As adults, we live in a world that can be so stimulating that it is overwhelming. Now, think about what this might be like for your child. Your child is still learning the basics of living in this world, so he might have a hard time comprehending what is happening in the world around him. That is where Montessori toys can help.
A Montessori toy is a toy that stimulates learning by encouraging your child to experiment. Ideally, a Montessori toy is going to be an object that he can touch. One of the keys of a Montessori toy is that it should teach your child to manipulate objects, helping your child develop his fine motor skills.
Furthermore, a Montessori toy should also foster independence. Open-ended toys are perfect for encouraging your child to work at his own pace, fostering a sense of creativity. When it comes to Montessori toys, there are a few key points to keep in mind.
What is the Montessori Method?
The Montessori method of education was developed by an Italian physician named Maria Montessori, who developed this educational philosophy by studying the behaviors of children as they age. The Montessori method believes that children are naturally eager for knowledge and seeks to help children develop socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively.
Some of the important elements of the Montessori method that come from the American Montessori Society include:
- There are uninterrupted blocks of work and play
- Students are able to choose from activities within a prescribed group of options
- Objects tend to be made out of natural, aesthetic materials
- Children engage in open-ended play, within limits
As a result, the Montessori method heavily relies on both work and play, which is why Montessori toys are so important. So, what makes a Montessori toy?
What makes a Montessori Toy
There are numerous toys that qualify as Montessori. Some of the key characteristics that define Montessori toys include:
- Montessori toys are relatively simple. They should be easy for children to use intuitively and should not provide opportunities for distraction. This allows children to focus on the toy and build his cognitive skills.
- Montessori toys are made from natural materials. Wooden Montessori toys are among the most popular. Natural toys, such as wood, help a child connect to his surroundings.
- Montessori toys are also functional. They have a clearly defined purpose and are made for use by children.
- Montessori toys are realistic. They tend to be modeled after something that a child is going to find in his environment on a regular basis.
- Montessori toys focus on a single skill. Children have to develop fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive skills. Montessori toys should help a child build these specific skills.
Following the Montessori method, there are numerous toys that fall under these categories.
The Benefits of Montessori Toys
Some of the main benefits of Montessori toys include:
- Montessori toys encourage kids to explore their senses. Toys tend to warm to touch, encouraging kids to play with them more. The feel and weight of toys also change, allowing kids to explore their tactile sensations.
- The natural look and appearance of Montessori toys also make them visually attractive to children. Furthermore, the parts of the toys that are built with bright colors encourage kids to play with them because they stand out from the environment.
- Montessori toys are also highly durable. Everyone knows that children are prone to breaking things from time to time. When Montessori toys are made from natural materials, they are more resilient to use by children.
- Montessori toys are also not going to cause any health issues. They are made from natural materials that are free from allergens.
These are just a few of the numerous benefits that come with Montessori toys.
Examples of Popular Montessori Toys
There are a few examples of popular Montessori toys. Some of the main examples include:
- A Montessori Board: Among the most popular wooden Montessori toys is a math board. This is an excellent, hands-on, math tool that will help kids visualize important math concepts. Each block has two numbers on the top and kids can flip them over to see the answer.
- A Montessori Tower: Another popular Montessori toy is a Montessori tower. This is a construction set that has pipes and joints, allowing kids to build towers and structures. The ability to visualize the tower as it comes together is invaluable.
Phonetic Reading Blocks: Finally, phonetic reading blocks are perfect for parents who want to mold confident readers. As an open ended toy, phonetic reading blocks can twist to create phonetic words for young readers, helping them practice.
There are countless Montessori toys available to help your child build independence and learn at his own pace. By following the Montessori method, your child can learn while playing, maximizing his potential as a young learner.