Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hug's aesthetic & some great books

Here's something else I wanted to show you. To go with our new couches we have a really cute new coffee table with a glass top & a presentation drawer underneath.

T and Hug set it up while I was out & T filled it with some of his favourite coffee table books including The Joy of Art which is an amazing, totally beautiful, instructional art book that we bought when we visited the National Gallery last year. The book itself is a work of art. Here's the amazon link to it... I have no idea why the price is so reasonable?! It's big & just so gorgeous, & unlike any art book I've seen before. While you can introduce younger children to some of the simpler concepts now they would be able to use it throughout their childhood & into their adult years. You can tell I get a bit excited when I like something, can't you ;)

Anyway, the actual point of this post was that, when T put the books into the table, Hug went and removed the cover from his Lyra watercolour paint set and placed it & a brush in their too. I think it looks great! Thanks Hug, you colour our world :)

p.s. In case you're interested, the 3 other books T included are:


I've mention the littlest cutey, Lovely, lots on this blog recently so I though tI'd give a quick rundown about what my wonderful Hug has been up to!

He's really matured and mellowed out a lot in the past few months. It's amazing to see what a fine young person he is. So creative and funny and full of love and life.

He love love love love LOVES his school. Did I mention that he loves it?! ;) It's funny because as much as his mama may dig everything Montessori this little caterpillar wasn't ever *this* happy at his Montessori preschool. He is just completely in his element now & in the Montessori spirit of "following the child" I am really embracing that with him.

Here's a few photos from his pursuits this week:

The lantern he made at school for the Winter Festival. He loves it and managed to talk his daddy into buying a pack of 100 tealight candles so we will be enjoying this for months to come I'm sure.
It's made from heavy paper that has been painted in the wet on wet style, waxed ad scored to create the geometric shape. It is beautiful :) He also handmade the woolen handle.

Boy's business with daddy.

More boy's business! ;) Well, it should be! He's been my eager vacuuming assistant this week. I think he likes being in charge of the power cord.

Lots of playing with his cousins & neighbourhood friends.

Inventing 'machines' in the bathtub. This particular machine has a number of different levers and a myriad of uses that I can't even begin to remember or describe!

Brainstorming the design of our cardboard rocket ship with Lovely and Daddy.

All things sticky tape & straws. He's the king of sticky tape and straws this week! These are frames he's created "ready to have the canvas (aka. paper) stretched onto them"...

Tupperware, paper, straw and sticky tape "hats".

Making paper planes from The Dangerous Book for Boys.

Playing with the 'Root Child' (have you read the beautifully illustrated book?) we made together at our new friend's craft morning. It's a wintery themed character, waiting under the earth until the springtime comes.

This is Mr Gnome, whom Hug stitched together at school. Hello :)

Puppetshows at the kitchen table this morning featuring both Mr Gnome and the Root Child.

A straw and sticky-tape flower sits with one from our garden. Hug made it for me a few mornings ago & slipped it into my room while I was having a little sleep in. Ahh, see what I mean. He's a real sweety at the moment :)

Thanks for being my biggest one, Huggly. I love you so much. xxx

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Montessori work: Friday June 26th

Ladybugs on a Straight Line. The NCM Fall guide has an original work called "Bears in Line" & I'm using this idea (using 2 strips of felt on a felt board) with 10 ladybug counters that we already had.

We created the 'straight line' with the felt, counted the ladybugs onto it & then discussed which ladybug was at the 'front' & which was at the 'back', which was 'last' and which was 'first' and played games with moving them around into different positions.

Lovely chose this bead threading pattern activity which has been a fave lately.

You get a straw & 2 little pegs each & a selection of beads - make sure you have an even number of each colour - and then you take turns, one person makes a pattern on the straw that the other person matches and then you lay them together to check them. We've had this out for ages but just this morning I came across an old post from Laura at My Montessori Journey & remembered that the idea was originally hers. Thanks Laura :)

Spooning and pouring popcorn kernals. Spoon kernals into the jug & them pour them into the 2nd bowl. Switch bowls and start again. Lovely wasn't interested in the spooning part (despite the funky spoon that I was quite excited about including on this tray!) but really like pouring and swapping the bowls over.

Button frame. This is the pj top from a teddy bear we called 'Button Bear' but L had been finding it hard to do.

I just stapled the top to this little frame & although it's still a challenge he can do it all by himself now.

