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September 12, 2022

Montessori Toddler: Try a Lock Box

Admittedly this summer I haven’t been the best about rotating Teddy’s materials. He’s not the most interested shelf worker and we all alternated between being sick and being outside. But, one thing that stayed in use all summer long with him, was his lock box.

A lock box is such a simple and engaging material for toddlers. It’s a great way to add some purposeful fine motor work to their shelves. Plus, they are pretty easy to find and can be used for a variety of purposes. 

Reasons to Love Lock Box Work for Montessori Toddlers

I particularly like it for older toddlers, like Teddy, for two reasons. One, it requires a couple of steps to be completed - insert key, turn key the right direction, open. Each one of the steps needs to be followed or else the box won't work. 

Similarly, the second reason I love lock box work is that it forces a busy toddler to slow down a bit. Because there are a lot of little steps, it’s not work that can be rushed. This isn’t a big deal for some kids - Gus comes to mind - but for some, it can be a great opportunity to stretch their concentration muscle in a new way.

This summer, Teddy was working with a coin slot lock box. He had a set of small coins he could place into the box and then open it to retrieve them. It added just a bit more of an interest for him once he mastered the actual act of opening the box. He would sit and use this work over and over again. We really hit the sweet spot with it. 

Some tips that have made lockbox work successful in our home:
  • Introduce after a basic lock and key work
  • Tie the key to the tray so that it doesn't get lost
  • Extend the life of the work with a coin slot box
  • Use as a container to secure small work away from a mobile baby 

Overall, lock boxes are a simple work with a big impact and a really fun addition to your toddler's work shelves. 

Have you used a lock box with your toddler?

Lock boxes are a fun and interesting fine motor challenge for toddlers. Here's a look at how we use a coin slot lock box with our Montessori toddler.

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