To kick off the school year, we here at Eden Prairie Montessori thought it would be fun and informative to put together a list of our favorite Montessori teaching tools for the home! This list will be useful for families new to our preschool and the Montessori method and for those who might not know how to start incorporating Montessori in their daily lives.
Here are some great tools, toys, books and resources to help you begin your Montessori journey at home…
Wooden Rainbow Nesting Bowls
Set of five brightly colored wooden Rainbow Nesting Bowls can be nested or stacked, providing hours of creative play. This essential first toy for baby/toddler will encourage motor development, coordination, creative thinking & spatial abilities. It is an open-ended toy with many versatile uses: stacking, nesting, sorting, pretend play kitchenware, filling/emptying & much more.
Materials: Heirloom-quality, crafted by hand in Germany from solid wood sustainably-harvested from managed European forest. Stained with water-based vegetable dyes, finished with natural food-grade oil.
Age Range: Will grow with your child from 12 months old through preschool and beyond.
Dustpan and Brush Set
Popular toys in both Montessori and Waldorf educational settings, a child-sized dustpan and brush set is also a great set to have at home. Children naturally love to imitate the work of the adults around them. With this set, kids can help sweep up the crumbs. Helping with chores encourages the development of important life skills and develops eye-hand coordination.
Materials: Wooden-handled dust brush and horsehair bristles, metal dustpan.
Age Range: 2 years and up.
Source: Bella Luna Toys
Learning Towers have been carefully designed to provide a secure environment to stimulate a child’s imagination and allow it to blossom. By raising a child up to counter height, it nurtures a child’s innate desire to be independent and to participate alongside his or her parents and siblings, whether it’s to help out with nightly dinner preparations, bake special holiday recipes, or get crafty. Its height is fully adjustable to fit your little one and your home. For children, the world is a magical and curious place. They learn by mirroring Mommy and Daddy with the ultimate goal of being able “to do it myself.” Learning Towers allows them to feel like an active member of the family, fully engaged in the learning and creative process.
Materials: A solid wood construction comprised of layers of poplar and birch. Lead-free, non-toxic finish.
Age Range: 18 months up to 6 years
Source: Little Partners
Clacker Heirloom Rattle
The Wooden Clacker Heirloom Rattle is designed to provide stimulation in touch, sight, sound, and movement. The small, easy-to-grasp size and pleasant wood-on-wood sound will delight any baby.
Materials: Hardwood construction, handmade. Safe, smooth, non-toxic teak oil finish.
Age Range: infant up to 1½ years.
Source: Maple Landmark
Baskets are great for all sorts of practical life activities and the possibilities for their use are endless! You can use them for organizing the playroom and storing small toys, for helping pick up around the house, sorting fresh laundry, scavenger hunts and gathering treasures, picking and carrying flowers or produce from the garden…the list goes on and on…. The size is practical, the handles are great for a young child, and we love the use of natural materials.
Materials: Veta vera grass is woven to create this hardy, useful African bolga basket. Leather wrapped handle.
Age Range: All ages
Source: Baskets of Africa
Glass Pitcher and Cups
Children can serve themselves independently by holding the easy to grasp handle on this child-size, see-through glass pitcher and twisting the plastic lid open to pour, then twisting it again to close. Real glassware says “You are trusted.” Build confidence by offering thick, incredibly durable juice glasses that fit a child’s small hands and encourage children to develop self-confidence and independence.
Materials: Glass containers, BPA-free plastic pitcher lid.
Age Range: 1 year and up
Source: Montessori Services
Wooden Hedgehog Push Toy
This playful, original designed wooden push toy enhances active play and supports development of motor skills. It’s also a great tool for stimulating the imagination and promoting emotional, social and language development. Let your child have fun creating their own story!
Materials: Natural, high quality solid birch wood. Non-toxic water-based paints.
Age Range: Toddlers & Preschoolers 1.5 – 5 years.
