You have to do a gift for a child who follows the Montessori method and you don't know what to buy? This educational method is committed to a series of specific toys that work on their main objectives: stimulate child development and promote independence without losing the fun of the game. Here we propose some cheap toys that will inspire you to know what to give to children.
The most effective way that children learn is through play, there is no doubt about that. However, many parents still associate toys with entertainment and books with learning.
Choosing the right toy or game for the age of children is the key to stimulating not only their imagination and creativity, but also their cognitive, motor and sensory skills. And that is precisely what the Montessori Method is about.
María Montessori developed this method thinking about a way to stimulate child development and promote independence, where children search for themselves what they learn without losing the fun of the game. We have always heard that curiosity killed the cat, but with the Montessori Method, curiosity is the fundamental factor that must be formed.
Of course, care must be taken when developing the independence of children, because excess debauchery can cause a not very responsible and self-centered character. To avoid this, one must also teach about responsibility and consequences in every choice they make. So that they can tell the good from the bad.
What are Montessori toys like? These are some of the main characteristics that it must have:
1. Made of natural materials
Each toy is a learning material and therefore must be constituted in that way. So its main characteristic is that must be made of natural materials, like woods and bamboos.
2. Something reusable
Whereas, it has to be a toy or game that stimulates their imagination for a long time, so we can say, it must have a reusable item.
3. They are sensitive toys
The toys used in this educational method allow the child to manipulate them and, therefore, feel them. This sensory manipulation makes children learn the concrete concept before moving on to abstraction.
4. Appropriate for the child's age
Something important about Montessori toys is that each stage has its own, from 0 years old to 6 or even 12 years old.
5. They are proven toys
Montessori toys were born after observing different children playing with them and learning from them. Therefore, it can be established that they are 'proven' toys.
As we have mentioned, one of the characteristics of Montessori toys is that they adapt to the age of children. Therefore, here are some ideas to consider according to the age of the little ones:
- 0-3 years
Rattles, mobiles, rollers, bars for walls, balls, treasure basket, rainbow Grimms, figure mazes, stackers, classifiers ... At this stage the important thing is to develop the sensory motor area (touch, smells, weight, size, texture and freedom of movement).
- 3-6 years
Construction figures, chess, memories, questions and answers, figure blocks, latch boards, blackboards, color books, ludos, ludo ... At this stage we seek to encourage mental agility and superior problem-solving skills, in addition to promoting socialization and manual skills.
Due to their unique characteristics, these Montessori toys can be somewhat expensive, because you do not find them in any store, but in places specialized in the Montessori Method. However, we bring you some economic options that you can give to the children of your family or your own children:
- Handmade toys
The best thing about this option is that they are made with natural elements such as wood and clay and that you can also order your ideal toy, based on some Montessori options. There are ready-made alternatives that you can find such as rattles, stackers, puzzles and classifiers.
- DIY toys
Another good source of inspiration is crafts and recycling. So you can take items from your home such as scraps of wood, pallets or cardboard and make your own Montessori toys. You just need to research about these and their characteristics and replicate them as best as possible. Like chalkboard boards, pallet wall bars, your own color book or mazes.
This alternative is excellent to teach the importance of recycling and to take advantage of old materials to build new things from a young age and even include them in this practice in the future.
- Search the past
Surely in your house there are old board games, or in the house of your parents, your in-laws or grandparents. Bringing back the past is a great classic and effective way to boost children's mental skills and have a good time with the family.
You just have to look at the panorama from a new angle to have your own Montessori toys and help the development of the little ones in your family.
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