Montessori at home: Days of the week and simple addition

montessori at home days of the week

So it's been a very long while since I've posted one of these, so today I'm going to do two! 

Ever since we bought Theo some days of the weeks pants and socks he's been obsessed with asking what day it is and trying to figure out the order so I thought it would be a good idea to practice with him. He's getting really good at recognising letters to and learning to read and sound them out so this was a pretty good exercise in phonics and reading too. It's a pretty simple game, and could obviously just be used as a matching game with the colours for younger children too. 

I just asked him to find the matching stick and then we sounded out the letters and talked about what came next! 

montessori at home days of the week
montessori at home days of the week
montessori at home days of the week

Theo's also very into counting. He loves counting everything, from people to paving slabs to food to toys etc. We showed him how to add two values together by using objets to count and then add them altogether so I thought I'd try it with marbles and different figures written on the cards. He picked two values at random and then counted out each separate value into a bowl and then we added them together at the end. When we found our answer we searched for the correct number card. 

montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition

Montessori at home: Days of the week and simple addition

montessori at home days of the week

So it's been a very long while since I've posted one of these, so today I'm going to do two! 

Ever since we bought Theo some days of the weeks pants and socks he's been obsessed with asking what day it is and trying to figure out the order so I thought it would be a good idea to practice with him. He's getting really good at recognising letters to and learning to read and sound them out so this was a pretty good exercise in phonics and reading too. It's a pretty simple game, and could obviously just be used as a matching game with the colours for younger children too. 

I just asked him to find the matching stick and then we sounded out the letters and talked about what came next! 

montessori at home days of the week
montessori at home days of the week
montessori at home days of the week

Theo's also very into counting. He loves counting everything, from people to paving slabs to food to toys etc. We showed him how to add two values together by using objets to count and then add them altogether so I thought I'd try it with marbles and different figures written on the cards. He picked two values at random and then counted out each separate value into a bowl and then we added them together at the end. When we found our answer we searched for the correct number card. 

montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition
montessori at home counting and addition

Tips for managing difficult behaviour in toddlers and preschoolers

 photo IMG_2872_zpsymlukpwy.jpg

It's been quiet over here for the past week or so mainly because we've been battling illness's and trying to make the most of our time together. But I feel like I've also been drowning in a bit of behaviour related stress.

Now long time readers of this blog will know that we've had our fair share of behaviour drama with Theo, but I'm happy to say that in the last year he's come on hugely with his social behaviour towards other children, thanks to a great nursery setting and key person, a paediatrician and lots of hard work. He's shown that he can be incredibly kind, patient, fun and caring and has lots of friends as a result. We're still working on things of course, but most are just typical developmental behaviours of his age, and as much as people like to think - no child is perfect! I'm sure we don't hear half of what our little darlings get up to at nursery and even if your child isn't the one doing the hurting there's plenty of things that they may do that isn't as obvious but nonetheless not acceptable. Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked.

So we've been struggling a little bit. Since Theo turned four he's gained this new confidence and shall I say arrogance, in where he feels he knows best about EVERYTHING. We've been battling with lots of egocentric behaviour, which I know is normal at this stage, but its hard regardless! He has moments of good listening, but most of the time it seems as though he's deliberately going out of his way to defy me or do the exact opposite of what I've asked him to do. I know he's just testing boundaries, and trying to assert his own ideas and independence, but he just doesn't seem to understand that I'm saying things for a reason. It's like he needs to test everything to the limit just so he knows what that limit is.

Now I don't want to start squashing that inquisitiveness, independence and strong will, but my god it's hard to get through the day sometimes without it feeling like a battle. But its not just him who needs to remember certain ways of behaving, it's me too. I attended a workshop on behaviour today and found it really insightful and encouraging. I feel like I know all the principles of how to deal with difficult situations, but it's just remembering them and not falling back into bad habits that is important. So I thought I'd share with you some of the points I found particularly fitting! 

 photo IMG_2680_zpshxpii6hl.jpg


Naming feelings: Helping your child identify their feelings and how an incident made them feel. It's important for the adult to be able to name their feelings too, in response to an action. For example if a child is cross because another child is playing with what they want: "It's ok to feel cross but we need to remember to use our words and wait our turn" or "that made me feel sad when you didn't listen/ use gentle hands" "that made me feel worried because..."

