Imagine a world where you and your little ones can play and learn harmoniously and where discovery and exploration are valued, essential parts of their day. Every parent wants the very best for their child. In today’s fast-paced world, families are increasingly seeking ways to connect, learn, and play in a way that benefits the whole family.
Montessori learning incorporates just that. Montessori toys and educational philosophy are well-loved around the world for so many reasons, and we think you’ll love them, too. Whether you’re a parent, educator, or simply curious about the innovative and enriching ways of Montessori learning, we have all the information you need.
Where did Montessori Learning Originate?
The Montessori method was developed by an Italian physician by the name of Maria Montessori in the early 20th century. Dr. Maria Montessori loved children and thought their drive and desire to learn was much stronger than other doctors and researchers may have previously thought.
Maria Montessori was given the freedom to begin her work in education with very few guidelines, and that was what worked. She quickly began to discover that using children’s natural tendencies, like pretend play, to explore and learn produced much more impressive results.
Montessori created an environment where little ones could explore, discover, and develop at their own pace. Montessori learning proved to work wonders and was adored by children, parents, and teachers. From there, it understandably took off. Using these specific educational toys became an integral part of the Montessori learning approach, and thankfully, today, there are dozens of great Montessori toy options available.
What are Montessori Toys?
Montessori toys are toys that are designed to encourage this open-ended, child-led play. They minimize distractions and have children focus on one thing at a time. Rather than being outfitted with lights, bright colors, and various sounds, Montessori toys are simple, often painted in muted colors, battery-free, and high-quality. These highly educational toys offer great sensory experiences for even the youngest learners.
How are Montessori Toys Different from Regular Toys?
In a world where the things we consume have a profound impact on the planet, sustainably made Montessori toys are more important than ever. These educational toys often prioritize natural materials, like wood, mixed textiles, and metal, making them much more environmentally friendly than their plastic counterparts.
Additionally, these materials add to the tactile and sensory experiences of children and help them connect with nature. Most importantly, Montessori toys are well-made and designed to last a lifetime, so you can pass down these great educational toys to your kids and their kids and promote a healthier planet for future generations.
How Can Montessori Learning Help My Family?
Montessori toys offer a wide range of benefits for children’s cognitive, emotional, and social development.
By encouraging hands-on exploration, these educational toys promote:
- Problem-solving skills
- Critical thinking
Montessori learning materials and toys are carefully crafted to allow children to learn slowly, at their own pace. They are also designed so that kids can master certain skills before moving on to the next. This sequential learning approach enhances concentration, independence, and self-regulation in children.
Montessori Learning Helps Motor Skills
Another great thing about Montessori learning is that it promotes gross and fine motor skills from the beginning. Through the manipulation of certain objects and tools, kids’ fine motor skills are improved as they practice dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and precision.
Additionally, unlike many other types of educational toys, Montessori toys can improve gross motor skills since many of the tools practice regular life activities.
Some of the real-life activities that are often practiced with Montessori toys are:
Even if it’s not your primary goal, having Montessori toys around the house is a great way to get your little one involved in household tasks. You’ll have the best baking partner or mini clean-up crew before you know it!
Montessori Learning Supports Social and Emotional Development
Using Montessori toys to help with social and emotional development is highly effective. These educational toys play a vital role in development because many are designed for collaborative play, encouraging children to interact, share, and cooperate with others. Additionally, Montessori learning encourages children to solve problems amongst themselves without as much help and guidance from an adult.
As children engage with Montessori toys and activities with their peers, they develop empathy and communication skills. Using Montessori toys creates a positive environment, promoting inclusivity and fostering healthy social interactions, which are extra necessary in today’s world.
Additionally, Montessori toys promote imagination development, which is a necessary childhood skill that will help them for years to come. Developing an imagination through open-ended play allows kids to really hone in on how their thoughts and feelings connect with their actions, which helps with problem-solving down the road.
Isn’t Montessori Learning Expensive?
Contrary to popular belief, implementing Montessori learning within your home does not have to break the bank! Hazel & Fawn is dedicated to providing tons of affordable, accessible ways to try Montessori learning in your home without sacrificing quality. Montessori toys are designed to be versatile and serve your children through multiple developmental stages, so they are an extremely cost-effective investment for your little ones.
Why We Love Montessori Toys
There are tons of reasons to love Montessori toys, including all the reasons listed above relating to development of the mind and body. We also love Montessori toys because they truly ignite a love for learning in little ones. When learning is unstructured, fun, and child-led, as it is with Montessori learning, children become confident learners who are excited to take in information and quench their thirst for knowledge.
Montessori toys also stimulate holistic development. Holistic development is the idea that instead of different subjects, like math, reading, and writing, learning is rolled into activities together. For instance, a child playing with a stacking toy might count and sort pieces, working on their math skills. They also practice fine motor skills and grasping things in different ways, which helps children learn to write. Holistic development creates well-rounded children with love for every subject.
Perhaps the biggest reason we love Montessori learning is that it simply helps children to thrive. We all want to see our little ones succeed, be happy, and enjoy their childhood to the fullest extent. Montessori toys allow them to do that and learn at the same time. These educational toys are cherished among children, parents, and teachers because they encourage kids to be their best selves, which is all any of us could want for our little ones.
