Saturday, 29 March 2014

Have you tried painting with golf balls yet?

 
Here is another idea from my favourite art book for toddlers: First Art by MaryAnn Kohl.
 
This is a favourite here. Dip golf balls in paint and roll them around in a tray lined with paper! 
 
 


Our tray was a bit too large and not so easy to tilt by Finn, but he still enjoyed it!


 
And so did I. I continued long after he had lost interest. Erm.


What are your children's favourite painting activities? Which ones do they ask for again and again?
 
Please share!
 

Friday, 28 March 2014

What can a toddler do in the kitchen?

This video was made when Finn was 18 months old over a period of a few days. I love it as it reminds me of how capable toddlers are when given the opportunity. I hope you enjoy it too!


Toddler at work from Elsa Deblangey on Vimeo.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Back, back, back!

We're back from holiday and I'm fully back to this blog after finally finishing my Montessori course! I can't believe I've done it, considering I started FIVE YEARS ago and had a baby in the meantime!
 
I have tons of ideas for things to do with Finn thanks to all the fantastic bloggers. This morning we tried a new activity: Painting with our feet! I can't remember where I saw this idea first, but I was definitely reminded of it by my friend Nina who did it with her children and exhibited the result in her dining area.
 
What a great idea, and perfect for 2 year olds! Finn really dove in and had lots of fun!
 





I used regular kids paint, not finger paint. It adhered well to the paper and dried quickly. Here is a video of Finn enjoying the process and turning the activity into body painting. Inevitable!


Body painting from Elsa Deblangey on Vimeo.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Away

 

We are on holiday in France! 

I'll be back next week with a few new posts!


Monday, 17 March 2014

Light


Finn has been noticing the effects of light recently and has been enjoying various activities around the topic, some planned but most spontaneous.

He is fascinated by the afternoon light in our bedroom.


He enjoyed this activity found on Pinterest.



Which prompted me to hang his play parachute in front of our window for a BIG effect!


He also experimented with a simple torch and handmade colour paddles.


Are your children fascinated by light? Please share any activities that you have tried!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Inspired by others

One of the drawbacks of doing Montessori at home is that your child does not benefit from the social interaction with their peers. They don't get to observe other children use the materials and don't get inspired by anyone.
 
One of the ways I have found to somewhat counteract this (which we all agree can never replace true social interactions) is to show Finn Youtube videos of children using the materials in Montessori nurseries.
 
He was in awe as he watched a little girl build the Pink tower and two little boys building the Broad Stair and working with the Knobbed cylinders. He had never before seen another child use the same materials as him!
 
 Minutes later, I observed as he spontaneously picked the knobless cylinders off the shelf and built this:
 
 

When none of the videos even showed knobless cylinders!

Have you observed your children being inspired after watching others?

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Homemade tabletop finger paint

Last time we tried finger paint was not a pleasurable experience. For me, at least. Finn was about 16 months (I know, it's a long time!) and even though I set it up in the garden, I vividly remember the blue handprints on the sofa, cushions, carpet and clothes. I put him straight in the bath afterwards and had to actually scrub him for the paint to come off! So after that, I needed a long time to recover before we tried finger paint again!
 

I love the book First Art, by Mary-Ann Kohl, and we have tried many of the ideas in it. She has a recipe for finger paint in there that I'd thought we'd try, given that we needed to find an alternative finger paint!

 
I'm so glad we did try it! It was such a success, and both Finn and I had a fantastic time! Quick and easy to make, a great consistency, and a breeze to clean up!
 

I'm afraid I won't be able to give you the recipe here as I didn't come up with it myself, but do look up First Art, you won't be disappointed! It contains jelly powder (we used agar agar instead), which sets when the paint cools down. Finn was so eager that we didn't let the paint cool down completely before we started and we had the surprise to feel the texture change with the temperature. Fantastic!


A tip for cleaning up finger paint: Use a plastic lid as a scraper to get all the paint off the table in seconds!

Does your child like finger paint? Do you buy it or make it?

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

When Montessori floor beds don't work

I have always liked the idea of floor beds for babies and toddlers. I like the idea that, when tired, they drop off on their bed independently. I like that they can get up and explore as soon as they wake up without being trapped behind bars.
 
However, I also believe that babies have strong emotional needs. I believe that a baby needs as much love and reassurance that their parents can give from the moment they are born.
 
Some babies are emotionally more fragile than others. Finn was one of them. He had a stressful birth, which may have been a factor. His first night was spent in a hospital cot where, paralysed by a strong epidural, I could not reach him when he cried for me.

Back home, he wanted to breasfeed all the time and could not sleep away from me. So naturally, the floor bed, introduced at 6 months for daytime naps, didn't work for us. I could put him down there, but he would wake up screaming for me, terrified to be alone. At 2 years old, he still wakes up hysterical when he can't see me in the family bed.
 
Finn playing on his floor bed at 8 months
Montessori floor beds are a fantastic idea and work well for many babies. However, sometimes, they just don't work, because every child is different and has different needs.
 
Even though we did not end up using a floor bed, I still feel like I am being faithful to Montessori in this respect, as I have "followed the child".

Does your child have a floor bed? Is it working well for them? I would love to read your floor bed stories!

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