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October 25, 2022

Montessori Play and Work Shelves at 3

A little over a month ago, Teddy turned 3-years-old. Since his birthday is past our state's birthday cut off for schooling, he did not head to school this year but is getting a bonus year at home instead. While we are mostly still just keeping it really chill and slow, we have started to do more of a homeschool-lite routine with him to fill his days. 

We are not trying to homeschool long term, so this may look different than those that are. I am just offering him opportunities to explore things that I think he is very ready for which he would have gotten at school this year. If he was in school, I would still have out the fine motor and art categories but probably not a whole lot from either of the others. So, keep that in mind if you are using this as inspiration. 

Montessori Toys and Work at 3-Years-Old

Please know that this does not include the open ended toys that he has available to him. Those (mostly trucks) are in his bedroom where he spends the majority of his quiet time. But, here's a look at some of the close-ended materials that we use in his playroom: 

Fine Motor and Puzzles

Traditionally Ted has not been very interested in shelf work. I've been surprised lately that he has had some more interest in some of this. His shelves include: 

Play dough with seasonal accessories
Spooning/ seasonal accessories 
Screw Board (similar) - this is one of his favorites 
Wooden lacing cards (similar)
Mini clothespin and shoe string - for pinching and clipping 
Dressing Puzzle (vintage Melissa and Doug: closest thing I can find now is this bear, which I don't love)
Magnetic Trucks Book - his absolute favorite material right now, used daily 
Drill Work - also super popular with him


This is work that would more traditionally be found in Montessori classrooms from 3-6y. This work I pretty much don't plan on rotating or changing much this year. I just wanted to give him access to some of the earlier sensorial work that might not be as appealing by the time he is 4 and in school. 

Knobbed Cylinders (I have two sets, bought used)
Geometric Solids Mystery Bag (this is from MontiKids)
Stereognostic Box with Shapes (similar DIY)


I have super underestimated Teddy here, so some of this will change as our year progresses. But, he really seems to enjoy numbers and counting. 

Simple Fraction Puzzle (this is from MontiKids)


This work will also change as we go through our year. Ted really seems to enjoy this work right now too and I think we will progress into letter sounds before too long. 

Follow Me Book - working on following a line in preparation for sandpaper letters, which has been super popular with him
Fruit/Vegetable Magnet Sorting - also very popular 
Color Sorting Mat - love this for movement 


This work I rotate frequently to keep it fresh and interesting. Art trays are something that I would include on our shelves even if Teddy was in school full time. 

Gluing Circles 
Seasonal Stickers (Halloween right now) 
Seasonal Stampers (like these)

And, that's it! This is definitely more than I would have out if he was in preschool. And, it may even be more than he needs out even without preschool. We are almost a month into this new routine at this point and I'm observing him and seeing how it goes and will make adjustments accordingly! 


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Allison said…
Hi, Great resources. Can you check the link for the pegging number cards? It's just going to the Amazon home page. Thanks.