One of the biggest reasons I love the Montessori approach is the concept of toy rotation and using simple, everyday objects. I have learned this concept from Montessori writer and teacher Simone Davis. She makes Montesorri so accessible through her blog, courses and two books on babies and toddlers – both of which live on my bedside table.
A resource of Simone’s that I’ve used the most is her “Ultimate list of Montessori activities for babies, toddlers and preschoolers”, which lists all the different “toys” and activities your child may be interested in different developmental stages. When combined with the method of having only a handful of toys and activities on display, presented in a beautiful, inviting way, you have yourself a system to:
- Selecting toys and activities that help them master a skill that they’re currently interested in
- It keeps tidying up manageable – in this messy toddler phase, it only takes a couple of minutes to reset everything
- Less overwhelm for little ones with too many things to choose from
- Know what to archive/declutter away
- Inspiration of what to curate once they’ve moved on from what they’ve been playing with (which helps with knowing what to look for at the op shop and toy library)
- What to keep close at hand for when they develop the skills to be able to interact with a toy in a new way
We repurposed an old Aldi version of Ikea Kallax (you’ll notice there’s a base coat on some of it – a project that never really took off 😂) and used the bottom two levels to pop a toy or activity in each section. The higher shelves are for books or toy storage.
While none of these toys are marketed as “Montessori”, what makes them so is that they target one skill, they’re arranged in a tray, basket or container which has everything DS1 needs to engage with the activity by himself, and freedom to choose what he plays with and for how long.
This is what we’ve currently got on rotation…
Montessori Shelfie 15–16 Months
- Wooden bead maze
- Container with different coloured shapes that stick together (similar to Duplo)
- Coloured pegs in holes that can be pushed or hammered through
- Playdough in an airtight container with a couple of biscuit cutters
- A little basket filled with containers and bags with all different openings with little treasures inside to find
- Wooden box with coloured shape blocks that can be posted through
- Car, train and truck – these get a lot of use at the moment
- Big wooden beads and with a chopstick to thread them onto. The kit came with a shoelace, which is a bit too tricky at this stage, so the chopstick is serving well.