Journey from Absorbent Mind to Mathematical Mind

Dr. Montessori have mentioned a lot about the different planes of development. She has spoken widely on the importance of planes of development and the sensitive periods in each planes. Below is a chart by Aubrey Hargis that helps us understand these planes a little better.

Copyright by Child of the Redwoods

The first period of child’s mind is what Montessori called it “The Unconscious Absorbent Mind” which lasts about the age of 3. In this period the child just absorbs through their senses. They learn about the world unconsciously and absorbs from the environment without any effort. This is a very sensitive period in child’s life and it is extremely important for us to prepare her environment carefully as this environment will transform her to an independent child.

The second period of child’s mind is called “The Conscious Absorbent Mind”. This period is still in the first plane of development but this period is between 3-6 years of age. In this period, the child is no longer a helpless infant who is mastering her neck muscles but this is the period of learning and refining those skills that she learned as a baby. This is period of repetition where the most cognitive development will take place. In this period, most children learn to read, develops the memory, and can do multi-step lessons.

The second plane of development which is between 6-12 years of age, which we call it “The Mathematical Mind”. Dr. Montessori also refers this phase as peaceful period. In this period, child has a reasoning mind and it all about big ideas, social justice, social connection, and also an ability to do conscious learning. In this phase the child is no longer absorbing from the environment. In this plane, the child is actually memorizing, analyzing, computing, and organizing.

Hope you enjoyed this brief overview on planes of development. Please share it with your mom friends who and give some love to our blog and our instagram page!

Montessori Pre-Reading Activities

Reading is an advanced mental process, which requires some complex cognitive skills such as analysis and synthesis.

There are four stages of Language Development:
Stage 1: Spoken Language
Stage 2: Phonemic Awareness
Stage 3: Creating Words
Stage 4: Reading

Before a child can tackle reading, we need to expose them to the skills that will aid in the process of reading. Pre-reading activities prepare younger children for reading later. Visual discrimination, auditory discrimination, sequencing, pattern recognition, sorting, spoken language are all precursors to reading. All of these activities aid in the process of reading development. For younger children the more concrete these activities are, the better they grasp these concepts.

10 Pre-Reading Activities Ideas

Reading Aloud

This is the most simple and easiest activity you can do with your child. Even if you cannot get time to do anything else, you can only read every day to your child. Reading aloud with your child will help him or her emotionally, socially, and academically. It will create a lasting bond and will promote a healthy emotional state in your child. Research shows that children who are read to every day have a better grasp on reading.  

Note: You can read to your child anytime at your convenience. It doesn’t have to be at bedtime. Find the time that works for your family!

Object to Object Matching

This is a very concrete activity for toddlers and the easiest to prepare with what you have around the house. The idea is to have the exact same objects to match. For example, if they are matching spoons both spoons should look exactly alike for the initial experience. For this activity, have a basket of objects that look the same and then line a set on the left. Name each object as you line them and then model matching each object. Place it all back in the basket and then have your child repeat the activity. It is very important to show the entire process from start to finish to your child. Putting the work away is also a big part of learning.

Note: For a young toddler keep the objects limited to 2 or 3 set for matching.

Challenging Version of Object-Object Matching

Object to Picture Matching

This is the same concept of matching but this time we are adding a bit of a challenge by doing it abstract. Pictures are not as concrete as the objects. What we see in 3D and 2D are two separate experience. Thus, for a younger child it is a bit of challenge and a good practice to distinguish objects from 3 dimension to 2 dimension.

Backyard Birds Matching

Picture to Picture Matching

Now, we are taking away the concrete completely and introducing only abstract concept of matching. This lesson comes after the child has successfully matched objects to picture.

Patterning

Patterning is such an important skill for children to learn for reading. When we are reading a language or learning a new language, it is all patterns of letters put together to make a word or a sentence. Patterning helps children make prediction to what comes next and use logical connections.

Story Sequencing

This is a very important preschool activity. Sequencing help children understand the patterns of things. For example, using your daily schedule for sequencing can help children understand what to expect next. This is also an important skill for reading because then a child can compartmentalize the concept of first, next, then, and last.

