North American Montessori Child Care | St. Louis, MO
Children are naturally creative. Given the right nurturing environment, their love for learning and problem-solving can be reinforced to last throughout their lives. Montessori preschool is based upon this premise, but learning doesn’t have to end when children go home. Montessori-friendly toys provide fun opportunities to integrate problem-solving and learning into their lives.
What is a Montessori-friendly toy?
There really are no toys that can be designated as “Montessori toys,” but there are many options that work well with a Montessori-based learning environment. Montessori-friendly toys create opportunities for children to learn at their own pace. They are often made from wood or other natural materials, though some toys and blocks, such as Legos, are made from plastic.
Montessori-friendly toys encourage children to focus their attention and engage both the mind and body in learning activities. Whether they are building with blocks, tracing letters or numbers with their fingers, or making sounds of letters as they flip through flashcards, they often become fully involved in the activity in an age-appropriate way.
Here is a short list of some of the types of toys that may compliment your child’s Montessori preschool experience. We’ve kept our list general to give you ideas that you can cater to your child’s own likes and preferences.
Montessori preschools and elementary schools teach reading through phonics, and flashcards are a fun way to reinforce learning of letters and sounds. Encourage your child to say the letter or sound it makes, and trace the letters with their finger or a dry paintbrush.
Children three years old and older often like to play with wooden alphabet letters. Encourage them to combine letters and sounds to learn basic words or to spell names. You can also find textured letters that add another tactile element.
For most children, puzzles are a favorite. They’re a good way to incorporate touch, hand-eye coordination and problem solving. There are thousands of age-appropriate puzzles to choose from, and they can be used to reinforce learning about nature, numbers, the alphabet—or any and every topic your child may be interested in.
Creative Cooking Sets
Preschoolers love to help out in the kitchen, and pretend baking and cooking tools are always a hit. They not only encourage children through free-play and eye-hand coordination, but they also make food preparation fun.
From hand bells to keyboards to rhythm instruments, making music can be fun for your child to explore by him or herself or with others. They’ll also be honing their listening skills, fine motor skills and more.
Play Clay/Play Dough/Paints
Whether you buy them in cans or jars or make them yourself, play clay and paints are a great way for your child to develop eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills while developing their creativity! Encourage your child to tell stories about the things they are creating, or read a book first for inspiration!
Today’s wooden blocks are far more fun than they’ve ever been! Many sets come with interesting pieces for fun themes, like geography, vehicles and traffic, animals and nature, and more. The sky’s the limit when it comes to blocks—or the length of your child’s arm, at least!
LEGOs and Magna-Tiles
Like blocks, LEGOs and Magna-Tiles encourage your child to use his or her imagination to build and create. Though they are not made from natural materials, they still come in age-appropriate sizes and in sets created to spark little imaginations.
There are plenty of opportunities to build on the Montessori philosophy at home. Of course, this is just a short list of Montessori preschool toys and activities. We encourage anything that promotes free-play and creative learning!
Want to know more about our programs? Schedule a tour! We’re happy to show you the wonderful things happening in our infant, toddler, and preschool classrooms!