An emerging Artist

And without warning there was Art.
Art that did not include masses of paint or crayon colours splashed across the page with abandon and no form.
Art that showed previously unseen fine motor control using pencils.
Art that shows an actual named figure !!

Meet Laval from Chima, as imagined by Master Oh Waily.

M's Drawing


Apologies for the quality of the photograph… must work on my art photography skills.  🙂


Matching and Grading skills

A few days ago I thought I would get out some of my older Montessori inspired activities to see how Master Oh Waily would go with them.  He has been interested in puzzles for a while now, so I wondered how he would get on with grading sizes and seeing other sorts of patterns.

The first activity we tried was the arranging of images in size from largest to smallest.  He did really well and lined up all six different images and only had slight issues with one of them.

After that I pulled out our frog matching set from the freebies section of the very useful and time saving Montessori Print Shop.  He set out to do all of the sheets at once, and bar one mismatched blue frog which he fixed once he had the correct one on hand, he set about the task happily and successfully.  As you can see below.

Boy and Frogs

Boy and Frogs

So now that I can see how good he is with patterns and visual discrimination I think I will look through other old printables and similar items and see what else he may be comfortable doing until his interest in patterning and recognition wanes.

How do you help your children develop their visual discrimination skills?

Puzzles, cylinders and scissors

Master Oh Waily has been busy over the past few weeks.  He has shown some skill gains in several areas.
His current go-to activity is jigsaw puzzles. We have a variety of puzzles in the Oh Waily household, small six and eight piece wooden puzzles with bright, cheery pictures; a cardboard Thomas the Tank Engine puzzle picked up for $6 at the supermarket one day is a big favourite as is his 30 piece, double sided giant pirate puzzle.  Here he is concentrating on the small wooden puzzles.

Puzzles 1

Our set of beautiful Educo wooden puzzles.

I have also introduced Master Oh to the cylinder blocks. After initially being a little unsure, he took to the task and has mastered both of the blocks we have.  His interest has made me even consider trying to get the other two in order to make up the set, just to see how he would get on.
So here he is working his way through the two blocks.  As you can see, he still does not put all of the cylinders into the correct holes straight away but he does get there in the end.  The beauty of self-correcting materials.

Starting out

Starting out

Here we are, almost getting it, but showing some out of place cylinders.

Nearly done

Working through it.

And here he is with the final result.  All wobbly cylinders fixed up.

All done

All done.

As well as learning about size and dimensions, the cylinders also teach some pre-writing and pre-mathematics skills.  If you are interested in learning about the cylinder blocks, you can read more about them here.

And the final skill that is coming along nicely is his scissor control.  I made some strips for cutting practice using leftover stickers from Christmas and some lightweight card.  The aim was for him to cut between the stickers and then place the cut piece into his bowl for use in future art and crafting.   And here we see him in action.



Yes, some days we do have our pyjamas on long after we get up and about.

And that is how Master Oh Waily’s skills are coming along.
What are your kids mastering right now?

Sharing a Shell – Julia Donaldson

This week we brought home this little gem from the library in our book bag.
The Oh Wailys already own quite a few books by Julia Donaldson.  More than I care to confess to here today, but naturally involve the Gruffalo and it’s child as well as the three books in The Tales from Acorn Wood.

Sharing a Shell is currently the favourite reading material for Master Oh Waily, and Miss Oh Waily will happily tag along too when it is being read.

Compared to other verse work by Ms Donaldson, I find that this one does not have her usual easy reading flow.  Even after multiple readings I am failing to find a good rhythm.  And although I generally rate a book by how easy and flowing the language is, even slightly more so than the illustrations, in this case I can forgive the slightly lumpy reading it provides.

I forgive it the flaws in flow because the illustrations are absolutely adorable and better yet, they have made the book a sensory experience for the children as well.  There are raised areas that highlight things like waves, rain, fish scales, Blob the Anemone’s crown, parts of the Crab, the shared shell and Brush the bristleworm.  So it manages to bring interaction to the reading process and we can talk about, amongst other things, just how fish scales might feel.  The story itself allows an introduction, albeit at pre-schooler level, of how each of the sea creatures contributes to the improved lifestyle for the trio as a whole.

In short it is a charming story about a trio of sea creatures and their symbiotic relationship, made attractive by very nice illustrations and adding the sensory experience on top.   If the language was just a touch better I would be adding it to our family wishlist for birthdays or Christmas.  Still, it is a very good option if picked up from the library especially for children with an interest in nature.