02 Dec Montessori Gift Guide 2021
Montessori Gift Guide 2021 for kids aged 0-3, 3-6, and 6-8
The gift giving season is upon us! Wading through all the options to find the perfect gift for the little ones in your life can be overwhelming, but it can also be an opportunity to bring the Montessori way of learning into your home. With this gift guide, we’ve chosen items designed to represent each area of the Montessori classroom in your child’s playtime, so that they may more easily create a bridge between the principles learned at school and what is practiced at home. As your child returns to these gifts time and time again, they will subconsciously continue their lessons at home through repetition. Developing that invaluable relationship between their school environment and home life will ensure that the learning never stops!
Disclaimer: These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; We are not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the below organizations and do not receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Additionally, parents should be reminded that children mature at different times and should use their best judgement when it comes to age-appropriate toys for their child(ren). As always, please be aware of allowing your child to play unsupervised with small toys & pieces.
Sensorial – Touch & Feel Books
For a simple way to bring a tactile experience to the little ones in your life, consider gifting Baby Touch and Feel books. They come in a range of themes, including “Animals,” “Bedtime,” and “Colors,” to name a few. Each book contains a variety of textures that tiny fingers can touch and explore, which helps develop fine motor skills. The clearly labeled pictures encourage word association so that hands and minds can work in conjunction. In addition to fostering language and motor skills, the Baby Touch and Feel series builds an early learning foundation by teaching colors, shapes, patterns, and opposites. These popular reads can be found at most book and toy retailers, but we encourage supporting an independent bookstore! One of our local favorites is the Cricket Book Shop found in Ashton, MD. They have a wide variety of selections and will gladly order anything not found in stock.
Practical Life – Let’s Cook Wooden Play Kitchen
In the Practical Life area of the Montessori classroom, students practice skills that allow them to move through the world with more independence. A classic children’s toy that condenses real world situations into child-sized fun is a play kitchen! They typically come in a variety of color schemes and sizes, but we recommend this age-appropriate version from KidKraft®. The Let’s Cook Wooden Play Kitchen features plenty of hands-on features to engage emerging chefs, including choppable “food,” clicking knobs, and a pull-down faucet. Even with the 21 accessories, including utensils, bakeware, and ingredients, the open storage area allows toddlers to stay neat and tidy.
Math – First Shapes Puzzle
It’s never too early to introduce mathematical concepts into a child’s life, and shape recognition is a fun and simple way to do it. Give the gift of early math through a wooden shape puzzle! This Melissa & Doug® First Shapes Puzzle has five pieces: circle, oval, square, rectangle, and triangle. The extra-thick inserts have jumbo wooden knobs to allow for easy grasping, and matching pictures appear underneath each piece for easy visual perception. Once your toddler has mastered this puzzle, they can move on to all the other more advanced options Melissa & Doug® and other puzzle makers offer!
Cultural Studies – Animal Shakers
What better way to teach cultural appreciation at an early age, than through music? Allow your child to discover the magic of percussion through these sustainably made and packaged animal shakers from Green Tones®. These shakers, along with other Green Tones® products such as whistles, drums, and glocks, can be found at your local music supply store, or through the link provided.
Language – Mr. Potato Head
Mr. Potato Head is timeless for a reason. This famous character comes with a wide variety of pieces, providing ample opportunity to learn simple anatomy vocabulary such as “eyes,” “ears,” “mouth,” etc. The diversity of pieces also allow children to use descriptive terms to identify size, color, and shape. Alternatively, you can use this Montessori-specific velcro activity to teach simple anatomy terms at home.
Sensorial – Homemade Play Dough
What child doesn’t love play dough? This nontoxic toy is a favorite among kids and parents alike for its ability to develop fine motor skills, encourage creativity, and ease stress. This homemade version from Etsy seller SquishyDoughTOO offers a variety of scents to engage the olfactory senses while developing hand strength which is important for future writing. To further engage children in their playtime, try our DIY play dough STEMChallenge!
