So you’ve probably heard of Montessori. And you’re probably a believer. But when you look at the Montessori materials available, they seem a little expensive. Or maybe some of them seem great, but there are none in your area? No worries! You can make many educational toys yourself, and it’s easier.
What is a Montessori educational toy? A Montessori educational toy is a toy that is specifically designed to assist children in their development. Montessori toys are meant to be used by children under the age of six, and they are often brightly colored and made of different materials.
Let’s get right to it;
Start With an Item From Around Your House
It is important to start with an item from around your house. This keeps the cost low and allows you to focus on the fun educational aspect of transforming an ordinary item into a Montessori toy.
Start by looking around at the items available in your home or nearby (such as a park).
Items that can be found in nature are great for this project. You might discover rocks, sticks, grasses or other natural objects that could become part of our first lesson: recognizing shapes.
Think About What Concepts You Want to Teach With the Toy
Before starting to plan, think about what concepts you want your toy to teach.
When thinking about this, remember that some things are better developed at home, and others are better taught through structured play with toys.
Consider what you want the toy to do. For example, it could be an opportunity for your child to learn how to follow instructions or practice counting.
You should also consider how you will know when your child has mastered the skill? Think about how they’ll show an understanding of these concepts through play.
Make Sure That the Toy Will Help Develop Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscle movements. Fine motor skills help children write legibly and neatly, draw a freehand picture with pencils or crayons, and turn pages in books, magazines and newspapers.
The development of fine motor skills is often overlooked in education and play activities.
Children need to learn how to use tools like pencils and scissors and develop hand-eye coordination through play.
You can help your child develop fine motor skills through playing with toys that encourage them to practice using their hands for activities like building blocks, threading beads onto string or playing with play dough.
Involve Them in the Process of Making the Toy
Montessori encouraged parents and teachers to involve children in all aspects of life, and one way they could do that was by allowing them to help create educational toys.
Involving them in this process will ensure that they also master the art and know the importance of keeping and maintaining the toys since they went through the rigorous process of making them.
Use Non-Toxic Materials, if Possible
If you’re using non-toxic materials, your child will be less likely to get sick. And when they do get sick, it’s easier to clean up the mess and disinfect surfaces.
Additionally, eco-friendly educational toys are better for the environment because they don’t contain toxic fumes or chemicals that can pollute landfills.
However, remember this: Non-toxic materials are typically more expensive than traditional alternatives like plastic. Also, remember that most stores don’t have them (or carry very few).
Use Items of Different Shapes and Sizes
As you may know, one of the key ideas in Montessori education is that children should be exposed to various materials at an early age.
Using different shapes and sizes of blocks, balls, containers, spoons and cups/plates, you can help your child develop by introducing them to new concepts through an activity as simple as stacking blocks.
The presentation of these items should be carefully considered to be easily accessible for your baby or toddler.
Mix It up (Ideally)
Color and Shape
If you have multiple objects of the same color, spread them out across the space rather than clumping them together.
The same thing with shapes; mix up your cylinders and spheres.
Let’s say you’ve got four wooden blocks. Instead of having all four made out of wood, use one block with a different material on either side, like one side is leather and the other is cork.
Place those blocks in different places around your Montessori materials area so that kids can find them easily when they want to build something new.
It’s always good practice to make sure there are varying sizes available for children and adults alike since we all like owning things that fit into our hands comfortably.
You can do this by having different-sized boxes or bags containing similar items within each category, such as “mobiles,” “blocks,” etc.
Why Is Making Educational Toys Better Than Buying?
Making your toys is fun, and it’s a great way to save some money. When you make your Montessori educational toys, you can control what materials are used and how they’re made.
You can also choose colors and styles more suitable for your children’s needs.
Making Montessori educational toys is much easier than you think! All that is required to start making these creative and engaging educational activities are basic craft supplies, like pipe cleaners, foam sheets or paper cups.
Making Montessori toys allows you maximum flexibility when it comes time for playtime with your child(ren).
Now that you know how to make the perfect Montessori toy, you can do it yourself.
You may be wondering why this method is better than buying new toys for your child. Well, one reason is that it’s more cost-effective. Another reason is that making these toys allows both parents and children to express their creativity and learn from each other during the process. These are more reasons why making Montessori toys by yourself is better.
What is a Montessori-style toy? These are toys that stimulate learning by encouraging children to experiment. These toys should be ones that they can hold and touch.
Is Lego A Montessori? Legos were not around during the times when Maria Montessori invented Montessori education, so they do not serve as a Montessori toy.