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Tag Archives: Montessori toys

fine motor abilitiesAcquiring fine motor skills is a major developmental milestone for children which is why it’s so important to create an environment that fosters this kind of learning.  How?  Appropriate toys and activities.  Remember – children learn through play and “doing.”

Guidecraft colored geo forms toy

Guidecraft Colored Geo Forms

What kinds of toys help build children’s fine motor abilities?

Toys and activities that can help your child build fine motor skills include:

  • sorting
  • stacking
  • lacing
  • weaving
  • coloring, and a lot more!

Manipulative skills allow little fingers to develop hand-eye coordination, spatial skills, visual perception, critical thinking skills and more.  Children explore the sensory properties of objects (size, shape, color, texture, weight, sound) when they play with manipulative toys.

Here are some great manipulative toys to help your child develop their fine motor abilities.   They are great toys that teach learning skills and would be equally happy as an in-home toy or at a Montessori school.

Sorting, Stacking & Shape Recognition Toys to Build Fine Motor Abilities

Guidecraft 3D Feel & Find  GuidecraftFind&Feel

A classic Montessori activity!  Children are given wooden tiles and they put their hand into the bag (no peeking!) to find the matching shape.



Guidecraft Nest & Stack Cubes & Guidecraft Nest & Stack Cylinders

Rubberwood cubes or cylinders that nest together so kids can explore spatial relations, they also stack promoting fine motor and shape recognition tools. Also as each of the shapes decrease in size the colors go from bold to pastel teaching kids color differences.

Guidecraft Colored Geo Forms

Helps develop shape recognition, size progression and color matching. Twenty shaped pieces fit into an extra wide base. Shaped pieces are the same color but are five different sizes to they can be sorted by size and color.

Guidecraft Barnyard Activity Boxes

A great toy for in-home play or classroom.  Perfect for color, counting, sorting and imaginative play. Includes six different color barns with opening door and plexi windows, 6 purple chickens, 5 blue geese, 4 green pigs, 3 yellow sheep, two orange cows and one red horse. Each barn has an animal shaped opening so kids can put the orange cows back in the orange barn. Activity guide included.

Guidecraft One to Four Sorter Toy

A classic toy to help build early counting and sorting skills. Kids can sort shapes and place them on the pegs. Each shape comes in 4 colors to help develop hand-eye coordination.

Guidecraft Texture Dominos

One of my favorites – 28 wooden dominoes have textured circles for matching. Great for developing tactile discrimination and visual perception. When played as a game it’s a good way for kids to learn to take turns and improve sorting sequencing activities.

Stay tuned for more posts about fine motor skill toys. Next up:  Lacing Toys!

Photo credit: Gurumustuk Singh / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

G98049-art-table and chairsThe other day, I was looking through some of my daughter’s old journals and artwork from her Montessori preschool.  She’s 11 now and it seems like forever since she was at her Montessori school.  I drive by the school nearly every day and am reminded of how wonderful her experience was there and how it helped her to become the capable and confident person she is.  So, what is Montessori education?  Here’s some background.

Montessori Learning in a nutshell

Dr. Maria Montessori was a physician (among Italy’s first female doctors!) and educator. In 1907 she opened a childcare center for inner-city children in Rome and was struck by their natural desire to learn.  At first the kids were unruly (imagine that!!!) but then she saw that they liked working with puzzles and manipulatives that taught math lessons and learning to do everyday tasks such as preparing meals.  She observed how they absorbed knowledge from their surroundings, essentially teaching themselves.  Another reason why it’s so important to set a good example for children and to watch what you say!

With MontEnglish: Portrait of Maria Montessoriessori’s theory, the child leads (in Montessori lingo – Follow the Child).  The teacher is there to guide the child and to prepare the learning environment so that there are appropriate materials and activities to choose from.  The curriculum fosters independence but a Montessori classroom is far from chaotic and the children are not abandoned or ignored in any way.  I was always struck by how calm a Montessori classroom of preschoolers was and how all the learning materials were laid out in such an aesthetically pleasing way.  I felt calmer when I spent time in the school.

The Montessori educational philosophy seems obvious but it’s so different from what my daughter experiences in public school.  At a very young age, she practiced activities such as pouring water from one glass pitcher to another.  What she learned from this was how to handle fragile objects carefully, to use motor skills to lift and pour, to focus and to be mindful about her activity. She learned to carefully cut vegetables and she cooked vegetable soup at home.  She learned woodworking and made tables at home using extra wood and our drill – and she was 5!!!

Here’s a popular quote from Maria Montessori. It will resonate for all parents of young children.

“The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age six; for that is the time when man’s intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed. . . . Adults work to finish a task, but the child works in order to grow, and is working to create the adult, the person that is to be.”

More Montessori Info

For more information about Montessori education, see the websites below.

American Montessori Society

Association Montessori Internationale

There are many sites and blogs about Montessori out there.  Here is just a sampling:

Living Montessori Now 

Carrots are Orange 

Counting Coconuts

Lisa Nolan’s Confessions of a Montessori Mom Blog

What about you?

Have you had experience with Montessori education?  What do like about it?  Can you recommend other Montessori-related sites?

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