We love going on adventures! Adventures are our daily walk. Sometimes it’s a rambling walk, sometimes we have a specific quest in mind.

Walking in the same place is very rewarding. It provides a chance to notice the seasonal changes as they happen in our own little spot. It also encourages the children to start asking deeper questions about a place. Why do something grow in one spot but not another? What signs of birds or other animals are there and how does that change?

At the moment our own adventures are very similar to the description of Charlotte Mason’s nature study as described in Ambleside online, if you scroll past the prescribed list and read the description of how it should be implemented. Most of the time I just let the children discover what they will, but every so often I will send them off with a quest to look for something in particular – like The Quest for The Golden Leaf in Autumn.

Oh, and don’t forget to bring a bag, for all those leaves and feathers they will collect!


Quick, Easy and Fun – Juggling Balls.

With illness in the house, we needed something that wasn’t too much work for anyone, but that would get the boys outside to enjoy the sunshine. Given that juggling was a sport enjoyed by Ancient Greek girls, we could even tie it in to our current interest area.

You’ve probably made these balloon and rice juggling balls before, but just in case, we used the instructions here. They were very easy. There were only a few steps that the boys needed adult assistance to complete. This project uses only a few easy-to-come-by materials, it’s a great inclusion into an Emergency Box.

Our juggling balls

Snack time: Part 1

I consider snack time part of our educational programme. 😉 Ignore for the moment that it is necessary and fun – when these things happen in the classroom it goes on the teacher’s plan, why couldn’t it be part of yours? ‘Food Curriculum’ is an easy way to incorporate other learning. Here are some ideas for two Key Learning Areas. Food is such an important part of human culture that there is little it doesn’t touch, and you will easily think of more to add. (When you do, let me know!)

Health and Physical Education

Yes, healthy eating, but what about interpersonal skills? Mealtimes and snacks provide a fantastic opportunity for modeling manners and etiquette.

Montessori theory talks about Grace and Courtesy lessons, and teaches them explicitly but not at point of need. We do this usually by talking about manners, but not when a child fails to use manners, but beforehand. Then we model, model, model. I am aiming for my children to use manners not to get treats, but because they want to. To me, manners aren’t about codes or ‘magic words’.  Manners are just about conventional ways of showing another person we respect them as a human being.

But that’s probably a whole different post, so moving on. 🙂

The Social Sciences (aka Society and Environment or Social Studies)

The Little City Kids curriculum has some really interesting ways to incorporate snack time into learning about a particular topic – albeit heavy on the sugar sometimes.  Our jelly layers were a fun way to demonstrate stratigraphy in the ground.

Dino Layer Jelly

One of my favourite lessons I did as a teacher involved making an edible (ice cream) model of a comet, and as a Guide Leader I have made working edible aquifers.  (Which reminds me, I haven’t done either of those with my children yet…)

Food is invaluable in the study of culture. As a basic human need all societies must find a way to meet that need, so food provides a great bridge between cultures and a wonderful way to demonstrate diversity and similarity. This is an important concept in Montessori, which prides itself on being education for peace.

Cultural cuisine is a fairly obvious inclusion here, but it is fun! What about ancient foods?  Did you know the Minoans grew poppies? What a great excuse for orange and poppy-seed cake!

The use of culturally appropriate eating tools, like chopsticks, or the use of bread as scoops, is good (messy) fun, and again provides a bridge between cultures, embracing similarities and differences. (Did you know, for example, that the chopsticks used in Japan are a little different from those used in China?)