Don’t say don’t : Every time we say don't do something, you are highlighting the action you don't want them to do so that is what the child hears. For example: "don't jump on the sofa" child hears "jump on the sofa". You need to give an instruction of what you would like them to do, not what you wouldn't like them to do! Example: "We need to sit on our bottoms on the sofa, trampolines are for jumping" or "don't hit the baby" - "we need to use our gentle hands with the baby". This all helps promoting positive language instead of negative.

Give choices and consequences : If a child is resisting an instruction sometimes it is helpful to give choices, so they still feel like they are in control of their actions and making their own decisions. For example at tidy up time "would you like to tidy the cars or the blocks first" or when eating "you can eat your peas or carrots" then sometimes a consequence (that you can actually follow through on!) is a good. "If you eat your peas or carrots then you can have dessert

Use stop instead of no : If your chid is doing something unsafe or something you don't want them to do, using the clear instruction of STOP is much more effective than saying no. Stop is also neutral and gives a clear instruction of what you would like them to listen to, whereas no can mean a great many things and could be confusing to the child. It's also good to encourage your child to use "stop" when socialising with other children. 

Ignore bad behaviour : Sometimes bad behaviour is just a cry for attention, and once they know if they do something unacceptable and still get attention then, for them that tactic works. A way to encourage good behaviour is to concentrate on the other child, praising the good behaviour and if in a situation where the other child may have been hurt, first checking that they are ok. Forcing a child to instantly say sorry and focussing all your attention on the bad behaviour lacks empathy, and the sorry's are empty. It's good to show how empathy is really important and hopefully the child will make the link and understand how their actions effect others. Of course after checking the other child then it would be a good time to explain the behaviour, how it made you and the other child feel, give them a chance to name their own feelings and use positive language and encourage your child to use appropriate behaviour.  

Redirecting social behaviour : When going through developmental stages children learn new skills and are constantly trying out new actions. For example pushing, running, biting and spitting may all be considered bad behaviour in a social situation, but when redirected they can be put to different uses. For example building a tower and pushing it over, running outside, biting food and spitting out toothpaste. They are all natural actions for children, they just need to be used in the right places! 

Don’t label the child, label the behaviour : It's important not to label the child as bad or naughty, but instead label the behaviour which they are displaying. The same goes for good behaviour, and children need validation as to understand what exactly they did was good or bad. Instead of saying "You were a good girl today" say "I really liked the way you listened to me in the supermarket, that was good behaviour" or "that was really kind when you shared your toys". But it's important not to compare behaviour of other children "that was really good listening, unlike so and so"

Let tantrums happen : However embarrassing it may be to be the parent of a screaming child in a public place, mostly it is best just to let it run its course. Trying to reason with a child when they are extremely upset or cross is just going to escalate their mood and in turn make you lose you patience. You can reassure the child that you are there for them when they feel ready to talk about it and the way they feel. Give them space and let them come to you when they are totally ready. 

Time outs : Giving a child a safe spot where they know they can go to when they feel like they need somewhere to calm down or have some space is really important. It may be just a favourite cushion, or a quiet corner. This shouldn't be forced but more encouraged and should certainly not be a 'naughty step'. Again they should be able to stay there as long as they need to, and come back when they are ready, without interruption. Sometimes the child may need a reassuring hug to calm them if sitting on their own doesn't work, or someone sitting or standing close by or holding their hand. When a child is cross or upset trying to talk to them or reason isn't going to work as their emotions and thoughts are all over the place, the same with adults! For the child, after a time they may be able to assess their feelings on their own and know when they need to take themselves out of a situation to calm down. 


I'm no parenting expert, but I think we've had to work our way through a fair amount of problems and difficulties, and I feel like most of this knowledge is there, but it's just being able to remember to use it correctly! These tips are ones that I have gained from meetings and talking to health care and childcare professionals, but I do understand what works for one family may not work for everyone. It's about taking the points that speak to you and putting them into practice! I hope you find them as useful as I do! 

