Inside: Learn easy Montessori Hacks you can do at home with your toddler or preschooler. These Montessori-inspired set-ups are so simple, you can most likely start today!
You don’t have to send your toddler to an expensive preschool for them to experience a Montessori education.
There are so many things parents and caregivers can do at home to engage kids in Montessori-style learning principles.
Follow Marla’s Board on Pinterest – Montessori at Home
What is Montessori?
Montessori is a child-centered, child-led approach to learning, and can be an essential part of early childhood development.
In this type of classroom, children are taught to be independent and the teachers are taught to follow the child and trust their instincts. This may sound exactly like what you already do at home! Or perhaps this sounds nuts to you – either one is okay.
And what are Montessori Hacks?
Whether or not you believe in the principles of Montessori, every child can still benefit from these fun “hacks.”
A hack is fun way of saying do-it-yourself (inexpensively) 🙂
These are simple, Montessori-inspired hacks anyone can do at home.
Easy Montessori Hacks Anyone Can Do
One universal truth about toddlers is they want it and they want it now – and wouldn’t it be wonderful if whatever “it” is they could just get it themselves? #momlife
Learning to act independently is a basic hallmark of any Montessori classroom. The motto of Montessori Education is: “help me do it by myself.”
Independence bolsters self-confidence and self-esteem in little ones. Just think of the look of accomplishment on their face when they’re able to do it “all by myself!”
Here are some simple ways you can help your toddler or preschooler to be more independent at home.
Ikea Latt Table
If you were to walk into a Montessori classroom, you would see that everything is low to the ground. Small chairs at small tables and low shelving all around. Everything that the kids need is right within reach. They don’t need to ask an adult for help. They can do it on their own.
Do you have a small table/chairs set for your little one? We love the Ikea Latt table, which (if you don’t have IKEA), you can easily get one on Amazon.
This is our all-purpose table for:
- Messy arts & crafts
- Magnetic tiles & Duplos
- Playdough & Kinetic sand
- And even snacks!
The kids can pull up a chair and sit down, without needing help! We’ve had this set since our first daughter was 1 year old.
We also upgraded the look of our Ikea table with a few simple supplies. Want to know how we did it? You can get step-by-step instructions in this post.
You might also like…
- My 1 Year Old’s Daily Routine
- 5 Ways to Improve Your Toddler’s Language
- Stress-Free Organization for School Mornings
DIY Learning Shelf
If you do have an IKEA near you, this is the perfect place to buy a “learning shelf.” Which is pretty much a fancy term for a low bookshelf that can be easily accessed by children.
Everything on the shelf should be easily accessible and ready-to-go. Below is a photo of my 2 year old’s learning shelf (which is actually just the lowest 2 shelves of my old HomeGoods bookshelf!) While not every toy pictured here is true Montessori, you get the idea.
These are my favorite toys to include on a Montessori Learning Shelf:
- Melissa & Doug Geometric Stacker
- Fruit & Vegetable Color Sorting
- Melissa & Doug Stack & Sort
- Montessori Wooden Rainbow
DIY Snack Lunch
I love this simple, doable idea from fellow mom blogger (and educator) Meg, over at The Many Little Joys.
Toddlers are naturally curious and sometimes naturally picky. One of the cornerstones of a Montessori-style education is teaching little ones by letting them choose from a set of options with minimal guidance from an adult.
This easy snack solution speaks to that on so many levels! Cut up the foods and then have them set up their own tray.
A great Montessori-upgrade here would be to have them cut up their own snacks, with a toddler-safe knife. The Kavanaugh Report has a great post about this!
Help-Yourself Snack Bin
Here’s another easy, independence-boosting “hack” you can set up at home. I originally shared this idea on my Instagram page, and you guys instantly loved it.
All it takes is a plastic bin and a dream – that one day your kids can get their own snacks without asking mom every.five.minutes. I have to say, I was hesitant to try this, even after saving lots of ideas on Pinterest.
I worried that having snacks at eye level & reachable to little hands would cause excess snacking or snacking “just because” and I would end up burning through my stash of individually wrapped snacks.
So I decided to experiment and set up a toddler/preschooler-friendly snack bin in our pantry. And so far, it’s been a huge success. After the initial novelty wore off, the girls have learned to pace themselves and to only choose snacks when hungry.
Here are a couple of ground rules that have helped make this snack bin work for me (and not against me):
⭐ Pantry is closed while mom is making dinner
⭐Fill the bin with only a few of each item and keep the rest out of reach. That way you won’t run out of everything so quickly
⭐ It’s okay to say “not right now” or “you just had a bar/crackers/pouch, you can have another one later, after….”
Right around 2 years old is the perfect time to teach your toddler to dress themselves.
One simple secret of toddler parenting is that toddler’s *love* to be in control. And it often helps to give them control over things like: picking out their clothes & shoes for the day.
Taking clothes off of the hanger and getting dressed is a simple Montessori lesson any parent can teach – even on a busy preschool morning.
Here’s how to do it:
- Pick out 5-10 seasonally-appropriate outfits for your toddler
- Hang their clothes on a low rack, either in your closet or their own
If you don’t have a low clothing rack in your house, you can easily use a shower tension rod. Now that’s a real Montessori Hack 😉
- Next, get a little bin for your toddler’s shoes and socks to keep near the front door.
- If you don’t have a low step or bench for them to sit on, consider placing a little step stool next to their shoe bin
So there you have it – super easy (and super doable) Montessori Hacks Anyone Can Do!
More on Life with Preschoolers:
- The Ultimate Guide to Toy Rotation
- How to Potty Train Before Two
- Easy Toddler Meal Plans
- Hands-On Activities for 4 Year Olds
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