Previous month:
December 2017
Next month:
February 2018

👞Shoe Polishing •Montessori 🙌🏻Practical Life •Care For Self •101 🎥 Series🎇

Montessori Practical Life Activities incorporate six main categories, one of which is Care for self and others which includes learning to get dressed independently, preparing/getting a snack, washing hands, buttoning or tying shoelaces, shoe polishing and many more. During these activities, children also learn body control and coordination, consequently developing the sense of confidence and the sense of independence.


What you will need for this Montessori 👞Shoe Polishing 🙌🏻Practical Life Activity:

  • a tray so that a child can take this activity off the shelf and bring it to the table (buy a set of three bamboo trays here), and a mat (we are using this vinyl mat),
  • a set of brushes: stiff-bristle shoe dauber (buy here)  and soft-bristle shoe dauber (buy here) ~ see details below,
  • a natural shoe conditioner (buy here) ~ see details below,
  • a child-size shoe buffer (buy here)~ see details below,
  • and lastly, a foam polish applicator (buy here) which fits perfectly in the natural shoe conditioner polish jar: press gently and rotate to coat or use as a final buffer.
  • *Buy the entire shoe polishing activity here, Or economy shoe/leather polishing here

DSC_0042This natural shoe conditioner (buy here) is great for the planet and for shoes! This environmentally-friendly, biodegradable conditioner polishes leather and leaves a soft, supple finish. This polish is made in the U.S.A., and it is great for the children since it has a divine lavender scent.


This stiff-bristle shoe dauber (buy here) has stiff bristles that can clean mud off shoes before polishing. The hourglass shape makes this brush easy to grasp, use it to apply and rub in the polish.

DSC_0042 Children learn through order and repetition and Practical Life lessons satisfy such need.

DSC_0054Practical Life lessons also develop concentration and focus, qualities which will help children when they, for example, are learning to read or master addition/subtraction skills. 


Dr. Maria Montessori, after years of research, had observed that children will choose real-life activities over imaginary ones almost every time because they want to feel needed, useful and important in their and our worlds.

DSC_0057Allowing children to participate in real life activities which will help their family or classroom are wonderful for building self-esteem.

DSC_0057This soft-bristle shoe dauber (buy here) has a long wooden handle, which is contoured for easy grasping. Soft horsehair bristles are good for dusting off shoes before polishing or for applying polish and then rubbing it in.

DSC_0057"The child who concentrates is immensely happy," said Dr. Maria Montessori, and I see it every day! 

Shoe Polishing Montessori Practical Life Activity Care For Self from Anya on Vimeo.

"The child can develop fully by means of experiences in his environment ... Such experiences are not just play ... We call such experiences ‘work’. [And] it is work he must do in order to grow up.”- Dr. Maria Montessori. 

DSC_0057Finally, this child-size shoe buffer (buy here) will enable children to easily shine their shoes using a soft fleece that covers a wooden block. Adrian also finished off polishing and buffing using this foam polish applicator.
DSC_0057Practical Life Activities lay the foundation and develop the skills the child will need for all other academic areas! Real life lessons such as folding, using a spoon, buttoning, cleaning and more, will help your child develop coordination, concentration, independence and a sense of order, thus facilitating immensely in the future academic lives. 

IMG_0086"I can do it myself!" says the child~ and yes, he can!

For more on Practical Life Activities Care of Self and Others, see here "👚Clothes 💦Washing Activity." For Care of the 🌐Environment Activities see here "💦Caring for 🌺Orchids at 3 Yo.

For transferring activities, see here "DRY Spout Pouring 1:1" and here "💦WET Spout Pouring 1:1 (Practical Life 🙌 Activities 101 🎥 Series 🎇)."

For Kitchen activities, see here  "🍒Cherry Pitting Activity • 101🎥 Series 🎇." For carrot peeling,  see here " 🙌🏻 Making Carrot 🍲Soup at 2.5 Yo." For more on cooking, see here  "Making 🎃Pumpkin 🍪Cookies at 3 Yo."

💞Valentine Inspired DIY Colander and ❤️️Heart Threading 🙌🏻 Fine Motor Activity

Montessori materials at home need not be expensive or require a laminating machine and a paper cutter. It took me less than few minutes to prepare this Valentine Heart and Colander fine-motor activity. I am sure we all have a colander in the kitchen somewhere, and since 💞love is in the air, we are using ❤️️red heart flower-pot picks, but you can also use red (or any color) straws, pipe cleaners, or wooden heart picks (buy here).

