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children

Child’s age: 1.5 – 2.5 years old

Children love boxes, everybody knows it. And they love small objects – it’s even described in Montessori method as a “sensitive period for small objects” (circa in age 1.5-2.5 years old). Also this is the age when toddlers learn color names. My conclusion was obvious – let’s make a color matching box for our younger son.

mapart.me:  Color matching box

mapart.me: Color matching box

All you need for color box is:

* a shadow box with 9 compartments (you can also use smaller or bigger one, see my notes below)

* paints: red, blue, yellow, white and black

* a collection of small objects found around your house

Colors:

I wanted to include 9 colors: all primary and secondary colors (red, blue, yellow, green, violet, orange), brown (the mixture of all primary colors), white and black, that’s why I needed a shadow box with 9 compartments.

You can also make different versions with:

* only 4 colors (red, blue, yellow and green),

* 6 colors (primary and secondary colors)

* or even 12 colors – adding for example pink, grey and sky blue to 9-colors version which I made.

It all depends on your child’s age and objects you can find around your house.

One important note about colors: I recommend using rather light color versions of blue (like sky blue), green, violet and brown for a few reasons:

* lighter colors are easier to discriminate than darker ones

* in a shadow box colors will appear darker

* most of the small objects I found at home are of ligher shade than “model colors” and it may confuse your child a litlle.

That’s why I’ll probably repaint our box (at least blue and green compartments) in a spare time.

Read more…

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Child’s age: 1.5 – 3 years old

One of our all time favourites is a series about Bartholomew Bear – a little bear who is funny, emotional and naughty just like every other toddler. Short stories are brillantly illustrated by Virginia Miller – in very few pencil strokes she is able to portray little bear’s strong emotions – so well known to any parent of a toddler.

There are six books in this series (I list the best in our opinion at the beginnning):

  • Be gentle! – a story about little cat given to Bartholomew – any cat lover (any little child?) will love it
  • In a minute! – this was the last one we bought and – to my surprise – it occurred to be a classis Montessori story
  • Eat your dinner! – my children love to see what Ba makes with his dinner
  • Go to bed! – well known problem
  • On your potty!
  • I love you just the way you are

I haven’t found a source for new books so we bought used ones, but they are sturdy and came in very good condition. You can find them on Amazon. I recommend board books (they also come in form of one big standard book which is not so convenient).

mapart.me:   Virginia Miller - Eat your Dinner
Virginia Miller “Eat your Dinner” (via)

mapart.me:   Virginia Miller - Eat Your Dinner
Virginia Miller – Eat your Dinner

mapart.me:   Virginia Miller - Be Gentle
Virginia Miller – Be Gentle

mapart.me:   Virginia Miller - Be Gentle
Virginia Miller – Be Gentle

Writing this post I found out there is another (seek-and-find) book about Ba which we still don’t have – Where Is Little Black Kitten. As soon as we get it in our hands I’ll update this review!

Spring does not seem to come soon unfortunately (at least in Poland) which means we have a lot of bird guests for breakfasts here. A few days ago I set up a real life matching activity for my boys and the younger one (almost 2 years old) got it instantly. He is learning to speak at this moment and each opportunity to name something is interesting for him.

I recently ordered a set of Usborne birds cards from Amazon and it was perfect for this purpose. It contains 30 beautiful illustrations of birds living in UK (I guess), but many of them are the same as in Poland. Illustrations are detailed and accurate as well as really beautiful. I chose 6 birds which are our frequent guests: house sparrow, 2 species of doves, great tit, magpie and a sea gull and just placed them on a wall with washi tape near the window where the birds are coming for breakfast. My son got it in a moment and started to point and name pigeons as soon as they came for breakfast – in fact this is the first thing he does in the morning everyday now.

mapart.me:   Montessori real life matching activity

For more inspiration visit:
Montessori Monday

Child’s age: 1,5 – 2 years

Today I want to share with you two of our favourite toddler books, each of them is read several times a day by my almost 2 years old son (and me).

“Bus Stops” and “My friends” are written and illustrated by Taro Gomi – one of Japan’s most prolific children’s book illustrators. Stories are simple and illustrations are just brillant. To be honest I’d love to have several of these illustrations printed and framed in my living room.

mapart.me:   Taro Gomi - Bus Stopsvia

mapart.me:   Taro Gomi - Bus Stops
via
mapart.me:   Taro Gomi - Bus Stopsvia

mapart.me:   Taro Gomi - My Friendsvia

mapart.me:   Taro Gomi - My Friendsvia

mapart.me:   Taro Gomi - My Friendsvia

Child’s age: 3,5 years +

It’s hard to start this post because there is so much to say about Aleksadra and Daniel Mizielińscy… We have five books illustrated by these young but already famous Polish illustrators and we love all of them!

I bought first book from Mamoko series more than a year ago but it was far too early for my then 2,5 years old son for it. What you need to know about Mamoko characters is they are not pretty. These creatures are a little bit strange, a little bit funny, very interesting but not pretty or sweet. Not at all.

By the way – “Mam oko” in Polish means “I have an eye” (exact translation) and describes quite well what these books are about – looking.

All books featured in this post except of “Maps” contains no (or almost no) texts so you can buy Polish or whatever language version you’ll find.

miasteczko_dawno temu Books pictured above are about Mamoko Town and Mamoko a Long Time Ago (my own translation ;). Each of them is big (more than A4 size) and contains 8 huge illustrations with a lot of characters and details on each of them. You can read each illustration separately or follow a story of each character pictured on following illustrations.


