Around the House

Sunday, 18 July 2010

This week I have been busy changing stuff around at home. As they say, change is as good as a holiday, and since we're not going anywhere these holidays (this house just HAS to get finished!), I thought it was high time for a change! Actually, it's just because we are tossing up whether to send Alexander to preschool here (børnehave....actually, it's daycare for 3-6 year olds) or whether to do preschool at home. After all, if all my preschool training and experience is seemingly not enough to get me a job here in Denmark, it should at least serve some good purpose! I have implemented some changes to make a home a more child friendly space, and incorporated some Montessori-style activities (I say that because I am not hard core Montessori and because my budget doesn't stretch to buying all the real stuff!). Here is the now revised toy shelf, with Montessori style activites on it:

...and the close up. It has been rather difficult to put appropriate activities out for both a 3 year old and an 11month old who is very curious and loves to pull stuff off right now, there is alot of stuff that Isabel can do, or at least can't throw around the room. I am tossing up the idea of making some kind of curtain for the shelves so she can't get into it until I let her :) Very un-Montessori like!
From the top left: a pinning activity (develop fine motor control and finger muscles), a magnifying glass (Science), spooning activity (spooning pasts into a bowl...fine motor control), threading beads (more fine motor), a pattern matching game (pre-reading skill). Second shelf: Babushka doll (doubles as a cultural item, from Russia, sorting according to size, and fine motor control. Sweet!), colour pegging activity (colour matching AND fine motor!), mouse in the cheese (threading), Isabel's treasure basket (natural or familiar items to explore), stacking tower. Bottom shelf: beady game thingy to keep Isabel amused, Isabel's toy box for the day, wooden blocks in a truck and a big box of wooden blocks. This shelf is a work in progress!

Alexander's current favourite activity...the magnifying glass. He walks around the house looking at everything with it.
Isabel's toy box. Every day (or so) she gets a new box of assorted toys. There are 7 boxes, and this genius toy rotational system came from this blog: It seems to work well for Isabel so far, as she gets excited to see what's in the box (how quickly babies forget!)
Our nature basket, filled with all the things we find and pick up (or in the case of the shells, buy at the second hand shop!)
Beautiful summer flowers, which Christian's grandmother brought with her when she came to visit us today.Our office, which is tidy in the first time since....oh, forever! Our toy rotational system in action. These are Alexander's toys (as opposed to Montessori-style activities, which are out on the shelves). He can come and choose one box of toys to play with. When he's done, he can bring them back and take a different box. He's also allowed to ask for a second box of toys if they are an extension of his current game. Again, inspiration came from here:

An overall picture of our living room, with Montessori activites on the big shelves, puzzles on the low white shelves, a cozy reading corner with an ugly green canopy (I think I'd better get to work on sewing a more attractive one!) and the kitchen corner, where I'm planning to hang up some hooks for the dress up clothes.So....that's how it all looks for now. I am still tweaking the system and trying to figure out what will work with 2 very different ages/stages, while at the same time tidying up and decluttering to regain space that has been invaded by the clutter monsters!

Don't they just look darling on their little mats? I think this picture of serenity lasted about 1 minute (just long enough for me to grab my camera and take a picture!), but hey...we've just started! There's always a period of adjustment ;) In the meantime, I am getting inspiration for how to set up our home from these sites: and

I will post more on Montessori another time. This was long enough already! Catch you later ;)

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