Monday, January 17, 2011

Homeade Toddler Toys

It never ceases to amaze me, even knowing as much as I feel I do about Montessori, how the most simple toys and materials can became the most prized and paid attention to by my little guy. Today I thought I'd share a few Montessori items that I've created as well as some others that are Montesori-ish or could be adapted. I'm starting work with my Dremel to create some others soon; I'm just waiting to take a trip to Loews's to choose some lumber!

This Montessori toy is a simple slot toy for fine motor control. I used a child's shoe box, taped the lid down, cut a slit, re-enforced it with tape, and cut and opening to retrieve the chips from the front. I used old poker chips that I bought years ago at the dollar store as the "coins".

Tyler immediately took to this toy, completely focused on doing the work over and over, not realizing that we were putting his lunch on the table, that so much time was slipping by...nothing. He goes back to this toy several times a day with much of the same focus.

This single shape sorting Montessori toy I made many months ago, yet Tyler can still be found using it at least once a day. At the time I was attempting to make a Montessori Activity table for him to stand and work with, as walking was a newer skill for him. I covered the table top with blank paper, as it was an old kid's table that I had with distracting animals all over it, then taped the box to it (knowing it would just be thrown on the floor!). Just as the slot toy, I simply cut a square in the box and a space in the front for retrieval. I cut a square shape out of blue paper for the block to rest on in-between uses. He has certainly mastered this one, and I'm eager to make a triangle shape sorter out of wood very soon! 

This toy is a simple fine-motor and toy. You can use any sort of container for this, cardboard or plastic. I simply cut slots in the top to fit popsicle sticks and he practices putting them in and pulling them out.

This is another small-motor item. Tyler has many wooden puzzles that I've purchased from consignment stores or have been given via Freecycle that he's too young to use. Here I've taken the pieces and affixed magnets to the back so he may practice taking them off and placing them onto a cookie sheet by using the small pegs. This is the third puzzle that I've used in this manner, using safari animals and shapes previously. He seems to have grown tired of this toy after several months. Finding a farm scene picture, or drawing one myself, to affix to the back will make it more interesting for him at this age, as he's ready to pretend to place the animals in specific places.

Using magnets and puzzles pieces again here, as Ty is a big fan of both, I've made various puzzles for him on our refrigerator. I used four shapes in the puzzle before this one. I've simply traced the pieces onto paper, taped it to our fridge and stuck magnets to the back. He really enjoys this and it's a great activity for him while we're working in the kitchen!

Magnet strips with sticky side and magnetic sides can be found just a couple dollars at any craft store!

As a toddler who likes to make a lot of noise, these shakers have been a huge hit with Tyler! I bought the small, kid-sized water bottles for the bottles on the left, and recycled old astringent bottles on the right. At first I had made the water-bottle shakers into visual shakers, using oil and water, float and sink objects, glitter, food coloring, sand and water etc, but I then saw Ty focus on a few of the shakers that he could make some noise with and put the purely visual bottles away for now. I've created noisy shakers with dry spaghetti, rice, marbles with a little water, beads with a little water, sea glass, nails and screws, Q-tips and coins (gluing the tops on tightly!). I purposely made some shakers loud and some soft so he can hear the difference. For an older child, making two of each shaker and blindfolding the child, then letting them work to find the two that match would be a great Montessori activity.
 I hope that I've helped someone with an idea. I'd love to hear yours!

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of the magnet strip on the back of the knobbed puzzles.