DSC_0013What you will need:

  • a colander,
  • a styrofoam block,
  • heart picks.

DSC_0013My heart picks were a bit long for the colander's hight, so I had to cut them to the correct length. 

DSC_0013 Make sure that your colander has round holes and that picks are small enough to fit into those holes.

This easy-to-prepare threading activity is great for toddlers and preschoolers to develop fine-motor control.

Growth comes from activity, not from intellectual understanding. - Dr. Maria Montessori.

DSC_0013This simple DIY Montessori-inspired Valentine's Day activity for great for home or classroom.
Insert picks through the holes and into the styrofoam block so that picks stay put.DSC_0013Adrian,  4 years old, had a lot of fun with this threading activity. If you have a toddler, on the other hand, make sure your picks are safe or offer pipe cleaners for a fun fine-motor activity that is toddler-safe.

DSC_0015You can also add a math twist to this activity by encouraging your child to count picks as s/he is inserting them. Or count backward as the child is removing picks or even do a simple addition/subtraction activity. "If you remove one pick, how many would be left?"


At the end of the activity, to emphasize the intrinsic motivation or not an extrinsic reward, I would say something like: “You really worked hard at this; you much be proud of your work!” instead of “Great job.” You want your child to feel own accomplishment, rather than showing your own favoritism or opinion.

DSC_0022  As a variation, offer pipe cleaners to shape as hearts, inserting both ends into colander's holes.

DSC_0013"Mommy, this one is for you!" DSC_0022

Never help a child with a task at which s/he feels he can succeed ... The child becomes a person through work. - Dr. Maria Montessori.

DSC_0019We had a lot of fun setting up this simple and inexpensive way to use Montessori at home. I hope you will have fun too! 

For more on Valentine's Day inspired activities, see here a roundup "❤️Valentine's Inspired Activities for Kids."

Pipe Cleaner ❤️️Heart ✏️Pencil Topper Valentine's Gift

Are you looking for a simple and inexpensive ❤️️ Valentine's Class gift? Julia needs to make 38 class gifts this year, and this super quick and easy Heart Pencil Topper DIY is a perfect fine-motor craft, which will keep those little fingers busy and classmates happy!  These Heart Pencil Toppers would also be great as last-minute Valentine’s Gifts to friends or as party favors! 

DSC_0038What you need: pencils and red pipe cleaners. 
DSC_0038Make a ❤️️ heart shape from a pipe cleaner.

DSC_0038Wrap a ❤️️ heart pipe cleaner over the top of the pencil. 

DSC_0045-2Vola! A simple yet practical Class Gift! 

Please note, that these toppers will stay on, but if mingled with, they may fall off. The solution? Glue them to stay put! 

A note on fine-motor stimulation: Children engage in a variety of fine motor activities such as drawing, tracing, cutting, bead threading, and writing from a very young age. By the age of four, they are expected to be able to write few letters, such as those in the child’s name, and cut with scissors in a straight line. By the time they turn five, a child’s fine motor skills are expected to progress to the point where s/he is able to accurately write all 26 letters, the 10 number symbols, and child's full name with all letters in the proper order as well as cut straight lines and simple curves. By the age of six, children are expected to be able to tie their own shoes, cut out complicated shapes and color “within the lines.” What we can do to meet those expectations is to create a sufficiently stimulating prepared environment where the child will be able to exercise those fine motor skills while carrying on the love of learning, and we can do so by setting up activities that spike an interest, such as themed activities, holiday-inspired activities, and unit studies, amongst the few. 

DSC_0066Read here a post about Classroom Valentine's Gifts (Julia made last year).

DSC_0003-2Julia & Adrian's feet Art Projects, along with 36 Classroom Valentine's Gifts last year.

Hearts from BeadsFor more on pipe cleaner DIY, see here Valentine's Inspired ❤️Hearts Pipe Cleaner Beading Craft.

For more on Valentine-Inspired activities, see here ❤️Valentine's Inspired Activities for Kids.

Frozen Juice ❄️Ice 👄Lips 😋Taste Matching • Sensorial 🖐️👀👂👅👃 101 🎥 Series 🎇

This is a very easy DIY sensorial exploration of the sense of TASTE. Tasting activities are my children's favorites, and I like to come up with variations of a traditional Montessori tasting activity. Also, since ❤️Valentine's Day is approaching, we are using 👄 lips shape ice tray, but you can use any ice tray or use holiday-themed ice trays (like a star ice tray for Independence Day, shells for summer inspired activity, etc. ... possibilities are endless).

DSC_0073Pour the juice into the ice tray and put it in a freezer.

