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If you're not sure your child is ready for an activity, or if they'll enjoy it for long, it can be great to DIY a simple version first.  

Below are 6 of our most popular Montessori materials for infants and toddlers that we sell in the shop with instructions on how to make them at home. 

If you find your child does enjoy them, it can be great to get a more durable, store bought version. If they don't spend much time on the activity or have no interest in repeating it, then you've saved yourself a bit of money!

1. Slotted Box with Chips

Slotted Box with Chips - The Montessori Room, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Montessori material, Montessori toy, fine motor toy, early development toy, wooden toy

  • Instead of the Slotted Box With Chips, pictured above, you can use an old tea tin, coffee can, or yogurt container in place of the wooden box. 
  • Use a sharp knife to cut a slot in the top
  • The chips can be replaced with real coins or poker chips

Slotted box with chips, DIY, Montessori

2. Object Permanence Box

Object Permanence Box with Tray - The Montessori Room, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Montessori materials, Montessori tools, Montessori toys, wooden toys, Montessori shelf work, educational toys, Montessori toddler materials, wooden object permanence box

  • Instead of the Object Permanence Box, pictured above, you can use a small cardboard box and ball.
  • Use any ball you have around the house, big or small, as long as it's not a choking hazard.
  • Note there is a bit of slope inside the real object permanence box to make the ball roll out.  If you're finding the ball doesn’t roll out of your DIY version, simply put something under that end of the box to make it slant. 

 DIY Object permanence box, Montessori

3. Fine Motor Essential Set

Fine Motor Essential Set - The Montessori Room Made in Canada, Canadian made Montessori materials, Montessori toys, Montessori shelf work, infant toys, baby toys, Montessori egg and cup, Montessori ball and bowl, Montessori peg person, Montessori fine motor set, best toys for infants, educational toys, developmental toys for babies, Hey Cohzy Co, Toronto, Ontario

  • Instead of the ball in a bowl (pictured on the far left above), use any ball you have into a shallow cup, container, or muffin tin. 
  • Instead of the egg in the cup, you can use a plastic easter egg in an egg cup or recycled egg carton

Ball in cup Montessori DIY

DIY Montessori activities

4. Wooden Stacking Toy

Wooden Stacking Toy - The Montessori Room, Le Trusquin Boutique, Made in Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, stacking toy, wooden toys, baby toys, toddler toys, fine motor toys, hand eye coordination

  • Instead of a ring stacker, pictured above, you can use a paper towel holder or stick a chopstick/straw into playdough as your base
  • For the rings, you can use wooden napkin rings, pipe cleaners twisted into circles, scrunchies, or you can cut up a cardboard paper towel roll. 
  • You could even allow your child to put the toilet paper rolls onto a toilet paper holder. 

5. Beginner Beading Set

Beginner Beading Set - The Montessori Room Le trusquin boutique made in canada handmade in quebec, wooden beads, threading activity, beading activity, wooden toys for kids, Le Trusquin, fine motor toys, toddler beads

  • Instead of a beginner beading set, like the one pictured above, you can cut up paper towel or toilet paper tubes for the "beads" or use napkin rings.
  • Use a shoe lace or ribbon for the string, just be sure to tie one end of the string to an end "bead" so that it doesn't slip right through (see the picture below).

6. Wooden Spindle Counting Toy

Wooden Spindle Counting Toy - The Montessori Room, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Made in Canada, math toys, math tools, counting tools, 1:1 correspondence

  • Instead of the Wooden Spindle Counting Toy, pictured above, you can use paper cups as holders for the spindles. 
  • Use popsicle sticks or wooden skewers (cut the pointy ends off) to replace the spindles.
  • The great thing about the DIY version is you can start with a few numbers at a time, rather than 0-9 from the start. This is a great way of adapting this material for younger children. 

DIY Spindle Counting, Montessori

The Biggest Difference Between Store Bought and DIY

Montessori materials are often expensive because they are made of natural materials, like wood, metal, porcelain or glass.

The DIY versions will develop the same skills as the Montessori versions but the child misses out on the sensorial exploration of the natural materials, like the weight of wood, temperature of metal or fragility of porcelain and glass.

Montessori materials are also designed for the child so they are the appropriate size. In some of the DIY versions, we are using larger items, like the paper towel holder, or items that could be ripped after some exploration, like the paper tubes.

The nice thing is these is that they offer a quick and easy way to see if your child is interested in the material right now. If they're not, then there's no need to purchase them right away.