A Year of Montessori Learning: April

Well, I was all pumped up to spend most of our April days outside, alas the rain has persisted and we haven’t been out of doors nearly as much as I would have liked. We did our best however, and as I looked back at all of the photos I’ve taken this month, it does seem we managed to soak up the sun whenever it showed it’s face.

April has been a big month for Emmett! He’s officially walking, has taken huge leaps in his communication skills, is allllll about helping out and for the first time in a long time, is napping like an absolute champ. I feel like I finally caught up to him this month, and toddlerhood isn’t catching me quite so off guard any more. I’m actually enjoying it! I can’t believe how helpful this little boy is; he puts away his laundry, throws away his dirty diapers, has started being able to operate zippers and can almost get his shirts on and off by himself. We are amazed every day by how much he understands, and just this week out of nowhere, has started signing “thank you,” which is just about the best thing ever. As far as actual words go, his favorite right now are “Mama, Dad, Nana and Papa,” which he often wakes up chanting, over and over. He can make lots of animal noises now: a dog, cat, chicken, crow and owl (the current favorite), though he continues to favor anything and everything having to do with motors.

He’s also started running to wherever the books are kept each time we enter a room, grabbing a few and backing up into my lap so I can read to him. To say I enjoy this might just be the understatement of the century. I LOVE to read with him, and though his attention span is still a bit limited, it’s so fun to cozy up with a big stack of his favorites.

APRIL

Theme:
Botany- Botany was a fun one! I decided that our theme would stretch to include flowers, trees, bugs, weather, pretty much anything green or related to nature. Why not throw it all in the mix, right? We used our theme as an excuse to get outside most days, dig in the dirt, maybe eat a little, and plant lots and lots of seed in the ground. The Easter Bunny brought Emmett a garden tool set in his basket, and he has enjoyed using them in the flower beds while I weed. We got him some little gloves too, but they’re still a bit big for his hands. As each of the new types of flowers or shrubs has begun to bloom in our yard, I’ve tried to take Emmett outside to feel, smell and notice them. We even cut a big variety a few weeks ago and stuck them in our flower press. Some of them turned a bit moldy, but a few turned out well and I stuck them in some glass frames and hung them in our room.

Emmett has really started to express a great amount of interest in self-care, practical life tasks and basically doing whatever I’m doing by himself. This month he’s learned to throw away his diapers after a change, fetch the basket of supplies before a change, take off and zip up his sleep sack, put away his laundry, climb the bathroom stool to brush his teeth and wash his hands, roll his “Sleepy” oil blend on his feet and put his dishes away. I absolutely love his joyful attitude when it comes to doing tasks and I can’t help but have a better attitude about cleaning when I see his enthusiasm. He also, after several months, finally mastered the art of getting himself water without spilling half the Culligan bottle on the floor. He still does sometimes, just for fun, but he is now totally able to do it on his own.

People keep telling me to enjoy his helpfulness while I can, because he won’t always be so enthusiastic about helping out. I understand what they are saying, but I have hope that we’ll be able to raise a little boy who is confident and capable and takes pride in his work, rather than seeing it as drudgery.

Books:
Books continue to become more and more of a priority for our little guy, and I’m absolutely tickled about it! I’m still having a hard time selecting books that are entirely age appropriate, especially from the library, because enough with the board books already! But he’s slowly growing into them, and just in the last few weeks, able to turn some paper pages without tearing them to shreds. He’s definitely still a bit young for them though, so I try to mix in a healthy bit of lift-the-flaps and touch-and-feel. We bought him a really awesome lift-the-flap from a friend’s Usborne book party for his Easter basket and it is awesome! Even Taylor and I learned a few things we didn’t know as we read it to him.

Our favorite library books this month were Tree (great story AND an owl!) and Planting a Rainbow, both being read almost every day at lunch. From our own collection, the favorites were definitely Tractor Mac and Bear Sees Colors. I’m hoping to get a few more Bear books from the library this month, because Emmett loses his mind every time I grab this book off the shelf. I’ve found that reading the longer storybooks works better at lunch when he’s strapped into his highchair and not in my lap. And the books fare a bit better that way too.

Library: Planting a Rainbow. Tree. Nature’s Day*. Eddie’s Garden. How Does My Garden Grow? Before and After*. Grandpa’s Garden. Nature Anatomy (I worried this would be over Emmett’s head, but he loved looking at all the animals and bugs).

Our Collection: Don’t Pollute. Bear Sees Colors. Jamberry. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Tractor Mac Arrives at the Farm. Bugs. How do Flowers Grow? Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. The Tallest Tree.

*These were a bit over Emmett’s head, but would be great for an older kiddo! 

Adventures:
This month has been full of adventures! From trips to Home Depot to gather supplies for mama’s clothesline, to a stop at the local nursery with Nana, despite the rain, we’ve managed to do quite a few fun things together. Go on walks around our “neighborhood” and take a few rides on the bike Taylor (and Emmett) fixed up for me from Craigslist. Hopefully we’ll get to log a lot more miles on that little old beauty this next month, fingers crossed.