Next two books are much smaller (less than A5 size). The idea is to find the objects occuring on the page in the given number or beginning on the given letter. “Mam oko na liczby” is about numbers and the second one is about letters. Mamoko Letters features not only Polish words but also English and German. Both of them were eagerly read by my son, but I think the idea behind Mamoko Letters were a little bit too difficult for him – he didn’t catch the begginning letters well yet at this time.

Mizielińscy - Mamoko - Numbers Mizielińscy - Mamoko - Letters


And the biggest fascination at this moment – huge world atlas. We read it every single day since at least 2 months and my son doesn’t seem to be bored at all. These maps became starting point for many questions and discussions. As an extension we read other books describing how people around the world eat, live, work and play; I’ll feature them in another post.

This book is the only one containing texts in Polish, so if you consider buying it please find your lanuage version.

Mizielińscy - MapsMizielińscy - Maps (USA)via

Update: All books can be found on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. They have published several other books, like “H.O.U.S.E.” or “D.E.S.I.G.N.” for a little bit older children – I’ve just purchased a few of them and will describe them here as well.

Today I’d like to start a new series: What’s on our bookshelves. Along with books we love and highly recommend I’ll also write about ones which were a little or big disappointment – it may be useful for those of you who come here via search engines looking for a specific title review. I’ll include them at the end of each post if there are any.



mapart.me:   What's on our bookshelves - Child of the World

Child of the World – Montessori, Global Education for Age 3-12+

Susan Mayclin Stephenson

I bought this book basing on Kylie’s from How We Montessori recommendation. Many Montessori books are really intimidating for me despite I know the topic a little bit. I don’t know whether it’s because of language (English isn’t my mother tongue) or the amount of information they include – I feel overwhelmed and finally they gather dust. This book is totally different! It’s small, easy to read and keep Montessori simple. After reading it Montessori seems very easy and obvious way of life. This book was a great surprise for me, I highly recommend it especially for those of you who are quite new to Montessori.



mapart.me:   What's on our bookshelves - Nature Guide Rocks and Minerals (DK Nature Guide)

Nature Guide Rocks and Minerals (DK Nature Guide)

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley

This book was featured by Kate from An Everyday Story here and I immediately bought it as I love rocks, stones and minerals like anything else. I must admit my 3,5 years son didn’t pay any attention to it but I really, really love it (it is rather book for adults or older children I think). It contains general introduction and a bit of information about each mineral. The photos are beautiful, quality of the book, paper, cover and everything is very high. I recommend it to anyone who loves stones as I do and I’ll check other books from this publisher for sure.



mapart.me:   What's on our bookshelves - Montessori Number Work

Montessori: Number Work

Bobby and June George

This book is very well done in many aspects – it is thick and sturdy, the numbers are textured (a little bit), it has simple, yet beautiful, images. But the idea is to “introduce the numbers 1 to 10 first as quantities to count before showing them as numerals” (description from Amazon) which means there are for example two owls on the right page and when you turn the page you can see number “2” on the left page. But then on the right page you have three cars which is totally confusing. I must admit when I first opened this book and saw number “2” and three cars I thought “OMG, I must be tired if I cannot count to 2!”. That’s why I do not recommend this book and didn’t even give it to my son in order not to mess with his mind.

mapart.me:   What's on our bookshelves - Montessori: Number WorkI get the idea of introducing pictures with quantities at first, but it should be done on flash cards for example. In this way it makes more mess than teaches numbers IMO.

Today a little bit late post about watercolor technique for children which I intended to post yesterday – my usual day for children and family topics.

Watercolor technique for little childrenIf you are lucky to have art loving child at home you probably wonder how to provide him with the most suitable art materials and how to display his paintings. Today I’d like to share some tips about watercolor technique for children.

Paper:

I would say this is the most important factor. Children love to use a lot of water, so very thin paper (which we usually give for economic reasons) immediately gets wet and tears. If you want to give your child opportunity to create really beautiful painting buy a thick, proffesional watercolor paper in art store. Weight of paper should be at least 190g/m2 (90 lbs) – this one is quite cheap and still buckles but is far better than standard drawing paper. I would rather recommend buying 300g/m2 (140 lbs) – this one is quite stout, I use it for my paintings too. I think that quality of paper is not so important as the weight, so I just buy the cheapest 300g/m2.

Streching paper:

In order to avoid paper buckling you can strech it in a way shown for example here (in short: wet paper evenly, place on a table, fix with masking tape and let dry). As my son usually paints on more than one piece of paper (see “Timing” below) I find this procedure too complicated. I usually just fix a few pieces of dry watercolor paper with masking tape, let my son paint on them and wait until they are totally dry before I pull off the tape. It’s not as good as technique shown in video above but still helps a little.

Colors:

Black color usually dominates all the other colors and everything goes muddy grey. For this reason I usually ask my son not to use black at all. The other idea is to take the black out of the paints set as Kate from An Every Day Story suggested here. Below you can see how I didn’t manage to do this – although the painting is still interesting (for me ;) ) it has much less details than the one above.

Watercolor technique for little children

Timing:

Sometimes I think it’s good idea to stop the child workig on particular painting (of course gently) when you see it’s good and draw his interest to the next one. Otherwise children often “overpaint” – mixing paints, adding more paint and more water and at the end painting looks more like a youghurt than a piece of art. So if you want to have a beautiful piece of art just watch and give him another sheet of paper in the right moment.

Images via my son.