It seems like once toddlerhood strikes, an accumulation of toys comes with it! Creating a space to organize all those toys is important for our sanity as parents.
This is why I love the Montessori shelve method, and I’m going to share with you how you can set up a Montessori shelves at home.
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Setting up a Montessori shelve at home is a lot easier than you may think. It comes down to finding the perfect spot for the shelf, having a toy rotation routine, keeping things clutter-free, and most importantly making sure this shelf is accessible to your toddlers. These are the basic premises of setting up a Montessori shelf! But, let’s dig a little deeper into how to set It up, step by step!
Oh, before I forget, this post can be used for Montessori or not! You don’t have to adopt the Montessori method in order to create a learning shelf for your little one!
What is a montessori shelf?
Montessori shelves are a concept inspired by the Montessori method. The goal is to create an environment that encourages children to follow their interests, which provokes independence!
Montessori shelves are open shelf’s that are accessible to children, and height appropriate. Making it easy for toddlers to access their toys and books, which encourages independence and confidence during play. Montessori shelves are clutter free, and have a minimalist feel to them. Only displaying a handful of toys at a time, and rotatng toys out when need be.
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How do you use montessori shelves at home?
The goal of montessori shelves is not to clutter the child with to many toys at once. You only want to offer a handful of toys at a time. Toys that align wit your childs current interest, and offer a little bit of a challenge.
- Only add 4-6 toys at time
- Offer a play mat, or table near shelve for toddlers to play with toys on
- Observe your hild interest, Rotate toys out that dont interest your child anymore.
- When adding new toys, model how to use the toys with them. Allow them to use the toy independently once the modeling has been demonstrated.
What is Montessori Toy Rotation?
Montessori toy rotation is only displaying a handful of toys on your childs shelf at a time, and storing away the toys that may not be of interest to your child at the time. The idea is to not overwhelme the child with to many options, its also important to note that you only want to offer toys that are of interest to your child.
Toys that aren’t of interest should be stored away and rotated back in when you see fit, or the child shows interest in that toy.
How Often should you rotate toys?
This is one of the biggest questions asked when deciding to do toy rotation with montessori shelves. A good rule of thumb is to rotate toys out every 3-4 weeks. This time frame gives children time to really master the toy, and they usually start to loose interest in the toy around the 4 week mark.
Try to observe your child often, that way you can keep tabs on what toys may need to be rotated out, and which ones can stay.
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5 Tips For Setting Up Montessori Shelves At Home
1. Keep The Shelves Clutter Free
Be mindful of the number of toys you put out, and most importantly how many toys you put out at once! The concept behind the Montessori shelves is to only offer well-thought-out activities that interest and challenge your child. Putting too many toys out can be counterproductive and overwhelm your child easily.
Toys rotation is everything! If your child has a lot of toys, this is a great way to keep the shelf organized.
2. Include Baskets and Trays When Needed
The use of baskets and trays is helpful, when you want to group toys together, or hold smalled bits and peices together in one place. This is also a really good way to group things on the montessori shelve according to interest, and timeline. You could store all the more difficult toys in trays on the top shelve, and store the easier toys on the bottom shelve in baskets as well. Here are a few of my favorite montessori baskets and trays that ive gotten from amazon, very budget friendly!
3. Leave toys “ unfinished”
This was a game-changer for me, I initially started off by adding baskets or trays with the activity already set up. I noticed that my daughter wasn’t as engaged after using the toys a few times. Children tend to be more interested in unfinished activities. Once I noticed this I started to leave her puzzles, ring sets, and other activities unfinished. Because of this, it gave her the opportunity to assemble and work through the activity.
When I was offering the activities completed, it didn’t leave anything else for her to do!
4. Open, and Accesible to Child
Accessibility is everything! We want to encourage independence and confidence. When children can access what interests it really encourages independence and builds confidence!
Find shelves that are truly child-sized. If you are unsure, get down on your child’s level and play with them in the space. This will give you an idea of what you need to add, and what types of shelve would work best for your child!
5. Offer High Quality Toys
With so many toys on the market, it can be hard to determine which toys to buy, when to buy them, and if they offer some sort of development. This is why i love the lovevery play kits, We have been monthly subsricbers since my daughter was around 4 months, it has been the best investment we made and here’s why!
- Each play kits is group by your childs age, and developmental milestones
- They toys are very high quality and veristaile. Which is great when creating new activities using what you already have
- Stress free, I dont have to worry about what toys my daughter needs as she continues to hit devleopmental milestones, the play kits literally take the guess work out of it.
- Very informative, each play kits comes with booklets on more activity ideas, milestone checklist , and how to use the toys already included.
7. Offer Natural Materials
Most montessori toys are made of some sort of natural material. The idea behind only offering natural materials is that, natural materials give children more information about the world around them. By offer a variety of natural material children are able to explore what diffrent textures feel like. For example Rocks offer a rough texture, while Metal is more smooth and cold to the touch.
Natural Material List
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