Practical Life – Personal Laptop Chalkboard
In an ever-evolving technological world, a child’s familiarity with computers becomes increasingly relevant. This chalkboard laptop from Crate&kids® is completely powered by imagination and a great way to increase that familiarity without spending more time online. It’s complete with a writing surface on both the “keyboard” and “screen.” There is a designated inlay for writing chalk to keep things neat and organized for kids on the go!
Math – Pretend Play Cashier Set
Like vegetables, getting your child to willingly consume math can be difficult at times. With a play cash register, kids can practice their counting while engaging in real-world imitative play, making this both a mathematical and practical life activity. Not only does this set help teach monetary value and simple addition and subtraction, but it is constructed from eco-friendly materials. The checkout register comes equipped with one change draw, one scanner, one stack of register paper, one card reader, one credit card, and more.
Cultural Studies – SmartGlobe Discovery
This interactive globe from the Oregon Scientific Store allows children to engage with the different continents through hours of audio content. The OID Smart Pen delivers information about population, geography, and capitals with a single touch. The three activity panels provide challenges of varying difficulty levels, ensuring the globe continues to provide age-appropriate activities as children progress in their understanding of the world around them.
Language – Get Well Doctor’s Kit
Just like the aforementioned Mr. Potato Head, this classic Get Well Doctor’s Kit Play Set from Melissa & Doug® comes with many parts to encourage vocabulary expansion. Since children will hopefully recognize some of the pieces from their visits to the pediatrician’s office, interactive role play can help them prepare for upcoming doctor visits and help lessen a child’s anxiety about the unknown. With repeated play, they will learn to identify tools such as thermometers and bandages, which will reinforce the importance of taking care of our health. In addition, this kit includes a pamphlet encouraging healthy eating!
Sensorial – Kinetic Sand
Kinetic Sand™ is a natural progression from play dough. It can be a bit messier, so it’s best to be used with older age groups who can keep it contained. Not only does kinetic sand provide the same benefits as play dough (opportunities for creative expression, fine motor skill development, and practice problem solving), but the added texture has an especially calming effect. It can be purchased with different sets designed for building and creating. You can even consider the Kinetic Sand Kalm Zen Box for the stressed adult in your life!
Practical Life – Indoor Herb Garden Kit
In staying true to the intentions of our Montessori classrooms, our next gift recommendation prioritizes care for the environment. An indoor herb gardening kit is perfect for the young green thumbs in your life. This easy to use set is a fun lesson in how to provide for yourself and is an environmental science lesson all wrapped up in one! Your child will enjoy watching their sprouts grow day by day as they nurture them, and will love once their final products are integrated into the dishes you eat as a family.
Math – K’nex
K’nex are wonderful building tools that kids have enjoyed for decades. Their many interlocking parts easily showcase geometric concepts in three dimensional building. Children will experience trial and error as they build larger and more complex structures. Basic Fun® offers a wide range of specific kits focusing on STEAM, including architecture and geometry!
Cultural Studies – Brilliant Maps For Curious Minds
Increase your child’s cultural awareness with this unique world breakdown. Brilliant Maps For Curious Minds highlights the similarities and differences between countries in many categories, including politics, religion, customs, diplomatic relations, and more! You can find this book of maps at another local favorite, Charm City Books, located in the Historic Pigtown neighborhood of Baltimore, MD.
Language – Scrabble: National Parks
What better way to practice language skills with the entire family than a game of Scrabble? This classic word game comes in many versions, but our pick is the National Parks Edition, which focuses on plant and animal related vocabulary. Score bonus points for placing nature-themed words related to National Park names and wildlife on the board. You can also use the tiles for a simple speed scrabble game if you don’t have time for a longer session. You can purchase this edition at many family game stores, including Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie, MD!
If you would like more information on how to incorporate the Montessori method into your routines at home, we invite you to register for our monthly Montessori Monday Parent Education Seminars. Our next interactive session is scheduled for next week, December 6th at 6pm!