What makes a Montessori inspired toy?
Montessori is a teaching philosophy developed my Maria Montesstori, who thought that children's education should be an 'aid to life'. A researcher in child development, Maria developed specially crafted learning environments where children are able to respond to their natural tendency to love learning.
The Montessori philosophy encourages children to engage in spontaneous, purposeful activities. Children progress through their learning at their own pace and rhythm, in tune with their own capabilities.
Toys that support the Montessori philosophy generally are:
simple toys. This allows the child to focus on the core learning of the toy. Take for example a simple shapes puzzle. The child can focus on the development of fine motor skills and shape recognition without being distracted by lots of other, unimportant elements.
based in reality. Before the age of 6, children have trouble determining reality from fantasy. To develop real imagination and a secure connection with their world, they need to first learn about what the world really is like. Their toys should reinforce that.
made from natural materials whenever possible. A rattle made from wood or metal will give your baby much more information about their world than a plastic one. The metal is cool to touch at first and then warms in their hand. Wood can also provide a variety of natural textures.
- functional and constructive. Toys should require the child's participation and action for use. The best toys for our little ones’ development allow them to explore their own will, decisions and ideas.