Montessori play is something I’d never heard about before becoming a parent but is something so great for development. What it means to me is giving Munchkin that freedom to choose what to play or do, making those choices accessible, learn through play and learn life skills.
Here’s a quick what to do to set up Montessori style at home and how we’ve done it, some of which by chance.
- Designate an accessible place for everything
This comes down to making things easy reach for your child. From toys, to books, to arts and crafts and snacks and drinks.
For us, we have all toys in low drawers and shelves, clothes for nursery days in bottom drawers, books under the TV for little hands to grab, and Munchkin level snack shelves so he can choose when he’s hungry and what to eat (within reason!).
2. Emphasize Life Skills
This swings on how even young children are capable of pitching in around the house in one way or another and by helping, it sets them up to be considerate and capable adults.
With Munchkin, this occurred naturally. Start to clean, he wants a cloth to join in too. Approach the dishwasher, he wants to help empty it. Hang out the washing, he would help ‘sort’ and pass the items to be hung. I always take him to show him jobs like watering the plants. I’m just too scared to give him a watering can indoors just yet!
3 .Teach Concentration
This is one I could question, but when you read, its about identifying your child’s interests and setting things up to keep them concentrating and thoroughly exploring for a period of time.
We know Munchkin loves the outdoors and a good sensory play activity. So we set up some time and some space and try to make the activity evolve to keep his interest and therefore concentration. For example, we set up an ice play activity, then introduced bubbles and coloured water later to evolve the play.
4. Give them their best learning environment
Discover where your child likes to learn and provide that space. Some children prefer solitude where others like the middle of the room. We have two spaces, a playroom and a play space in the lounge. Munchkin chooses where to go to play, and whether or not to ask for our hand to lead us to join him.
5. Focus on Inner Motivation, Not Reward
This Montessori method is about rewarding behaviour and progress with verbal feedback in moderation, over physical rewards such as stickers or sweets.
This is an easy one and one that we do naturally. Say well done, that’s great, we are proud of you and clap with him at big moments.
6. Use Child-Sized Furniture
For this one we have a tuff tray for floor messy play fun and a mutable for Munchkin sized table activities. We use the high chair when baking to bring the mixing and making to floor level.
If you’d like to know more about Mutable, see my review here.
7. Make Their Bedroom Child-Friendly
This echoes some of the previous points by giving them a play space, so if they wake early they can move from bed to play on their own.
Munchkin rarely uses it, but we have always had a third play space in his room ready for when he moves from cot to cot bed.
Future Montessori plans for Munchkin
One idea we’ve had to expand our Montessori offering at home is to create seasonal nature trays and more role play tuff tray activities, such as making a farm or zoo.
Do you have any tips or things you do at home? Let us know in the comments.
Thanks for reading,