DSC_0093Remove the ice tray once the juice is frozen. DSC_0093Offer to pair the food: orange, cranberry, carrots, and lemon to its juice.  

Exploring how our brain and senses work: Did you know that much of what we think of as 👅taste is actually 👃🏻smell❗️The back of your nose is linked to your mouth at the throat so that you can smell the food as you chew it. That is why when you have a 🤒cold, tiny hairs in your 👃🏻nose get clogged with mucus. This stops them from wafting smell particles deep into your nose and makes it hard to smell or taste things. That is exactly why you cannot "taste" anything when you have a stuffy nose!

DSC_0093Matching carrot juice to carrots.
DSC_0093Since I had frozen two of each type of the juice, you may also offer your child to match the two identical tasting ice cubes. But be swift as our ice lips were melting quickly.

See here our original lesson on 5 Basic 👅Tastes (Brain & Senses, Tongue Taste Map). These lessons are a part of the "💉 Inside of the BODY Anatomy Unit Study" -   read here.

For more on Valentine's activities see here "❤️Valentine's Inspired Activities for Kids" roundup. Or see here our last year's "Valentine's 💗 Inspired Shelfies." 

Colorful 🌈 Skittles Fun💧 Water Science Experiment for Kids •🔬⚗️⚖️  101 🎥 Series 🎇

This simple and fun ⚗️science experiment with Skittles is visually astonishing and scientifically intriguing! It is also very easy to conduct at home utilizing 🍭materials you probably have {Do you still have those unwanted 🎃👻Halloween candies?} but 🙅🏼refrain from giving to your 👦🏼child due to artificial coloring⁉️ So, what to do with those ❌not-too-healthy 🍭sweets? ⚗️Science experiment of course!


What you will need:

  • a plate with a white middle part,
  • Skittles (or other coated sweets),
  • water.

DSC_0021Place your Skittles on a white plate, creating a circle. (You may offer an older child to create a pattern.) Carefully pour warm water, just enough to have the water touch the Skittles. Watch what happens!

Skittles dissolve quickly, so you have an awesome science unfold in front of you right away!

Science mystery revealed: The color and sugar dissolve into the water and then diffuse through it. Since Skittles are coated with food coloring and sugar (ingredients that are prone to dissolve in water), when you pour water over Skittles, the colored coating dissolves spreading through the water.

DSC_0029This low resource fun activity provides many opportunities for investigation and further extensions:

  • Make a rainbow! Arrange Skittles in a circle in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, and purple on a white plate. (A perfect St. Patrick's Day activity!)
  • Try using different water temperature, or white vinegar or even lemonade to discover what happens. 
  • Try using other coated sweets: can you find one that works as well as Skittles? (Did you try spearmint?) Candy dissolving science is fun to test out with a variety of liquids and candies. Different candies dissolve at different rates.
  • Time how long does the color take to reach the center of the plate using cold and warm water? Which do you think will be faster? The reason sugar dissolves faster in hot water has to do with increased molecular motion. The added energy in the hot water causes water molecules to move faster and sucrose molecules to vibrate faster. This added movement tends to make the bonds between sucrose molecules easier to overcome.
  • Time how long does it take for Skittles to dissolve in water? After about two minutes in contact with water, Skittles lose its outer coating. After about 12 minutes, half of the Skittle have been dissolved, and after about 25 minutes of sitting in the water, all Skittles have completely dissolved. 


More questions for the inquisitive mind:

  • Why do you think the colors do not mix, but rather gather like a rainbow in the center?
  • What can you do to hasten the process?
  • Can you detect the ‘S’ from the skittles? What happens to it?

For more on Science🔬⚗️⚖️:

  • We did a similar experiment but with Spearmint candies ~ see here ❤️Valentine's Inspired Unit Study.
  • See here 💛💙❤️Primary Colors, 💦Water & Paper Capillary Action ⌛️Timelapse ⚗️ Kids Science Experiment (🌈 Rainbow Walking Water). 

  • See here a video-post "🎨Painting with 🌈Colored Vinegar on Baking Soda Science Experiment."

  • See here a video post "🎶Musical 💦Water 🌈Glasses (Science🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇)."
  • See here "Paper Towel, Markers and 💦Water 🌈 Color Mixing ⚗️Experiment (🔬⚗️⚖️Science meets 🎨Art 101 🎥Series 🎇)."

For ❄️ Winter inspired activities, see here ☃️ Winter Inspired Unit Study.

For🎅🏻Christmas inspired activities, see here  🎄Christmas Inspired Unit Study.