My four-year-old is obsessed with addition. Out of nowhere, he will start quizzing me "what's 4 plus 4?" and before I can answer "what's 3 plus 5?". If your child attends a Montessori school they may use the Montessori Addition Strip Board. And there are tons of ways we can practice addition in everyday life. We can practice addition with our children when shopping "we have two oranges, if we get two more how many do we have?", when putting away the shopping, when washing, playing shops, playing with blocks, on nature walks and so much more. Addition is a... Read more →


We've been playing with a new wooden marble run (AU here). It's a fantastic marble run that is recommended for children 36months+. As soon as we unpacked it I was taken back by the play guide. It is way too advanced for my child and too advanced for most children under the age of 7-10yrs. It made me think about how with play, we often set our children up for failure. This play guide is not developmentally appropriate for my child. Although it shows young children in the photographs. If we as adults build the marble run as shown in... Read more →


"Some objects are rapidly mass-produced by press or machine and are exactly alike. Others are made slowly by hand, and each is different from the other. The value of handmade objects is that each carries the individual imprint of the artist who created it." - Maria Montessori, The Child in the Family. Today is Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. ❄️ Making candles is a lovely way to celebrate Winter Solstice and it's also a fantastic warming, practical life activity. Part of this practical life activity is simply learning the process of how to make candles. We melt the wax,... Read more →


Have you thought about putting up a Street Library or a Little Free Library? We've had our Street Library in since October 2020. Being a Street Librarian has been rewarding and I encourage you to consider it. Studies have shown the more books in a child’s home, the better their educational outcome. I hope the same can be applied to books in the neighbourhood, perhaps Street Libraries can influence neighbourhood educational outcomes? There are social reasons to install a Street Library too. Neighbours and passersby will often stop and chat while visiting the Library, some will sit and read at... Read more →


Children's books have become more inclusive in terms of gender, ethnicity, hair colour and skin colour. But I feel people in many children's books still look 'perfect' with smooth complexions and they overall look homogeneous, monomorphic and uniform. I first borrowed Bodies are Cool (worldwide here) from the Waverley Library. They have a wonderful range of children's picture books. I loved Bodies are Cool so much that I ordered a copy for us to keep. Bodies are Cool has a simple storyline, that all bodies are cool. It features groups of people in different settings. The people illustrated have various... Read more →


Are you looking for free or low-cost science materials for your children to use at home? Last year we discovered the Spark! and Little Spark! Discovery Boxes (AU). The Spark! Discovery Boxes are for children 8-12 years+, and the Little Spark! Discovery Boxes are for children 3-5 years+. At our local Libraries (Randwick, NSW) the Spark! Discovery Boxes can be loaned using our standard library card (free). The Little Spark! Discovery Boxes require a Toy Library membership (low-cost, free for those with relevant concession cards). But check with your local library first for their conditions, if they don't have any... Read more →


Image: Joy Kids (AU) I have written many articles about how we store children's books. In a Montessori home, we want our children's books to be easily accessible but also ordered and presented in a way that is attractive to the child. For a young child, we may put books in a basket or in a forward-facing bookshelf. You can read my recommendations on forward-facing bookshelves at How We Store and Display Children's Books - at 2-3yrs. By the time the child is 4 to 5 years old, maybe earlier, they are wanting access to many, many more books and... Read more →


Today I'm sharing six art activities that we've tried recently. We have art shelves which are open to my preschooler, but these are specific activities presented on a tray for us to work on together. The first two are based on books, there are a few activities included that also involve some science!! Water Colour Painting with Drop - Have you read Drop: An Adventure through the Water Cycle by Emily Kate Moon? It's a fantastic picture book about the water cycle. The publisher recommends for 4-8yrs, but I'd recommend from 3 years+. I love that this activity combines reading,... Read more →


When I wrote the article The Best Libraries in Sydney for Children, I knew there were a couple of libraries missing that I was yet to visit. The Woollahra Library in Double Bay was one of them. This is a large library with an amazing children's section and it has to be the greenest library in Sydney. 🪴📚❤️ Above are stairs that double as seating with green leaves cascading down. This green wall includes the return chutes!! 💚 Many libraries lack natural light. This library has lots of natural light but must also use grow lights or similar to support... Read more →


Soft Play Shapes are one of the larger play items that are popping up in the homes of Montessori families, along with Pikler Triangles they are extremely popular. Play items that promote gross motor skills indoors have been valuable in the last two years with most children experiencing lockdown or isolation periods at home. Soft Play Shapes are extremely versatile, they can be used for: building lifting, carrying stacking knocking over crawling up rolling down, tumbling down or over balancing creating an obstacle course sitting or lying on Some of the Soft Play Shapes we've noticed include: Play Sets at... Read more →


There are a lot of books that can help prepare your child for significant events like going to the doctor or dentist. However, there are very few books that are non-commercial (without licensed characters) and that have real, photographic, relatable images, that would be preferred by many Montessori parents. I recently discovered this Toddler Prep series, that uses real images and a variety of children. Toddler Prep books can help children of all ages prepare for unfamiliar environments, sounds, equipment and people, strange noises, waiting, lining up and being touched by medical professionals. The Toddler Prep books walk the reader... Read more →


We've been doing a ton of art lately, more than cooking or other practical life activities. I love to pair a book and an art activity, this week we tried two art activities with Leo Lionni books! ❤️ Pairing the two helps to create a connection between the child and the book and it makes us look deeper into the story. Here are six art trays that we've enjoyed. Remember to follow your child including their interests, developmental needs and skill level. These activities don't need to be presented on a tray. We can put them on our art table... Read more →


If you are looking for a new Montessori style table and chair for your child, I recommend taking a look on Etsy. I've never had a problem shopping with Etsy and I know that I am supporting small businesses. I love that I can search by location and find local suppliers. As always with ordering furniture for your child remember to double-check all measurements including seat and table heights. Above is the Montessori Table and Chair Set for Toddlers (Canada). It could be used for activities or as a weaning table. This table has raised edges to prevent items from... Read more →


Are you looking for something new to bake with your child? Here are three things I make with my child (pictured here at 3 and 4 years old) using Filo/Phyllo pastry. Filo/Phyllo pastry can be crumbly and flaky so we need to embrace the messy parts and acknowledge with the child that the pastry will tear. We use premade fresh pastry from the supermarket. All of these recipes can be adapted depending on your likes and dislikes. The processes I've listed can be adapted to the age and skill of the child. Sometimes my children will stay with me for... Read more →


If you have a lot of model animals at home, this might be a fantastic sorting activity for you to try! Sorting Nocturnal and Diurnal Animals. We can use whatever model animals we have at home, plastic, wooden or stuffed animals, we use mostly Schleich. I made up and printed two labels, one for Nocturnal (night-time) and one for Diurnal (day-time). We could also add or discuss Crepuscular animals (mainly active at dawn and dusk). The child simply sorts the animals into the two categories. For younger children, we could use fewer animals and for older children, we could add... Read more →