Dr. Maria Montessori believed in encouraging children to explore their surroundings.
Playing in the Montessori Method, is integral for children to learn by touching and playing with objects both inside and outside the classroom set up. The Montessori toys are designed to boost the children’s interests by allowing them experiment.
These are toys children can hold and touch then they will learn to manipulate the objects to develop their fine motor skills.
This manipulative sense stems from their innate creativity and curiosity such that the toys merely act as encouragement. Essentially this promotes independent learners in the children, which holds up one of the core Montessori principles.
In the Montessori system, playtime activities are commonly known as ‘Work’ where children are given learning materials in form of toys.
These toys were supposed to encourage the children learn about different aspects like Maths, Language, Craft and Culture. Over the years, more toys were added to the Montessori learning material collection to essentially facilitate creative and independent learning.
Toy Manufacturers like Melissa and Doug are famous for creating detailed Montessori toys.Montessori outlets provide these Montessori toys at affordable prices which means you can buy quite a number for your child to use at home.
If you do feel that the toys are too expensive, then how about trying out your first DIY.
Most of the toys are made from simple materials like wood and paper cut outs. If you incorporate some glue, strings and pins you will get yourself some pretty basic Montessori made at home toys.
Yet, there is no need to go all this way because the Montessori outlets provide toys and learning materials.
The Montessori Toys should most likely be made of natural materials (like wood, wool, cotton or rock).
There should be no bells or whistles since the aim is to let the child explore, discover independently and build creativity.
Realistic play is integral in the Montessori Method, so how about being creative?
It emphasizes the need for learning in meaningful context with abstract materials which ensure a deeper and richer learning experience for your children as opposed to abstract contexts.
You could try making the child’s favorite yogurt at home as opposed to always just talking about it. Montessori educational system is designed to teach children a number of subjects like Math, Language, Art, Craft, Culture and Practical Life.
Aside from this, the system seeks to develop children’s skills like gross motor skills, fine motor skills among other learning experiences.
With the right alphabet toys and some sets of building blocks, learning occurs. Montessori toys incorporate a control error where they will be able to know if they completed the task correctly.
In Language, the movable alphabets serve quite well to develop both the child’s fine and gross motor skills.
They are able to twist and turn their hands, legs, wrists, large and small muscles while they combine and explore with their letters to form basic words.
The Montessori lower and capital case sandpaper letters teach the alphabet through phonetics. It is more than your average flashcards.
The sandpaper letters enable your child trace the letters with their fingers creating a muscle memory.
This is combined with learning, identifying and pronouncing the phonetics. For example, while tracing over letter C, the child can make 'ccccc' sound.
In Maths, Montessori Counting Cards are useful in demonstrating quantity and sequence of numbers by acting as a visual aide. The scholastic Trace, Lift and Learn:
ABC 123 Board Book works similar to the alphabet sandpaper. Counting cans associate number of items with the number on the can while still learning about the items in the cans.
The abacus which is hands-on tools enable the children learn math skills and color, pattern recognition. The abacus provides visual, activity-based learning making it easier for children to grasp addition and subtraction.
The Montessori Method encourages freedom and independence in the right setting. While learning about the environment, children are supposed to be provided with materials that will connect them to nature by possibly bringing the outside world into the classroom.
Montessori toys literally prevents bringing bugs into your living room. There are games designed to showcase nature as naturally as possible.
For example, Montessori Animal Puzzles boosts a child’s hand to eye coordination and hands on application as they try to successfully complete the puzzle. There are various animal related puzzles like butterflies, chicken and fish.
Legos promote the Montessori Method just as well. After identifying a particular car or truck as their favourite, the child could be challenged to recreate it using legos using their imagination.
It will obviously take a number of trials but as with Montessori principles, leaving the child with their innate interest in cars will keep them trying. This builds their independence and creativity.
It also improves their fine motor skills as they try stacking the lego pairs to recreate the car.
The Montessori Method also teaches practical life activities to care for themselves and the environment.
The Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House! Dust, Sweep and Mop is quite ideal as the cleaning materials work while introducing toddlers to how they can care for the environment and keeping it clean.
As with all toys, Montessori learning materials can result in quite a bit of clutter. Order in the environment is one of the Montessori guiding principles which means it must be clutter free to coincide with the Montessori Method.
As a parent or teacher, one could ensure they include a work mat and work boxes or shelves to free the work space of clutter and ensure a semblance of order. Pick out a small enough but manageable work mat for the children’s tiny hands like Montessori Blue Finished Rug.
Ensure to keep a work box or work shelf for storage of the learning materials. The facilitator could set aside a ‘Tidy Up Time’ at the end of a learning period to roll up the work mats and storing them in the work boxes and shelves.
Develop their independence by letting the children have a sense of control over their lives by making their own schedules from the list of planned assignments they have versus the recreational activities.
You could let them choose their snacks and drinks or create a book basket from which they can choose books to study, review with them, collaborate with them to design future assignments and curriculum designs, let them recommend books.