Sorting Activity

Any sorting activity you can find around the house will help your child understand to put things into category. A basket of spoons, forks, and knives can be a great sorting activity for a younger children to understand the concept of organization. Not only it prepares the mind for reading but also for writing and math.

Sorting by Colors

I-Spy Games

I-spy games are great for working memory and building that visual discrimination. In order to read we need to have phonemic awareness and also we rely on our memory of hearing that sound or word before. This game can be played at various stages. For this activity have a basket of different object that the child is familiar with and then you can do I-spy for each object either by color or touch. For an older toddler or Pre-K student who is learning the phonetic sounds, you can say, “I-spy an object that starts with the sound “s”. You can mix it up by doing the ending sound or middle sound depending on the child.

Conversation Cards

These are great addition for pre-reading shelf. They help build inference knowledge in children. Oral language development is a first step to reading development. Conversation Cards also helps child understand the concept of questions and answering.

Sand paper letters

The sand paper letters is the way we introduce letter sounds in the Montessori classroom. Tracing the letter and associating it with letter sound prepares the hand and the mind. It build the muscle memory as child internalize and remember the sound by tracing the symbol.

In Montessori classroom, we follow the above order for introduction to letter sounds. This order is color coordinated as shown above.

Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write, and count. Childhood is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace which is right for each individual child.

Maria Montessori

Purpose of Knobbed Cylinders

Knobbed Cylinders are one of Montessori’s genius and original material. Montessori classroom sensorial area begins with this wonderful material. This material is designed to teach children to visually discriminate between dimensions. There are four variations to Knobbed Cylinders, helping child to develop that mathematical mind to distinguish by size and weight. As the child practices with this work, they gain muscle memory and can able to distinguish each cylinder by touch. The Knobbed Cylinders comprised of 10 cylinders again for developing that mathematical mind that Montessori refers to in many of her writings.

Set A: Cylinders are decreasing in diameters successively from thick to thin while the height remains constant.

Set B: Each cylinders are decreasing in diameters from thick to thin and the height from tall to short

Set C: Each cylinders are decreasing in diameters from thick to thin while increasing in the height from short to tall.

Set D: The diameters stay constant only the height decreases from tall to short.

How to Present this Material:

1) Initial presentation begins with Set A as it is easier for children to match.

2) Invite the child for the lesson. Walk over to the shelf and name the material first before picking it up. Model how to carry the material to the work rug or to the table.

3) Place the material gently on the rug in front of the child. Present the material from left to right, thickest to thinnest.

4) Remember to use slow exaggerated hand movement and no words.

5) Take each cylinder out and mix them up. Tell the child that when we take them out we mix them up. (Point of Interest: Show the child how softly you can put it down on the rug or on the table)

6) Trace each cylinder around with your fingers to demonstrate the difference in diameters before putting them back.

7) Tell the child you will put them all back one by one. Model how to put them back.

8) Model how to put the material back on the shelf when you are done. Tell the child now it is his turn to work with the material.

Once the child has enough practice with each set isolated then we can begin with mixing up two sets, three sets, and then all four sets . One of the extension is to work with each set with a blindfold and then work with all four sets with a blindfold as child progresses with this material.

I hope this post helps your understanding on how to present this wonderful material to your child. Please write in the comments on what you would like to see more in our posts. Thank you for following this blog!

Nurturing the Child’s Spirit

“the spiritual embryo needs to be protected by an external environment that is warm with love and rich in nourishment, where everything is disposed to welcome and nothing to harm it. “

Montessori

What does it mean to nurture child’s spirit? Dr. Montessori talked about the spiritual embryo in her numerous writings and we often just look over and go straight to the materials. Have you ever wondered what she meant? How do we guide our child in his/her journey of spiritualism? These were all the questions I had ever since I learned that I was pregnant with my child. I always knew that I wanted to raise a spiritual child but didn’t know where to start.

