Whether your child attends a Montessori setting or you are following the famous Italian educator’s approach in your homeschool, having Montessori materials for home is a great way to nurture and boost your child’s development.
There is some confusion as to how to follow the Montessori method at home, but the reality is that by following the five Montessori principles you can design a Montessori environment whether your child is 2 or 12 and personalise it to your child.
You don’t need lots of expensive resources or even the same items that would be in a classroom such as the famous pink tower- this is an expensive Montessori mistake that some parents make, when they could use common materials in the mix of resources at home.
You can even DIY Montessori materials! In this article I’ll explain how to follow these principles and then share with you the BEST simple list of materials that (hopefully) Maria Montessori would approve of!
The Five Principles of the Montessori Approach
The five pillars make up the base for how Dr. Montessori believed children learn best. By bearing these in mind, you can facilitate a lovely way of life for your child with rich learning experiences, meaningful connect and an education that equips them with practical life skills and a love of learning.
Montessori Principle 1: Respect for the child
It is important that a Montessori teacher or Montessori parents respect the children in their care. Respect is shown by not interrupting the child when they are concentrating, giving them freedom to make their own choices and do things for themselves and by demonstrating peaceful conflict resolution when needed.
In the home or Montessori classroom, this is implemented by having periods of time where the child has an uninterrupted period where they can explore materials for themselves, having low shelves and a small table so resources are accessible for young children, and being gentle when resolving disagreements or conflicts.
Please feel free to browse my gentle parenting blogs for more information and inspiration.
Montessori Principle 2: The Absorbent Mind
Montessori believed that children are always learning from the world around them by absorbing information and learning from experiences. This happens through the child’s senses and through sensorial materials that stimulate these.
The child then makes sense of their learning because they are a thinking being; this means that sensory materials are important when it comes to Montessori materials for home.
Montessori Principle 3: Sensitive Periods
In a Montessori school or home, the attentive adult is looking for periods of time when a child is more sensitive to picking up certain skills. Montessori students are thought to go through eleven different sensitive periods from birth to six years old, during which they are most prone to picking up things such as music, maths, manners and more.
Montessori Principle 4: The Prepared Environment
The Montessori philosophy says that a child’s environment should be well organised, with resources at the child’s eye level and with open shelves so that they can get things for themselves. This means that children can freely choose what learning materials they engage with- from practical activities to craft supplies, sensorial activities and more.
Having things well organised means children also learn to tidy up as they can easily find the right place for specific items.
Montessori Principle 5: Autoeducation
Autoeducation is the theory that children naturally educate themselves and therefore learn independently. Teachers or parents in the Montessori community are there to create an environment in which children can do so with ease, through support and quality resources.
The unschooling approach also believes in autoeducation.
What are Montessori materials for home?
Unlike most toys today that light up, make some kind of noise and take away the element of discovery (essential for learning important skills), Montessori materials for home and the classroom encourage children to explore it themselves. There is no such thing as a ‘must-have’ material; simply items that can create a better learning environment.
These may also include furniture that allows the child to interact easily with their environment; such materials include Montessori floor beds, small chairs and open shelves. This applies from when the child is a baby, so below I have put together Montessori materials for age 0-2 and 3-6+ for those of you who have a homeschool classroom or wish to extend the Montessori experience beyond the early years.
Montessori Materials For Ages 0-2
This book set uses the latest science and Montessori theory to produce a beautiful set of vivid stories about the natural world for your baby to explore from 0-12 months. These books act first to nurture infant visual development with their black, white and red colour theme, and then allow your baby to interact by tracing paths with their finger when they are older. With Amazon Prime you can get free shipping on this!
This toy is great for building gross and fine motor skills. Babies can start by popping the flowers onto the pole; as they get older, they can develop to arranging the flowers in size order. See my Jaques of London review for more information on this third-generation family company.
Building on gross and fine motor skills again, this is great for practising real-world skills in play form. Unlike similar items from other sellers, this hammering bench is made from non-toxic child-safe paint and has easy grip bright pegs. As well as a great toy for practical skills it is good as a redirection tool if children feel like hitting something!
These building blocks are made from non-toxic quality materials and are brilliant for sensory learning as they are safe to chew. Your baby can discover new things- there are animals, fruits and numbers to capture your child’s interest, and they can even connect the blocks together. A great all-rounder for exploring tactile senses with little hands.
A Floor Bed (amazing for promoting good sleep in toddlers!)
If you feel it is right for your child, a floor bed can be a great way to open up your child’s environment and nurture healthy sleep associations. After all, they spend a lot of time in bed so from that point of view, bed and sleep needs to be a high quality experience for your baby.
Usually made from wooden materials, floor beds double up as a play area and is also a good way to facilitate safe co-sleeping. Please see my guide to Montessori floor beds including my top picks.
Montessori Materials For Ages 3-6+
The idea behind the Montessori cube chair is to encompass the principles of Montessori in an important piece of furniture in the same way the floor beds do. The ‘cube chair’ and table sets allow children to get in and out of the seat themselves, and there are adjustable heights so it grows with your child.
These chairs and tables are also designed as play resources; children can flip them over and use them to build dens, rockets and anything else that sparks their imagination!
These are perfect for a young toddler to older child, as they are low to the floor and can take an adult’s weight. This set is made from child-safe natural materials and is a great way to turn a living room into a playground on rainy days.
The beams stack neatly away and sell at one of the most affordable prices I’ve seen for this kind of resource.
This board is great for developing hand-eye coordination and has in-built control of error (the screws only go in with the right screwdriver/ Allen key). This is an example of practical life materials becoming accessible for children, and helping them understand different shapes while they explore engineering as well as fine motor skills.
In the Montessori world, it is essential that children have free access to the things that they need to help them develop. While our homes are usually not built for children’s convenience, items such as the Learning Tower can help children access places such as kitchen tables, sinks, cupboards and more that would otherwise be out of their reach.
This resource helps children do more for themselves and foster that love of independence as well as confidence.
This lovely set doubles up as a nature tray or sensory bin, perfect for popping rice/chickpeas, sand or similar in to stimulate your child’s senses. One of the best ways to nurture fine motor skills is by providing opportunities for picking and pouring, so these scoops, bowls and barrels are perfect for learning and teaching Montessori style.
Ideal for language development and early reading skills, this moveable alphabet resource is also great for fine motor skills. Illustrated flash cards with individual words match with the spinning wooden blocks, which children rotate to create the right word. Montessori language lessons are structured around 4 stages – spoken language, phonemic awareness, creating words and reading.
This is a brilliant resource to have at home to encourage kids to move, explore and develop gross motor skills. It’s also great for self-regulation (especially for autistic children or those with ADHD) as it I
Montessori Materials for Home
Montessori learning is an excellent way to facilitate a rich learning experience for your child. They’ll build a solid foundation of learning through creativity and things that actually interest them. If you’d like to see a comparison with the Charlotte Mason style of education please read Maria Montessori vs. Charlotte Mason. I also have more posts offering support and advice on homeschooling/ home education.
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