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!

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39 thoughts on “Toddler toys and activities at 29 months – and a surprise giveaway!

  1. I Montessori with aged care residents. I find it not only settles but stimulates them in a manner that works together

  2. We montessori because we want our boys to become independent, curieus, creative and gentle citizens of the world and montessori just fits with our family values and worldview.

  3. I montessori because I think it is a joy to watch my daughter discovering the world and figuring things out for herself. Just the other day my little 11month old munchkin took a shirt off the line, put it in the basket and the proceeded to push the basket with her one piece of laundry off to the bedroom for sorting. And the enthusiam and happiness that comes from managing to pick up a carrot with her fork or when she gets to stir and scramble the eggs for breakfast is far too wonderful to even consider denying her. Doing things with the family, like the family and for herself makes her happy. Her happiness is the only reason I need.

  4. I love your blog, and this is a great giveaway! Montessori for us started a couple of years ago, in our homeschool. Changes needed to be made, and I needed everyone involved! After doing some researching, I realized that not only would the teaching method help to settle the trouble spots where some of my children were struggling, by the concrete learning that happens first, but after we began, the joy in their eyes when they discovered something that was really driving them was too much to go back to something else!

  5. I am choosing to Montessori (expecting baby #1 in two weeks!) because I believe children are capable of far more than we give them credit for, and I want my son to grow up to love learning!

  6. I wasn’t looking for Montessori but it found me! Here is my story about how Montessori found me and how I will be forever grateful to all those Montessori moms out there who blog.
    I was teaching music at a school on the Navajo Reservation and my program was cut. I was rehired as the 1st grade teacher. That is when I realized textbooks and individual student desks wasn’t going to work with my students who were brought up in the rich traditions of storytelling and working along side their elders learning through “doing”. So I began making “works” for my students. I pushed the desks aside to allow room to work on the floor and I put items out and available for students to choose. One day I was talking to my mother who lived about 3 hours away about what I had been doing. She had just begun her teaching career and was going the Montessori training at the time. She started telling me about Montessori and how much she loved it and we both came upon the realization that I was creating a Montessori environment without even knowing it!!! I was relieved that I didn’t have to keep reinventing the wheel so to speak. I signed up for my 6-9 training immediately.
    Almost 10 years later I am now 9-12 trained and happily teaching. Here’s the thing… I am a new mom now and although I have beed teaching Montessori for a decade I was LOST with the infant/toddler period. So, I scoured the internet for Montessori infant/toddler information which led me to the blog, “How We Montessori” and others to help me get acquainted with this whole new world of Montessori for little ones. I made a 180 with my sons nursery environment. I sold all the spare bedroom furniture and began acquiring what I needed. I made the infant mobiles, discovery baskets and set up my son’s floor bed. I wrote to a woodworker on Etsy to have him make a shelf and a wardrobe. I even contemplated getting the training for assistance to infancy. I soon realized that I didn’t need another training because I had these great moms blogging about it. My son is already benefiting from all that I have in place so far.
    One if the most important things that I have learned so far, putting aside the materials and the environment is observation. It really hit me when I was unbuckling my son from his Stokke chair and I was met with resistance. He had picked up the buckles and was trying to click them into place. So I sat down and waited and watched. I sat for thirty minutes waiting patiently letting him do his work. When he finally got them snapped together he looked at me briefly and wanted to do it again… And again. I was so pleased and from that day forward I felt awakened. I knew I could do it. I just needed to be mindful and watch for those special moments. I am totally immersed in Montessori both professionally and personally and I feel lucky to have a husband who supports the Montessori philosophy in our home and a grandma who can’t stop talking about the 3-6 years and all that will come. Thank you to all the Montessori moms who have blogged about your experiences. You have been an integral part in shaping our Montessori family.

  7. We Montessori because we encourage our son to be independent and confident. It’s amazing what kids are capable of doing if you just let them try!

  8. What a lovely idea! How fun it is to read why everyone use Montessori for. I montessori because as a a grown up I always feel that I am not independent enough, not confident enough. I guess it is all related to my childhood, which was an happy one but didn’t give me some important keys I’d like to give to my daughter.