Including your young child in food preparation is one of the easiest Montessori principles to apply at home. If you are looking for ways to help your child be more independent, there is no better way to boost confidence and teach fine motor skills than involving young children in food preparation! Children will love preparing “fancy” crinkle-cut fruit and veggies with this handy child-size wavy chopper! A small, easy-to-grip handle on top makes it particularly easy — children use both hands to push down, making sure fingers are safely out of the way.
Materials: Stainless steel blade, plastic handle
Age Range: 18 months (supervised) and up
Source: For Small Hands
Rocking Balance Board
Your child will develop strength and deepen their overall body awareness (sense of proprioception) playing on a balance board. Rocking helps develop a child’s sense of balance and for the brain to sort sensory impressions.Used in Montessori environments, curvy boards provide hours of open-ended play: flip it over and it is a bridge, place on its side it’s a curved castle buttress. They are teeter totters, balance beams, slides, and… anything else your child can dream up!
Materials: Handmade from 8 to 9 layers of Maple Hardwood, sanded smooth, and finished with varnish.
Age Range: Toddlers and up
Source: Open Ended Creations
Getting children excited about reading isn’t always a simple task, but with the new Sling Book Shelf in Natural, story time a lot more fun. Perfect for the young reader in your life, this shelf allows books to be displayed by front or back cover instead of the spine, making it easier for kids to choose books themselves.
Materials: Wood and cotton canvas
Age Range: all ages
Source: Kid Advance Montessori
Best Montessori Books for Children
A delightful first book to share with a baby, with high contrast, black and white illustrations specially designed for the very young. Each picture is accompanied by a simple word that babies will love repeating and which will help their speech development.
Appealing photos of babies from seventeen cultures around the globe are woven together by simple narration. Global Babies presents children in cultural context. Diverse settings highlight specific differences in clothing, daily life, and traditions, as well as demonstrate that babies around the world are nurtured by the love, caring, and joy that surround them.
With its lovely, humorous illustrations and wonderful narrative about a hungry caterpillar growing up to be a beautiful butterfly, Eric Carle’s story touches anyone who still has some growing to do. Along with reassuring repetition–“He was still hungry”–the book includes some wonderful interactive moments: what youngster can resist sticking a finger through that hole in the page as his ravenous friend makes his way through various delicacies?
The complete preschool learning series to develop your child’s vocabulary and early literacy skills. Here’s an exciting new introduction to learning for preschool children. Carefully chosen elements focus on the first words critical to early language development. My First Word Lift-the-Flap Board Book offers the opportunity for children to explore essential first connections between objects and the words that describe them.
Children will have fun learning the names and colors of the colorful and nutritious fruits and vegetables shown on each page of this board book. Bright photos featuring a diverse array of children enjoying healthy, delectable foods will inspire other youngsters to try new foods.
Connecting tactile activities to abstract ideas stimulates brain function in young children. When children under age five trace sandpaper letters, they associate a given letter with a concrete gesture internally. This association fosters more connections in different parts of the brain, rendering the child’s mind nimbler. The acrostic poem accompanying each letter is designed to be read by an adult. These poems introduce the child to a famous site and physical activity. The letters of the alphabet thus become part of an exploration of nature, culture, and traditions. Tracing leads the way to a discovery of the world.
As with all things Montessori, students begin with the concrete and move to the abstract. When learning geography, students first develop an understanding that the earth is a round globe, made up of land and water. They then manipulate the shape of each continent before addressing its name and location. Montessori: Map Work introduces readers to the seven continents via textured edges to trace with their fingers, modes of transportation between each one for spatial context, and illustrated native animals for relevant and meaningful associations. Young children will absorb the age-appropriate geography and gain a better sense of their place in the world.
Which came first? No words are necessary in this beautiful, artfully humorous book, in which every turn of the page offers a surprise. Everyone knows that a tiny acorn grows into a mighty oak and a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. But in this clever, visually enchanting volume, it’s also true that a cow can result in both a bottle of milk and a painting of a cow, and an ape in a jungle may become an urban King Kong. Just as day turns into night and back again, a many-tiered cake is both created and eaten down to a single piece. With simple, graphic illustrations sure to appeal to even the youngest of children, this beautiful rumination on the passage of time will please the most discerning adult readers, too.
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