Toddler toys and activities at 29 months – and a surprise giveaway!

We have been so busy lately. It is almost difficult to find the time to sit down and catch a breath. We try to make time to spend some time at home just being together and doing everyday things like, baking, cooking, gardening – practical life. Time just for us. But I have noticed that in everything that we do that Joshua has this overwhelming need and urge to move, to do things himself. Put his hands into things, to feel, taste, see, smell everything.

Since it is through movement that the will realises itself, we should assist a child in his attempts to put his will into act.
– Maria Montessori

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Lately we have been doing so much gardening – “Digging and raking Mummy”. Joshua adores his wheelbarrow and garden tools. Spade, trowel, fork, watering can and rake are essentials. There are so many places you can get these from, I got these locally from our local Aldi but you can get some from your local hardware store or (if you are inclined to and would love to have the best tools for your child!) I actually love the suppliers of Montessori practical life tools. Kylie from How We Montessori Shop stocks the most gorgeous garden tools.

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Joshua simply loves his wagon. I noticed some time ago that he was trying to dump all of his unit blocks into a washing basket and drag them around. As you can imagine, the weight of these in a washing basket without wheels was impossible to drag about. This wagon is absolutely perfect for just this task. He uses it to cart around blocks, pine cones, Lego, whatever takes his fancy on any given day. He now uses them to drag his tools about in the backyard too, and shovels all the dirt he can get his hands on into the wheelbarrow. Thoroughly recommend both for your toddler.

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I set up this tray to experiment with magnetism. What is magnetic and what is not? Joshua loves this. Often he sticks all the items to the magnetic stick and then picks them all off to resort them into the separate glasses. I put the necklace in the tray to demonstrate that magnetism does not apply to all objects.

Other items we are loving at the moment:

  1. Water pump: Joshua is loving this water pump. Water play was a bit stale recently but this pump is fabulous. He can see the water moving through it so he has an appreciation for what the hand pump does. Plus it is just so fun! Bathtub or for outdoor play – awesome tool. There is a lot of splashing about in the tub these days.
  2. Bucket Balance: For water, rocks, you name it. Introduces early concept of weight, gravity and numeracy in such a simple exercise. Joshua loves playing with his scales, it is teaching him the difference between heavy and light.
  3. Aprons: We love aprons. Every activity, cooking, cleaning, painting has different aprons. It is a great item to have and makes the activity important when the apron is put on. They are also super easy to get on and off independently.
  4. Kitchen utensils and bowls: Joshua LOVES baking – you can see him doing a lot of baking in my posts here and here. He particularly loves mixing things in his mixing bowl which you can get here. And of course any kitchen utensils that are child sized are ideal.

So you may notice that most of the things that Joshua is interested in at the moment are practical life and art. Children are naturally interested in activities they have witnessed. Montessori “Practical Life Exercises” to allow the child to do activities of daily life and therefore adapt and orientate himself in his society. I have really found that having special items accessible to Joshua has resulted in him being eager to clean up the muesli that he drops on the floor in the morning, eager to wipe a window to help clean it or mop the floor. Investing in these items has been well worth it for us. I have been reliably informed by Joshua’s teacher that he loves washing dishes – something I admit we rarely do at home (but we do provide opportunities for water play). I did a post on what I believe to be a list of essential practical life items for any Montessori child here. Most of these items are available from Kylie’s lovely shop.

So the special news I have is that I am pleased to be able to feature a giveaway for one lucky reader (This is available to local AND international readers). In conjunction with Kylie from How We Montessori Shop we are pleased to be able to give away one voucher to the value of $100 (AUD)!

To enter simply do the following:

  1. Leave an answer on this post telling me why you Montessori and;
  2. Head on over to my Facebook page, share my Facebook page and blog with others, leaving a note on my page saying that you have shared from my post on the page about giveaway and;
  3. Head on over to How We Montessori Shop Facebook page, like and say hi – and tell Kylie that I sent you!

I will choose an entry that I like and will publish the winner on my Facebook page.

Entries close 31 July 2014 at 11.59pm (AEST). Good luck!

Me Do It – Updated Clothes Cupboard Work Space

Since the start of the year we have been working hard to get some things done around the house. This includes updating many of the work spaces so that Joshua can access things much more easily. The leap from baby to toddler has required ongoing adjustments as needs arise so it has been somewhat of a challenge to keep an eye on the work area as well as sleep and self care areas to ensure that they still meet Joshua’s needs. We had been coping with his bedroom cupboard which has not been very satisfactory as Joshua could not reach many things so a great deal of reorganisation has been required since late last year.

After searching and getting inspiration from other sources online, the main change we decided to install a lower hanging rail so that Joshua can access things like jumpers, jackets and coats. We installed this rail – all you need is a hand drill and some screws.

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You can see how high the rail is for adult clothing. It is no wonder children must feel like they live in a world full of giants.

As time has gone on I have adjusted the space to include some space for underwear, socks, tops, pants and singlets so it now looks like this.

20140707_101608As you can see it is all at a height that is accessible for Joshua. These are simple little plastic shelves from the $2 shop. The hangers to hang his jackets are easy to reach. On the left we have his pajamas. On the right from top to bottom:

  1. Underwear, singlets, accessories (hats, gloves, socks)
  2. Shirts – t-shirts, long sleeve shirts
  3. Pants – trousers on the left, tracksuit pants on the right.

Items such as shoes are still kept on the shoe rack next to the back door which is where we exit to go to the car. It still makes sense to keep those near the door as that is when they are going to be used. Joshua has a little cube chair nearby that he uses when he is ready to dress himself in the morning. We are currently working on putting on socks, these are still tricky for him to put on independently.

The other side of the wardrobe was a bit more challenging. We decided to make this into the side that stores all his bedding.

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We currently have these drawers in our house fitted into the cupboard. I dislike having drawers out taking up space outside the inbuilt closet and this arrangement seems to work well for us – not to mention being accessible to Joshua as he has able to open and close these drawers easily. We also have built in robes so it makes sense to try and make use of the space that is available. This has his waterproof sheets, pillow covers, doona covers and fitted sheets. Joshua is also able to reach these – except for the waterproof sheets.

All in all I feel that this arrangement is far more satisfactory than the old one. Do you have pictures of your clothing storage spaces? I would love to see them.