I’m excited to delve back into Money Tight Montessori – the first, my practical life post, is still my most popular post to date and I’m so glad that folks have been enjoying it. At first I didn’t know how to continue with Money Tight Montessori – there are just quite a few tools used in this educational process that just are worth the money. However, looking a little closer there are bits and pieces that can be gotten around particularly when it comes to making the sensorial games, toys and activities that Montessori education is so well known for. Go HERE for a great little introduction to Montessori Sensorial Lessons.
The following is a list of items easily found in your local craft or grocery store – or perhaps items you already have in your kitchens or craft rooms. Combine with some items you’ve already thrifted for Practical Life then possibilities could be endless. (P.S. If you’re not a crafter and don’t have room for a lot of pantry staples ask around to friends and families – you never know what folks want to get rid of!)
- Beads – While these should be age appropriate beads of various sizes come up in all sorts of Montessori activities from lacing to pattern matching to sorting. A nice collection of size, shape and texture can only grow with your child.
- How easy would it be to create a bead box collection for math out of your own beads and safety pins?
- Fabric Scraps – Matching games and tactile experiences. Check your craft stores remnants bin (where they keep all the scraps) or put out a message to your local quilters group for odds and ends. A bucket of fabric scraps can move from tactile experiences for a pre-K child to a wealth of crafting supplies for an old child.
- Carpet remnants would also be a fun addition
- Fabric Sample Books from interior decor stores would also be great fun for small children
- Buttons – Along the same lines as beads buttons are good for so many activities and age ranges.
- Paint Chips – Like fabric scraps those little paint color samples you can pick up at any hardware store can be a tool for a young child to learn their colors, an older child to learn about ideas about hue and shade and of course a great thing to have on hand for a rainy day craft.
- You could easily create your own Color Box for next to nothing!
- Canning Jars or Salt/Pepper Shakers – A set of (cheap) small canning jars (or just recycled jam jars) or even salt and pepper shakers are great for collection storage and for playing sensory games of sight, smell and even sound. (If anyone can still find them “oldschool” film canisters are amazing for this sort of thing). Just add every day items from the kitchen like:
- Baking supplies
- Dried Pastas
- Dried Beans
- Dropper Bottles – another great tool for exploring taste and smell
- Hardware – The hardware store – or even just your garage if you are a handyman or woman can be filled with sensory materials:
- Sandpaper – Homemade Touch Boards, or Letter Learning
- Nuts and Bolts- a few minutes in the garage could find all the materials for one of these
- Samples of Tile and other types of Flooring would also making excellent additions to additions to any Sensory activity – you could even make your own Thermic Box or Baric Box with the right finds!
- Rocks, Shells and Other Outdoor Ephemera – Even better, get outdoors and have your kids help you collect these materials while you help them experience shape, smell and texture.
- A BAG – Last but not least a favorite Montessori “game” that can use any of the items listed above is the Mystery Bag and it’s just what it sounds like – A bag, usually cloth (though my elementary school teacher used a plain brown paper sack), that can hide any range of items for discovery. You can encourage your child to discovery the mystery item(s) from any number of ways from a series of questions to any of the senses!
*To decrease a choking hazard please use your best judgement when pick size and shape of these objects for your children to play with and never leave a child alone with such items*
If you want to go a step further here are a few great links of other Homemade Montessori Sensorial Materials:
*How to Make Your Own Montessori Sensorial Materials @ The Little List
*Choosing Montessori Materials @ Montessori Free Fall
*I’m not a trained educator in the Montessori Method, only an enthusiast with a few years of real life experience in a Montessori Charter School and what I’ve gleaned from books. What I share here should therefore be taken with a grain of salt and not considered a completely true and accurate account of Montessori Education Methods.*