On Montessori’s tomb it says, “…spiritual renewal and to the progress of humanity through child”, these words do make me ponder deeply what did she mean to do with her work? Spiritual renewal and progression of humanity was Montessori’s goal not the fancy wooden toys and extravagant Montessori set ups. This is especially important when we are facing such adversaries like Covid-19, with Black Lives Matter movement, and the political divide that we are facing in this country. If humanity stands any chance, we must begin at birth. We must begin with nurturing the spirituality in each child. When I speak of spirituality, I am not speaking of the religion. Spirituality is something we already have before we were born. We are born as this spiritual being and what we need from our environment is to continue to nurture this light within us.

“Spirituality is an inner sense of relationship to a higher power that is loving and guiding. The word we give to this higher power might be God, nature, spirit, the universe, the creator, or other words that represent a divine presence. But the important point is that spirituality encompasses our relationship and dialogue with this higher presence.”

Dr. Lisa Miller

Ways we encourage spirituality in our home:

  1. Modeling quiet time every morning and in the evening. We do not necessarily pray but we sit quietly and just observe our breath. With a toddler that is less than a minute sometimes we have a set time and space to do that. We want him to understand the value of making SILENCE.
  2. We encourage non-materialistic values. Our son do not get toys or too many materialistic things. We do buy him things that he needs for his growth but for wants we do practice the concept of LESS IS MORE.
  3. Communicating positively and using mindful words. Words are so important, not just what you say to your child but to your own personal self. Sometimes our inner dialogue is so negative, “I am not doing good enough”, “I should be a better mother” “I should always stay happy in front of my child.” That inner dialogue has a vibrational energy that is felt by your child. Change your inner dialogue because you are doing an amazing, wonderful job raising your child.
  4. Let the child explore safely and freely. We are just here to guide our son in his journey of self discovery. We prepare the environment so he can discover his true potential freely.
  5. Reading mindful books about peace, kindness, emotions, diversity, and people. We also practice gratitude in our daily life. Simple gratitude such as, “We are grateful for each other.” ” Grateful for pancakes in breakfast.” “Grateful to spend time and read together.” “Grateful for a beautiful walk outside.” Once you start practicing gratitude everyday, your whole mind set and mood changes because we all have so many things that we can be grateful for. Right now, I am grateful for the internet so I can connect with so many wonderful, positive people in the world.
  6. We get lots of outdoor time as being in nature really makes us feel connected to our inner self.
  7. We talk about kindness and model what that looks like by doing kind things for our friends, families, neighbors or even helping out a homeless person or by simply giving a smile to people we see in a grocery shop
  8. We express our own emotions, all emotions, in front of our son in a positive way. If I am angry, I tell my son how I feel and I firmly believe that my son needs to know that I am not always happy and I too feel sad . It is okay to feel those things as all emotions are healthy and necessary for our ultimate growth.
  9. Nurturing the Prepared Adult. Nurturing my own self by doing things I enjoy and caring for my mind, body, and spirit is the most important lesson that I can show my son. It is important for him to see the value of enjoying simple things. Sometimes I simply put on music and dance to the beat in front of him so he can witness his mother enjoying something she likes.
  10. Lastly, we let our child wonder. We let him explore the world with his senses and let him observe the world in awe. This is so important as we want our child to have reverence for all life around him, for this planet, and for himself as he is the greatest MIRACLE that was ever created.

All About Pumpkin (12-18 months old activities)

The month of October is so much fun with the anticipation of holidays and the change in weather. It brings out the joyous spirit in everybody. There are so many fall related activities that we can divulge into with our toddlers but being a Montessorian for such a long time, I’ve learned the simplest activities bring the best engagement among children. Children do not need fancy gadgets, materials, or apps to learn. They learn the best by experiencing the world with their senses and by having a parent who is PRESENT.

Most parents think Montessori is hard to do at home as they do not have Montessori materials. However, Montessori is very simple. Dr. Montessori made most of her materials with the homemade materials she found. Her first color tablets were not made of fancy wood, they were made of spool and thread. Likewise, we can keep the Montessori spirit by keeping it simple and real.

For this fall, I’ve put together a series of activities that you can do with one pumpkin. One pumpkin can cost you about $2.oo or less but you can do so many lessons with that one pumpkin.