Tips for managing difficult behaviour in toddlers and preschoolers

 photo IMG_2872_zpsymlukpwy.jpg

It's been quiet over here for the past week or so mainly because we've been battling illness's and trying to make the most of our time together. But I feel like I've also been drowning in a bit of behaviour related stress.

Now long time readers of this blog will know that we've had our fair share of behaviour drama with Theo, but I'm happy to say that in the last year he's come on hugely with his social behaviour towards other children, thanks to a great nursery setting and key person, a paediatrician and lots of hard work. He's shown that he can be incredibly kind, patient, fun and caring and has lots of friends as a result. We're still working on things of course, but most are just typical developmental behaviours of his age, and as much as people like to think - no child is perfect! I'm sure we don't hear half of what our little darlings get up to at nursery and even if your child isn't the one doing the hurting there's plenty of things that they may do that isn't as obvious but nonetheless not acceptable. Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked.

So we've been struggling a little bit. Since Theo turned four he's gained this new confidence and shall I say arrogance, in where he feels he knows best about EVERYTHING. We've been battling with lots of egocentric behaviour, which I know is normal at this stage, but its hard regardless! He has moments of good listening, but most of the time it seems as though he's deliberately going out of his way to defy me or do the exact opposite of what I've asked him to do. I know he's just testing boundaries, and trying to assert his own ideas and independence, but he just doesn't seem to understand that I'm saying things for a reason. It's like he needs to test everything to the limit just so he knows what that limit is.

Now I don't want to start squashing that inquisitiveness, independence and strong will, but my god it's hard to get through the day sometimes without it feeling like a battle. But its not just him who needs to remember certain ways of behaving, it's me too. I attended a workshop on behaviour today and found it really insightful and encouraging. I feel like I know all the principles of how to deal with difficult situations, but it's just remembering them and not falling back into bad habits that is important. So I thought I'd share with you some of the points I found particularly fitting! 

 photo IMG_2680_zpshxpii6hl.jpg


Naming feelings: Helping your child identify their feelings and how an incident made them feel. It's important for the adult to be able to name their feelings too, in response to an action. For example if a child is cross because another child is playing with what they want: "It's ok to feel cross but we need to remember to use our words and wait our turn" or "that made me feel sad when you didn't listen/ use gentle hands" "that made me feel worried because..."

Don’t say don’t : Every time we say don't do something, you are highlighting the action you don't want them to do so that is what the child hears. For example: "don't jump on the sofa" child hears "jump on the sofa". You need to give an instruction of what you would like them to do, not what you wouldn't like them to do! Example: "We need to sit on our bottoms on the sofa, trampolines are for jumping" or "don't hit the baby" - "we need to use our gentle hands with the baby". This all helps promoting positive language instead of negative.

Give choices and consequences : If a child is resisting an instruction sometimes it is helpful to give choices, so they still feel like they are in control of their actions and making their own decisions. For example at tidy up time "would you like to tidy the cars or the blocks first" or when eating "you can eat your peas or carrots" then sometimes a consequence (that you can actually follow through on!) is a good. "If you eat your peas or carrots then you can have dessert

Use stop instead of no : If your chid is doing something unsafe or something you don't want them to do, using the clear instruction of STOP is much more effective than saying no. Stop is also neutral and gives a clear instruction of what you would like them to listen to, whereas no can mean a great many things and could be confusing to the child. It's also good to encourage your child to use "stop" when socialising with other children. 

Ignore bad behaviour : Sometimes bad behaviour is just a cry for attention, and once they know if they do something unacceptable and still get attention then, for them that tactic works. A way to encourage good behaviour is to concentrate on the other child, praising the good behaviour and if in a situation where the other child may have been hurt, first checking that they are ok. Forcing a child to instantly say sorry and focussing all your attention on the bad behaviour lacks empathy, and the sorry's are empty. It's good to show how empathy is really important and hopefully the child will make the link and understand how their actions effect others. Of course after checking the other child then it would be a good time to explain the behaviour, how it made you and the other child feel, give them a chance to name their own feelings and use positive language and encourage your child to use appropriate behaviour.  