  9. I have just started the Montessori approach with my 2 1/2 year old daughter. We Montessori because she has shown a lot of independence with her learning style. Her self esteem after figuring something out with little to no direction is exciting to watch. Even though we don’t have much of a set up, my daughter surprises me with how well she adapts to the new activities we introduce to her. Just tonight we did our yoga poses and she, without direction, rolled up her yoga mat and put it away. It is awesome to be able to read your blog and see how other parents are doing Montessori from home. It gives me hope that we are heading in the right direction. 🙂

  10. There’s some wonderful answers here especially as it’s a tricky question! The word that comes to mind for me with trying to incorporate montessori principles in our home is peace. This is the tone in our house when my son is engaged in activity of his choosing (even when its noisy and jumping off things – the current interest!)
    Kylie has SO many great things in her shop – what a fantastic giveaway

  11. The other day I was showing my younger brother quite complex instructions on how to DYI a Munari mobile for our second child, when he snickered at me, “the lengths some parents will go to to create little Einsteins!” I shot back that I thought that Montessori parents maybe just want to give their children something beautiful to look at and discover. I had been pondering your question during that conversation with my brother, and I realized then that I Montessori with my children primarily because I want to give them the freedom to concentrate and to experience their world slowly, on their own terms and without unnecessary distractions. By practicing Montessori at home, we take all the time we need to wash those little hands by ourselves, to pour milk with breakfast from a child-size pitcher into a real glass and to contemplate spinning mobiles. Every time I see my child’s little eye brows furrow in deep mediation while he tries to accomplish some new task by himself, I smile and know we are on the right path.

  12. I believe firmly in Montessori principles because it logically links into a child’s development. From a young age they are curious about the activities that adults do, as they see the objects we hold and the rhythms we have for carrying out a task. My 10 month old thrives on being involved and engaged in all that I do. Independence and confidence are fostered in children when they are able to do things themselves. Montessori also stimulates thinking and developing patterns (such as the expectation to put materials away or treat with care) which is also a sense of responsibility from a very young age. Children are small humans that have more cognitive ability than many give them credit for, Maria Montessori follows a model that shows respectful interaction (alike Magda Gerber) and allows the child to move their own body freely from a young age. I love that children are not treated as objects, but as equals. The activities teach brilliant lessons that foster effective learning by isolating one task until it is mastered (an example is dressing frames, or a lock box). Montessori also covers many dimensions of learning, sensory, language, fine motor, gross motor, mathematics, biology, and allows children to learn and lessons to be hands on for the most effective lessons because what could be more memorable than engaging every sense into a project? We love Montessori!

  13. We use Montessori in our home because we love that it allows us to “follow our child” and be more in tune with his needs in learning. I am a stay at home mom who is also a teacher. I have never found something that takes into account learning from birth to adulthood in such a personalized way. My son is focused, perceptive, and self aware, all thanks to Montessori.

  14. Hi Irene! I love following your adventures with Joshua. What a wonderful inspiration you are to our family. Joshua is at a wonderful age distance from our Charlotte. We get to watch in great anticipation of her coming stages.
    How fun of you to do a giveaway! I’m so excited to participate.
    We Montessori for our 15 month old daughter, Charlotte. However, through the process of learning and applying the principles, we have adapted the philosophy as a way of life for our family. I love the emphasis on respect for the child and the great care and consideration that is taken with each aspect of the child’s life. Children should not be an afterthought, and I’m happy to be a part of a movement that shares my sentiment.
    As a future educator, I hope to bring Montessori principles to public education. I am a strong believer in the power of education to equip people of all backgrounds to achieve their goals. I am saddened at the thought of any student’s desire to learn being stifled. My hope is that Montessori principles can set children free in previously teacher-centered and standards-based environments.
    I am new to Montessori and an aspiring writer on the subject (Midwest Montessori). I hope to inspire families by sharing ours.
    Thank you for the opportunity to share, Irene! Best wishes for you and your family.

  15. I montessori because I really believe in follow the child and giving them a sense of worth in their own independence and concentration.
    I did 1, and 2 as well 🙂
    You is blog is wonderful!

