You may have heard or read about Montessori may be in your Instagram feed or on your favorite Montessori parenting website. Either way, you must have noticed the increasing popularity of Montessori education.
The philosophy of Montessori education was developed by Maria Montessori, who was an Italian physician. Montessori’s philosophy focuses on hands-on and child-directed work. It encourages kids to engage in age-specific activities that improve their social, emotional, and physical development.
What are Montessori Toys?
There is no official list of Montessori toys. Instead, any toy will be considered a Montessori toy if it supports the philosophies of Montessori education.
Here are the specific characteristics to keep in mind while choosing a toy for Montessori purposes. Moreover, there are also beneficial stress relief kits that you must have, especially if you are dealing with children with autism.
These toys are your ideal choice if you’re looking for new and innovative toys for children, as they will help them learn through exploration and play and grow in their unique way. But where did everything start?
In 1907, Montessori opened Casa dei Bambini (Children’s House), the first Montessori school in Rome. From here, the Italian physician discovered that kids who were given more liberty, self-discipline, and inquisitiveness encouraged natural learning.
From there, the child-centered approach enticed many followers across Europe. By 1910, more Montessori schools were established in Western Europe and were soon found throughout the world, heralding the arrival of modern educational systems.
Today, Montessori remains one of the 20th century’s most influential educational thinkers, and her toys and method continue to make a profound impact on how early education is delivered in many countries across the globe.
Characteristics of Montessori Toys
1. Use of Natural Material
The first thing to look for in a toy is whether it is made of natural materials like wood, cotton, metal, or even rock. This doesn’t mean that there will be zero use of plastic in those toys, but Montessori education includes using toys that are mostly made from natural materials.
Montessorrians opt for natural materials as it helps your kid to make connections with nature. Whether the toy is made of hard, sticky rubber, frigid alloy, silken felt, or smooth polished wood, these different textures, appearances, weights, and temperatures trigger a sensory-rich learning experience that allows your child to associate with the outside world.
Moreover, the variances in the “feel” of these toys tend to be more interesting and fun to explore for your kid compared to that of entirely synthetic products.
Lastly, natural materials tend to be safer and more durable. Unlike plastics that are likely to crack, break, or dent when dropped, natural materials are sturdier and are not prone to be damaged easily, making them suitable for children from an early age.
2. Free of distractions
It means there will be no or less use of machinery type things like batteries, flashing lights, music, buttons, etc. This will promote the open-ended and imaginative play of your child.
Though adding such technologies can be engaging, they only provide superficial input to your kid’s brain. For instance, if your little one presses a button, then a dancing girl pops out of the box accompanied by ballet music, it’s entertaining but doesn’t actually reflect how the real world actually works.
With Montessori toys, your child is free to explore and discover natural forces like gravity and momentum independently by physically manipulating the objects as your kid plays. Through that, your child will also learn about the significant connection between the action and its innate consequences.
3. Promotes a single skill
Those toys that focus on only a single skill help in advanced learning later in life.
That is brought by removing unnecessary distractions that can be overwhelming and affect your child’s concentration and deeper learning.
However, that doesn’t mean you must focus on single-use playthings. You can opt for toys that offer multiple possibilities for learning but use one at a time.
For example, a wooden dog can be used for introducing vocabulary, then for teaching location, and later for showing real life situations. That way, you can ensure your child can concentrate and have no difficulties understanding concepts.
4. Realistic and Purposeful
Maria Montessori promoted toys that have a realistic approach. As she is the founder of Montessori education so you should choose only the realistic toys.
You should choose only realistic toys that accurately imitate real-life objects and animals. Before being able to drift to fantasy, your child must first have proper and sufficient exposure to objects that actually depicts the real-world. Though talking animated animals or supernatural beings are whimsical and wonderful, you’ll notice that your kid can associate more with toys that show real images of people, animals, and objects.
5. Encourages STEM learning
Toys aligned with the Montessori education also motivates STEM learning. With these playthings offering your kid to experiment and explore, he makes sense of the world and gains a better understanding of important concepts like math, physics, problem-solving, and cause-and-effect relationships all through play.
