What’s on our shelves

I promised I would post this and so here it is. These are the main ideas or experiences we have on Quentin’s shelves at almost 24 Months. We rotate them as needed but I’ve tried to keep it really simple. A puzzle out for a puzzle in, a wet pouring out for a wet pouring in, a colour activity…well, I’m sure you get the idea.


Row 1: Basket of Animals used for vocabulary/matching
Art activity: crayons, paints, pasting tray, play dough
Scissor/cutting practise with strips of paper and box for scraps
Fine motor/sequencing activity: nesting dolls

Row 2: Bowling pins and ball. Thank you Essential Montessori
Vocabulary/matching cards: currently Alphabet Cards. Thanks So Awesome
Books: Letter and Number Work
Colour sorting activity: currently Primary Lacing Beads

Row 3: Practical Life Dry Transferring: currently pompoms with tongs Thanks How We Montessori
Practical Life Wet Transferring: currently water with pipette. Thanks again How We Montessori
Knobbed puzzle: a wide selection. Everything from trucks to sequencing
First jigsaw puzzle: matching adult animal to baby

Row 4: Geometric Shapes
Lock Box

I haven’t included the “outdoor” materials but I will do a separate post on them shortly as the weather is getting warmer and we are spending more time outside.

We also have a beautiful hand made zipper dressing frame made by my Mother, and of course the light box that Anthony and I made, but this for the most part is it. This is what keeps his little hands moving, and the fire in his eyes burning all day long.


10 Replies to “What’s on our shelves”

  1. I’m so glad you posted this, Beth. I find it so useful to have a visual idea of what age appropriate work looks like. I’ll be back to visit this post in September (I was just on the post about Quentin’s 18 month shelves last week)!

  2. How does it do with the scissors? Do you leave it out without supervision? I have offered cutting practice material to Six but she isn’t there yet (although she is interested). Sixtine has this exact lock box (but I’ve put it away for a bit as the interest wore off). Victoire loves it too!

    The geometric solids are lovely! I would love to get a set for the girls. Did you post about your light table or was it just a dream?

    Gosh, I am so tired… xx

    1. Hi Deb, yes I leave the cutting activity out for him. He rarely chooses it though and so I think I need to look at changing it to make it more interesting for him. He has little fingers and it is still difficult for him to get a good grip around the little scissors.

  3. How structured is the Time that Quentin Spends playing / working with these trays? My boy is almost two but many of these things can’ t be done without supervision. He would try painting with crayons at the walls and not in his book, he would start putting Pom poms in his mouth, he is very interested in cutting…but cutting everything he can find around him…and not the paper…etc…I keep trying to offer him different things but. I often get totally discouraged and upset…Moreover, he doesn’ t seem to be able to occupy himself on his own..he plays on his own but mommy needs to be sitting right beside him, if not then he starts crying and demanding mommy to come and play witth him….As my second baby is due in. less than 4 weeks I am really thoughtful about the time after the delivery. Sometimes it is all pretty difficult.lHow to occupy the first one and to do justice to both of the kids?
    Thank you so much for the visualisation of your materials…that helps a lot!

    1. If you have a new baby on the way, you may want to focus on having your child spend some time on his own. I have a post on independent play you may find helpful. Start slowly and in 4 weeks you may start to see the change you’ve been hoping for. I think the really important thing to remember is that a 2 year old Montessori child is still a 2 year old. They need supervision. This may mean sitting beside them, or this may mean checking in on them from time to time. It will depend on each child. For example Quentin needs me to help him with cutting. I am always right there, so nothing gets cut besides the paper. But I know other children Quentin’s age that can cut independently. I can leave Quentin working with the pom poms to run and check on dinner without worrying about him putting them in his mouth. It depends on the child.
      It is always an adjustment when a new baby comes home. Every family is different and finds a way of doing things that works for them. Perhaps your new baby would enjoy looking in a mirror or concentrating on a mobile in the same space that your older child is working. That way you will be with both children without one being left out.
      Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have. If anyone else has tricks and tips for this situation they are most welcome to leave a comment as well.

  4. Thanks for this post! My son just turned 2 and I’m trying to implement Montessori into our home. We’ve done the trays here and there but he ends up THROWING EVERYTHING. Very frustrating! So I can’t leave water out for example. Any tips greatly appreciated! Are these activities left out in his room or a play room? I look forward to seeing more of your posts 😉

    1. It can be frustrating Jennifer. Here is the link to a recent post about our Montessori work space for the boys and the different areas around our house that have been modified for Quentin. Keep the trays out and accessible. Give him the freedom to choose and keep the limits absolute. That is at the heart of the Montessori philosophy.
      Perhaps no water left out for now. You could have a water activity set up without the water & then fill it when your son wants to work on it. We do that with paints. We have a tray with everything except the paint. When Quentin chooses that off his shelves, we go and fill his little pallet with paint. Remember that practise makes perfect. It takes a long time to get used to something. Especially for a two year old. You will thank yourself (and him) when very soon you will be able to sit back and observe him quietly start, complete and cleanup independently.

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