Pumpkin Scrubbing

Pumpkin Scrubbing lesson was always a popular lesson when I taught in the primary classroom but with toddlers it is a fun lesson too. This lesson has water and scrub involved, two things toddler love to play with. Toddlers love sensorial experiences especially playing with water. This lesson also let them explore the big pumpkin with their senses. It is a simple lesson to put together for an engaging experience.

Scooping Pumpkin Seeds & Baking

Scooping and Transferring are both a very engaging activity for toddlers. Toddlers also love to do what you are doing so don’t hesitate in getting them involved with your baking projects. Whether it is baking a pumpkin pie or simply baking pumpkin seeds, it can be an enriching experience for kids. Also, it involves so much math as each step is an algorithm in itself.

Pumpkin Volcano

That empty pumpkin can turn into a great volcano project with some baking soda and vinegar. The possibilities are endless when it comes to pumpkin. They are so versatile and cheap to use for many projects. In the picture above, we turned our pumpkin into a volcano before painting it and turning it into a Jack-o-Lantern. My son loves to pour lately so this was a perfect addition to our study of Pumpkin

Another great activity is to learn the parts of the pumpkin. Little children loves the big words and by using correct vocabulary for each part this can turn into a great language arts lesson as well.

Pumpkin Painting with edible color

My son is only 14 months old and he loves to explore with his mouth. Therefore, we do not use paint but always looking for edible things to turn it into paint. For this activity, I used the following recipe to paint the pumpkin:

Recipe for Edible Paint

  1. 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  2. 1/2 tsp of corn starch
  3. 1/2 cup of water
  4. Turmeric for Yellow color & Beet Juice for Red color

Pumpkins can also turn into a great shape sorter, drum, boat, or a candle holder. You can also buy different shapes, colors, textures, and sizes of pumpkin to create a sensorial experience for your child.

Pouring Lesson with Pumpkin Seeds

The beauty of Montessori is truly in the simple things you can create with resources you have available. That is the best Montessori education for children.

If you like this post, please share your comments. We also would love to hear what you want to see more in our blogs. Ask your questions and share your opinions. Thank you and for more Montessori activities follow our journey on Instagram @trulymontessori

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Day 1: #fallintomontessoriseries  ?All About Pumpkins and Acorn Squash: Series of Lessons with a 14 month old "The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.” ~ Dr. Maria Montessori ? Pumpkin Scrubbing Lesson with Herbs ?Purpose: This activity involves squeezing a sponge and using a scrub brush which strengthens hands and fingers for writing. All practical life activities help increase order, concentration, coordination, and independence. Sensorial Experience with textures Literacy development by naming the parts of the pumpkin Sequential steps (preparation for mathematical mind) ? Scooping the seeds out of Squash and Pumpkin ? This activity was so much fun. Once he scrubbed the pumpkin and the squash, I let him scoop the seeds out with a spoon. ? Baking Acorn Squash ?Involving your child in  cleaning, scooping, and baking is such an Impressionistic lesson. It provides a deeper understanding of the topic he is learning and prepares his brain for multi-step process for Math later. These series of lessons build a MATHEMATICAL MIND. ?Pumpkin Volcano inspired by @elatedmom ?The last lesson in this series involves a bit of science. We used good old baking soda, vinegar, and food color to make a little explosion. N loved it so much, he needed some assistance with pouring as the pitcher was heavy. For an older child though, this can be an independent activity. ? Extensions you can also do with the same pumpkin Parts of the pumpkin Jack o lantern Paint your pumpkin Bake the seeds or just save them for pouring lesson ?Don't forget to like, comment, and share this activity! ? Be sure to follow our hashtag #fallintomontessori ?? #toddlerlearning #childsplay #pumpkinactivities #fallintomontessori #learningthroughplay #playislearning #diyactivities #finemotoractivities #stemactivities #montessoriinspired #playtobloom #handsonactivity #handeyecoordinationactivity #kidsactivity #toddlerspace #kidsspace #childledplay #easypeasyplay #stemfortoddlers #playtime #playislearning#montessoritoddleractivities #playandlearn #practicallife #practicallifeskills #montessorichildren #kidsactivityideas #play_fun_friday

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Unit Study For Toddlers (How to set up Montessori Unit Study in your home)

Do you want to start a Montessori Unit Study? Do you see the value of integrated learning that covers all essential areas of education for a child? If your answer is yes to any of those questions, then I have some simple tips that can help you get started with planning and organizing your Montessori unit study for your toddler.

