This was inspired by Nichole at Radical Beginnings. On Instagram, years ago, she shared the idea of replacing the cartoon images in the lock board with real photos of the child’s environment. I originally would’ve thought of this as a form of vandalism, even though I own it. But I now know that there are so many toys that would be great for the girls, if slightly modified to be more “Montessori”.

I didn’t just want to use photos of the girls’ environment, I wanted to use photos of family members. Each door of the lock board has number. Behind these doors you would see blue dogs, yellow cats, red rabbits and so on. The number of characters would coincide with the number on the door.

I thought about sanding the whole board, but decided against it. Instead, I decided to keep with the numbers; so when they open door 4 they see mummy, daddy, E, and V.

Using Mod Podge, photos that I tried to print small enough, and scissors I was able to adapt this board for the girls.


I also considered cutting the board so that each lock was individual, worried that it might be too busy. I decided against it because the girls quickly figured out locks 1, 3, and 6. If something changes, or they show frustration, I’ll do just that and potentially adhered them, individually, to larger flat boards.

The girls love this board! E has spent the most time with it, unlocking and pointing out family. V has been enjoying matching the family members on the board to the laminated family photos that they have, creating her own matching activity.

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