Redirecting social behaviour : When going through developmental stages children learn new skills and are constantly trying out new actions. For example pushing, running, biting and spitting may all be considered bad behaviour in a social situation, but when redirected they can be put to different uses. For example building a tower and pushing it over, running outside, biting food and spitting out toothpaste. They are all natural actions for children, they just need to be used in the right places! 

Don’t label the child, label the behaviour : It's important not to label the child as bad or naughty, but instead label the behaviour which they are displaying. The same goes for good behaviour, and children need validation as to understand what exactly they did was good or bad. Instead of saying "You were a good girl today" say "I really liked the way you listened to me in the supermarket, that was good behaviour" or "that was really kind when you shared your toys". But it's important not to compare behaviour of other children "that was really good listening, unlike so and so"

Let tantrums happen : However embarrassing it may be to be the parent of a screaming child in a public place, mostly it is best just to let it run its course. Trying to reason with a child when they are extremely upset or cross is just going to escalate their mood and in turn make you lose you patience. You can reassure the child that you are there for them when they feel ready to talk about it and the way they feel. Give them space and let them come to you when they are totally ready. 

Time outs : Giving a child a safe spot where they know they can go to when they feel like they need somewhere to calm down or have some space is really important. It may be just a favourite cushion, or a quiet corner. This shouldn't be forced but more encouraged and should certainly not be a 'naughty step'. Again they should be able to stay there as long as they need to, and come back when they are ready, without interruption. Sometimes the child may need a reassuring hug to calm them if sitting on their own doesn't work, or someone sitting or standing close by or holding their hand. When a child is cross or upset trying to talk to them or reason isn't going to work as their emotions and thoughts are all over the place, the same with adults! For the child, after a time they may be able to assess their feelings on their own and know when they need to take themselves out of a situation to calm down. 


I'm no parenting expert, but I think we've had to work our way through a fair amount of problems and difficulties, and I feel like most of this knowledge is there, but it's just being able to remember to use it correctly! These tips are ones that I have gained from meetings and talking to health care and childcare professionals, but I do understand what works for one family may not work for everyone. It's about taking the points that speak to you and putting them into practice! I hope you find them as useful as I do! 

Montessori at home

montessori at home lower case alphabet

So I thought I would revive the slightly neglected Montessori at home. It sort of got left at the wayside as we moved and christmas was upon us. But I thought it was time to bring it on back! 

We have been doing little things here and there, but this is the first real 'project' I've set up for him to do recently, so of course I thought I'd document it to share!

I've mentioned recently about wanting to encourage Theo to draw more and be able to express himself that way too, so anything that involves using a pen grip and practicing mark making is good in my books. He's always shown an interest in letters, and has been able to write his name for a while now but that's about it. Also these tend to be in the upper case so I wanted to try and get him used to words and letters in the lower case. 

I have no idea at what age kids start to really write for themselves, and I'm sure it all differs from child to child. So whilst I'm not expecting him to start writing full sentences it would be nice to see him want to branch out from his own name. All in his own time though! 

So I thought this simple exercise would help him to practice tracing the letters, and help practice the pen grip.

I just simply drew the alphabet on our chalk wall and asked him to draw over them with water and a paintbrush! We talked through the directions and starting points when writing the letter, and he had fun watching the chalk disappear. 
montessori at home lower case alphabet
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall

So there you go! 

I was thinking that I might try and see if anyone else wanted to link up any crafts or home school type activities so we could take inspiration for new exercises? Let me know what you think! 


Montessori at home

montessori at home lower case alphabet

So I thought I would revive the slightly neglected Montessori at home. It sort of got left at the wayside as we moved and christmas was upon us. But I thought it was time to bring it on back! 

We have been doing little things here and there, but this is the first real 'project' I've set up for him to do recently, so of course I thought I'd document it to share!

I've mentioned recently about wanting to encourage Theo to draw more and be able to express himself that way too, so anything that involves using a pen grip and practicing mark making is good in my books. He's always shown an interest in letters, and has been able to write his name for a while now but that's about it. Also these tend to be in the upper case so I wanted to try and get him used to words and letters in the lower case. 

