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January 14, 2022

Montessori Toddler: Work Shelves at 28-Months

Teddy has never been a toddler that has been super into the toys and materials on his Montessori work shelves. He tends to spend his time reading, following around the big kids, gross motor work, and doing some practical tasks. I've accepted that he's not going to suddenly show a ton of interest in his shelves, but lately he has been choosing some work more and more frequently. It's still often his ultimate favorite trucks and cars, but not always. 

Even so, I still want to prepare the environment to give him opportunities to develop his language skills, his fine motor and other cognitive skills. As always, he is free to make these choices or not. It's been awhile since I've shared some of his materials, so I thought I would give a look at some of the things that he has out currently on his work shelves. 

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Montessori Toddler Work Shelves

You'll see these shelves are a mixture of open ended toys and work with more specific aims. I find a mix is a good idea for engagement at this age and for homes in general. Teddy does have access to some art materials and some additional trucks in other places in our home. But, these are his only shelves in our home. 

Silicone Rainbow (similar): This has been on and off his shelf for about a year. He is really starting to enjoy stacking the rainbow. It's not a mega-favorite for him but has been really popular with my older kids. 

Matching Cards: Other than his trucks, this has been Ted's go-to work lately. He suddenly loves matching pictures and talking about them. Right now we have a set of six balls out to match, but we have also rotated farm animals, tools, and musical instruments. 

Farm Puzzle: This has been an interesting challenge for Teddy because the pictures of the pieces do not match the pictures under the pieces. So he has to figure out the shapes to match. For a pegging puzzle, it's been a nice step up in difficulty for him from a simple knobbed puzzle. 

Basket of Cars: This is just a random collection of cars and trucks we have collected over the years. We try to keep the scale similar and all of the cars as realistic as possible. This is a forever favorite for Teddy.  

HABA Pallet of Pegs: Ted has been so-so on this work. I keep trying it because it was so popular with my other kids but so far it hasn't really taken off with Ted. I will probably try something else with him soon. 

Depth Perception Board (linking shop): This has gotten some use for Teddy, but it is still a bit tricky for him. He tends to get a little frustrated and walk away from it. But, it does call to him from time to time. 

2-Piece Jigsaw Puzzles: These have been a total non-started so far for Teddy. He hasn't shown any interest or desire, even with the vehicle them. I'm not sure he's quite ready for this but I thought it would give him a decent challenge. We'll try again later.  

Nesting Cubes (Similar): Ours are Grimm's brand. Teddy has enjoyed stacking and lining these up. I love their size and that they add a little maximum effort to his shelves. But, he generally has only shown interest if someone else takes them out first.  

Spin Again Toy: This has been a huge hit, honestly even for all of my kids. The big kids like watching it spin as much as Teddy does. He has been using this almost daily since it's been put on the shelves. 

Tray of Playmobil 123 Trucks (Recycling Truck, Dump Truck, Digger): These are the perfect toddler-friendly trucks. They are lightweight and a good size, but easy to use. Teddy is obsessed with these and they are definitely the first thing he has been reaching for on the shelf. Organizing a few on a tray has helped him restore this work easily to the shelf. 

Hape Spin Puzzle: We only have the circle part out right now and it's been the perfect challenge for Teddy. He has really enjoyed this and come back to it a lot. He has figured out how to easily put the pieces on, but taking them off is proving a good challenge. Over time we will add or change shapes to increase the challenge and keep him interested. 

Observation is Key to Montessori

We keep his trays intentionally simple. My observation has shown me that the more he has on his shelves, the harder it is for him to make intentional choices with the materials. He is easily overwhelmed and needs a simpler environment with some favorites in order to explore. 

Remember these choices have been made based on my observation of Teddy and his interests. While you can definitely use lists like these for inspiration, remember that a fundamental part of Montessori is observing your own child and making your decisions based on what you see. What Teddy likes or doesn't won't necessarily be identical to what your child enjoys. 

A look at our Montessori toddler work shelves at home at 28-months old including a variety of open ended and Montessori materials


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Becca said…
Love this!! Can you share the rules/boundaries you have with siblings sharing shelves? So if other children want to play with things on the shelves thr you have prepared for a certain child what do you do?