Creating a Montessori playroom in your home is actually much easier than you may think! Here is a short and sweet guide to creating a play space that is perfectly geared for learning, empowerment, and fun!
The emphasis here is that Montessori playrooms are simple, organized, and truly child-friendly.
By creating a space that is welcoming to your little one, they will be both comfortable in their space and ready to learn! Minimalistic organization also allows them to deeper explore their toys and activities without distraction. This keeps them engaged with their toys longer – Allowing them to fully master each skill before they are rotated out.
Also, a well-organized Montessori playroom promotes independence, too. Nurturing a child’s autonomy is at the heart of Montessori, after all!
What Makes a Playroom “Montessori”?
Here are some three key things to keep in mind while designing your child’s play space:
Simple doesn’t mean boring – In fact, it’s quite the opposite! In a playroom, simplicity increases your child’s interest in their toys and reduces distractions and upset caused by overstimulation.
Keep these tips in mind while simplifying your space:
- Limited options: Try to aim for 10 toys (or less) at any given time. Each activity should be engaging and interesting to them
- Open play space: If you can, try to create an open space for play and movement. Here your child can deeply explore their toys without distraction from other objects. Providing space for stretching, jumping, climbing and crawling also lets them develop both their fine and gross motor skills
Children flourish within routine and order. Providing a playroom that is organized and intentional appeals to their natural sense of order while promoting independence of the child.
As a bonus? They will soon learn to tidy up after themselves! This is every parent’s dream, right?!
Here’s some tips:
- A place for everything, and everything in its place: Each toy and activity should have a clearly defined ‘home’. If it’s easy to tell where a toy belongs, it’s easier for your child to put it back themselves once they are ready for the next activity
- To help encourage this with young toddlers, try saying “It looks like you’re done playing with your [blocks]! Let’s put them away before choosing another toy!”
- Older children would benefit from statements like “Oh! I see [puzzle pieces] on the ground – Do you know where these belong?”
- Variety: Try to offer different options and toys that develop a range of skills. There are tons of Montessori options for math, sensory, music, language, etc! This way, your child can develop multiple skills each week
Creating a Child-Friendly Space
You want your little one to feel empowered in their space. This means giving them access to their toys without help from adults.
If you aren’t sure whether they can reach, see, or interact with something – Physically get down on their level and see!
To create a child friendly playroom, try incorporating these tips:
- Toys within reach: Montessori playrooms encourage freedom and independence. Shelving should be at their height and everything displayed at their level
- Engagement over entertainment: You’ve likely noticed the natural, minimalistic design of Montessori toys and furniture. If so, you’ve likely also wondered about the contrast between those and the many noisy toys with lots of lights and movements that are popular on the market today. While entertaining, these lights and noises are actually pretty distracting
- Age-appropriate Montessori toys, on the other hand, inspire creative play alongside development of gross and fine motor skills. Children practice using their imagination while fully exploring each toy’s function – Without distraction!
- Consider your Child’s Individual Interests: Be cognizant of their likes, interests, and skills! For example, if you notice them constantly reaching for music toys, then try to provide multiple different ways for them to practice this skill on any given rotation
- Art/Decor: Try to keep these at the child’s level, too! This lets them appreciate and engage with the art around them without having to be lifted up by an adult
Let’s talk toy rotation!
I mentioned above that limiting toy options is important. Only having around 10 items for your child to play with may sound extreme. But, this isn’t to say that you can’t have more than that! It just means only have 10 at one time.
The logic here is pretty simple: Since each activity in your child’s play space should be visible at all times, they will more actively engage with their toys rather than forgetting about them when they’re stuck at the bottom of a toy box.
Try switching out your activities weekly (or bi-weekly for some of their favourite activities!). This will keep your children excited about the toys available to them.
Furniture and Organization
Honestly, this topic requires an article of it’s own! Keep your eyes out for that in the future….
But, for now, there are a few staples in most Montessori playrooms that you should consider. Shelving, trays, book shelves, and activity tables are some of the first that come to mind for me. Surfing around the internet and in your local stores will give you a better idea of which of these you can incorporate into your home!
Above All: Do What You Can
The goal here is really to create a space that works for you and your family. Always remember – Montessori looks different in each home.
At the end of the day, always do what works best for you! If you can’t afford the expensive wooden Montessori toys, then absolutely DIY them or choose cheaper plastic alternatives.
If you don’t have the space to split the play room from your living room, then blend them! Just try to create a space specifically designated for your child, no matter the size. Even a small activity corner would be beneficial for them.