I’ve been meaning for a while to post some homemade and inexpensive Montessori materials we’ve been using and enjoying around here lately. In my last post, I showed the “sandpaper” (actually felt) letters I made inspired by another thrifty Montessori Mom.
Here are a few more things I’ve made since then:
Counting Baskets - Inspired by a description of classroom materials in Tim Seldin’s book, How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way. I bought dowel rods from the craft store which were really long, so we sawed them in half and sanded them.
Color Tablets - Inspired by the handmade wooden ones on this blog, I made my own primary color tables with wooden tablets from the craft store, modge podge and paint swatches. The wooden tablets were a little bigger than I wanted them to be, and, next time I’ll try to find some smaller ones, but I didn’t have the time/energy/ability to cut my own, so I just bought what they had already cut into rectangles. The only problem is that I have to get working on the 2nd set of color tablets, as Knox mastered matching and even naming them almost immediately after I made them. He is still enjoying them, but will need the new challenge soon.
Stringing Beads - This is still quite a challenge for him. I have actually put it away a few times as he has become frustrated with being unable to do it without assistance. I re-introduce it every so often to give him a chance to try again.
Flash Card/ Clip Color Matching Game - While the color/picture matching has become easy for him, he still enjoys the game and feels proud when he plays it and enjoys the magnetic aspect. The challenge for him in this activity is mainly using the clips properly, which he is getting better at but often asks for help when he gets discouraged.
Pom-Pom Sorting Game - Again, the color identification/matching part of this activity is easy for him, so I added the tongs to give him another challenge. He typically discards the tongs and uses his fingers, as his small muscles are still developing and can’t quite utilize the tongs properly just yet. I continue to introduce them, though, so he can practice and build the muscles.
Dinosaur Matching Game - using printables from this website & dinosaur figurines we’ve been collecting from different places for a few months now, I created a matching game. Knox started placing his dinosaur toys next to the pictures he would see in books of the same types of dinosaurs and matching them on his own, so I figured creating a game out of it would be a lot of fun for him and it has been one of his favorite activities. I’m still looking for some more free printables with some more common dinosaurs than the ones I found here, as it’s tough to find toys that match some of these types.
As you can see, none of the materials needed for these activities were expensive or difficult to find or make. A lot of it can be found at the $1 store or inexpensive craft stores. What I tried to do was just to follow his lead regarding things he would be interested in, using ideas from books, parents or teachers who practice the Montessori philosophy. If ever he seems uninterested or not ready for any activity I present him, I back off immediately and present it again at a later date or leave it out to see if he explores it on his own. He seems to be responding well to all of this, so we’ll keep it going that way and try to practice the same philosophies with his sister in the future. Be on the lookout for an infant Montessori post soon, too, as I’ve already started gathering some materials for her, as well!