I have no idea at what age kids start to really write for themselves, and I'm sure it all differs from child to child. So whilst I'm not expecting him to start writing full sentences it would be nice to see him want to branch out from his own name. All in his own time though! 

So I thought this simple exercise would help him to practice tracing the letters, and help practice the pen grip.

I just simply drew the alphabet on our chalk wall and asked him to draw over them with water and a paintbrush! We talked through the directions and starting points when writing the letter, and he had fun watching the chalk disappear. 
montessori at home lower case alphabet
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall
montessori at home lower case alphabet blackboard wall

So there you go! 

I was thinking that I might try and see if anyone else wanted to link up any crafts or home school type activities so we could take inspiration for new exercises? Let me know what you think! 


Montessori at home

Continuing with Theo's number obsession of late I thought we'd try and really simple pattern making game. He quite like things in order, and counting seems to fit in with that nicely as well as noticing patterns. I find it difficult to engage him in 'arty' activities, he certainly isn't one to sit and colour for hours, and is yet to really start drawing his own pictures instead he prefers to just write his own name. I guess all children have different skills and interests and I hope I can encourage him to follow what he enjoys doing. But a little gentle prodding to try and get him to enjoy using pen and paper doesn't hurt either right?

So I created an incredibly simple pattern sheet, used a key with numbers and its corresponding shape stamp and let him figure out the rest. I started with two rows of an easy pattern, to see if he got the hang of it, then changed it around a bit. You could obviously make it easier or harder by changing the patterns or adding more numbers and stamps. It's one that we can go back to again and again for a little bit of stamping action, which helps to recognise numbers and predict patterns. 


We used these great little stamp pens from Ikea  but homemade stamps or any others you have lying around would work well too! 

Montessori at home

Continuing with Theo's number obsession of late I thought we'd try and really simple pattern making game. He quite like things in order, and counting seems to fit in with that nicely as well as noticing patterns. I find it difficult to engage him in 'arty' activities, he certainly isn't one to sit and colour for hours, and is yet to really start drawing his own pictures instead he prefers to just write his own name. I guess all children have different skills and interests and I hope I can encourage him to follow what he enjoys doing. But a little gentle prodding to try and get him to enjoy using pen and paper doesn't hurt either right?

So I created an incredibly simple pattern sheet, used a key with numbers and its corresponding shape stamp and let him figure out the rest. I started with two rows of an easy pattern, to see if he got the hang of it, then changed it around a bit. You could obviously make it easier or harder by changing the patterns or adding more numbers and stamps. It's one that we can go back to again and again for a little bit of stamping action, which helps to recognise numbers and predict patterns. 


We used these great little stamp pens from Ikea  but homemade stamps or any others you have lying around would work well too! 

Montessori at home : In the kitchen


So I thought I'd do a little mini series, inside this mini series...

Theo and I like to spend time in the kitchen and I'm keen for him to be comfortable using a number of different tools and equipment. So in a few posts we'll try and cover the things we use regularly, and the way I try and encourage the 'practical life' element.

I needed to make Theo's packed lunch for nursery and Theo always wants to be involved, so we decided to make egg mayonnaise! After boiling the eggs for him (not really confident about the boiling water part yet!) and cooling them down he set about peeling them, then using the egg slicer (his favourite tool) to chop them up. Then a little seasoning and mixing. I then supervised the use of the sharp knife to cut his roll, then he buttered it. Finally he spooned out the egg mixture into his roll! It was a simple task that used a variety of skills, and produced something that he was proud of and could tell his friends at nursery that he had made himself! 


Montessori at home : In the kitchen


So I thought I'd do a little mini series, inside this mini series...

Theo and I like to spend time in the kitchen and I'm keen for him to be comfortable using a number of different tools and equipment. So in a few posts we'll try and cover the things we use regularly, and the way I try and encourage the 'practical life' element.

