Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Our Intro to Montessori and DIY Place Setting Mat

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I’ve often beat myself up about not having a super specific focus for this here blog, but here’s the thing:

I don’t have just one specific focus in life.

And since this is really about things that we do and mostly things I make in my life, there is bound to be a huge variety of topics. Not just that, but as our famiphoto 5ly life evolves, so too will my posts and the projects I share within them.

Which brings me to Ben’s preschooling.

He is two and half. We’re not quite ready for “real” preschool (he nor I), but anyone who has had a two year old knows that this time can’t be taken for granted. He’s a sponge, I tell you. He is learning to explore and do things by himself, and without trying to sound too much like the overly-mushy mom, it’s really fun to witness.

While I’ve adopted more of a Montessori method for awhile now in how his learning toys and play space have been organized as well as how we treat our belongings and our approach to toys and learning in general,

with the start of this “school year”, we are taking on a more specific Montessori approach.

If you want more information about the Montessori method, there are plenty of great resources and explanations out there. I’m not going to tackle that here. At least not yet. What I will say is that Ben and I are learning as we go. We’re taking on new “works” as they seem to fit with our life (right now, he is obsessed with dry pouring, and we’ve just introduced transferring with tongs which he seems to really enjoy as well). I am amazed every time I introduce a new work to him. He often needs no explanation which is part of the beauty of Montessori. Every work has a built in control, so learning comes very naturally.


And now for the DIY bit…


Montessori works can be really expensive (and sometimes confusing)… for me anyway, and I really don’t think I’m the only one. Luckily I’ve been able to find many ways to put materials together from things I have around the house, purchases from the dollar store, or simply by making them myself. So I’ll be sharing them with you all as we go in the hopes that you can benefit from our successes and failures.

The first thing I wanted to share is

Ben’s Place Setting Matphoto 1





I’m starting simple and with materials many of you no doubt have around your house

Construction paper, glue, a pen, and laminate material or clear contact paper (optional but suggested)



photo 2



There is no need for step by step directions here. I used Ben’s plate, cup, and flatware as a template,

cut them out of colored paper

labeled them

and glued them on in their appropriate places.



photo 3


I have a laminating machine which I LOVE but this was too big to fit through, so I just used clear contact paper so it will wipe clean. Then I put all of the materials in a separate bin and put the mat and bin on his shelves. No lie, when he found them in the morning, he didn’t even wait for an explanation. He just saw something new and dove right in, immediately putting everything in its place and then told me, “I did it! Bweak-fas?”

photo 4






You can buy these pretty cheap from the store, or really beautiful cloth ones on Etsy, but all in all this cost me under a dollar, and I didn’t have to leave me house. Craft hoarding for the win!



So that’s all for now. Keep checking back in for more DIY Montessori ideas!

1 comment:

  1. LOVVE this! My sister just introduced to Montessori stuff and I can't wait to involve the girls! So fun!


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