caspar and Otis on the jumping castle at Floriade. They had the jumping castle and slide to themselves. Otis didn't go down the slide here, he backed out and went down the stairs.
Recent photographs of Otis' butterfly garden. If the plants continue to grow I will continue to take photographs. I think these would look lovely in a photograph book, showing Otis the stages from him planting the seeds to the actual plants/flowers.
The boys and I have been unwell this week so there has been lots of quiet time and rest. Here Otis is enjoying some fruit matching cards. I made these cards for Caspar so it's great to be able to get them out for Otis to use.
Otis is enjoying cutting this soft banana with a serrated knife.
There has been over watering and re-digging but much to our excitement (and possibly surprise) Otis's butterfly garden has started to grow, the seeds have sprouted.
The colour and light in this photograph is a bit crazy but the bokeh is real. Otis is using the outdoor black board - it's nailed to our fence just above the sandpit.
A busy but beautiful kitchen table.
Otis - doing his own thing. Sweeping the leaves and then dumping them.
Caspar having fun in the tree at a friend's house.
Caspar jumping out of the treehouse onto the trampoline.
Caspar in the treehouse with a 3.30pm sun.
Otis is so much like his brother and they are both like their dad. Happy Fathers Day! Welcome September and hello Spring.
Caspar is planting Sunflower seeds throughout our garden beds.
Otis smelling the wonderful wattle that now fills our city. Come spring and Canberra is full of bright yellow bursts of wattle.
After reading about this application on Swiss Miss, then on Design Mom, I down loaded it for Caspar. The Human Body by Tinybop is really an application I would recommend. I would say for five years and up for children with already a good knowledge of the human body.
The boys on their way to a Batman Birthday Party! We only had one Batman costume so Otis settled for being a knight.
Another shot of Caspar researching.
Signs of spring!
Otis is currently very interested in eggs. He asked to keep some in his fridge - which I initially thought was a good idea. Then he dropped two raw eggs on the floor. He also peeled, sliced and ate three (once cooked of course!).
Some photographs from our nature walk today. It was cold but sunny.
No post tonight as I'm having a few technical difficulties (I've already spent a couple of hours cleaning up my hard drive!). Tomorrow, all things going well, my post will be about the child in the second plane of development. Here the boys are enjoying some beautiful clay. Otis does what he always does with playdough - sticks in craft sticks, match sticks and buttons. Caspar has made some pinch bowls. You can see how dark it is in our house, I'm ready for Spring!
Some new additions to the aquarium. Otis likes to sit and watch. Caspar drew a Hermit Crab and put it on the wall. We realised we don't know how many legs a Hermit Crab has. Another research idea!
Otis loves cutting so we keep a cutting tray out. By the end of the day he has always cut all the strips.
Caspar is entranced by photography on the iPad.
Otis is a little obsessed with band-aids right now! This shows that Montessori in the home doesn't need to be expensive, the dustpan and brush Otis is using cost $2.
Otis cutting snack. He's now wearing his brother's apron.
Over the weekend Caspar used the hot glue gun by himself for the first time. He was really hesitant but handled it easily. The hot glue gun adds another dimension to Caspar's making that is hard to achieve by other means. That strong hold especially for solid and heavy items like shells, twigs and seedpods.
Last night the boys made their own dinner. I helped to boil the water for the pasta. The boys (mainly Caspar) peeled and grated the carrot, grated cheese, washed and cut the broccoli. When the pasta was cooked and drained they mixed it in with the vegetables and cheese along with a little olive oil. Child made raw vegetable pasta!
I love the bits of paper both boys are bringing home from school. Caspar is only five, I love that he can do multiplication - thanks to Montessori!
Today after lunch with a friend we visited the nearby playground.
This is from yesterday. This is work I found Otis doing on the window sill. Perhaps he was drawn to the light and warmth coming through the window. Our days have been really cold and wet. I haven't taken my camera out for this reason and the house has felt so dark. Perhaps today I'll take my camera out.
Otis and I made pizza for dinner. It was hard not to fix his with one big pile of cheese in the centre, I gently tried to show him how to spread it out. Otis had another try at grating, it's generally something I would leave until he is a bit older but he wants to help so much.
I'm about to update our what we are reading page. Here are three new books that we are reading. The Listening Walk is a classic and Otis loves it. Highly recommended for toddlers who love to listen.
This air plant sits on our kitchen table and is therefore looked at closely everyday. Now much to our excitement it's flowering.
Painting with found things. Everything was found in Caspar's making box. Cellophane, foil, lids, paper rolls, netting, string, egg cartons and corrugated card. Great for experiencing different textures and different sounds when painting. We were painting on the floor too, we put down some butchers paper first - so much easier for big painting projects.
Washing the floor. I give him his own little bucket, it only has an inch or so of water in it. Often he will wear his rain boots while doing this which helps to prevent slips.
Otis could you come and wash some potatoes please? He uses a small mushroom brush to clean the potatoes, it's the perfect size for those little hands.
What is important about this from a Montessori perspective is that this isn't an activity set up for the child, we are preparing a meal and the potatoes actually need to be cleaned. I could and have set this up at the kitchen sink but there wasn't enough clear space, plus it's nice for him to spend time working on it at his level/child sized table.
Otis is in charge of the compost. This is our bokashi bin.
The activity/photo of the day album can be seen here. Click on the individual photograph for the description.