I needed to make Theo's packed lunch for nursery and Theo always wants to be involved, so we decided to make egg mayonnaise! After boiling the eggs for him (not really confident about the boiling water part yet!) and cooling them down he set about peeling them, then using the egg slicer (his favourite tool) to chop them up. Then a little seasoning and mixing. I then supervised the use of the sharp knife to cut his roll, then he buttered it. Finally he spooned out the egg mixture into his roll! It was a simple task that used a variety of skills, and produced something that he was proud of and could tell his friends at nursery that he had made himself! 


Montessori at home

I mentioned recently that Theo has become obsessed with numbers and counting recently, and it's definitely an obsession I want to encourage! He counts everything he see's, such as floor tiles, pieces of food, legs...just about anything! So when thinking about a montessori activity we could try I thought we'd try a simple game of matching and counting. We have an abundance of conkers lying around not doing a whole lot (I mean what can you really do with them, except a conker fighting championship?!) and to keep up with being seasonal and all that I decided they would be great to use as our counters. 

I quickly whipped up some number cards and just let him loose. He didn't need any explaining of what he needed to do, just starting to pick up and count out the right amount of conkers for each number. He'd count out the right amount from the bowl then count them onto the number card. He can recognise digits well, and liked counting the dots too. 



To make things a little harder we then mixed up all the number cards, placed them face down and picked two at random. I wanted to introduce very basic adding, so asked him to count out conkers for each number, then count how many there were in total. It's something I hope that we can continue to build on! 



Montessori at home

I mentioned recently that Theo has become obsessed with numbers and counting recently, and it's definitely an obsession I want to encourage! He counts everything he see's, such as floor tiles, pieces of food, legs...just about anything! So when thinking about a montessori activity we could try I thought we'd try a simple game of matching and counting. We have an abundance of conkers lying around not doing a whole lot (I mean what can you really do with them, except a conker fighting championship?!) and to keep up with being seasonal and all that I decided they would be great to use as our counters. 

I quickly whipped up some number cards and just let him loose. He didn't need any explaining of what he needed to do, just starting to pick up and count out the right amount of conkers for each number. He'd count out the right amount from the bowl then count them onto the number card. He can recognise digits well, and liked counting the dots too. 



To make things a little harder we then mixed up all the number cards, placed them face down and picked two at random. I wanted to introduce very basic adding, so asked him to count out conkers for each number, then count how many there were in total. It's something I hope that we can continue to build on! 



Our favourite apps

As the weather becomes wetter and the evenings darker it inevitably means that we are spending more time inside. And apart from playing, reading and crafting together it also means that more time will probably be spent on the ipad for entertainment. We try and limit Theo's screen time daily, and also make sure he's playing educational games if he is on it, so I thought I'd do a little round up of apps we're loving at the moment, and some new ones that have caught my eye and can't wait to try! 

I actually really like sitting and using apps with Theo, guiding him through them and watching him learn. I know there's a lot of bad press about screen time, but I do think I can be really beneficial, if used in moderation and used for the right things. I also love the new 'family sharing' feature of iOS 8, and the iPhone 6 , meaning that we can share our favourite apps over all of our devices!

So anyway, Theo is very into counting at the moment so I've been on the look out for ones that will help him with that. 

Firstly is the Endless Numbers app, from the creators of our favourite Endless Alphabet 

It follows the same principles as the alphabet game, dragging the digit to its shape, but then in the video it includes simple math equations. I'm hoping it will really help Theo grasp basic maths and counting skills. 





A new discovery, I love the graphics of this app and can't wait to test it out with Theo. Also the ABC version looks tempting! 



This beautiful looking app is based on the book of the same name and includes 15 mini games playing with sound and shapes!



My sister introduced us to the genius that is Drawminal over the summer and we then discovered Miximal in the process. Drawnimal encourages the child (and adults!) to use a pen and paper to bring animals to life. Theo isn't massively into drawing, so anything that encourages him is great in our book. It also helps with the alphabet, win! Miximal is a brillant app that mixes up different parts of animals, and their names. 



Following on from the animals I can't wait to try out this amazing looking app where you can 'pet' the animals to make them to funny tricks, I know Theo will love it! 






This app just looks amazing, the illustrations, the story and the message. This is definitely one which will require my help, but I can't wait to read the story and interact with the app with Theo. 