A few weeks ago, we had some dear friends come down to our house for the weekend so we could introduce our boys to “camping” in the backyard. We only braved the tents one night thanks to the rain, but we had a really, really great time. Their little guy is a year older than Emmett and it was so fun to have two little dudes running around our house all weekend. We drove up to Silver Falls on Saturday morning and spent a few hours hiking a 7-mile loop, which included 10 stunning waterfalls. The boys both crashed in their packs on the last stretch of the hike, so when we got back, we tucked them in the corner of the lodge and treated ourselves to hot chocolates.

Easter Sunday was also a bit of an adventure, thanks to our lovely hosts, Taylor’s Aunt and Uncle. They board a few horses, have a couple cows and a little flock of chickens, and with Emmett so into animals as of late, he was thrilled. Taylor took him up to rub the nose of one of the big, beautiful mares and he squealed with such a mix of terror and delight, he didn’t quite know what to make of it! He’s usually pretty chill about new things, but the horses really blew him away. I only wish it wouldn’t have been so dark in the barn so I could have gotten some photos of his face. Priceless.

Projects:
We used Easter as an excuse to make some Easy Easter Cards with dot paints and card stock, and while it wasn’t the most relaxing thing I’ve ever done, they turned out cute. I’ve backed off using art supplies for a bit, since they all seem to go straight to his mouth, and instead have channeled our project energy into practical life skills. Washing dishes, washing hands, brushing teeth, putting on shoes, socks and clothes, putting away laundry, helping sweep, helping clean and putting away dishes.

We’ve also spent a bit of time outside digging in the garden, planting seeds and flower starts. Emmett has dug holes, put seeds in and helped spread the dirt back over top. I’ve showed him how to pull weeds and throw them in the wheelbarrow, and we’ve spent a lot of time smelling flowers. Though I look forward to the day when he’s as enthusiastic about art projects as I am, we’ve had a really good time just doing every day tasks.

Shelves/Toys:
I did a fair bit of changing things up this month for Emmett’s main work shelves in the living room. He was either bored of them last month, or just wasn’t quite there developmentally, but whatever the reason, he hardly touched them. This month has been a different story. I did purchase a few new things, but they have been well worth it for the amount that he’s used them and will continue to use them in the future. Here’s a few of the items I grabbed:

Simple Puzzle. Lacing Beads. Wallet with old gift cards. Montessori Cylinder Toy.
Flowers ToobBugs Book and Toob. Bug Catcher (Similar). Lawn Mower.

The biggest hits of all have been the slide we borrowed from my sister-in-law to try and channel those climbing urges into something productive, and as always, the Terra Barn and Schleich animals. We’ve recently added a sheep dog to the herd, and my mom just sent Emmett a barn owl, which he is over the moon about. He continues to play with the whole basket of sports balls, as well our big blue exercise ball which I rode all the way to 9 cm. Ha! I also grabbed him one of those cheap inflated balls that lives in the cages at the end of the supermarket aisle and he’s been pretty excited about that. Especially after mama broke the lamp with it. Oops.

I’ve just started to notice an increased interest in playing “pretend” with his animals and cars, and I’m pretty excited about watching him engage in imaginary play. Can’t wait to see his little mind in action. It was also pretty cool to see another kiddo interacting with the shelves both upstairs (which haven’t been changed in a while) and down, when we had our friends for the weekend. The boys played pretty well together, and I loved seeing what Levi was drawn to at his age. Gave me lots of good ideas!

Playlist:
This was a fun playlist to put together! I feel like most of the songs I found for this list were perfect for the weather we’ve been having. Peppier, more upbeat songs for the flashes of sun, and a few moody tunes for the rain showers. We didn’t listen to it a ton, since we’ve really been feeling our new Sound of Music and My Fair Lady records from the thrift store, but it’s a playlist you could put on any time of the year, really. Give it a try!

April | Botany

Our next month’s theme is Sensorial, which feels a little obscure to me, but I’m looking forward to the challenge of making it relevant! Join us, won’t you?

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4 Comments

  1. Love this post! My daughter is 13 months and not quite walking yet, so I love the inspiration from your ideas each month, as I feel she is right behind your little guy. Thanks for being such an intentional mama!

  2. Nice job you guys! What a fun month you had! I was feeling a little down about the somewhat boring and uninspired April we had, thanks to the cold and rainy (and snowy!) weather we had for most of the month…yes, all winter long we went outside in cold weather, but I was feeling OVER having to bundle up! Buuuut, then at the very last minute the sun came out and we had a couple GREAT days spent digging in the garden, plating potatoes and preparing the beds. Pehr used her little gardening tools and had a blast getting as dirty as possible. ;) She’s also walking up a storm right now so we’re focusing on that.

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