A kids' book to read together: Oh Oh!

Here is a children’s book to read together: Oh-oh! by Chris Haughton, winner of the Andersen Prize 2013 for books 0-6 years.

How do my own kids see me?

Have you ever wondered how your son or daughter would describe you?

I’m sure they think we’re old, because our age is more than they can count or imagine. We could also be considered tall (from their point of view), or fat, or beautiful (of course the mother is always beautiful).

But if they get lost and a stranger asks them about you?

A kids’ book gives us an answer

Oh-Oh! Oh-oh! It is a book for children, from 18 months, that speaks of a small owl that gets lost in the woods falling from the nest: a squirrel helps him to find his mother, among several misunderstandings. The baby owl describes its mother as a giant like a bear, with pointy ears as a rabbit, with big eyes like a frog!

When the baby owl finally finds its mom, they invite new friends in the nest celebrating with cookies.

It’s a very simple story, but it can be very funny playing on misunderstandings. Being quite repetitive, it can also be a good bedtime fairy story.

Illustrations for the little ones

Another interesting element of this book are illustrations: very simple and defined, as well as expressive and colorful. The very good illustrator plays with shapes and uncommon colors, for a dreamlike and mysterious effect.

To this link you can find some activities proposed by the author of the book for free download…activities perfect for our Tavoluccico, the Nini’s light table, that you find for sale online here or or on Amazon too.

If my kids get lost?

It is one of the worst fears of any parent. I found helpful tips in this article here.

reading tips for kids

The books we recommend can be a source of inspiration for experimenting and playing with colors, mixing them, overlapping them … even on our Tavoluccico, our lighting table!

The first book is a classical of children’s literature “Little Blue and Little Yellow” by Leo Lionni. It recounts the strong friendship between two little dots, a blue and a yellow one and when they hug together they become green and their parents cannot recognize them. It may appear at first as very cheerful and slightly superficial but then suddenly it turns into being very deep and demanding.
I confess that the first time I read the story I was speechless, how could the parents not recognize their very own children? a story worth a Greek tragedy! The good news is that children are not impressed the same way as a mother and it’s a great starting point to learn more about primary colours, secondary ones, overlaying and mixtures. All on a bright table!

I have recently discovered the second book by Javier Sáez Castán “The Mister Green Snack”. One day Mr Green invites to his house Mr Yellow, Mr Blue and Mr Purple (etc.) and with them a mysterious door opens on to a multi-coloured world in which after an initial dismay, the participants will have a feast of marmalades of all colours (and flavours). The characters are inspired poetically to Magritte.

The Human Body. Skeleton, muscles and organs: a kaleidoscope of colours. This book that suits probably older readers, is definitely more complex but very interesting at the same time. Drawings of the human body, extremely tangled and invisible to the naked eye, are revealed when observed with coloured lens.

attività montessori

When you have a child, the idea of being able to play again could be exciting … For some people toy car racetracks come to mind, for others Barbie and for others still Lego. Some people think “I can finally buy the Betty Crocker Easy Bake Oven  and understand how it works!” However, when the time comes, we realise that this is also an educational choice. Since we love to play, we can also play with our furniture. We talked to Natalia De Armas, an educator specialised in psychomotor skills.

Natalia, Maria Montessori said that ‘playing is a child’s job’: what does this mean for you?

Playing is the basis of knowledge, because it is the main tool with which children express themselves. From it they begin to understand themselves, others and the world around them. Playing teaches them to learn, to orient themselves in space and time, to manipulate and build, to establish relationships and communicate. But that’s not all. Playing allows them to comprehend and to understand their body in relation to others and the space. It is therefore a privileged and indispensable element for the integral development of the child because it covers all the basic skills: motor, cognitive, emotional and social.

Spending some time during the day playing with an adult, be it parent or another figure like a teacher, a grandparent or another relative, is very important. We know that the fast pace of society has forced us to reduce the time dedicated to shared play, free from distractions like mobile phones, televisions or work, but the adult remains a crucial element. Adults, in fact, have the task of ensuring that the space and the materials used for play are safe, but also that they are educational. On the other hand, children must also learn to play alone, to develop tools and systems to not get bored, without the constant presence of someone to help them.

A feature of our design is the attention to stimuli. But to do so we chose simple materials and forms, not just because they are more sustainable, but also because it seemed to be the most appropriate choice for this purpose. It almost seems to be a contradiction. Perhaps more technological materials could create more stimuli?

The world is in continuous technological evolution, but technology is not strictly necessary for the children, until at least 6 years of age.

Non-figurative games, that give them the space necessary to let their predispositions shine through and to awaken their imagination and creativity, are more appropriate tools. So, simplicity is more than welcome! Besides, we may also remember that when we were children a box could become a car, a plane, a hiding place. A chair or table could become a cave, a house or a train. A book without text, containing only images, could tell a different story for every person that read it.

Very often we believe they need more games, but children can play for hours on end with everyday things. Some seeds, a bit of earth, a pot, a table, a cloth, a rope or the child’s bed itself, are all that’s needed to unleash their creativity and imagination, encouraging their development as a whole.