Salt dough. I'd never made Salt dough before but it's super easy (1 cup of flour to 1 cup of salt & 1/2 a cup of water. Combine. Ready!). I made some for myself also :)

L really dug the shaker I filled with flour (to sprinkle onto the mix if it was too sticky) & his dough sure wasn't sticky by the end! We've got our creations drying on wax paper now & will hopefully paint them next week.

Colour stacker. L made a person shape & inquired about sawing off the stick (err, no...) before putting it back together correctly. He hasn't used this in ages & I'm sure he used to have trouble rebuilding it when he finished but he's got it now.

We also: Played the Silence Game, sang a few songs & I showed him some warm-up stretches and Yoga Poses (from the NCM guide) which he wasn't into but think he'll warm to them. I loved doing them. More Yoga! Our last thing was reading a book together - Mr Brown can Moo! Can You?

Montessori work: Thursday June 25th

Lovely & I did really well during our Montessori preschool time this week :)

We'd had a few weeks off & he was really eager & I was excited about using the classroom guides that I bought from New Child Montessori. I'm starting from the beginning with the guides (despite having dipped into them at different spots previously) & so I had a 'plan' for the day but I also was completely open to whatever Lovely was interested in.

His first choice was the Mystery Bag. He never used to like the blindfold but will happily wear it now if I do it first!

Homemade Sound Cylinders. 2 of my sounds are too similar (even I struggle to match them) so I must change them before next week.

Bead sorting. An impromptu activity. I had bought a string of coloured wooden beads at the thrift store & L found them & wanted to do something with them so I grabbed a muffin tin from the kitchen & some small tongs. He's sorting them by colour.

Viewmaster! I love the viewmaster :) The cards he's looking at are ones we bought at Cape Canaveral years ago before we had munchkins. I also have a set from Graceland and Hearst Castle :) Not falling into the "traditional" Montessori category but it's a challenge for Lovely to use the image-changing lever correctly and lots of fun.


Lovely also chose the balancing beanbags for walking on the line. As you can see in this photo (of L dropping the beanbag ;) our house has the perfect 'line'! We live in a really old house that was transported to this site a few years before we bought it. It had to be cut in 2 & moved as 2 pieces and this is the cut line. It travels right through our loungeroom. How handy :)

We also practiced walking around a work mat (hmmm... will he ever get it?! He still loves to run across it), rolling and unrolling a mat, walking feet. We talked about 'personal space' and used an imaginary paintbrush (choosing our favourite imaginary colour of paint first, of course) to "paint" the space around ourselves.

We practiced shaking hands & saying hello with eye contact, and finally we learnt some new name songs: "Where oh where is ______ (first & last name) 3x, Tiptoe to your work" & (to the tune of 'Twinkle Twinkle') "The beginning says 'llll' and the rest says 'ovely' put them both together and it says... Lovely". He loved this one and we played it for ages later going through all the friends and family & later things we saw & thought of driving in the car.

These songs and some of the activities are from the New Child Montessori Fall guide :)

White on White

We just bought new couches. Yippee!

2 WHITE fabric couches. Eeeeek!!

After we chose them last week I woke up in the night & thought "Oh, my God. I have 2 beautiful new white couches and 2 small boys. What was I thinking?!" Tee Hee ;) The truth is that we've always had a white couch since before Hug was born but I'd made the white cover myself & it was easy to not be too precious about it.

Anyway, they do have removable covers & we did buy an spare set of covers to put away. So, I think it will be good. And did I mention that they're beautiful?! I have never bought a new couch before. Our old one was a family hand-me-down (which is why I covered it) & I have been asking (pretty-pretty-please) for a new one for years. So I'm a happy duck this morning :)

The other FABULOUS thing is that there is so much cardboard in our loungeroom right now & the boys are so excited about *that*! I showed T the rocket that the amazingly-talented curator of the blog Filth Wizardry made (this woman really is awe-inspiring!) & he's in there right now building us a rocket ship! T just happens to be writing a book about kids traveling to space at the moment (as you do!) so the 3 of them are pouring over books & designing the rocket. Very cool.

Photo's to come I'm sure...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What can I do with these?

I've been meaning to ask this for ages actually! I even thought of starting something called 'What-could-I-do-with-this-Wednesday' because I'm sure we all buy things (especially at yard sales & thrifting) that we know *must* be perfect for something - we just don't quite know what! I bought these 2 wooden sets at a consignment store & subsequently have seen them on a few Montessori suppliers sites too.

