Have a LAB Transformation of your own?

We would also love to feature YOUR transformations! Submit your own LAB Work story, comments, & photos to: HapaLab@Gmail.com


Fly Away.

It was a breezy blustery day back in summer...
Lots of kites, hundreds of kits, everywhere in the skies.
Every year, on a particularly windy hill, there is a Kite Festival here at the Berkeley Marina.  We've heard about this and wanted to come see it LIVE with Zozie.  A fantastic "natural element" lesson on the effects of wind and flight.  Free to the public, and again, true to Berkeley form, free bike valet.  We mounted our wheels, beanies on our heads, and rode off to that windy hill.  Saw this view on arrival:

Look Dalee!  Big Octopus in the sky!! (he's screaming as we approach...)
The excitement was building.  We continued our ride and came just in time for the "Make your own Kite" workshop.  Zo could not wait to get his very own kite up in the sky.

Maybe we can tie some strings to you Zozie and fly YOU in the sky?
No, mama...(chuckling) I'm too heeeeavy, I'm not a paper or a tail! 
You need a tail to fly?  
Yes, a long, LONG one.

He was ready to fly his creation.
A little added height from Dalee helped to get the maiden voyage going:

After watching a fantastic "Kite Ballet" competition in the sky, naptime approached.  We picked out our own Octopus to take home, then saddled up.  Pulling into the garage, we find THIS in the bike seat...

ZZZZZZ....with new kite in arms.

Some "Post-Nap" Flying:
Zozie wanted to fly his new kite with our home fan...Note - He's "working" the kite (pumping his arms back and forth) as that's how the kite competitors were demonstrating their choreography at the show.
If you have a big windy fan at home, try this out.  It really is a great way for them to see the effects of wind and flight!


Wash & FOLD!

Presentation:  Folding Laundry

I do the WASH, and these days, he does the FOLD.
Never too early to put the kids to work.
Sounds harsh, but they actually like it!  (Really.)
This is the FOLDING lesson.  Got stuff to HANG?
Check out our post on HANGING.

The "Finish" prize!
The Goal
Learn how to fold clothes.
Specifically shirts, pants, underwear

The Set Up
A pile of clean laundry
A small whistle (my own variation)

The Presentation
1) Lay the shirt flat on floor with sleeves stretched out
2)  Fold in one sleeve, press flat evenly
3)  Fold in second sleeve, press flat evenly
4)  Bring the bottom of the shirt up and fold in half, press flat evenly
5)  Place in a stack to the side
6)  Once the whole stack is done, blow the whistle to signal finish!

1) Lay the pants flat on floor with legs stretched out
2)  Fold in pant leg over in half, press flat evenly
3)  Fold waist side down in half, press flat evenly
4)  Place in a stack to the side
5)  Once the whole stack is done, blow the whistle to signal finish!

1) Lay the underpants flat on floor
2)  Fold in half, press flat evenly
3)  Place in a stack to the side
4)  Once the whole stack is done, blow the whistle to signal finish!

One sleeve over.

Other sleeve over.

Up in half, done!
The "Whistle Step" was added for Zozie to have an incentive to finish the whole stack.  He loves to blow the whistle so I threw that in to give him more of a sense of completeness.  It's not a must, and can be something else, but this was a quick way for us to make it more fun for him!
As with most things, a (moving) picture is worth a thousand words (see below!).

The Shirt Video:

The Pants Video:

The Underoo Video:


and CUT!

Presentation:  Food Cutting.

What's up with kids and wanting to cut things up?
It fascinates them, fully occupies them, and seems highly satisfying to them.
Guess that's why it's one of the most basic of practical skills in Montessori: Cutting.
Teach them to do properly what they want to do naturally.
No need for uphill battles, right?

I dunno.
Sounds dangerous.
Toddler + Knife = Worried Mom.

It's ok, let's ease into it.
The set up is really simple and you can get started right away.

The Goal
Learning how to cut using a knife

The Set Up
1)  Small cutting board
2)  Butter knife or dull table knife
3)  Soft fruit:  Melon, bananas...
4)  2 Small plates (one with fruit, one to serve with)
5)  Small apron 

The Presentation
1)  Have the child put on the apron and come to the table
2)  Be sure to have all parts of the Set Up ready
3)  Peel the fruit or have it in wedges already (melon)
4)  Hold the fruit with one hand, knife in the other
5)  Come down firmly with the knife from the top
6)  Do a gentle "see-saw" motion till it clicks with the board
7)  Lift knife and repeat until all cut up
8)  Scrap all loose fruit onto the serving plate
9)  I have Zo put toothpicks (animal ones) in the fruit to serve.

chopping at 2.5.

We first introduced this skill to Zozie at 2.5 yrs old, nearly a year ago. It's been quite the life saver actually at dinner prep time.  If they get fussy, just bust out a banana and have them go at it.  Totally keeps them occupied and content.  So you might waste a banana, but so what?  That 19 cents bought you some quiet cooking time, yes!  He's still at it a year later, doesn't get old I guess. 

Preparing an afternoon snack at 3.5yrs old:

Some age reference if you have a younger one...

Working on some melon at 2 yrs 11 months:

Working on a Banana at 2.5yrs old:
*Difficult to capture since he was aware of the camera*


LAB Work: Mirror Mirror

Work Budget:  Re-used items $0
Time:  15 mins
Location: Our own washroom

So it all started with this little mirror.
It fell out of it's original frame, just a small 5x7 piece, on it's way to the dumpster.  Watching Z one morning, I I saw him tip-toe-ing on his stepping stool in the bathroom, trying to see himself in our vanity mirror.
Yes!  I found it a new home!

In the gap between the faucet and the bottom of our vanity mirror frame,
Zozie's very own vanity station.

I actually wanted to set something up like this for a while but never saw how I could since our bathroom is so small.  We already switched out the faucet handles to be levers vs. knobs so tiny hands can operate the fixture easier.  Also brought in a ducky soap dispenser to replace the messy soap bar.  One of the suggestions of a Montessori environment is to provide a vanity area for the child to self groom.  Sounds cute, could be practical, but where?

The Station
The answer has always been there, right on the counter.  I cleared a mini floating shelf that I used directly on the sink counter.  Placed 3 glass candle cups above, and filled them with various sundries for Zo:  Brushes, combs, lotion, floss, band-aides & Boo-boo cream.  Below it housed 4 small wash clothes for post-wash hand drying.  Everything is within reach for self service.

The Teeth Cup
Right in front of the Station is the Teeth Cup.  A double handles rinse cup with tooth brush and tooth paste inside.  I started to get travel sized toothpaste for Zozie so he could open/close his own tube and dispense freely.

The Stepping Stool
If you haven't already, this is a must in every toddler's bathroom.  A little boost goes a LONG way in self confidence and independence.

The Night Light
We added a Dino night light for night time potty-tunities.  Nothing worst than being woken up to take a toddler potty because they can't see where they are going!

So, in the end, we got a mini makeover in our mini bathroom after all.  Sometimes it just takes a small spark (or a small broken mirror) to get things going.  It's nothing glamorous, and far from fancy, but it works.  Zozie is very happy with his new vanity mirror and station, and mama is ecstatic that she doesn't have to help wipe the toothpaste bubbles from Zo's mouth anymore!  He can see his own messy face now (and fix it)!