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March 01, 2022

Montessori Toddler: We Love A Marble Tree

At just about 2.5, Teddy is really starting to get interested in more shelf materials. One of the things that he has been gravitating toward more and more lately has been our marble tree. The marble tree is a wooden tree made of small wooden "petals." A marble is placed on the top and it cascades down the petals to the tray at the base. 

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As it falls, the different sized petals make a beautiful melody. This little song can be varied as different numbers of marbles are placed on the tree or if marbles are placed at different intervals. It's really a soft and pleasing sound that I find as appealing as all of my children have. 

I present this material by slowly showing a toddler how to place a marble at the top of the tree. Then we watch as it tumbles down. I do this one or two times before handing over the marble for the toddler to try. Once they have a good handle on placing the marble in the tree (which does require a fair amount of precision) I let them experiment with a large quantity of marbles. 

These can be found at many small shops (option 1 | option 2), on Etsy, and even larger retailers like Target

Reasons We Love Marble Trees

There are a few reasons I really have enjoyed this material for toddlers. It's a beautiful material on the shelf, but I see it having a lot of benefits for toddlers, including: 
  • Beautiful sound: Like I said, this actually becomes kind of a unique instrument-like material. And my toddlers love to wiggle around to the melody that the tree makes. 
  • Small objects: Great opportunity for working with marbles. These tiny objects which is super important for toddlers (read more here.)
  • Visual tracking: This tree allows a toddler to visually track the marble as it falls down the tree. This opportunity is great for toddlers, and a skill needed for reading later on. 
  • Fine motor work: The tree only works if marbles are placed just so. It forces toddlers to use a nice pincer to place the marbles instead of just dropping them (cause then they are more likely to fall.)
  • Squatting and Standing: These present a nice opportunity to stand and squat, a nice movement pattern. This is especially true for the really large marble trees.

These trees can come in even larger sizes and I would love to personally get an even larger one that could sit on the floor to be used. 

Challenges to the Marble Tree

We have had this marble tree for several years and overall have been really pleased with it. But, that doesn't mean it doesn't present some challenges. These include: 
  • Requires close supervision: Obviously the marbles require an adult for young children so they cant be used independently. I just keep the marble tree on the shelf and bring out the marbles when Teddy shows an interest in using it. I count the marbles before and after to make sure I have them all each time. 
  • Rather delicate: This isn't our most sturdy toddler toy, some of the petals have fallen out from time to time. A little wood glue has solved that problem without changing the function of the tree, but it definitely could break with rough handling.  
A look at some pros and cons to a marble tree toy - a favorite for our Montessori toddler. This fun toy offers a variety of interesting benefits.

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APKfun said…
oh this is great choice for my niece to play with and develop her skills.