The use of games and devices where the children are simply spectators if anything produce the opposite effect, as do games that seek to stimulate children to early on. Vibrating bouncers, games with shrill sounds and coloured lights are objects that make the child passive and create addiction. This will make them become  bored more quickly without a sound or visual stimulus within reach, and we will have more overweight children with behavioural difficulties, attention deficit disorders and other problems.

Sometimes the constant movement of the child makes parents panic, and they resort to tricks to keep them quiet. That is not always really necessary. Sometimes following their imaginary journeys and becoming swept up in them can also be exciting for adults.


* Natalia has developed her profession in the socio-educational field with children from 0 to 3 years and their families, offering workshops on bonding, play and psychomotor development in contexts of social vulnerability.

He has also worked in the clinical area with children from 2 to 16 years of age with academic, motor, relational and behavioral difficulties and various pathologies such as Down syndrome, corpus callosum agenesis, autism spectrum disorder, etc.

montessori boockshelf

Read for the kids. Hug them and rediscover that moment of intimacy, when they let themselves be lulled by your voice and together with you go to the discovery of a new dimension, which helps calm and concentration.
This precious moments can also become a strategy during the “family crisis”, when the decibels exceed the threshold of tolerance and you appear to have lost control of the situation.

Every child knows his favorite book by heart: re-reading the same story calm him and improves his comprehension of concepts.

When children can recognize quickly their own favourite book from the cover, it increases their autonomy.

For this reason Leggola, the book rack, is one of the first Nini’s product.

Taking advantage of its shape we decided to make it a real three-dimensional product, using also the back.

Books in the front develop imagination, while in the back can continue the symbolic game: a dollhouse to play and to create new stories!

memory montessori

Rhymes and chants help memory and concentration, and help to learn new words, even in foreign languages.

Here are our community’s nursery rhymes!


Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream,
Merrily merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the brook,
If you catch a little fish
Please let it off the hook


Round and round the garden
Chasing teddy bears.
One step, two step,
Three step, tickley everwhere!
Round and round the mulberry bush,
Like a little hare,
One Step, two step,
Tickly under there!


Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.


Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When this blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, through the night.

Then the traveller in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark;
He could not see where to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye
Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.


Ainsi font, font, font,
Les petites marionnettes,
Ainsi font, font, font,
Trois p’tits tours et puis s’en vont.

Les mains aux côtés,
Sautez, sautez, marionnettes,
Les mains aux côtés,
Marionnettes, recommencez.

Mais elles reviendront,
Les petites marionnettes,
Mais elles reviendront,
Quand les enfants dormiront.


Tombolo Dondolo sul muro sedeva,
Tombolo Dondolo dal muro cadeva;
e non bastarono a metterlo in pié
tutti gli uomini e i cavalli del Rè.


Dondola dondola il cavallino
porta in sella l’allegro bambino
insieme cavalcano verso il tramonto
e si preparan per il giro del mondo,
insieme cavalcano incontro alla sera
attraversano i monti e la selva più nera.
In mezzo al deserto o nel mare aperto fra cow – boys ed indiani
nei villaggi africani
o fra le rovine degli antichi egiziani,
in mezzo alle umide risaie cinesi
visitano insieme civiltà e paesi.
Sfidano mostri, stregoni e draghi
grazie a pozioni di potenti maghi
ed ogni avventura è una grande occasione
per far correre libera l’immaginazione.


il cavallo del vecchietto va zoppetto, va zoppetto
il cavallo del giovanotto va a trotto, va a trotto
il cavallo del mio compare come il vento sa … volare!!


C’era una volta il tonnetto Totonno
che ogni mattina cascava dal sonno,
mentre la sera per farlo dormire
la mamma tonna doveva impazzire.
Il babbo tonno con voce profonda
cantava ninna sul ritmo dell’onda,
ma un occhio solo chiudeva Totonno
mentre suo padre moriva di sonno.


Su su su cavalo
La mama è andata al balo
Con le tetine piene
Per darle a le putele
Le putele no le vol
Pichete pachete sul culon!


Trotta trotta cavallino
per la strada del mulino
il mulino non c’è più
trotta trotta cadi giù!


montessori light table
Explore the nature, collect leaves, analysing transparencies, build with small sticks and play with marbles, experiment with forms and colors.
These are the most preferred kid’s activities, but they can also be an important way to learn. The Reggio Emilia Approach makes excellent use of the learning opportunities that light, shadow and reflections can offer.
The lighting table helps in raising the interest on any setting, creating a place for observation and exploration of shape, form, opacity and color mixing. Their calming influence invites sensory exploration and provides motivation, engaging attention for sustained periods of time.
Playing with light provides the perfect opportunity for magical experiences to be enjoyed by children. Light and darkness hold fascination and intrigue, as well as an element of risk and challenge and of being scared. (questo non c’è nella versione italiana non so se vogliamo metterlo, è carino ma allunga, cercherei post più corti)
Tavoluccico is a lighting table: it allows many activities and explorations of light, colour and materials. By removing the plexiglass top it be comes a container for playing with mall objects, like sand, small stones, coloured fiches, beads… For inventing and reinventing.
Healthy food and conviviality Children at the table.

