Why Are Montessori Toys So Popular?

Posted by Mandy Abel on

"Play is the Work of the Child." Maria Montessori
Parents are bringing fun-centred learning into their homes with Montessori toys that encourage growth, exploration and self directed learning. Let's break down what Montessori Education is all about, and why it's become so popular in homes and educational centres around the world.

Have you ever watched your little one get completely absorbed in a task? Whether they are trying to figure out how to shove a peg through a hole or are meticulously stacking blocks to form the tallest tower...

Sometimes it is as if the world around them has completely disappeared and all that exists is the challenge in front of them. It’s a look of focus that you don’t see as often in formal classroom settings - but you have probably witnessed it plenty of times during your little one’s playtime, when they are free to explore their own interests. 

Essentially, Montessori education proposes that learning is inherent to humanity. We can see it clearly when children focus on a new task that interests them.

The aim of Montessori education is to encourage self-directed learning - from developing fine motor skills to giving children opportunities to exercise their problem-solving abilities.  

This wooden nine pole puzzle from Q Toys is a classic Montessori toy
Fun, Organic Learning!

This is the driving force behind the Montessori philosophy - an education method developed by the physician Maria Montessori in the late 19th century. She believed that children who were given the opportunity to act freely within a given environment would follow an innate path towards self development. 

She used this principle to redefine classroom settings and practices - organising the learning environment with different subject areas, giving students a choice of activities and Montessori toys, mixing classroom ages, and allowing children uninterrupted blocks of working time - usually around three hours. 

All of this helps encourage children to engage in natural, stimulating, student-centred learning.

The proven success of Montessori education has helped it grow in popularity over the past century. Now many parents are incorporating it into their homes by ensuring their playrooms have plenty of Montessori and open ended toys. 

Montessori Pound a Ball Tower from Q Toys

Another great Montessori resource - the Pound A Ball Tower from Q Toys - ideal for honing fine motor skills, eye tracking, skill mastery and concentration!

What are Montessori Toys?

Montessori toys are simple -

They encourage children to explore and discover independently. Passive toys which require children to physically manipulate and incorporate them into their play have so many benefits for learning.

Removing noisy toys with flashing lights and predefined or commercial characters, allows children to imagine and create original ideas and their own dream worlds. They become intrinsically motivated to discover and learn new things; a 'do it yourself' approach.

Montessori toys are designed to teach one task or hone one skill at a time -

This can help children develop better concentration skills and longer attention spans, as well as encouraging them to see an activity through to the end. It encourages self-directed, hands-on learning and collaborative play - promoting a great sense of achievement once the task is complete.

Montessori toys are natural -

Generally made from natural materials such as wood, wool, cotton or even metal. This connects children to nature, is safer to mouth and has the added benefit of being kinder to the environment. Powered by imagination, not batteries!

Psst - this doesn't mean they aren't colourful! In traditional toys, colour is often used to overstimulate and distract children, whereas Montessori toys use it in a way that enhances rather than restricts natural beauty. For example - our Qtoys range of heirloom toys use beautiful earth-friendly food grade dyes, letting the natural markings of the wood show through.

Our ever-growing collection of Montessori toys here at Fairplay, help children learn new skills, gain confidence and a sense of achievement, all while having fun learning through play! 

QToys Wooden Montessori Stacking ToyA beautiful stacking toy is a staple for any play space and provides opportunity for different skills to be mastered. 

Further Reading

If you want to take your Montessori journey to the next level, we recommend the book: The Montessori Home. This extensive guide:

* Provides the tools and accessibility children need to complete practical life skills on their own

* Gives tips on eliminating unnecessary clutter and designing a space that facilitates concentration and provides freedom to learn and explore

* Has practical and hands on ideas for practicing motor skills, matching and more with over 80 Montessori activities for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers

Browse our full collection of Montessori-inspired toys here. 

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