Below you will find educational materials and toys we have been enjoying.
See & Spell Wooden Spelling Boards
Adrian has been enjoying these See & Spell Wooden boards (buy here) since he was two-years-old (see here a post him assembling these boards at 26 months), and now at almost four, he still enjoys them. Colorful wooden letters fit into the eight two-sided wooden cutout puzzle boards to spell three- and four-letter words.These puzzle boards feature beautiful color illustrations of everyday objects like a bird, a bus, a pig and a fish, as well as the name of the objects. This educational puzzle-toy develops sight-reading vocabulary, spelling and fine motor skills. It is a fun way to put together a puzzle to spell a word! More than 50 colorful wooden lower-case letters can also be used on their own to spell various words. For example, Adrian used them to spell his name in a sensory tray. We made ours with flour, but you can use sand, salt, sugar, or any other tiny grain. (See here "How 🎥 to Make Montessori Sensorial ✍️Tracing Tray .")
Adrian is obsessed with stamps recently. Yes, he ✍🏻️writes daily in his workbooks, but stamping adds such a 🤗fun dimension to a traditional writing. With this Wooden 🔠Alphabet Stamp set (buy here), he practices letter and color recognition, as well as hand-eye coordination. This set gives a traditional writing a spin as it promotes creativity and early spelling skills. And, a child can stamp much more than he can 🖊write!
Anatomy Puzzle & DIY Interactive Puppets 🎥 (Inside of the BODY Unit Study)
See here a 🎥 post "Anatomy Puzzle & DIY Interactive Puppets" with details about our favorite hands-on BODY materials we have been using.
Rainbow Loom crafting kit (buy here) is a hands-on creative activity which will boost your child's fine-motor skills, while imagination and hands would create hours of fun!
Adrian, at 3.5 years old, is using Rainbow looms.
This Rainbow Loom kit comes with a loom and a hook and everything your child will need to create bracelets, necklaces, charms, keychains, hair ties and more. While Julia likes to use the hook, Adrian prefers to use his fingers. He would pull the first rubber band over his index and third finger in an 8-shape. The next two rubber-bands are pulled over one-by-one as an-o-shape. Then, he would pick the bottom rubber-band and loop it over the top band (from the right and then from the left). In a little while, your child will see a little "tail" emerging!
Our Suzuki Inspired Music Instruments
Adrian is turning a balance drum twist rattle (buy similar here).
This Fraction Formula Game (buy here) is a super fun hands-on fraction- math exploration. Each child (can be played from two to four children), while taking turns would draw a fraction card (one at a time) and drop a matching cylinder into his/her tube, with the goal to get as close to the "1" as possible, without going over.
Fraction tiles also double as a math manipulative, and offer a different fraction perspective - not all fractions are a pizza-circle! Also, the cards and corresponding fractions are color-coded, offering a child an opportunity to refine color recognition. Lastly, once the child wins, we look at the fractions that made up the whole, and Julia would write the combination in her journal. It is fun to see how many different fraction-combinations can make the whole!
p.s. We were inspired to purchase this game after reading Kylie's post about it here.
Soundtracks CD 👂Listening Game
We bought this Soundtracks CD listening game (buy here) even before Adrian's first birthday, when we would simply listen together to soundtracks, and I would identify the sound verbally. Then, slowly, Adrian started matching the familiar sound to the picture, thus being able to enjoy countless hours of purposeful listening and matching.
This listening game can also be played with a friend or a sibling: where each child has to concentrate and listen to the recorded everyday sounds and then timely find a photograph match on a game board.
At this point, children mostly enjoy this interactive sound game together, and besides learning to take turns, they are also developing active listening and matching skills, memory recall and critical thinking skills.
Zen🕉 Garden Meditation Sand Box
Do you practice mindfulness with your children? A big part of Montessori education is teaching children to be mindful, respectful and ☮️peaceful, with oneself and others.
A Zen Garden is a mindful tool to bring a child to the "now" - to the precious eternal moment of the Present, offering a child an opportunity to sensorially explore the sand, gracefully raking around objects, thinking only about the precise movement of the hand, focusing only on the sparkling white sand and the design a child chooses to create. These moments are truly meditational, quieting the mind and enriching the soul.
Children are born mindful and with wisdom we can keep this skill alive: 'Montessori is wonderful in this way'. - The Dalai Lama
All you need to participate in the art of Zen gardening:
- purified sand (you can even use polenta),
- small objects like marbles, polished rocks (we also added a starfish, shark tooth etc.),
- a small rake,
- and a tray to contain everything.
The Zen Garden (buy here) is a miniature version of the traditional Japanese meditative garden. Assorted stones and other objects provide visual interest and a counterpoint to the garden's serene patterns. This introspective Zen garden is also a very simple DIY 🏡activity.
Abacus Wooden Counting Toy
I am sure you have abacus somewhere. It is such a traditional 🔢 math counting toy, and I remember myself using it when I was little. Now, I encourage both of my 👦🏼👧🏻 children ❌not to use their ✋🏻fingers when performing addition or subtraction work, and abacus comes to the rescue every time we do not have Montessori ten-bars or golden beads handy. With abacus, a child can practice counting, adding, subtracting or making ten's. This math toy is also great at promoting fine-motor control and at illustrating how the number can be broken down into smaller numbers.
In this 🎥 video, Julia (👧🏻 7 years old) is announcing ➕ addition equations with multiple addends to her brother Adrian (👦🏼 3.5 years) to solve using a colored wooden abacus. (We are using Imaginarium wooden abacus (buy here), or see my🛍 aStore 🔗 here.)
The Ultimate Book of Vehicles
This amazing 📚 Book of Vehicles (buy here) is the most interactive hands-on 🚒🚜✈️ Vehicles 📚 book I have ever come across! And this book is Adrian's absolute ❤️favorite at this time! (Also, check it out at my 🛍a Store 🔗 here.) Nearly one hundred different vehicles—in all shapes and sizes! Your child will see first-hand a giant crane hovering over a construction site, a 🚀 space-ship blasting into space, and much more! Supersized spreads feature marvelously detailed illustrations with a lot of flaps, popups, pull-tabs, and rotating wheels, bringing various vehicles to life. A child can peak into a ⛴ ship's hold, explore the innards of a garbage 🚛 truck, and help demolish a 🏠house. Any child who's ever been intrigued by the roar of an engine will adore this extraordinary collection of things on the go, from the everyday to the nearly outrageous!
Stay tuned for more about our materials and toys ...