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Favorite Toys and Materials


Favorite Toys and Materials

As a Montessori educator and mother for 23 years now, I have developed a fondness for certain toys and materials. I know many of you are shopping for children this time of year. I encourage you to get something different and special for the child in your life. Here are some of my favorites.

For Infants

I taught Montessori parent infant classes for twenty years (see www.parentinfant.org), and spent countless hours observing infants interact with people and the environment. Favorite materials include wooden rattles, wooden books, and the black and white wool ball from

From the time children start sitting at age five or six months, they enjoy having an appropriately sized wooden table and chairs. Until ten or twelve months, the chair should have sides or arms in case the infant starts to lean. The table and chairs are an important purchase, used instead of a high chair. See height guidelines here:

Provide beautiful dishes, small silverware (available at Ikea stores), a cup without a lid, a tiny pitcher, and tiny cloth napkins. These are available from several of the sites mentioned here.

For Toddlers and up

Once the child walks, the hands are free to work, and are developing coordination rapidly. Involve children in daily food preparation starting at 15 or 18 months. A lettuce knife or Crinkle Cutter (

Other important Practical Life activities include cleaning and care of the environment. Montessori Services (

I love the wooden wheelbarrow from

I recommend the cooperative games, available from Montessori Services, for age four and up. I observed that my children continued to cooperate long after the game ended.

A Cascade Tower (

In preparation for the holidays, I will soon be rolling candles from sheets of beeswax, along with children age two and up. I help them make candles as gifts for their parents. I buy the wax and wick locally at My Honey Company, www.myhoneyco.com, in Richmond, Illinois, but it is easily available at craft websites as well.

I love the feel and scent of beeswax, and a favorite of mine is modeling beeswax, available from

A recent favorite at our house is the 65-inch Incred-A-Ball from www.Hearthsong.com, fun to roll and go inside!

It’s hard to stop! There are so many wonderful toys, but far more inappropriate toys on the market. Have a long look at the sites I have mentioned. Choose natural materials over plastic. Choose real, satisfying activities for children.

This will be the first post at my Learning Together blog,

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