Our Favorite Montessori Toys
- Fruit and vegetable sets
- Building blocks
- Stacking toys
- Wooden animals
- Sorting and tactile toys
Fruit and Veggie Sets are Great for Montessori Learning
Since a huge premise of Montessori learning is to practice real-world scenarios and applications, wooden fruit and vegetable sets are a favorite educational toy among Montessori enthusiasts. Children can feel the smooth texture of the wood, appreciate the shape and weight of the different pieces, and explore various sizes and colors. By engaging multiple senses, these educational toys are great for sensory exploration.
Connecting to nature is another important principle of a Montessori toy, and wooden fruits and veggies are perfect for that. Children can become familiar with the basic concepts of growing and consuming food. They may even be encouraged to eat healthier and try more fruits and vegetables, which is a huge win for parents!
Finally, wooden fruits and veggies are durable and can be used for different types of play for many years, from little toddlers to older children. Two of our favorite play sets for this are the Mini Fruit Set and the Salad Vegetable Set from Sabo Concept.
Building Blocks are Multifunctional
Building blocks are not only timeless, classic toys, but they also hold a special place in the hearts of Montessori lovers everywhere. These simple yet versatile Montessori toys offer numerous benefits for children’s development and learning. Building blocks stimulate creativity, problem-solving skills, and fine motor development. Additionally, building blocks promote logical thinking and spatial awareness.
One of our favorite ways that little ones can play with building blocks is by using them for construction and engineering. Building towers, bridges, and other structures may seem simple, but it’s actually introducing them to complex concepts like gravity and physics.
Building blocks are also a favorite Montessori toy because they are a great introduction to math and counting. From basic concepts like sorting colors to more advanced lessons like creating patterns and making different shapes, building blocks are great educational toys. A great block set to start off with is this Peace & Love Wooden Block set; it even incorporates language with words and phrases.
Stacking Educational Toys
Stacking toys are a favorite among child development experts for refining motor skills and dexterity. The seemingly simple stacking activity does wonders to strengthen hand and arm muscles, preparing children for important tasks like writing as they get older. We love this classic Pyramid Stacker from Sabo Concept.
Another great thing about this educational toy is that it teaches problem-solving and critical thinking in a very direct way. If your little one wants to use the stacking toy for its intended purpose, it might take a little critical thinking. Kids can learn to slow down, stay patient, and figure things out on their own time.
Finally, stacking educational toys promote creativity and imagination. Generally, stacking toys are very open-ended and can be used for many different things. Perhaps your little one needs a cool ramp for their racecars, or maybe they want to create a unique-shaped home for their favorite stuffed animal. No matter how you choose to use them, stacking toys are phenomenal for helping kids stay engaged and focused while they play and learn.
Learning about Nature with Wooden Animals
We love wooden toys for Montessori learning for a few reasons, and we particularly love wooden animals from Holztiger for their whimsy and high quality. First, Montessori seeks to teach children about nature and help them develop appreciation and respect for the earth. Children can play with educational toys like wooden animals and connect with nature through the animal’s lifestyle but also through the natural materials with which the wooden toys are made.
Language and vocabulary are wildly important for just about every other subject little ones will learn in their formative school years. Children can learn the names of different animals, their sounds, and their unique features with these educational toys. This promotes language development and improves communication skills as little ones engage in imaginative storytelling and conversations about their wooden animals.
Raising awareness about social issues and being environmentally conscious is huge for Montessori learning because all participants want to leave the planet better than they found it. Whether your kids are learning about animal conservation or the importance of protecting animals’ natural habitats, wooden animals are a great addition to your Montessori toy box.
Educational Toys for Sorting and Sensory Play
Different types of sorting and sensory toys, like these Mandala Honeycomb or Mandala Cones from Grapat, are perhaps the most versatile Montessori toys because they are so open-ended. These educational toys are simple shapes with fun textures and colors to let your little one explore as they see fit. Your child can learn more education-oriented things like sorting and mathematical concepts, or they can take it in an entirely imaginative direction.
The sensory stimuli that come with these types of educational toys are unmatched, and they are the perfect toys for your smallest Montessori learner. Babies and young toddlers can touch and feel the shapes and textures of the wood, and they can practice their grip strength by picking them up.
If your little one chooses to go in an imaginative direction with these educational toys, there’s truly no limit to what these toys can do. Perhaps each piece represents a person in a shopping mall as they pretend to be at their favorite local stores, or maybe they can represent all the members of the family when playing house. The opportunities are endless.
Choosing Montessori Learning for Your Family
Montessori learning differs from traditional educational methods in several impressive ways. Unlike more conventional methods, Montessori learning fosters a child-centered approach that recognizes the talent and intellect of each child. With Montessori educational toys, you have the opportunity to provide your child with meaningful, engaging experiences from day one.
Your kids will love learning and have the chance to explore their curiosities. Whether you choose to enroll your little one in a Montessori preschool or buy your kids some of the best Montessori educational toys available, you’ll be giving them an invaluable gift that will serve them for the rest of their lives.