Friday, July 8, 2016

Outdoor Yes Space for Your Toddler in Your Montessori Home

When one of our neighbors saw how we didn't "maximize" every square meter we have to build a house and more than half of our lot is grass, she asked if we were saving the space up for a swimming pool.

No, not a future swimming pool. It's Cara's Montessori classroom, her work area! I can already see her building the Pink Tower, working with the Movable Alphabet, laying out the Golden Beads for the Bird's Eye View of the Decimal System!

But even before all that, our now 23-month-old and I have always been working outdoors a lot.

This space is the first thing you see when you're by our front gate (our neighbors must be wondering some more).

Top shelf: Food coloring and other things for painting (like cornstarch, cotton swabs and brushes) are always available. Chalk, too, for drawing on the ground.
Second layer: We sort things in our shelf--metal, glass, plastic. 
Third layer: Supposedly a hand transfer activity (which doesn't get used--I was just seeing if we were ready for tray work). A container for funnels. Another for scoopers, ladles, and the likes. Some trays which she likes placing some bowls and glasses on to balance and bring to the nearby table--this "tray work" she enjoys.
Bottom shelf: Watering can and a small jug with water for maximum effort work.

Our DIY water table.
See a Scoop and Sort activity we did on the water table here.

Another DIY--repurposed a side of an unused crib (why I even bought one--because of all the pretty Pinterest nurseries and an OC tendency to want to check every item on must-have checklists handed out by baby stores), spray-painted some PVC pipe fittings, and Mighty-Bonded them to make another outdoor water activity.

There's a lot of practical Practical Life as well. Like washing our kitchen towels and floor mats, washing the gate, and weeding.

"When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength." - Maria Montessori

But mostly, we just enjoy the things that are already there all along.
The wind. She thought it was "funny, funny", she said.

The soil. Digging.
That's already treasure right there.

To look up and see no limits.
To look around and see possibilities.

"Let the children [and I say, grown ups, too] be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it's raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and when the grass of the meadows is wet with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath its shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning." - Maria Montessori

And when we're done...

 ... we pack away.

For more of our Montessori, like Montessori on Mars on Facebook and follow @montessorionmars on Instagram.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Recycling DIY Party Decors in Our Montessori Home

We're zealous DIY-ers around here. The kind who spends the day before her wedding combing the streets of Dangwa to get the flowers for the aisle and the centerpieces, and even her own bouquet (which her sister would later on make--along with a beautiful headpiece, each bead meticulously hand-sewn, all of which you'd see here). The kind who salvages wooden window shutters from a nearby renovation/construction site and painted them to make a buffet spread backdrop which you'll see, along with the many other things we DIY-ed for Cara's first birthday party, here.

They're happy projects, but also hard work--so it's also always hard to let these things go even after the party (I know it was heartache seeing someone throw away the 5-, 6-feet tall trees I painted in the trash--all 24 of them).

So... I keep them (let's just talk about storage space another time)! And here's how we've been recycling some to decorate our Montessori home.

We've made yards and yaaards of that felt cloth bunting.
But the more impressive DIY here is that painting, an Eric Carle copy, by my sister. Written at the back, it says, "Don't be afraid of change"; given to me when I was starting my own school.

Felt feathers above our outdoor shelf.

 We were supposed to put a floor standing aircon here, but was later on told to install a wall-mounted split-type instead--so the wire that hung unpleasantly on the corner? Hid that with these felt ferns, which I also have yards and yards of!

I needed wall art that would safely go beside our balance beam (no hard frames that could fall and hurt a foot when our now 22-month-old suddenly holds onto the wall for support).

So I used that string of felt triangles and Washi-taped a birthday card from my bestfriend. It's from the Laro Tayo! Series from Kora's Kards, with children playing Luksong Tinik, a traditional Filipino game.

 I told you we have yards and yards of that bunting! We have pretend play things here--but still, with Montessori in mind. Like the ice cream stand has popsicle sticks you put inside small holes so it's actually fine motor, peg work and the oven has cupcakes and a baking tin which is for one-to-one-correspondence; among other things.

And watch a work Cara has invented with the buntings here.

These are not my own DIY, but my sister went to an under-the-sea-themed party and got us these jellyfishes.

Which are now above Cara's care-of-self shelf

And I still have 10 more of these string art! I wonder where I'd put them.

For more of our Montessori, like us on Facebook and follow @montessorionmars on Instagram.

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