Geometry Unit Study

What is a Unit Study?

A unit study encompasses all subject areas under one theme by using the Montessori method. It includes materials, presentation, control of error, points of interest, and aims of the lesson (direct & indirect). Unit study is a good way to plant a seed of a big subject by breaking it down into smaller areas such as math, literacy, sensorial, practical life, art, and more. Each lesson subsequently builds upon the same unit and expands the child’s experience with that subject.

Let’s Make Music

How to develop a Unit Study?

The most essential key to developing a Unit Study is OBSERVATION. Before you design a unit study for your child, you need to observe what he or she is doing. What are the things that interest them? What materials do they normally gravitate to? A Montessori teacher is trained in the art of observation and with the help of this observation they can build a successful unit study for children.

Once you have a theme in your mind there are these few tips that can help you organize your unit study.

The above image is the basic framework to begin planning your unit study. We can incorporate the concrete and everyday materials for Practical Life and Grace & Courtesy lessons, Sensory experiences will help a child explore the topic with senses to gain further information, pre-math activities or early math activities is used to reinforce important concepts, having books and nomenclature cards on the unit you are studying helps children learn new vocabulary and aids in early literacy development.

Here are some examples of Unit Studies we’ve done at home with my toddler.

Welcome Fall Theme

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

10 Things to keep in Mind when setting up your shelf

  1. Materials should be place left to right, easy to hard, concrete to abstract
  2. Remember less is more. Do not clutter the shelf with too many items as they can overstimulate the child.
  3. Child’s sensitive periods and age.
  4. Keep the skills you are teaching isolated (1 lesson = 1 skill) This keeps the difficulty level in check.
  5. Materials should be natural, clean, and complete.
  6. Fine-Motor Skill Activity
  7. Gross Motor Skill Activity
  8. Independent Exploration of Activities. Keep the Control of Error in mind when designing an activity.
  9. Planned presentation (Every week I have one or two activity that I am going to present formally to my son).
  10. Something child has already mastered (I keep one activity that he loves and he has mastered because this helps me bring him back to the activity when he is too worked up or not interested to sit and work).

Leaves and Apples

These are not an extensive version of my unit studies but a glimpse of how to get started. I am more than happy to help you plan your own unit study shelf. Write your comments below or reach out to me via email for any questions. You can also DM me on Instagram on how I set up this individual shelf. The Instagram link is below. Follow our daily Montessori activities for more tips and ideas. Thank you!

Sacred Geometry (Shapes fun with Toddlers)

“Measurement of the Earth together with the consciousness of the reciprocal relationship between Man and the objects of the environment, and between the objects themselves.” ~ Maria Montessori

Geometry is seen as an abstract subject by many and sometimes given to babies and kids at a much later age. However, geometry is everywhere. We live in a world full of patterns and shapes. A butterfly displays symmetry, a soda can shows cylinder and volume, a house looks like a rectangular prism, and a rock can be an ovoid. Geometry is a part of us and when we look at the cosmic world, we see Geometry in us. This is why in Montessori education Geometry starts from Birth with Gobi Mobile and Octahedron Mobile. We can continuously see Geometry being a part of the child with Montessori materials. These materials enhances natural curiosity in among children. The child is engaging all of his/her senses and without realizing it, adding new senses such as the stereognostic sense and the basic sense such as the sense of mass, that is of heaviness or lightness.

Shapes on the Shelf

The way I design my shelf is from Left to Right, Easy to Hard, and Concrete to Abstract. The purpose is to prepare the child for reading indirectly.

This was a simple DIY Sensory Shapes Board. I created this with different materials around the house and hot glued it on a piece of wooden board that I found for free at Home Depot.