This is a collaborative post, but all words are my own! 

Our favourite apps

As the weather becomes wetter and the evenings darker it inevitably means that we are spending more time inside. And apart from playing, reading and crafting together it also means that more time will probably be spent on the ipad for entertainment. We try and limit Theo's screen time daily, and also make sure he's playing educational games if he is on it, so I thought I'd do a little round up of apps we're loving at the moment, and some new ones that have caught my eye and can't wait to try! 

I actually really like sitting and using apps with Theo, guiding him through them and watching him learn. I know there's a lot of bad press about screen time, but I do think I can be really beneficial, if used in moderation and used for the right things. I also love the new 'family sharing' feature of iOS 8, and the iPhone 6 , meaning that we can share our favourite apps over all of our devices!

So anyway, Theo is very into counting at the moment so I've been on the look out for ones that will help him with that. 

Firstly is the Endless Numbers app, from the creators of our favourite Endless Alphabet 

It follows the same principles as the alphabet game, dragging the digit to its shape, but then in the video it includes simple math equations. I'm hoping it will really help Theo grasp basic maths and counting skills. 





A new discovery, I love the graphics of this app and can't wait to test it out with Theo. Also the ABC version looks tempting! 



This beautiful looking app is based on the book of the same name and includes 15 mini games playing with sound and shapes!



My sister introduced us to the genius that is Drawminal over the summer and we then discovered Miximal in the process. Drawnimal encourages the child (and adults!) to use a pen and paper to bring animals to life. Theo isn't massively into drawing, so anything that encourages him is great in our book. It also helps with the alphabet, win! Miximal is a brillant app that mixes up different parts of animals, and their names. 



Following on from the animals I can't wait to try out this amazing looking app where you can 'pet' the animals to make them to funny tricks, I know Theo will love it! 






This app just looks amazing, the illustrations, the story and the message. This is definitely one which will require my help, but I can't wait to read the story and interact with the app with Theo. 

This is a collaborative post, but all words are my own! 

montessori at home

Yesterday I had my first morning of solo parenting since this all happened, as Rob returned to work. I was dreading it a little as you get used to having someone else around so quickly. So to fight the dragging time make the most of our time together before preschool I concocted a little sensory game. 

I ran around the house collecting objects that I thought would be interesting textures and shapes to feel, then managed to convince Theo to let me blindfold him and asked him to try and find a matching pair that felt the same. It was hard work trying to get him to keep the blindfold on (also note to self, with more planning try and find something a little more suitable than a silk headscarf...) We had to take it in turns, and I tried to encourage him to describe what he was feeling; whether the objects were hard, soft, squidgy, cold, smooth, rough etc. 

Once we found quite a few pairs Theo then decided to play the 'what's missing' game, and again we took it in turn to hide the objects. Theo made sure he counted all the different sets of objects before remembering what was missing. 


With a little more time I figured there could be quite a few variations of this game, and the potential to use a wide range of objects to create different sensory games. These could include sound, taste and smell as well as touch. I think I've discovered one that we will be building on from now on! 

montessori at home

Yesterday I had my first morning of solo parenting since this all happened, as Rob returned to work. I was dreading it a little as you get used to having someone else around so quickly. So to fight the dragging time make the most of our time together before preschool I concocted a little sensory game. 

I ran around the house collecting objects that I thought would be interesting textures and shapes to feel, then managed to convince Theo to let me blindfold him and asked him to try and find a matching pair that felt the same. It was hard work trying to get him to keep the blindfold on (also note to self, with more planning try and find something a little more suitable than a silk headscarf...) We had to take it in turns, and I tried to encourage him to describe what he was feeling; whether the objects were hard, soft, squidgy, cold, smooth, rough etc. 

Once we found quite a few pairs Theo then decided to play the 'what's missing' game, and again we took it in turn to hide the objects. Theo made sure he counted all the different sets of objects before remembering what was missing. 


With a little more time I figured there could be quite a few variations of this game, and the potential to use a wide range of objects to create different sensory games. These could include sound, taste and smell as well as touch. I think I've discovered one that we will be building on from now on! 