We've sorted them by colour & shape and height... but I'm sure there must be more things the boys could do with them - in the way that the Knobless Cylinders (this is a link to the lovely Jo at A Bit of This and a Bit of that) seem to have lots of different extensions...

Does anyone else have these? Or some ideas?

All thought will be greatly appreciated. As always :)


Hammering Work

I scored this 2nd hand (but perfect condition) hammering activity set at a local fair for only $2 & the boys - especially Lovely - have been really enjoying it! We do have another hammering kit (a farmyard one) but the picture card & geometric designs in this one are a real hit.

Get it. A hit ;)

Friday, June 26, 2009

The magical Red Rods

While I was composing "that" post (& yes, by "that" I do mean "that one I've told you about but still haven't finished" ;) I was googling around & came across this post from Melissa at Chasing Cheerios where she made her own Red Rods & was really interested to read A from Itty Bitty Love's comment too... Red Rods *had* been on my to-buy list.

The next morning I went for a wander around my little local hardware store & happened upon the perfect lengths of wood! I took them to the counter to ask how much it was and what they might charge to cut it: $1 a metre & he would cut it for free! Umm, hmmm... you see... I need a few cuts. I need it to be cut into 10 pieces. Of different lengths. Oh, and maybe I want 2 sets of each now that I think of it. Is that still free? Amazingly he still said 'Yes". This is the same slightly-grumpy-yet-wonderful man who helped cut the pieces for the box for my Moveable Alphabet! What a guy :)

So, this was what I brought home. 2 of each piece because I decided that if I was going to make the Red Rods then I might as well make the Number Rods at the same time. Can you believe that this is 11 metres of wood?! So, the wood was $11 & then I spent another $10 on spray paint & masking tape.

First job, give them a light sand. Not my favourite job but I gave them a once-over.

Next, I laid them all out on paper on the grass & started spraying! I did do a test-piece first. I sprayed them all, let them dry & then turned them over. I ran out of red just at the end so while they're all painted I might end up buying another can to make them darker & glossier. We'll see. I will admit that I am a perfectionist - but I'm trying to let go otherwise I don't end up actually making anything because it will never be perfect enough. If you've read my blog for a while you'll know I'm slowly teaching myself to embrace imperfection!

Anyway, they dried & they were done. It was so easy! Why didn't I make these a long time ago? The answer is in that last paragraph I think ;) They're not 'perfect' but they are great & I'm so happy to have them. All I have to do is read over the presentation of them, hopefully watch this video & practice & they'll be in Lovely's hands :)

The Number Rods will hopefully be next week's project - I have done one test (the 2 rod) & the spray paint was a little messy (ie. I got blue on the red. woops!) but I think it will be okay. I decided to start with a Red Rod & then add the blue stripes so lets see if that gamble pays off.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Red Rods: Tick!

I have made our own Red Rods! I really truly did!!! I am so excited. Hee hee :) I'll photograph them & show you tomorrow.

I've even got some Number rods in the works - but those stripes promise to be a little trickier... stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The turtle

Not that I'm procrastinating (shock horror! ;) but here's a turtle that we saved from being squished on the road. Isn't he gorgeous.


In the meantime

So, I don't have the time right now to finish my post about the Montessori materials (though, I have been able to wipe the Red Rods & Number Rods from the list because I went & got all of the bits to m.a.k.e. them today!!) so I'm just going to show you these cute pix of Lovely colouring in his lunchbag. If I send a brown paper bag to school I try & personalise it with a little crayon drawing but last week the boys wanted to do their own :)

Lovely drawing flowers in the grass. Blue sky. Cute.


My last post obviously confused some of you...

hello? What is she talking about?!!

Sometimes I get a little mouse-happy & accidentally 'publish' a page when I haven't actually started but it isn't too much trouble because I add the info & publish a few minutes later & no-one notices. It's just that the post I was wanting to write was a trickier one to compose & I still haven't finished it!

Anyway, what I can't decide on is: how to spend my itty-bitty-incy-wincy Montessori materials budget. There has to be some*major* culling from the essentials list & I am having trouble deciding what I can live without & what I really need. More to come on this topic...

btw, PS Montessori (who has a Montessori giveaway this week! have a look) asked about the old Montessori images & this (on the AMI site) is where I get them from. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I can't decide...

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