Montessori Friendly Gift Ideas
With so many different kinds of toys out there it’s hard to know what’s going to truly promote creativity. There are some great tips and tricks we want to share with you while you go toy hunting.
Most toys that have lots of flashing lights and sounds can actually be over stimulating to children. It also teaches them that when you push this button it only does this. There’s no freedom for creative imaginative play. Now that’s not to say that ALL your toys should be without batteries, simply find a balance. Observe your child. Notice what they care to play with more for longer periods of time. Is it the noisy flashy toys or the more simple things? In my experience children like the lights/noise/flashing for only a short time. AND THAT’S OK! There are so many different kinds of toys and my personal favorite are ones that require no batteries. Here’s why, yes, it saves on buying batteries and the endless annoying sounds that will get played over and over and over again day after day! You know what I’m talking about. But more than that, the toy isn’t telling my child what it is supposed to do, rather, it’s allowing my child the freedom to discover and create on their own. Things to think about when choosing Montessori friendly toys for your environment.
Observe your Child
Like I mentioned earlier pay close attention to things your child plays with, at home and else where. To get maximum pay out of they toys you purchase for you child then choose things that they are actually interested in. Even if that is a box, what is he doing with that box? Drawing on it? Making a fort? A great option I found is from Lakeshore it’s called The Ultimate Fort Builder.
Is It Open Ended?
Can the toy be used for more than one purpose?
An example of this is when my oldest received a play kitchen for his birthday one year. I was enjoying playing with him and having him make me different various food entrees when I told him that the pizza cutter was to cut pizzas. He gave me a look that will forever be engraved in my memory, a look of ‘you’re kidding right mom?’ He assured me that this special tool was for measuring as long as you wanted AND for cutting all things not just pizza! I was stunned! Who am I to stop the creative mind of his! Why couldn’t I use a pizza cutter to cut up a big sub sandwich or to cut carrots faster? That to me is value! I love seeing how he could take something and make new rules for it. Our world needs more innovators, critical thinkers, and creative problem solvers; how will we accomplish this if we continue to give them specific rules that they can’t break? Start now while they are willing and wanting to explore that.
Does it Spark Creativity?
Allow your child the freedom to discover and create on their own. Items like MAGFORMERS, BLOCKS, LEGOS, and ART ACTIVITIES. Other great options to promote some great imaginative play are things like PLAY KITCHENS, DOLL HOUSES, TRAIN TRACKS W/ TRAINS, CARS, BEADS, MARBLE RUN COASTERS. Amazon and Discovery Toys offer tons of toys to promote creativity!
Does it Refine the Senses?
Children learn through their senses and by doing things with their hands. In order to fine tune their senses, we need to make sure we provide a sensory rich environment and activities. Look for toys or activities that stimulate the senses like water beads, blocks, or play dough. For babies and infants rattles, toys with high contrasted colors and different textures, teethers, play gyms, and hanging mobiles are great options to promote development of the senses. Etsy offers wonderful infant/toddler sensory toys.
Choose child sized real life tools over pretend versions
Children love to do REAL work. They see what we are doing and want to do the same. Real child sized tools, like brooms, mops, garden tools, cooking and baking utensils will provide your child opportunities for success and independence. For Small Hands is a Montessori material company for families who want to bring useful child sized tools into their home and may not know where to find them.