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[GUIDE] Jouets Montessori : Types, avantages et recommandations

[GUIDE] Montessori Toys: Types, Benefits and Recommendations

The Montessori pedagogy is once again experiencing great interest from parents and educators. Despite more than a century, it still represents today an alternative pedagogy that innovates.

Montessori's toys are designed to encourage independence, discovery and exploration in children. They are generally made from natural and quality materials, and have a specific function to help children learn and develop their skills independently.

Developed by Maria Montessori (1870-1952), first female doctor in Italy and Doctor of Philosophy, this educational method is based on a concept: the child is the center of learning and his senses are his main tools.

This philosophy is based on four essential principles:

1. The mind of absorption: the child absorbs information from his environment and internalizes it.

2. Sensitive periods: these are the stages of the child's development when he will be most capable of acquiring a particular knowledge or skill.

3. The role of the adult: parents or teachers have the mission to awaken the child's autonomy, illusion and imagination. That is, to guide them to observe, explore and question.

4. The Prepared Environment:The environment should be prepared to meet the needs of the child. These are social, emotional, intellectual, moral, test, order and safety.

We will see:


Here are some examples of types of Montessori toys:

  • Manipulation toys: these allow children to develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, such as puzzles, construction games and shape and color games.
  • Discovery toys: help children explore the world around them, such as microscopes, mineral collections and discovery boxes.
  • Sensory development toys: they allow children to discover and explore their environment through their senses, such as touch boxes, musical instruments and toys with different textures.

Here are some benefits of Montessori toys:

  • They encourage autonomy and independence: Montessori toys allow children to discover and explore the world at their own pace, without being guided by an adult.
  • They develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination: manipulative and construction toys help children develop their dexterity and manual skills.
  • They promote cognitive development and creativity: discovery and sensory development toys help children discover the world around them and develop their curiosity and creativity.

Here are some recommendations for choosing Montessori toys:

  • Choose toys made of wood or natural materials, rather than plastic or metal toys.
  • Avoid toys with many buttons, switches and other noisy elements, which can distract the child's attention and prevent them from concentrating.
  • Choose toys appropriate to the child's age and interests.
  • Favor simple and uncluttered toys, which allow the child to concentrate on one activity at a time.


How to apply the Montessori philosophy at home?

If we transfer this methodology to the house, it can become a true philosophy of life.


But... How to achieve this?

As stated above, the senses are the fundamental instruments in the child's learning process. Thus, wooden toys become vehicles for developing Montessori skills and values in the home environment.

Notice how all the real-world elements grab children's attention, even when they are still very young. They always want to imitate what adults do and like to have fun discovering the objects we use in daily life.


Analysis of Montessori game types grouped by categories

We have grouped the Montessori games into different categories and selected an example of a game in each of them. This makes it easier to understand why each type is useful, how it is used, and what its advantages and disadvantages are.


1. Fine motor development games

The Montessori symbolic games promote fine motor skills and the coordination of muscles and nerves to produce small movements and precise way. These movements occur in parts such as the fingers and are usually coordinated with the eyes. It also manifests in the hands, wrists, feet, toes, lips and tongue.

Throughout each sensitive period of a child's life (infancy, preschool and school age), motor skills develop.

Touch puzzle by Michelle Carlslund for Vilac

This tactile puzzle illustrated by artist Michelle Carlslund for vilac allows children to position the wooden pieces in the counter-forms and discover textures, which also allow them to memorize which piece is expected.


2. Stacking Games

While stacking games are part of the fine motor development group, there is a wide variety and different levels of complexity, so they deserve a separate section.

The hand is responsible for many essential motor actions, one of the most relevant (if not the most important) being the so-called pinching movement, which mostly involves the index finger and thumb.

It is worth emphasizing the importance of the finger muscles and their development in terms of correct manual mobility. Working with them during the first years of life helps build the muscle tone needed to later perform complex movements, from writing to throwing.

Stackable toys are used to train actions essential motor skills, namely squeezing, grasping, putting in the mouth, releasing, pulling, and after going through all these phases, inserting the objects into each other.

Djeco cachempil stacking game

This wooden ring stacking game by Djeco made of our collection of wooden stacking games. It is a very representative model of the classic stacking game. It is made of very smooth wood and each piece has a different color to help the child differentiate it.

You can find other types of items in the house that you can stack to add variety. For example plates, glasses or baby bowls.


3. Symbolic games and imitation games

As previously explained, Montessori theory defends the interpretation of reality itself. Symbolic play has many links with real life.

For Maria Montessori, there was no difference between play and reality, which is why she defended the idea that toys had to reflect the real world.

Symbolic play provides children with unstructured, imaginative play necessary for developing creativity and resolving conflict on their own or through work team.

Some examples: train or car circuits, dollhouses, replicas of people and animals, or boxes to tools and instruments to play professions.

Imitation game - Moulin Roty toolbox

This toolbox from Moulin roty from the DIY workshop collection is a perfect example of imitation games. Thanks to realistic wooden and metal tools, they allow children to imitate adults and participate in the work.


4. Musical instruments

Children are attracted to musical instruments. They play melodies they can make up themselves and it's always a joyous time.

Musical language contains basic elements that even a baby's ear can pick up and form. Fine motor skills are again necessary, as playing an instrument requires hand and finger coordination.

A set of musical instruments is a very good idea to enable progress auditory and musical faculties. The instruments are interesting, because they can be used in family or the child can use them alone.

Musical ensemble by Michelle Carlslund for Vilac

Composed of a rich collection of musical instrument, this musical set by Michelle Carlslund includes a small xylophone, two castanets, a tambourine and a triangle. Something to learn about music as a family.

Many objects in the house can be transformed into instruments. Why not put a (dry) food paste in a tablet tube? You will get a beautiful homemade maracas.

5. Construction games

Les construction games include games that serve to strengthen spatial vision and the discovery of the principles of physics, but also intuition and mental agility.

Classic wooden blocks have sizes, geometric shapes and different colors that help children learn about symmetry, balance, weightlessness.

Cube Barrel Under Vilac Canopy

The collection game Under the Canopy by Vilac is composed of 54 wooden cubes in bright colors and various shapes allowing the child to multiply the styles of constructions, and learn the colors while having fun.


Some tips

Learning by playing is a great way to achieve desirable long-term results: autonomy, confidence, discipline and emotional intelligence.

Remember that in the Montessori method, your role as an adult is to help the child help themselves. There are no goals, no competition, no imposed rules.

It is important to respect the individual development of each child. It is essential to allow our little ones to experiment freely and without pressure, motivating their curiosity, interests and concerns.

We must let children learn about themselves and the world in which we live. Using materials, games, share real quality time with them.

All of this makes them feel valuable.

Learning by the game is a real pleasure!

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