My little bug had so much watching the light reflect through these shapes. I love these wooden acrylic glass shapes because they are so versatile. They can be used for stacking, building, and for learning the names of different shapes. I found them on Amazon. (The link is at the bottom of this page).

Wooden Shapes Puzzle

I kept the lessons pretty simple and complete on the shelf. The reason I keep lessons complete on the shelf is because when he enters the sensitive period of order, he can put the activity back when its finished. It also teaches him to complete the task before returning it on the shelf.

Shapes Sorting

This was a simple vertical dowel activity with shapes. This was also an Amazon find.

Finding Shapes in the nature engages child’s all senses and can make Geometry alive by relating it to real life objects.

Shapes Sensory Bin

Shapes Matching

Montessori Imbucare Box

This was by far the most loved lesson on the shelf. My little guy loved flipping the lid after he finished his lesson.

Rocks Washing

The simple rock washing activity is so peaceful and grounding activity for children. It involves geometry and sensory work.

Kandinsky Inspired Art

Kandinsky is famous for his geometric concentric circles in art. So, we created this easy version of Kandinsky for toddler. He painted on the laminating sheet first and then stamped different size circles with lids.

Making Stained glass with shapes by sticking sponges on the contact paper. These different color sponges from dollar tree are so versatile and you can create so many different activities with them.

Knobbed Cylinders

This is the iconic Montessori lesson, one you will find in every Montessori classroom. This is such a great work for visual discrimination, learning the different diameters, thickness, height, and great activity for fine motor skills. This lesson is a pre-writing activity as it helps strengthens the hand and the activity is completed from left to right.

Art with Geometric Shapes

Labyrinth Puzzle

Sacred geometry involves sacred universal patterns used in the design of everything in our real lives. Although, we are limited to explore this subject with toddlers in depth but it shouldn’t stop us to introduce a little piece of geometry in our kid’s lives.

Below are some of the links of the work for older children that I created. Sacred Geometry unit was a very popular unit study in my classroom. Here are few glimpse of our work and some freebie to incorporate it in your classroom or in your home.

Mandala Flash cards (Toddler, 3-6, and 6-9)

Mandala Three Part Cards (6-9)

On the Shelf: Food Preparation Mini-Series (2-6 years old)

Practical Life lessons include care of the self and care of the environment. The purpose of Practical Life lessons is to develop awareness towards physical movement, purposeful use of the mind, reverence towards the environment, and aesthetic appreciation. Food Preparation is such a fun area to teach many practical life skills. Food Prep is a big part of Practical Life Lessons. In the classroom, I would always have a food prep activity on the shelf rotating it every month by season or the unit study we are doing. However, at-home food prep lessons are always ongoing. My toddler loves to stand in his learning tower and help out while I am cooking. As much as I love doing that with my son, I also like to have some independent activities that he can gradually master and establish a sense of achievement.

Lessons of Food Prep include scooping, pouring, grating, washing dishes, setting the table, following step-by-step directions, cause and effect, problem-solving, and sharing the love of food.

Preparing your own breakfast

When children prepare their own food, they are more likely to try it and develop a healthy love for eating. Eating is a very social part of humans. We gather at the dining table at the end of the day not just to eat but to bond and involving children in the art of cooking is the best way to get them to form healthy habits.

This is just a mini-series of cooking for 2-6-year-old. There are so many ways you can get your child involved in the kitchen. These are some of the simple lessons to get you started if you haven’t done it already.

Pouring Milk (self-serve)

Strawberry Jelly Bread Flowers

Cooking is not just a practical life lesson but it is also preparation for developing a mathematical mind. When children finish a food prep activity they are actually following an algorithm. All the measuring and problem solving prepares their mind for complex mathematics later on. Thus, cooking has always been an integral part of the Montessori classroom and in our home.

Snack Prep. Cutting your own veggies

Citrus Tasting

When planning a food prep activity, it is important to follow the child. For a 2-year-old or younger these activities are guided lessons and require a lot of collaboration. As the child grows older, he or she can do these tasks with less guidance. However, it takes a lot of practice and supervision of parents to do some of these activities.