Montessori at home

So, guess what's back! After a long spell of no posting I thought I'd better give myself a kick up the bum and remind myself why I like to blog and what my favourite things to post about are. So of course, my montessori post's were the first thing I thought to bring back, mainly because they motivate me to actually do things with our mornings. But to ease us back in gently I thought we'd try this easy and fun task of making our own marble run/maze.

All you need is a cardboard box or shoe box lid etc (an old cereal box would do the trick!), some lolly pop sticks and some glue! We didn't really have a plan in mind of where to stick the sticks, but perhaps if we made any more a template would be a good idea, but I kind of liked making it up as we went along! 
Theo dipped the long edge into the glue and we placed it in the box together, we also broke some in half to give us different lengths. Then we left it to dry, and this requires quite a lot of patience! An hour or so later we were ready to play!

It was great to teach Theo how to use movement and control to make the marbles travel in the right way, and above all good fun! 

Montessori at home

So, guess what's back! After a long spell of no posting I thought I'd better give myself a kick up the bum and remind myself why I like to blog and what my favourite things to post about are. So of course, my montessori post's were the first thing I thought to bring back, mainly because they motivate me to actually do things with our mornings. But to ease us back in gently I thought we'd try this easy and fun task of making our own marble run/maze.

All you need is a cardboard box or shoe box lid etc (an old cereal box would do the trick!), some lolly pop sticks and some glue! We didn't really have a plan in mind of where to stick the sticks, but perhaps if we made any more a template would be a good idea, but I kind of liked making it up as we went along! 
Theo dipped the long edge into the glue and we placed it in the box together, we also broke some in half to give us different lengths. Then we left it to dry, and this requires quite a lot of patience! An hour or so later we were ready to play!

It was great to teach Theo how to use movement and control to make the marbles travel in the right way, and above all good fun! 

Montessori at home

 It's not often that I find myself coming up with good ideas, but to blow my own trumpet, I think this one is pretty great!

I found a book of flags at my mums house, and thought it would be a good basis for a flag and geography based activity, but without realising came up with an activity that was great for lots of other reasons too.

Firstly I cut out rectangles out of card and drew basic flag shapes and designs on them. These can obviously be adjusted to simpler or more complex designs dependent on age/ability.

We then picked a flag and looked through the book to see if we could find a matching design, (so a good matching game in itself) and once we found a matching flag we then talked about what colours it is and what order the colours come in. (Good for colour recognition and pattern making!)

Theo doesn't have much interest in sitting and drawing pictures (much to my dismay!) but he does like colouring with a purpose, so this activity suited him really well. It taught him about trying to stay in the specific areas, and about colouring shapes. After this he applied glue to a lolly stick and we attached our flag to it.

We also talked about the countries that the flags represent, and this game would be great as he gets older, and can remember what different countries flags look like, and could even be used to locate the countries on a map.

I really like activities that use and teach lots of different skills, and I think this one is simple and fun and the results are pretty cute too!


Montessori at home

 It's not often that I find myself coming up with good ideas, but to blow my own trumpet, I think this one is pretty great!

I found a book of flags at my mums house, and thought it would be a good basis for a flag and geography based activity, but without realising came up with an activity that was great for lots of other reasons too.

Firstly I cut out rectangles out of card and drew basic flag shapes and designs on them. These can obviously be adjusted to simpler or more complex designs dependent on age/ability.

We then picked a flag and looked through the book to see if we could find a matching design, (so a good matching game in itself) and once we found a matching flag we then talked about what colours it is and what order the colours come in. (Good for colour recognition and pattern making!)

Theo doesn't have much interest in sitting and drawing pictures (much to my dismay!) but he does like colouring with a purpose, so this activity suited him really well. It taught him about trying to stay in the specific areas, and about colouring shapes. After this he applied glue to a lolly stick and we attached our flag to it.

We also talked about the countries that the flags represent, and this game would be great as he gets older, and can remember what different countries flags look like, and could even be used to locate the countries on a map.

I really like activities that use and teach lots of different skills, and I think this one is simple and fun and the results are pretty cute too!