The best Montessori learning toy – Chicago Tribune


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If your child is currently being homeschooled or is younger than school age, you may want to incorporate some Montessori learning toys to aid with their education. The Montessori concept is too complex to explain in detail here, but it is based on child-led learning and creating a safe space for kids to learn and grow. Montessori toys tend to be simple yet functional and made from natural materials. Keep reading to learn more about Montessori learning toys and their features. We’ve also included a few recommendations at the end, such as our top pick, the colorful Grimm’s 12-Piece Rainbow Stacker. Considerations when choosing Montessori learning toys It’s important to choose the right Montessori learning toys for the age of the child who’ll be playing with them. For instance, Montessori toys for babies and toddlers often include basic stacking and shape-sorting toys, whereas Montessori toys for four- or five-year-olds might encourage counting or sorting items into groups by color, shape, or texture. The toy’s manufacturer should list the age range that it’s suitable for. Montessori learning toys are generally carefully curated with a particular learning purpose in mind. For example, if you want to teach your child about gravity, you might choose a toy with pieces that you drop down a slot or tube. Followers of the Montessori method often put together trays or baskets containing a range of toys or items designed to teach a particular concept. A tray containing various small toys, large buttons, and pompoms of a range of colors, for instance, could help teach your child about colors and sorting. These trays or baskets are designed to be taken out one at a time, played with, and returned, which is also teaching a concept — to be respectful of your surroundings and tidy up after yourself. Of course, you don’t have to go full Montessori and can simply stick to individual toys if you prefer. Montessori learning toys are intentionally simple and are never electronic. The idea is that kids are more likely to learn from toys that are inert until they interact with them. Montessori learning toys should be made from natural materials, such as wood, cloth, or metal. These materials have a greater variety of textures, weights, and temperatures than plastic does, all of which kids can learn from. Montessori learning toys can vary in price widely from around $10 for small, basic toys to over $160 for large and elaborate toys, especially those made by popular natural toy manufacturers. Q. How are Montessori learning toys different from other learning toys? A. Many standard learning toys feature letters and numbers and sometimes even sounds and flashing lights. The Montessori method states that introducing numbers and letters before a child is ready won’t teach them anything, and electronic toys with lights and sounds don’t allow kids to discover in their own way. As such, Montessori learning toys are simple and encourage children to learn concepts that are accessible to their developing brains, especially through independent play. By playing with a simple wooden shape sorter, a young child will learn by experimentation that a square shape won’t fit into a round hole and can innately learn about colors, textures, and weight. Montessori toys encourage learning through independent age-appropriate exploration. Q. Do I have to fully immerse my child in Montessori learning? A. If you’re looking for a new homeschooling method, you can follow the Montessori method to the letter. Equally, you can buy your child a handful of Montessori toys without going any further than that. The choice is yours. Montessori learning toys we recommend Our take: A hugely popular wooden rainbow toy that can be arranged and stacked in endless ways to stimulate the imagination and improve motor skills. What we like: Colorful and beautifully made. Encourages kids to play imaginatively. Ideal for toddlers and younger preschoolers. What we dislike: On the pricey side for what you get. Our take: Prepare your child for kindergarten with this high-quality counting board. What we like: Affordably priced. A fun way for children to learn their numbers and count to 100. Made from wood. Small enough to take on the go. What we dislike: Some were disappointed that the board isn’t bigger. Our take: Naturally teaches young children about object permanence, as well as improving refined hand movements. What we like: Great for teaching babies and young toddlers that objects don’t just disappear when you can’t see them. Solid and well-made. Keeps babies occupied for a surprisingly long time. What we dislike: Some babies don’t like the sound made when the ball drops. Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds. BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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