Benefits of Montessori Toys
Now that you’re aware of the specific characteristics of Montessori and their true examples, let’s explore how these playthings can further help in the development of your kid. These toys offer many benefits, which include:
1. Developing fine motor skills
One of the primary advantages of introducing Montessori toys to your child is that they help develop fine motor skills. These playthings are specifically designed to be manipulated in a multitude of ways so that your kid can explore and experiment with them and discover new ideas. With that, your little one is able to practice and strengthen crucial motor functions and awareness during fun and engaging play.
2. Teaches independence
Montessori toys are also devised for individual execution and self-correction. Your kid will play independently and commit mistakes in the process. That’s okay as it will help him concentrate on what went wrong and how to fix it in his own ways without the need of an educator or a parent. You can observe these in toys like geometric shape puzzles where your kid eventually learns how to fit the right pieces through own trial-and-error.
3. Stimulates imagination and creativity
Learning through play also stimulates your child’s imagination and creativity. Though those are vital skills that your kid innately have, it’s still best to boost them to ensure that he grows up as a smart, balanced, and creative person. Your kid will learn how to expand his horizon or think outside the box, something that is valuable in real life and this day and age.
4. Fosters growth
Another benefit of Montessori toys is that they foster growth by developing your kids mental, social, and emotional skills. Be wary that Montessori toys are created in a way that your kid will experience difficulties playing it.
Ease your worries, though! Though your kid may struggle initially, he’ll be able to discover how everything works through practice and master it eventually. Such a process boosts your kid’s self-esteem, establishes a positive mindset rooted in resilience and hard work, and keeps him trying even amidst challenging situations, which all in all, helps him grow.
Best Montessori Toys
Nowadays, there are so many toys used in Montessori institutions for Montessori education. But do you believe that all of them are true Montessori toys? I don’t think so that all of those toys are true Montessori toys. Here are some toys that comply with the Montessori philosophy and are true Montessori toys.
Modified pikler triangle is a climbing triangle based on the philosophy of a Hungarian pediatrician Dr. Emmi Pikler. Dr. Emmi and Maria Montessori worked together as well. Pikler triangle has many benefits like gross motor development, grasping, climbing, self-confidence, and many more. Visit https://piklertrianglereviews.com/ to learn more.
Although they are a little expensive, I think they are worth this price keeping in mind the benefits they provide to our children. I believe the pikler triangle is one of the best Montessori toys. And every responsible parent should provide a pikler triangle to their child according to his/ her requirements. If you want to read more about pikler triangle then visit pikler triangle reviews
It is another awesome Montessori toy. This excellent rattle and teether is a perfect Montessori inspired toy and beautiful gift for your baby. It has a unique style, and because it is lightweight, even the tiniest hands could hold and explore it. And most importantly, it is made from natural rubberwood, so you don’t need to worry about any chemicals, etc.
Small Children like to explore their sensory skills. And interestingly, sensory play is encouraged by the Montessori method of education. A sensory toy is a group of balls made of natural rubber. They are incredibly soft to ensure the safety of your little toddler.
Teethers are made of wood and play the role of excellent Montessori toys. They also have beads along with them, which are made up of food-grade silicone.
The Montessori method tells us that choose realistic books that have interesting details and are suitable for children’s learning level. Board book has simple 100 first words along with corresponding pictures. The bright and realistic images attract the young ones, and they love to explore it more.
These musical instruments that are made for Montessori education are an excellent source for learning cause and effect. They are super fun for our children.
One aspect of Montessori education is that some toys should be challenging for our babies because that will help them take risks and learn more. Wooden shaped puzzles are a great source of problem-solving for babies.
All this discussion concludes that we should not ignore Montessori education. It’s a fun and stimulating way to boost your kid’s learning through play, discovery and exploration. Indeed, Montessori education is as important as school education. It would be best if you studied Montessori education and Montessori philosophies yourself to choose the perfect Montessori toys and the right Montessori school for your young one.