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5 min read
"He likes Magnatiles so I'm going to get him 5 sets!"
"She likes puzzles so I'll get her a ton of puzzles for Christmas"
Think about how you can simplify an activity.
With the Magnatiles example, consider offering just one set or one basket at a time, rather than all the sets in one big bin, and then rotating them out when your child is no longer playing with them.
It's likely all your toys will get much more play by doing it this way.
In Montessori, the role of the teacher is to connect the child to the materials. A big part of the teacher's work is to set activities up in a way that calls to the children.
Here are a few ways you can make an activity/toy set up more interesting (with some picture examples below):
1. Presenting toys/activities in new and different ways can pique a child’s interest and bring new life to familiar toys.
Adding animal figures or loose parts to any block set up is sure to interest any child.
Click here to find the Water Blocks and Holztiger Animals.
2. Make sure your child can see the toys. Put yourself at your child’s level, can they see the activity within the basket/tray/toy box?
Sometimes trays and baskets create a visual barrier, especially in infancy when they’re often looking at things from the floor.
Click here to find the Beginner Bead Set, Basket, and Tray here.
3. Take it apart or put it together. Infants often prefer taking things apart before putting things together because it’s easier for them. For infants, set up toys in a way where they need to be deconstructed. Want to encourage them to play with blocks? Build a tower - guaranteed they’ll want to knock it over and now their interest is piqued.
The flip side of this is a child in their sensitive period for order that wants things to be put together and organized. An undone puzzle may attract their attention more than a completed one will.
Click here to find the Vehicle Puzzle.
4. Put all the materials for an activity together. Keeping everything needed for an activity, neatly contained in one tray or basket, piques a child’s interest and helps them to stay focused.
This helps to prevent your child from having to make multiple trips to get things they need or dig through a bin full of toys. When that happens, they can lose interest, get discouraged, or get distracted.
It can take a little while to get into the habit of rotating materials but I promise you that it's worth it.
I usually swap out a few things every Friday so that we've got some fresh items for the weekend. This has been a lifesaver lately since we've been stuck at home so much with never-ending colds!
And don't worry about doing it perfectly. Sometimes life gets busy and I don't have time to do this for a month+. My children are still happy and thriving :)
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