I’ll start by prefacing that I am not a trained Montessori educator, I am-like many of my readers-just a Mom who has found that Montessori inspired education is quite beneficial for my children.
The local Montessori school in my town requires children to attend full-day, five days a week to the tune of $5000 a year which in no way works for our family (either financially or in time the children are away from home). So I have, over the past three years, read a great deal and incorporated Montessori-inspired activities into our daily lives. Today I wanted to show you how to get Montessori-like materials on a budget.
The pink tower is a very recognizable Montessori Sensorial Activity. Neinhaus is the gold standard in Montessori materials and their Pink Tower is $139. A more budget friendly version is available through Montessori Outlet for $39.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you may have guessed that Melissa & Doug is one of my all time favorite toy companies….and many of their toys have great similarity to Montessori materials. I bought my children the Melissa & Doug Stacking/Nesting blocks as an alternative to the pink tower for only $11.99.
Discs on a Dowel
Neinhaus offers a variety of different discs on dowel sets from $49 and up.
This set from Melissa & Doug is just $9.99. My boys love this toy and the baby is already playing with it (supervised of course).
Puzzle maps were on my wish list for my oldest who is a geography nut but this Europe map runs a steep $155 from Neinhaus.
I found these Geopuzzles to be a great alternative at home starting at just $5.99! Each piece is shaped like the actual country so it doesn’t fit together like a traditional puzzle with locking pieces, but rather helps children (and adults!) grasp the actual boundaries and positions of the countries.
Another invaluable resource for budget Montessori activities is Montessori for Everyone. Lori is a certified Montessori Teacher for the Elementary ages (6-9) and created lovely Montessori resources you can print at home. She offers individual downloads, entire collections, and even free downloads. I have been using her materials for years and have never been disappointed.
Rather than spend $69 on this Neinhaus Activity Set, you can print and laminate your own with Montessori for Everyone starting at $4.99.
One last resource I’d like to share is this Montessori Album full of activities for ages 3-6. I have not seen so comprehensive a resource on the internet available for free, usually Montessori teachers guard their albums fiercely….each makes their own during their training so that is totally understandable. But for those of us who just want to teach our own children without formal training this Album is a wealth of information!
As a disclaimer-I know many Montessori purists would disagree with me using Montessori “like” toys rather than the original designs. It might also be pointed out that the Montessori materials from authentic sources are so costly because they are meant to be used in a true Montessori “Children’s House” classroom environment and therefore need to have durability for years of use. To these points I would like to say that I am not attempting to create a pure Montessori environment for my children, which would be impossible for us. I am simply trying to take some of the wonderful things I love about Montessori education and integrate it into our home. I hope these resources can help others to do the same.