First, what is Montessori?
With out going in to a bunch of detail – Montessori is an education approach emphasizes child-directed learning, hands-on activities, and collaborative play. Developed by Dr. Maria Montessori. I think Montessori does a great job meeting the unique needs and interests of each child, and focuses on developing independence, critical thinking skills, and a love of learning.
Personally it’s been a great fit for my neuro-typical and non-neuro-typical kiddo. We don’t go all in at home anymore but they have always gone to a fully accredited Montessori school. It just works for us. If you want to learn more about Montessori, Montessori Parenting, or Montessori toys one of my favorite blogs to follow is: The Kavanaugh Report.
Can Montessori be done in the Home?
Many people I know go full Montessori at home. It can be ALOT. I personally believe that you can take aspects that work for your family or you can go all in. I’ve done both. LOL! Montessori education can be a wonderful option for children, it’s a great fit for most kids and it is possible to adapt Montessori principles for home learning. However, I will preface that going all in requires a significant commitment of time, effort, and resources.
Making your home Montessori isn’t for the faint of heart. SO, before you go all in you may want to research and consider factors such as your child’s learning style, your own ability to provide a Montessori environment, and your financial resources before making a decision.
So I recommend talking to experienced Montessori educators or attending Montessori parent education classes could also be helpful. If this sounds like too much, I hear you. It was too much for me and I did this stuff for a living. Today I’m just here to talk about where to get cool toys. So let’s just talk about the toy store where you can get wooden, opened, Montessori type toys.
What Toy Stores in the Twin Cities can I get awesome Montessori or natural toys?
Kinoko Kids: Hands down this is the NUMBER ONE place to go if you truly want natural Montessori type toys. They are beautiful and wooden. The owner is local, it’s women owned and she used to work at the Montessori school – Lake Country Montessori located across the street in the Kingfield Neighborhood South Minneapolis. Kinoko Kids focuses on classic and quality toys that kids will love and that will last.
Pin Wheel and Play toys: Like legacy toys this shop has a little bit of everything but carries some lovely brands that focus on “Montessori” play. My boys could hang out in here for hours and so could I. It’s a local favorite and close to our favorite all time bookstore ever Wild Rumpus (which is another whole blog) and one of our favorite ice cream shops Sebastians Joes. So we just make an afternoon out of all three after we’ve spent the morning at Lake Harriet or the Lyndale Rose Garden. Two of my very favorite locations to take family photos in South Minneapolis! See some of my favorite images here!
Pacifier Kids Baby Boutique and Oh Baby. These were two boutiques I was obsessed with when I had my little buns in the ovens. Things in the store are just beautiful to look at. Both a wide variety of wooden toys that fit the Montessori mold- so you can’t go wrong with either. Plus they have the cutest onesies and largest selection of jelly cat stuffed animals in the twin cities. At least they did when I was pregnant!
Kid A: This is a new one for me that I absolutely adore. Not only is it a marketplace there is an actual location you can go to. They make it easy to buy and sell high end toys and gear. So you can get rid of things and buy things at the same time. It’s a parents dream!
What Montessori materials could I already have at home?
Don’t want to shop but want to try out some Montessori activities at home? I got you! Montessori practical life activities are a great way to engage your child in purposeful and meaningful work.
Some activities you can do at home include pouring, transferring, sorting, and folding. A learning tower (a piece furniture your children stand on to be at counter height) can also be a useful tool to involve your child in meal preparation and other household tasks. Remember to choose activities that are age-appropriate and allow your child to explore and develop their skills at their own pace.
Learning should be fun. Play is the best way for kids to learn. Hope this blog post helps you find some wonderful toys to create a rich warm inviting space for your kiddo to play.