You can find great deals before the holidays. It's perfect because you aren't rushed and can take time to shop. Also, those popular items are plentiful.
When I bought my Montessori materials in Holland, I found many educational toys were used for younger Montessori students. In fact, we used educational toys before we introduced the Montessori equipment.
Here are some toys I think would make a great contribution to your child's development.
One of the best toys for developing engineering skills are gears. Both boys and girls love these toys. You need to only introduce these once before everyone will go wild with inventions. I bought the simple set first with gears and base plates. Later you can add on more complex pieces.
You can buy a theme gift, such as items for a garden tea party. Montessori encouraged using real china. This Porcelain Tea Set would be perfect. You can show your child how to hold a cup and carefully pour juice into tea cups. Little Friends can attend too!
Set this Natural Wooden Tea Table with a tablecloth, napkins and teacups.
Here are some delightful books about manners and tea parties.
Bristle Blocks were my toddler's first connecting type blocks. They stick together easily. They are pre-Lego bricks activity. I still have Bristle Blocks that are 30 years old!
I love Legos! They are fun and educational plastic bricks that range from preschool through the middle school years.
Lego Preschool Play Table uses Large Duplo Legos. I like the platform play table for building shapes and creative inventions. The table and side pockets keep this area defined and give order to the play area. My children were toddlers when I first introduced Duplo Legos. They used them for many years.
Lego pattern books are a favorite for Lego fans. They are great for following directions, understanding patterns and building methods.
Here are some Lego books that will help understand the world of Lego and help build great structures and objects-
My son was happy he used Legos as a child. As an engineering student he used Lego Mindstorm Robotic Inventions System for his robotics class. Also, this Snap Circuits would be a great toy for electrical engineering skills.
These books are also great!
Practical Life Skills are activities that help with every day living skills. These are some fun kitchen items for your child to learn how to prepare food.
Just For Baby-These toys are great because they encourage your baby to touch and explore-
Get free downloadable dinosaur nomenclature cards at Montessori Materials
Use them for matching dinosaur objects to the pictures or as a reading exercises matching the labels to the dinosaur pictures or object.
Space is such an interesting place to visit. It is just outside our back door. This Planetarium Projector is on sale for 19.95.
Telescopes give years of pleasure and learning.
Binoculars are great for looking at the moon and stars. It was our first sky watching instrument.
New Toys and Items Added Daily!
Stocking Stuffers can be really educational and creative art materials.
Shop National Geographic Online Store for Holiday Stocking Stuffers!
Purchase beautiful beads for handwork skills.
Coin Collecting is a great way to understand history, culture and geography.
Puzzles foster fine motor and perceptual skills.
I introduced the solid wooden shape puzzle sorter first. You don't have to introduce all the shapes at once. I would start with one of the easier shapes, such as a circle. Add more as your toddler masters this skill. I introduce the solid shapes after introducing stacking small wooden blocks. The stacking activity prepares your toddler for this activity. This is like the puzzle sorter we used.
To make your own shape sorting cube-
Sew bean bag shapes and make cutouts on a cardboard box that match the bean bags. Cover the box with contact paper to make it stronger. Introduce like the wooden shape sorter.
Next, I introduced a large knobbed puzzles next. The fewer the pieces, the better.
Later, introduce the names of the shapes of the puzzles using the three period lesson.
Also, you can use these shapes as you would the geometric cabinet. Download one of the cards so you know how to make the shapes.
On poster board or thin cardboard make solid shapes, thick outlines, and thin outlines of the geometric shapes.
Here are some activities-
Age: 4 and up
Material: 3 sets of cards-
Set One: White cards with solid replicas of the geometric shapes in a dark blue. One card for each geometric figure.
Set Two: White cards with thick dark blue outline (1-centimeter thick line) of geometric shape. One card for each figure in the cabinet.
Set Three: White cards with thin dark blue outline of the geometric shapes. One card for each figure.
Presentation:Spread out a rug on the floor. Take out several the solid cards. Pick two or the most different shapes. Lay out the card on the rug and ask your child to choose the puzzle piece that matches. Add more shapes as your child completes this first exercise.
Let your child do this activity using all of the cards and puzzle pieces.
Next do the thick line cards in this manner. Lastly, do the thin lined cards.
Control of Error:
If the child makes a mistake, the last puzzle will not fit exactly over the last card. There will be at least one card that will not fit properly.
To recognize representations of shapes leading to an abstract conception of form. Also, it helps fine tune visual differences in the cards which will help later for reading.
These are some games to do after the children have finished all the activities with the cabinet and cards.
Game one: Place all the puzzle pieces on a table at the end of the room. Make sure that the shapes can be seen. Take one set of the cards. Show a child a card and ask him to find the corresponding wooden inset. When he brings it back let him fit it over the card to see if it fits. If it is correct leave the card with the puzzle piece over it on the table and show another card to another child. Continue until all the cards are covered by a puzzle piece.
Game two: Spread all the cards from one set on a table so that all can be seen. Spread out another set of cards on another table in the same manner. Place all the puzzle pieces on a third table.
Have the three tables as far apart as possible. Take the last set of cards, mix the cards and give several to each group of children. Ask the children to find the cards and insets which match the ones they have in their hands. Check the ones they bring back.
Here are some wooden puzzles for older preschool children-
This Upper and Lower Case Wooden Alphabet Puzzle is great for children do better with 3 dimensional letter shapes.
After you have introduced both upper and lower case letters to your child, let him or her
match the lower case letter to the corresponding upper case letter. Do 2 or 3 letters in the beginning. Gradually, add more letters until your child can do all 26 letters.
Blocks were one of the first toys I introduced to my babies. I got some soft, home sewn, blocks from a friend. They were the best! These soft blocks look like the ones my children first used. They were easy to stack. If your infant sits up, it is not too early for them to hold and feel one of the blocks. Later, I introduced one more block. It was usually apparent if they could stack 2 blocks. I would show them how to stack the blocks. I gradually added one more block until they could stack four blocks. It really grabbed their attention.
I would introduce small cube blocks next. The blocks actually belonged to my children's grandmother. It is amazing how long they last. They had upper case letters with an object that started with that letter on the other side.
These blocks are similar to the ones my toddlers used.
The pink tower is usually introduced after the stacking activities. These are very similar to the pink tower-
Children will use architect blocks through the grade school years. Again, my husband had lots of these from his childhood. My children and students would build amazing structures with these blocks.
Log homes are great structures to build too-
There are 60 architectural, natural blocks that have a nice wooden box to put them away. I like the pillars and arches. I love the box because it is really a 3 dimensional puzzle.
Montessori was one of the first educators to use jungle gyms, balance beams, push toys, tricycles, and swimming pools to encourage development of large muscle skills and coordination.
Here are some toys, games, equipment and ideas for the holidays.
Play helps with early reading and math readiness.
Spatial perception is developed by climbing, crawling, and balancing. Physical activity helps develop later skills for learning.
Teeter Totters teach the muscle motor concept of up and down. Also, balance and gravity are elements taught by this activity.
This is a step up from T-Ball. Hitting balls develops eye to hand coordination. We used a bat and hitting a ball on a string to help children with reading and writing skills.
I like this kid powered car. This is great for muscle development, rotating the steering wheel teaches how to turn left or right.
Parachute play is a great way to exercise and have fun with your children. It is great for coordination, following directions, and teaches about wind too! Fold up neatly and put away for practical life skills.