I have been working on our Montessori playroom for MONTHS! I did the bedroom first but the downstairs area took awhile. It took time finding a shelf and desk. I finally bought the shelf at www.alisonsmontessori.com. I found the Ikea desk and chairs at a consignment sale. We have been doing activities off the shelf every day now! Baby B (18 months) loves it and it is so easy to keep neat and clean. All other activities and toys are stored away and rotated during the night when he’s sleeping. On the shelf we currently have: a velcro bag filled with ping pong balls, a tray of wooden leaves and small pumpkins, two bottles that are filled with lava lamp oil and have sparkles and beads inside (sealed closed), a small etchy sketchy, a 1/2 size egg carton filled with pom poms, a puzzle, a wooden airplane, a tray with paper and a crayon, a stack of plastic cups, and a basket with colored pipe cleaners (he stick them through the holes). I also put out a felt board with three fish and the numbers “1” “2” and “3”. Another favorite is the clean-up basket where I keep a small broom, cloths, sponge, and spray bottle with water. We practice cleaning up together after he eats at his table, although the dogs get most of it. He also enjoys his new (used) rocker set up next to his basket of books. He immediately grabbed a book and started reading while he rocked (it lasted about 2 minutes – but that’s okay!). We have been working on eating at the small table while fully set. Usually everything goes okay although it’s messy. He loves to practice cutting and using the spoon and fork. The dogs get their fair share of the meal, which they worked very hard for. Now we just need to tackle potty training! We just started this week 🙂
September has flown by and it’s almost October! I love the cool weather, the colorful leaves, and pumpkins on doorsteps. And don’t forget about pumpkin spice soy chai lattes! Baby B (18 months) enjoyed apple picking but was not much help after he discovered he could eat the apples. Now he enjoys holding and eating his own whole apple (not cut up). Can’t wait to go pumpkin picking this month. Another favorite activity is going to the airport overlook with Daddy. Baby B wakes up in the morning making airplane noises and pointing to the sky. I guess he dreams about airplanes. Baby B also enjoyed a visit from the Grandparents this month. He met a firefighter and sat on fire truck. He did NOT want to get down. We are moving along with creating a Montessori atmosphere at home. I purchased a small Ikea kids’ table with chairs at a consignment sale and some shelves online. Now I just need to assemble the shelves. I have mountain (I kid you not) of clean clothes waiting to be folded on the guest bed. The cat has slept there the last two nights as the pile grew bigger. Hey, at least they are clean! I enjoy writing “to do” lists and worked up a new one last night. I had a list for “doula” work, “legal” work, “nonprofit/health law issues”, “home” work, and “mommy” stuff. My husband commented that the amount of work listed could employ 3 1/2 people. Sound familiar? 🙂
I’m slowly incorporating Montessori into our home! It’s sort of addicting! It’s so much fun that I’m almost obsessed with finding more activities. There are moms out there doing some pretty cool things with their kids. You can find neat DIY ideas on Pinterest, YouTube and WordPress – pretty much everywhere. Moms love to share ideas :). Here are just a few of my recent favorites: Racheous, Jady, MahoganyHomemaker, Pinterest searches. So, what are we up to? This past week has been an explosion of words. Baby B is 16 months old and this week I have really started to hear a few words clearly. This week I heard “water”, “itchy”, “out”, “kitty”, “doggie”, “daddy”, “mama” and “moo”. Everything before sounded like “dadadada”. He could identify lots of things but I think now he’s getting the hang of language. I think using sign language helped but that’s another topic.
Since Baby B is working on words, I created a word display and a word basket. All things I’ve seen other at-home Montessori moms doing. Very cool. I made a place that he could easily see while playing and displayed the word “cow“. He says “moo” for cow. After I made the display, we went over it together. 1.) I had the word written out on a dry erase board. 2.) I spelled out cow with magnets. 3.) I put up a picture of a cow. 4.) I displayed a plastic toy cow. 5.) I let our dog stand in the picture because he looks like a small, baby cow (seriously). Baby B loved it! Later when we were talking about a cow he ran over to the display and yelled “moo!” We are still working on saying cow but that will come. As long as he loves learning, I’m in! I also created a word basket (sorry no picture). I put a few objects in the basket that were common and around the house. I used a cup, ball, rock and small foam bird. We sat on a pillow and I showed him each object while I said the word slowly. He played with them and put them in his mouth. Then I asked him to find each object I named and hand it to me. Good time to practice please and thank you. As you can see, the game can be expanded very easily. You could talk about colors, numbers, stories and matching. There are many possibilities.
We are experimenting with homemade play dough this week. I made a batch of whole wheat play dough. The recipe was from Elizabeth G. Hainstock’s “Teaching Montessori in the Home.” That book has lots of great activity ideas. I borrowed it from the library along with “Teach Me To Do It Myself” by Maja Pitamic.
Play Dough (Clay) pg 84
3 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 1 cup water (with coloring), and 1 T oil
I used whole wheat flour and it turn out fine. Baby B liked to smash it and pull it apart. I gave him a small, wooden hammer to pound it. We also practiced pounding with our hands. I rolled it into long snake-like strips and let him practice cutting with a toddler knife. Today I saw him cutting his dinner food so I think it helped! We also did finger painting with Veggie Baby Finger Paint by Wee Can Too. I bought this at The Baby Grocery Store along with several healthy snacks. He loved finger painting and stayed at it much longer than he does with crayons. He didn’t even try and eat it! Amazing. 🙂