Banana Slicing for Breakfast

Coffee Grinding

These activities are deeply fulfilling for children. It develops their sense of self-achievement and nourishes’ inner drive towards self-empowerment.

Cinnamon & Nutmeg Grating

Egg slicing for Breakfast

As a part of Food Prep and developing independence, it is important to have a functional kitchen for your child. Functional Kitchen can help your child practice these activities independently such as setting the table, washing dishes, and putting away silverware. These are all part of food prep and are very important lessons to begin your food prep journey at home.

You can find some of the food prep items I use on my amazon account below.

Cloth Diapering 101

Our Cloth Diapering Journey

When you hear these words “Cloth Diapers” it flashes an image of white foldable diapers that needed safety pins to fasten. However, cloth diapers have come a long way and there are many varieties of diapers to choose from. I am not going to talk about the every type of cloth diapers out there in the market but I want to give you a scoop on how we did cloth diapering and cut our diaper cost to $500 for the whole year. I want to share our easy cloth diapering set up that will make you feel confident to go this route and help you save some money.

Benefits of Cloth Diapering

Aside from the usual money saving benefit, cloth diapering is also beneficial for the environment. The disposable diapers are not biodegradable, which means they cannot be broken by bacteria. For us cloth diapering happened when we noticed our son getting a severe rash from the brand name diapers in the market. We tried every brand and no matter what we did his little bum would suffer with rashes. From the amount of diaper rash cream,which is full of zinc oxide to the cost of diapers itself, it felt absolutely counter productive. We heard of cloth diapering but we weren’t sure if we could take on so much work load with a little baby. However, it turned out to be very easy and affordable system of diapering for us.

Things you need for Cloth Diapering

  1. Cloth Diapers (roughly around 24-28 diapers)
  2. Diaper Pail
  3. Diaper Pail Liners
  4. Diaper Liner
  5. Diaper Inserts
  6. Baby Detergent.
  7. Toilet Sprayer

Firstly, let’s talk about the types of diapers that we used. There are many types of cloth diapers out there: hybrid, pre-folds, pocket, and all in one. We opted for pocket diapers which comes with two inserts. Usually when you buy pocket diapers the inserts comes with it. We used three brands for our son, Bum Genius, Nora’s Nursery, and Alva Baby. Bum Genius Pocket Diapers are around $19.99 per diaper. Alva Baby diapers were around $40 to $42 for 6 diapers depending on the print you choose. We didn’t buy all 28 diapers from the start. We bought 5 Bum Genius, a pack of 6 diapers from Alva Baby, and a pac of 6 Diapers from Nora’s Nursery to give it a try to see which one we liked more. We ended up liking Alva Baby and Nora’s Nursery more because of its fit, three snaps versus two in Bum Genius, and the affordability. All of these diaper brands have adjustable sizing so you can use them from infancy to toddler years.

Diaper Pail Liner were from Amazon for $18. They are resueable liners so I usually throw the whole bag in the washing machine for a wash along with the diapers. I have two liners so when one goes for wash I can use the other one.

Pail Liner and Wet Bags

We also use Wegreeco Biodegradable Diaper Liners for solids. You can throw the whole liner in the toilet and they are flushable. It made our life so easy as we didn’t have to worry about solids. Any solids that accidentally landed on the diaper, we would spray it down in the toilet with the toilet sprayer. The dirty diaper will go in the diaper pail until it is a laundry day.

Unwashed Diaper Set up

For any stains on the diapers, we used the Biokleen Bac-Out. It is a plant based, live enzyme solution and it works like magic on poop stains.

For washing the diapers, I would wash it once or twice a week depending on how many diapers we went through that particular week. My first wash is just a quick wash with cold water. The second cycle of wash, I used Seventh Generation Liquid Detergent and a couple of drops of Dettol. Dettol is an antispetic liquid that I bought it off Amazon. The link is below in my amazon store.

That’s it! It is that simple to do Cloth Diapering. Here is my storage unit for Cloth Diapers. I bought this Door Shoe Organizer from Target for $9.99 and it fits almost all of my diapers.

