Friday, January 22, 2010

NEW: Bilingual English and Mandarin Chinese Number Blocks for Infants and Toddlers

These fabulous blocks are handmade in Maryland, USA, by us at Montessori House!

Here's the description from our Montessori House Etsy store:
We lovingly hand-craft our wooden blocks here in Maryland. The blocks are made using hand tools and Crayola markers with an organic olive oil rubbed finish.

This set of ten blocks introduces the Chinese characters for numbers from 1 to 10 along with numerals, pinyin (the English language pronunciation for the Chinese characters), and quantity dots.

The characters are etched with hand tools into the wood, which is then sanded to a soft finish with rounded edges and corners. Your child will enjoy tracing the engravings as he or she learns to associate the quantities with the bilingual characters.

The numerals are colored green corresponding to the Montessori math system.

Safe for infants and toddlers of all ages.

Visit us at Montessori House for more Mandarin Chinese learning material for children.

A Downloadable and Colorable Valentine's Day Card

Cool Mom Picks
is hosting a Valentine's Day card contest, so we put together these two submissions (the heart by numbers card was originally posted on our general Montessori blog).

You can right-click on either of these images to save and print them for coloring at home!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Montessori Classroom at Home: Active Play for Infants and Toddlers

(image courtesy of Trike Balance Bikes)

The importance of recess and active play are often discussed for school-aged children, but not as frequently for younger children, so we have a few quick tips for everyone working with their children this winter.

At home ideas:

1. Make a safe carpeted space on the floor for rolling and playing. Everyone removes his or her shoes first.

2. Using this indoor space, make movements that your child can imitate. For example, clapping your hands, clapping your feet together, rolling like a log, kicking your feet in the air, making bicycling movements with both hands and feet, tossing a bean bag back and forth with a partner, and other age-appropriate movements.

3. Incorporate simple movements from whatever exercise or sport you know yourself. For example, basic yoga postures (see the camel sample below), pushing around a basketball, or playing with a tennis racquet can provide lots of good exercise and fun as well as developmental practice for your child.

4. Look for simple wooden wheeled toys that your child can push, pull, or ride.

5. Bundle up and go outdoors to walk whenever possible. Take your toddler out of his or her stroller, allowing him or her to enjoy walking on the snow or toddling in winter boots.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Rattan bassinets and other flammable things

I just had the misfortune of actually handling a rattan bassinet and the experience was horrifying. The sharp edges on the rattan coupled with the kindling-like quality of the rattan were so dangerous I couldn't believe the bassinet was on market. Rattan is used to fuel cooking fires in many parts of the world because it is so flammable. The photo shown here is not the same one, but it is pretty close.

Plus, I doubt that the lacquer and finishes used on this type of furniture is child-safe.

Passing it on...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Yoga for Children: Fly Like a Butterfly

We found a wonderful book by a fellow Montessorian, Shakta Kaur Khalsa, called "Fly Like a Butterfly". Her book includes great photos and easy-to-follow text and we have shared an excerpt below from her Children's Yoga site.

Ride your Bumpy Camel

Begin by sitting with your legs crossed. Take hold of your outside ankle. This is your saddle. We are going to ride our camel across the desert. Breathe in deeply as you stretch your body forward, chest and stomach out. Breathe out as you slump back, spine is curved, chest is caved in. Keep moving this way and get faster and faster. Remember it is very hot on the desert and we want to get across it quickly! (20-40 seconds)

Bumpy Camel gives you a flexible spine. Keeps your back muscles relaxed and strong. Helps you digest your food.