If you’re looking for gift ideas for your baby or preschooler here are our favourite Montessori gift ideas.
What Is The Montessori Approach?
Let me start off by saying that my version of Montessori approach is resources that are tactile and can be used for various functions. When a child picks up a stick it could be a sword, tent pole, or shovel. It’s a ‘toy’ that has multiple functions.
Here are the best Montessori gift ideas for every budget. If you’re a parent, grandparent, auntie or friend; there’s a price range for everyone.
The Wobbel Board
I was skeptical at first when I saw a wobbel board for kids. I didn’t see the value in a piece of wood for a budget of $300-$350 worth the money. The reason I had looked into them in the first place was because of the proprioception skills it would build in preschoolers. I had it in the cart for about 4 months until I read a few reviews from other mums who had said that not only did their children use it to rock while watching tv, but they also used it as a slide, cubby wall, matchbox car garage, and car ramp. If I bought all those things it would amount to one wobble board.
The wobbel board was the only board I researched that could be used for babies as young as newborns and could hold up to 150 kilograms. It’s durable and sustainable; and everyone wants to have a go on it. The best thing is that my kids use it at least 5 out of 7 days a week. Whether it is a slide, rocker, ramp, dolls bed; it changes for every child’s imagination. We’ve had it for almost a full year and still it’s one of our most used montessori items.
The only problem with a wobble board is storage. Make sure you factor that in before buying one. I have found though that it goes easily under one child’s bed or in their cupboard. We have the felt covered wobbel board because we have hard wood floors so this softens the noise.
Rainbow Music Bells
Loud gifts aren’t always well received but if you know a parent that will be okay with musical instruments then keep rainbow music bells in mind.
Each bell plays a different note in an octave (8 sounds). They are exceptional quality and are usually one of the first musical instruments babies go for. Their a little bit heavy for babies but I have found in baby classes that the handle is easy for babies to grip so it’s good for building hand strength.
The only cautious thing to point out is that my kids have tried to put the inner bell ball inside their mouth and pull the ball out. This can be a choking hazard and it can also wreck the bell note so that’s something to be aware of.
The best thing about wooden blocks is that they come in all different sizes for all different budgets: from $10-$400+. You’ll probably start to notice the older your child gets the more likely they will want to construct with large blocks. This brings efficiency to their construction so they aren’t using inch by inch blocks and taking too long to build a city or farm yard.
Large wooden blocks draw out the framework for imaginative play. What I mean by this is that your child might be interested in dolls and wooden blocks make the bedrooms for their dolls. If your child likes horses they can build stables. Animals? – They can build a zoo. It’s creating the environmental framework for imaginative play.
Storage can be an issue with large wooden blocks. Our large wooden blocks are heavy, so we store them on the bottom shelf in my eldest sons bedroom. Because of their weight, make sure you don’t drop them on your toes or kick them accidentally in the dark – trust me! However, wooden blocks get used at least weekly, which for our family means they’ll get used roughly 300+ times per child. So we saw it as an investment.
Helpful tip: If I move the blocks into different areas of the house and add cars or wooden dolls they get used more frequently.
Pikler Climbing Frame
This is at the top of the budget price list. You’re looking at roughly $600 for a whole climbing set. If you have the money or thinking about a group family present for Christmas have a look at the MOOV Pikler Climbing Frame.
I’ve researched a few of these indoor climbing frames but this seems to be the best for babies right through early childhood. I also read reviews on how some children use the climbing frame as a tent or a tunnel. The play cube make for great cubby’s, hide and seek play or as a table in the playroom. Not only do you want these large gifts be used and appreciated, but they need to be stored. I like the idea of using the cube as a side table and the climbing frame can be folded away. Most climbing frame are stuck as solid climbing frames. I want to be able to store this under a child’s bed with the ramp or ladder.
Wooden Baby Gym
The best thing I ever bought for my pre-crawling baby was a Kmart wooden baby gym. I could add or change resources so that he would reach different sensory textiles while building upper body strength.
The play gym was easy to put together and they can be sent compact by post in the mail. It also stores away easily and cost around $20.
Depending on the brand these can be pricey. I find wooden teethers are hard to keep clean. They can’t be soaked to disinfect so you may need to wipe clean and leave in the sun. However for a stronger baby I recommend Grimms Teethers and rattles.
Baby mirrors can be used in different places for self identity learning. You can put one at the change mat or play area. Mirrors help babies to make sense of their world. I like to use mirrors as an extended learning tool. The price on mirrors vary from $10-$100. Make sure your gift is safe or supervised. I also recommend making sure it’s able to be stored away safely.
Caution: Always supervise your baby with a large mirror or they could smash.
Montessori resources are about targeting play to kids.
Having toys within reach and easily accessed whilst encouraging play with versatile toys that can change as play changes.
The key is to support higher order thinking. Montessori resources support play and we can develop higher order thinking by bringing their imagination back to books.
Written By: Sarah Courtney