Shoe Organizer for Diaper Storage

Our Recipe to Make Cloth Wipes

 ½ cup water (filtered preferred)

-2 tbsp coconut oil

-2 tbsp baby wash. (We use Honest company baby wash)

-1 drop of Lavender and Melaleuca essential Oil (We used DoTerra brand for our essential oils)

Click on the amazon link below to find all the products.

All About Primary Colors (12-18 months old activities)

Montessori Shelf

Before I introduced all primary colors, I started with introducing by isolating only one color at a time. First, we started with a unit study Red, then Blue, and then yellow. I will have to post those at a later time for reference. This unit study exceeds my expectation as I made some of the materials by myself and used some of the materials from different lessons I already had. With doing Montessori at home, it is extremely important for us that we are not buying expensive materials for all the skills that my little bug need to learn. There are many ways you can create your own beautiful materials at home at much cheaper price and they work great. Do not get me wrong, I do buy Montessori materials from Montessori websites as they are beautiful and durable and let’s face it, sometimes it is just too hard when you are trying to make everything. There are some lessons that are authentic Montessori and then some I added from Amazon because I thought they went well with my unit study. Here is a sneak peek into our lessons on the shelf:

Color tablet and clothespin

I made this inexpensive lesson with the Dollar Tree wooden clothespin and a wooden board I found at Michael’s Arts and Crafts for 59 cents. With some acrylic paint, there is a lesson that helps with hand-eye coordination and strengthens child’s visual discrimination. I also like this lesson as it promotes bilateral hand use.

Wooden Peg Lesson

This lesson was another DIY with inexpensive material find at random places. The peg board was created free by my husband. He found this piece of wood for free at Home Depot and I bought Pegs from the Michael’s Arts and Crafts store for $2.99. This lesson is another great lesson for hand-eye coordination. It strengthens child’s finer motor skills and prepares their hand for pincer grip, which is an indirect objective of this lesson for later writing development.

Threading Wooden Spools

I found these wooden spools at a local thrift store for $3.00 and wooden dowel is from the Dollar Tree. This is a great lesson and it is also a little challenging lesson for little ones. My son is only 12 months old and his finer motor skills are not as refined as probably any other older child. However, this is the lesson I’ve seen him getting out the most and trying to thread the spool. He can easily thread one at a time after working at it for a few minutes and he almost succeeded with all three spools. The reason I did not remove it from the shelf is because it provides him a challenge that is just right. He is not frustrated with the lesson yet and since he is going back to it over and over, it reminds me that this is what he needs to do right now.

Sorting by Colors

Simple sorting activity with birds and flowers. Sorting is such an important skill to prepare a mathematical mind. This activity will eventually build up to sorting by initial sounds, shapes, textures, patterns and more.

Basket of Music Instruments

Basket of simple music instruments. For this unit, I chose all the red, blue, and yellow instruments from the Melissa and Doug Kit that I bought during Christmas. My little man loves music so I try to incorporate opportunities to make music when I am planning my unit study.

Geometry Puzzle

This is just a simple knob puzzle that I bought from Montessori N Such. You can see from the picture that it is a much loved lesson. He mastered this puzzle at nine months but he still loves it a lot.

DIY Coin Box

This one is just a paper box from the Dollar Tree where I cut out a little hole to turn it into a coin box. We also have a Montessori Coin Permanence Box but this is a little twist to fit our unit study. This is a good lesson for hand wrist movement, developing fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and teaching the child when object disappears out of sight does not mean its gone forever.

Threading Pipe Cleaners

Simple DIY to help more with fine motor skills. This jar and the pipe cleaners are from the Dollar Tree.

Wooden Color Blocks

Wooden Acrylic blocks for open ended activity. These block I found them on Amazon and they’ve been a favorite for many activities. You can take them outside to see nature with these colored blocks or stack them or use them as building blocks. They are very versatile and a good addition to our unit. I’ve also used them for storing materials as they are perfect size.

These are only some example of our Primary Colors unit study. If you like to see more of our lessons in use, you can follow us on Instagram @trulymontessori.