I try to select toys that are age-appropriate, durable, good quality, educational, and made of natural material (e.g. wood).
We have two shelves, one in the main living room of the house and one in S’s bedroom (to display/keep the toys). I only leave few toys out at a time, making it easy for S to choose from. I do not like clutter and too many toys out could make children frustrated (when there is too much stimulation children may totally loose interest). Therefore, the rest of our toys are kept in a cupboard and are rotated every couple of weeks, I keep the ones S shows more interest in and introduce some new ones and bring out a few that she used to work with. I tend to present new toys to S as I add them on the shelves and then I leave it up to her to explore them in her own way. From my observations, I have realised that S first tends to explore a new toy in a different way that I showed it to her but gradually finds her own way to use the toy for the purpose it was made for. For instance, the pop up toy, for days S only took the cylinders out, chew on them, and rolled them on the floor. after that, she discovered how to push them down with her fingers to pop out (she needed my help to put them back in), in a couple of weeks she could put the cylinders back in by herself and continue the cycle on her own. It is amazing to watch how learning unfolds and how children are capable of their own learning.
This shelf is in our main lounge
Top shelf from left to right:
Musical instrument basket, pop up toy (develops hand-eye coordination, strenghtens the musles of the index finger, helps with colour recognition), rainbow stacker (to promote hand-eye coordination, recognition of size and sequencing)
Bottom shelf left to right:
transferring activity (transferring pompoms from one bucket to another, to practice pinche gripping, develops concentration), object permanence box with drawer and a single circle shape puzzle, depositing activity (used a formula tin, painted it, made a hole on the lid big enough to fit cylinders through), and a xylophone
Shelf in S’s bedroom
nesting cups, drum and shaker, shape sorter
selection of balls, a few blocks
look what arrived in the post today 🙂 S is right into it
Mummy made deposit box
Montessori’s first puzzle is an individual circle puzzle with a large nob, the reason to introduce this before any other kind of puzzle is, all Montessori work materials are designed from simple to complex and this definitely is the simplest and the most appropriate one to introduce as a first puzzle, circle is the simplest shape as it has no corner and a large nob makes it easy to hold, and the fact that there is only one shape and one hole to fit it in makes it the least complicated puzzle. Montessori believed that children should only be given activities that are just a little above their capabilities. If an activity is too hard for their age/capabilities they loose interest in it and if it is too easy there is no challenge. After just a couple of weeks of working with this puzzle S is ready to be introduced to a more complicated puzzle. The next inline is a single square puzzle and then a single triangle puzzle followed by the 3 circle puzzle and three shape puzzles as in the pictures.