The Best Car Seats and Booster Seats for Kids, According to Experts
The Best Car Seats and Booster Seats for Kids, According to Experts
27.08.2019

Everything You Need to Set Up a Montessori Method–Approved Playpen at Home

Everything You Need to Set Up a Montessori Method–Approved Playpen at Home

The Montessori method of education — of which, notably, Prince George is a student and Beyoncé is a graduate — is built on the idea that children are naturally creative and curious, and therefore already have the keys to learning about the world around them. They just need a little encouragement, with the right alphabet toys and sets of building blocks, to become independent learners.

This can happen just as easily outside of the classroom: Parents and babysitters can set up a DIY Montessori space at home to keep kids thinking and playing over the summer. Or for any time of year, really. But we think it’s an especially useful summertime hack: “Work,” the Montessori word for an activity, is usually centered around analog toys that require focus, meaning kids (and adults) can take breaks from hot and noisy parks and pools, and loud and noisy blaring screens. To find the best toys for young creative minds, we consulted with Rika Motohashi, a longtime Montessori teacher in Vancouver. Here’s her advice on what to get.


A work mat

Montessori Blue Finished Rug

Montessori Blue Finished Rug

One of the things to start with is the clean workspace, which is an essential part of Montessori method. So, parents should start from choosing an appropriate mat made of cloth. While picking it, think of it as a desk. That is the place where “work” happens. A perfect work mat has to be small enough  to be suitable to deal with the small hands. Kids who are studying with the Montessori method are responsible for unrolling their mat, arranging all needed materials on the mat, and, when they are done working, they are responsible for rolling it back and putting it to its spot. We really like and recommend this light-blue rug, which will fit in any style of home decoration.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

For learning the alphabet

Montessori Lower and Capital Case Sandpaper Letters

Montessori Lower and Capital Case Sandpaper Letters

In Montessori schools, children learn the alphabet though phonetics. Very often they do activities that go far beyond the flash cards. It is a good idea to start this learning with the sandpaper letters that we recommend. To build up a muscle memory kids will trace the letters (both uppercase and lowercase) with their fingers. Kids are also encouraged to learn and identify the phonetic sounds at the same time. For example, while tracing the letter Z they can make zzzz noise.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Scholastic “Trace, Lift, and Learn: ABC 123” Board Book

Scholastic “Trace, Lift, and Learn: ABC 123” Board Book

The method of tracing the letters and numbers with the finger is applied in this book as well. The only difference is that it all is kept bound together in the same place. There are some suggested activities to mix them up.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Montessori Small Wooden Movable Alphabet

Montessori Small Wooden Movable Alphabet

This movable alphabet made of wood is recommended for more advanced kids of 3 years of age and older. This set allows more exploration, as well as letter combinations. Kids can also pierce together some simple word and even spell names.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Letter Construction Activity Set

Letter Construction Activity Set

The Montessori teachers give great importance to tactile play and learning. We recommend this set of colorful mat-sized letters made of plastic, which can be taken apart and children can physically practice to form different characters.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

For learning about nature

Montessori Evolution of Butterfly Jigsaw Puzzle

Montessori Evolution of Butterfly Jigsaw Puzzle

As Motohashi says, Montessori encourages the connection between children and nature. Therefore, bringing the elements of the outside world inside our houses is a good idea. For education and intellectual grows the knowledge of nature and its life cycles are very important and valuable. Instead of buying the ant house for your kid, Motohashi suggests to check out some beautifully crafted games that explain how thing happen in the natural world. For example, this layered puzzle clearly depicts the transition from larva to a beautiful butterfly. This toy combines the entomology with coordination of hand and eye, as well as hands-on application through puzzle work.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Montessori Fish Puzzle

Montessori Fish Puzzle

For younger kids she recommends this more rudimentary kind of puzzle, showing fish. Other puzzles, manufactured by this company, feature chicken and blossoming poppy flowers as well.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Melissa & Doug Rain Forest Floor Puzzle

Melissa & Doug Rain Forest Floor Puzzle

This slightly more advanced picturesque puzzle, which is recommended for more experienced kids, encourages the studying and thinking about different kinds of animals. It also shows the rain forest ecosystem and how its branches are connected with each other.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Melissa & Doug Underwater Floor Puzzle

Melissa & Doug Underwater Floor Puzzle

Take a look at this underwater world menagerie, made by the same company.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

For learning about numbers

Montessori Mathematics Counting Cards

Montessori Mathematics Counting Cards

For little kids the process of counting for one to ten by memory is a quite simple task. However, according to Motohashi, it is very important to comprehend the concept of sequence of numbers and quantities, and the demonstration of this concept requires some visual aids and tools. This is called “counting that is concrete”. She recommends these basic counting cards and checker-like chips, which are easy to spread out and to connect logically the numbers with amounts. Since it takes some concentration for little kids to get to ten a bit if quiet time will help.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Learning Resources 1 to 10 Counting Cans

Learning Resources 1 to 10 Counting Cans

Another recommendation is this set of bogus canned-foods. Children are required to do the same task, by associating the quantity of items with the number written on each can. While performing the main task kids can also learn a few things about fruits and vegetables as well.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Learning Resources 1-10 Counting Owls Activity Set

Learning Resources 1-10 Counting Owls Activity Set

The same principle is applied for this stacking owl game, which comes with a spinner. Children can challenge themselves by learning how many owls correlate with each particular number.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Montessori Mathematics Small Numerical Rods with Number Tiles

Montessori Mathematics Small Numerical Rods with Number Tiles

Motohashi suggests this set of wooden monochromatic blocks for the kids who are a little older, like 4-5 years old. Kids are suggested to use colorful blocks and small dividers made of wood to play various math games. The set includes tiles with numbers on them for basic adding operations. It can also be set in several different options to encourage kids to think about adding and to match different patterns.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Learning Resources Fraction Tower Fraction Cubes

Learning Resources Fraction Tower Fraction Cubes

Usually, the understanding of the essence of fractions is considered being more challenging than learning numbers and performing some basic addition. We recommend this colorful retro-style set for children who are math minding. It makes it much easier to visualize the issue and to explain what fractions really mean.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Sensory toys

NNDA CO Montessori Sensorial Materials Tower

NNDA CO Montessori Sensorial Materials Tower

This Pink Tower (a classical attribute in Montessori schools) is an essential part for sensorial activities. Its task is to incorporate all five human senses, which are visual, audial, tactile, gustatory, and olfactory. Of course, not every activity involves all senses, however, when it is possible, the “work” projects should engage as many senses as possible. For proper application the pink Tower has to be stacked by size and requires coordination skills, as well as balance.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Melissa & Doug Wooden Animal Nesting Blocks

Melissa & Doug Wooden Animal Nesting Blocks

This tower option comes with animals on its blocks.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Edushape Wood-Like Soft Blocks

Edushape Wood-Like Soft Blocks

Unlike the other tower, these blocks have another incremental size scheme. However, also require balance and coordination to play with. And kids can make their parents happy by building cute little houses.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Books about the ABCs

Bob Books Beginning Readers

Bob Books Beginning Readers

The next recommended item, Bob Books, was created by Bobby Lynn Maslen, the kindergarten teacher. Even though it was back in 1970s, these books are perfect for kids who have learned the phonetic alphabet and are about to start reading. The simple illustrations, rhymes and repetitions are used for telling short and interesting stories.

BUY FROM AMAZON

 

Dr. Seuss’ ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!

Dr. Seuss’ ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!

Since we are suggesting retro books for children we cannot ignore Dr. Seuss’s ABC. Check it out

BUY FROM AMAZON