  16. We use some Montessori principals in our home to assist the development of our children as a whole. Allowing them to learn how to care for themselves, others and the world is very important to us. As a primary school teacher in a government school, I knew very very little about Montessori, however after reading your blog and becoming inspired by this wonderful method, we chose to incorporate it into our lives and our parenting of our two children.
    When I return to teaching, I will be using the principles in my classroom and hope to share the Montessori ideals with others!

  17. We Montessori because we love being able to follow our daughter’s lead. We love seeing her grow strong as an independent little girl.

  18. We Montessori because I have found my son responds better to this set up as he doesn’t feel as overwhelmed by too many activities and can really focus at the task at hand. At 2 he is becoming very independent and we have found that our Montessori approach has been very nurturing towards this natural progression.

  19. I actually just started Montessori summer camp today for my 3 year old. After we complete 2 weeks, she will be starting school there and I am so excited. It just lined up with the way I would want her to learn and be taught. So excited!!!

  20. We just started summer camp at a Montessori school today, for our 3 year old. She starts school immediately after and I am so excited. It just lined up with the way I would want her to learn and be led. Such an amazing program!

  21. When I discovered the Montessori method it really opened my eyes to whole new world as to how I could guide Lilah to learn, I found I was already using a lot if the methods without knowing but learnt so many I never would have thought about. Lilah has had some delays in some areas and I have found giving her the Montessori opportunities has really helped her reach her milestone goals and given her the choice to reach them when she is ready.
    I now have Lilah down for the Montessori preschool and were really hoping she can get a place 🙂

  22. I Montessori because I am mother to a wonderful little boy that is turning two very soon and I know that he learns best through doing, and he loves to work with real tools (broom, bucket, pitcher) more than any toys. I also Montessori because I am now teacher to a room of Kindergarten-grade 1 students with autism that benefit greatly from the structure and individualization that the Montessori method provides. I am working on outfitting the classroom with quality Montessori materials that will hold up to the demands of my class.

  23. Whew! I managed #2 and 3, so on to #1! 🙂 What an exciting giveaway!
    My husband and I are marginally overeducated where education is concerned–a few graduate degrees between us, plus several years of public school teaching, curriculum development, and professional game development experience under our collective belts. Even though we were educated through fairly traditional channels, we have chosen to Montessori our kiddo.
    We Montessori because of how it focuses on the whole child: on confidence (well-rooted and well-earned), on innate intelligence (curiosity and intellectual passions), on self-direction and self-management, and on supporting and contributing to a respectful social community.
    In a world full of chaos, noise, and constant busyness, we appreciate how Montessori allows for immersion in a meaningful task in a calm, meticulously constructed environment. Amid rowdy, elaborate toys and entertainment targeted at children, we love the stillness and simplicity of Montessori tools–the way they feel in your hand, their simple lines, their heft and smoothness–and how children learn so quickly how to handle and care for each tool. Maybe most of all, we value a philosophy that respects and fosters the capability of the child, emphasizes courtesy and empathy, and allows for individual pacing towards mastery.
    A good friend of mine has been a Montessori guide for years, and she always says that she has never yet met a child that Montessori didn’t help shine. Looking at my own child, I believe her. From the pride he takes in his own competence, to his ability to continue to find new facets to explore in his play and experimentation, Montessori is helping build an amazing person. And as I learn to slow down, to stop multi-tasking, to entrust him with responsibility despite how it affects schedule or adult convenience–I’m transformed, too. One day at a time.

  24. I Montessori because I want my daughter to grow up to be a centred person with an intrinsic self-confidence in her own capabilities and a love of learning. I don’t see why more people don’t Montessori with toddlers when they clearly thrive on being in an environment suited to their needs that held them to gradually grow into independence. My daughter thrives on being given opportunities to participate in our household, learning how to care for herself and being given choices about her life. I look forward to her going to a Montessori preschool next year because I want her to have opportunities to learn in a calm supportive environment, at her own pace, guided by people who won’t overly praise or chastise.

  25. We Montessori because it makes sense to give your child the best start in life by teaching them how to do things for themselves and therefore they in turn learn how the world works around them.
    I love that I can show my child how we can observe/make/do/create something and then she can use her own mind to adapt it to the next challenge that she takes on!

  26. We Montesorri as a leap of faith. I didn’t know much about it before my little guy started. It has been amazing for him. He is confident and has learned so much. He’ll be starting his last year in a few weeks.

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