We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.
— Maria Montessori
A Tour Of Our Shelves: April 2017

A Tour Of Our Shelves: April 2017

Every other month or so (sometimes more regularly, if I think we need to move onto new stuff), I'll redo our shelves. I do 4 things before I decide what to put on the shelves:

  1. Look at the current shelves and determine what each kid enjoyed or didn't enjoy (or what was too advanced or too easy)
  2. Identify a few topics/skills that each kid is newly interested in
  3. Go through the curriculum binder I purchased (from HERE) and see where I may have missed a few things
  4. Look through my @mostlymontessori Instagram feed for ideas and inspiration

Alexander's current interests:

  • Counting from 1 to 100
  • Counting objects, especially if there are a lot of them
  • Reading 4-digit numbers (for example, 1,234 = one thousand two hundred thirty four)
  • Adding small numbers in his head
  • Trying to read an analog clock
  • Asking "why?" for everything
  • Creating scenarios for objects he's holding
  • Spelling basic words (in which each letter is pronounced phonetically)
  • Throwing balls high into the air

I got him a set of tangram pieces (here), which he's enjoying a lot. I can't wait to do more with the tangrams. This isn't on the shelves! It's a dining table/living room toy. He plays with it while I'm making breakfast or if I'm getting Annabelle down for a nap.

I'm pretty sure I'm all out of whack when it comes to the "proper" order of things. But I believe one important aspect in Montessori is that you follow the child's lead. When Alexander has shown interest in something, I have run with it. If he's not interested, I don't push it. I do feel like it's a good time to start exposing him to more things. Because of that, I wanted to set up our shelves in a more proper way. I've gone back through my curriculum binder (you can purchase the curriculum here), and I've set up various activities/trays for math, language, sensorial, and practical life.

Here's a tour of our shelves for Alexander:


Top shelf: Fruit and vegetable magnets with matching cards (see below.... I'll share a free printable in a few days and will link to that here) & a Land Water (sandpaper) globe that I made. It's always on the shelves because (a) I think it looks cool and (b) it's pretty big and hard to store in our tiny closet!

Second shelf: Small number cards (you can use these to make the digits 1-9999) & a Melissa and Doug Shape Sorter

Third shelf: Top Spin (a game from the 80s that I've had a while!) & half of some Eric Carle nesting/stacking boxes 

Bottom shelf: a DIY size matching puzzle & another Melissa and Doug Shape Sorter

A closer look at the fruit and vegetable magnets plus matching cards

A closer look at the fruit and vegetable magnets plus matching cards

Top shelf: You can't see it well, but it's some tiny objects plus their starting letters (for matching) & Two picture frames, to take out the photos and put them back in

Second shelf: Word families DIY (each one has a ring and 4+ words... like one might have ED on the back card plus the letters B, F, L, R, and W, to make the words bed, fed, led, red, and wed) & Some practical life objects (a zipper, velcro strip, and flashlight)

Third shelf: An old rag with 3 shapes drawn on it plus an old honey container filled with water. Objective? Drip water onto the shapes until each shape is filled to the edge with water.

Bottom shelf: Some stickers with some paper & a rag for cleaning surfaces and the chalkboard

I wrote the numbers 1-100 on his chalkboard and changed out the world map to a USA map. I printed and laminated some cards from everystarisdifferent.com that we'll use for matching state shapes. Ideally, he will be able to pronounce all the state names and then identify shapes. Learning the states is a big part of geography here in the United States!


I've rotated some new books onto our little book shelves. There's still a basket of giraffes underneath because Annabelle seems to like them. You can find the Montessori books on Amazon if you'd like. I won't link to them separately here.


Let's move on to Annabelle. Here are a few things she's interested in right now:

  • Carrying objects around and handing them to people (for example, a glass mug... she's gotten good at carefully putting them down)
  • Putting smaller objects on or in bigger objects: this looks like stacking towers and nesting cups but also coins into a coin bank (although I won't let her play with coins yet because she puts everything in her mouth)
  • Copying everyone's movements and noises
  • Climbing down from the couch (gross motor)
  • Loading (and unloading...) the dishwasher and washing machine
  • Straws 

Here's a quick tour of her shelves:


Top shelf on the left: Melissa and Doug Animal Safari Truck with animals

Second shelf: The other half of the Eric Carle nesting/stacking blocks (she's got 1-5; Alexander has 6-10)

Bottom shelf: A recorder & a hammering toy


Top shelf on the right: a Melissa and Doug ring stacking toy & a Tower of Hanoi (I removed the smallest rings)

Second shelf: two Montessori infant toys (similar)

Bottom shelf: a Hape walking dog pull toy

In addition to these, our train table and shelves (in the living room area) are still intact. I rotate some toys and books there regularly. We go into the school room most days but not for long. It's on the kids' schedules and based off of their interests. We're leaning toward a more unschooling approach. The kids are both thriving, so we'll continue doing what we are doing until it no longer works well for us!

Any links above are affiliate links. That just means I get a little commission if you happen to buy something via those links. You don't pay any extra. It helps to support this little blog of mine.


Picture + Word Matching (Printable)

Picture + Word Matching (Printable)

Editable Wallet Cards (Free to Download)

Editable Wallet Cards (Free to Download)