Books can teach to our kids how to recognize healthy food and appreciate conviviality. Here Nini’s reading tip.

Like many well respected Italian families, one of our favourite topics of conversation is food. Similarly, many of the books we have read, reread and over read over the years with young children are stories about food and education.

Recognize healty food

A very topical issue when it comes to children is, unfortunately, childhood obesity, which is fought mainly with proper nutrition education.

As the nutritionist Federica Pasitisays, to eat fruits and vegetable, you especially must know them. Federica works with us in our workshops for children in Rome, in particular she manage the snack during the workshops. Would you ever eat something you don’t know, whose texture and taste are not familiar to you?

For this reason Federica uses with her little patientsMontessori Nomenclature Cards about healthy Foods. This method can also help to avoid the tantrums during the meal.

Nini likes rhymes stories, like “Al supermercato degli animali”. This rhyme story, that in 2008 won the Anderson Medal for 0 to 6 years old, is suitable also for very young children. The story illustrates the importance of eating well and describes the different diets between one animal and the other. Significant is the section that describes how the “frozen food department closed because it was not popular and that in it’s place now there is a field”.

The pleasure of conviviality

Often people complain about children in restaurants that can’t be quiet, and families use tablets and cell phones to keep them quiet and make them eat without whims or rejection.

Kids become boried fast and they can’t spend too much time seated. However, learning to enjoy lunch or dinner out also means spending time with family and people we love. For this reason one of our best book is “The Stone Soup” by Anais Vaugelade.

Healthy food and conviviality - a book

A book recommended by Nini about conviviality.

The title itself describes something that is far from the ordinary schemes: a toothless wolf asks to be hosted by a hen on a cold winter evening and would like to cook a stone soup. This will become the excuse for an entertaining dinner between neighbours in which each animal adds an ingredient to the soup. The metaphor is strong and appropriate: each animal adds a new ingredient to the soup in the same way as every personality provides something interesting and unique to a group of friends.

So all the animals rediscover the pleasure of conviviality and staying together, telling stories and spending a pleasant evening in front of the fireplace. Just as we could do with our children both at home, and at the restaurant, occupying the waiting time between one course and the other.

Children at the table. Practical life at home

In addition to the topics healthy food and conviviality, the Nini readings concern participation in the preparation of the meal! A time to learns the sharing of tasks and responsibility. The fourth text that we suggest a shaped hardback in rhymes about Nadja’s “five little fingers”.

The story illustrates the preparation of lunch and the involvement of each finger in a separate task. This becomes the perfect excuse to learn the names of the fingers and to experience working together towards a common result.

This book also helps us at home with the activities of “practical life”, which are a fundamental mainstay of the Montessori approach. Join the houseworks, each with their own possibilities, helps to develop autonomy, and to feel useful and grown up!

Set the table teaches children a lot of things: to count the right number of cutlery and dishes,to place objects in order, first the tablecloth, then the dish, finally the napkin…, to be carefulwith fragile objects and to not to forget anything.

Have you seen the Nini’s table set? Our Table Tavoluccico with Dindola chairs is perfect to be set with linoleum washableplacemat developed with Officine Adda. Available, as all other Nini’s product, for shipping in whole Europe. You can buy them writing an e-mail to info@ninidesign.it.

montessori furniture

From April 9th to 15th you can buy Nini furniture at earlybird prices on Kickstarter!

For 5 weeks you will be able to order Ninnanì, Pepetta and Dindola with a 15% discount, while giving us the chance to start the first production.



Measures: 130x70x35 cm, Mattress measures: 120×60 cm

Full price: € 322 – earlybird price: € 280


PEPETTA shoe closet:

Measures: 62x36x29cm

Full price: € 115 – earlybird price: € 100


DINDOLA chair:

Measures: 29x32x36 cm

Full price: € 75 – earlybird price: € 65


TACATAC 2 Hangers:

Measures: 10×15 cm

Full price for one pair: € 35 – earlybird price: € 30

Shipping fees go from 7 to 15 € for Italy, from 13 to 25 € for EU.
Shipping is planned for June, but if you are particularly eager to get your Nini, please send us an email to: info@ninidesign.it after you order on Kickstarter. We’ll do our best to send your Nini as soon as possible.


Orders placed during the first week of the crowdfunding – from April 9th to 16th – will have priority.

If you wish to be updated, subscribe to our newsletter!

allacciature montessori
Why Nini desided to design the shoe rack Pepetta with Montesso rilacing board inside?
Put on your shoes. Take off your shoes. Lacing… A daily scene with my son: we limp by lifting a foot, we fall, we sit on the floor, we get up again to fit the foot inside the shoe, then the other one … With Pepetta it’s easy: you just sit on it. But that’s not all: it helps being tidy and developing fine motor skills. Pepetta is a shoe rack for children, so they can choose their own shoes, put them on, and put them back in, on their own. And while waiting for mom or dad to wear their shoes, they can practice by knotting, twisting, shoving … with lots of colorful laces.
I remember very well when my dad taught me how to tie my shoes, I was about four years old, it was a magical moment, a great achievement.