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Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

1-2 years old

An Excellent Toy for a 12-18 Month Old

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 2:30 pm | By Stephanie Woo

For months now, I’ve observed how much my kids love to open and close things. And they also love to put things inside other things. Their favorite toy since they were 8 months is a little drawer with a ball inside that they can open and close.

With that in mind, when I saw this wooden cigar box at the Salvation Army, I thought maybe I could do something with it. A great Montessori activity for toddlers usually around 15-18 months is putting chips into the slot of a box. So I ask my very handy husband for help.  He broke out his power saw and cut a slot in this wooden box and screwed on the latch. Then we bought some plastic poker chips to put in it.

This is by far one of my kids’ favorite toys. They love the box; they love the chips even more. Watch what Mackenzie does in this video at 12 months.

Now that they are 14 months, they still play with this box endlessly. Of course we find chips everywhere in the house, including inside the VCR player, inside my file cabinet, inside baskets, inside other toys, in bed, in the bathtub, everywhere. It’s been an excellent investment: $2 box + $2 for the latch + $1.99 worth of plastic poker chips = fine motor skill development and months of fun!

Video: 14-Month Update

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 6:29 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Hello Moms, Dads and Montessorians!

Sorry I ‘ve been remiss in updating my blog. Why? Well, I’ve been spending my free time writing a book! Or a booklet, rather. Moms don’t have time to read, as I can attest, so the shorter the book, the better. With that in mind, I’m writing a short, but hopefully thorough, book on raising your child the first year the Montessori Way. I’ve written most of it, but it still needs editing. Watch out – it’ll be coming soon!

Meanwhile, I have so many photos, videos and stories about B and M from the last two months, I don’t even know where to begin!

The girls are now 14 months old – walking, talking and so much more grown up than the last time you heard about them.

Brooke has become a pro at using the spoon. She can eat entire bowls of oatmeal, yogurt or rice by herself. All those months of letting her feed herself (and the endless cleaning up that went along with it) is finally starting to pay off! A couple days ago, I decided to up the ante and give her some cereal and milk to eat on her own. It takes a lot of concentration and hand-eye coordination for a child to do this – but both of them love fishing out those one or two O’s with their spoon. They would eat cereal with milk all day long if Mama would let them!

In other news, Mackenzie is absolutely in love with the harmonica. I bought this when they turned one and Mackenzie immediately started blowing on it, but very lightly at first. In the last two months, she’s taken it to new levels. Here’s a little excerpt from my little traveling harmonica player. And I recommend it as a great instrument for little ones to make music!

How do I stop my child from climbing on everything?

Monday, December 5th, 2011 2:32 pm | By Stephanie Woo

I took Brooke to an indoor playground the other day. She stared at the older kids as they went up and down the slide. I went to get something from the stroller and when I turned around, Brooke had climbed halfway up the stairs of the slide! I almost had a heart-attack but I did my best to stay calm and watched her get to the top. I helped her slide down and immediately, she went for the stairs again.

From that day on after we got home, she started climbing onto anything she could, including the weaning table. Somewhere in the middle of the meal, we would find her on top of the table with her knee in a bowl of rice!

Clearly, my little monkey was itching to climb. I knew I had to give her something to climb because if I didn’t, she would find something to climb onto anyway. Babies are like that, you cannot stop them because they NEED to do these things, whether it’s putting things in their mouth or climbing. If you don’t want them to do something, you need to redirect their energy and give them a version of it that they CAN do.

So I asked my nanny to clean the staircase in my building and I let her loose on the stairs. She went up and up. Super fast too. And then I would take her down and start again. Up and up again. Five flights in the morning. Then five flights in the afternoon. Then five flights the next morning. She would squeal and babble loudly all the way up and her laughter would echo through the hallway. She loved it.

We’ve continued climbing stairs everyday and I’m happy to report the table-climbing has stopped. Brooke is in better shape than ever and Mama is still catching up!