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Setting up a Montessori environment for your toddler at home may seem overwhelming at first. Following simple steps, you can provide your child with a proper toddler home environment that supports the child’s desire to be independent and meet his or her sensitive periods for detail and order.
I am going to share how we managed to arrange our child’s environment in Montessori style.
Bedroom / Activity room
To avoid buying an expansive floor bed we got the wooden frame from IKEA, cut the legs of it to place on the floor to allow our daughter to get in and out on her own. We also attached a bed safety rail to stop her from rolling off it.
Hanging shelves are a great way to assist your child’s independence. Placing their clothes on lower shelves will allow them to reach them when necessary.
The wardrobe is also a storage space for toys and books. There is one shelf for DIY activities, such as pouring, sorting, and printable cards, a container to store trays and boxes for activities, and an area for books and toy storage.
We use low shelving for easy access. We found our shelves in IKEA. Montessori-inspired activities are there for her to work at any time of the day, whenever she is interested. I make sure to present her new activities before placing them on the shelves.
There are certain rules I aim to reinforce, such as placing work back on the shelf after using it. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I replace activities my toddler lost interest in and hasn’t touched for a while. I find these two shelves are all she needs. This is what is usually there:
- threading activity
- stacking/ building blocks
- musical instruments
- a pull toy
- language materials such as printables, cards
- taking care of self (hairbrush, mirror)
- pouring activity
- sorting activity
- fine motor activity
In order for her to be able to define her working space while doing an activity, I keep working mats near shelves. Each time she gets something off the shelf I encourage her to place it on a mat and keep it there while working.
Sensory / Science Mat
A sensory tray with loose parts and natural materials, small play toys and a book that accompanies the theme.
I believe this is one of the most important aspects of a child’s room/ space area since this is where lifelong love for books begins. I placed a few pillows and covered them with a quilt and a couple of pillows for back support. Books are being replaced once a week.
Here are my standard guidelines for books:
- board cover when possible (for babies and toddlers)
- beautiful large pictures
- paintings, cross-stitching pictures, and photos of family members are a very important part of our daughter’s environment.
In the kitchen, we have her own little table and a chair. It has a plastic table mat, and a tray with a pitcher, cup, and sponge. I try to make sure there is always drinking water in the pitcher. She knows she can access it at any time she wants to have a drink.
The sponge is there to help clean any spills.
We allocated a low drawer that she can access easily. There are things like clothes for her to wipe her face, hands, her cutlery, extra glass, and plates.
In order for her to be able to wash her hands, we attach a plastic shoehorn to the tap using an elastic band. When she needs to wash her hands she brings her stool, stands on it, and gets soap, I turn the tap and she washes, her hands, gets down, dries her hands, and carries away her stool.
The Living Room
We set a corner in the living room for play with an activity center, dollhouse, Lego, and a couple of dolls. These activities are there to encourage free open-ended play. It also has a display of her artwork and a suncatcher.
There is also a tunnel, a couple of balls, and a CD player for gross motor activities. There are usually three disks available for her to choose from – relaxing music, dance music, and children’s songs. I plan to add disks with audio stories once she is a bit older. She knows how to turn the CD player on and off, change the volume, and swap disks.
The Outside Area
The outside area is for sandpit play, painting, crafts, and water play. We turned a wooden garden bed into a sandpit.
10 thoughts on “How to Create a Montessori Environment for Your Toddler at Home”
How fabulous! Definitely inspirational. My head is spinning with ideas! I love it all. Now to make minor tweaks for special needs… Anastasia, you gave me a project for the day. 🙂
Thanks so much for your kind words! 🙂
Spasibo bolshoe! Your blog is so inspirational! I love all of these spaces that you have created. We recently bought a house and, well, after some fixing up and remodeling, we are going to be setting up as many Montessori inspired spaces as possible for our Toddler. Pinned this post!
Now, for another slightly more random question – do you speak Russian at home? I live in the Netherlands and my husband speaks his language (a regional one) and I speak Russian to our son, but I'm a bit worried about his speech. I've been trying to work quite a lot on it in our montessori tot school, but I'm curious if you are also a bilingual household and how others are working on it 🙂
thank you so much for your kind feedback and pinning! I wish you all the best with organising your environment for your child and congratulations with buying a house!
to answer your question, yes, I speak only Russian to our 2-year-old, my husband speaks Spanish to her and we speak English with each other. May I ask you why you are worried about his speech? I am quite happy to see how it is going since she can understand in all three languages. She is saying in Russian things like "papa. mashina,rabota" I ask her to repeat after me and connect these words togther "papa poehal na mashine na raboty". At times she combines two languages in one sentence but I do not worry about it. please let me know if I can help with anything.
That actually sounds pretty similar to what we do, except swap the Spanish for Frisian. My son is 20 months old, but I feel like he isn't saying too many words yet, but we know he understands us as he takes direction well in both of the languages we speak to him in.
I'm a bit worried about it because a family member that works in day care in the US told me that some kids in her daycare that were raised in bilingual homes basically had speech delays. I think now, I'm a bit scared that my son is lagging hah, but it does seem like a lot to me – three languages as opposed to the two I was raised in.
It also seems that other kids his age were more advanced language wise, so I've been wondering if we are trying to do too much instead of just using English or something even though it seems like quite a shame not to teach him our roots.
Speech delays do not necessary mean they are going to have for problems with speech for the rest of their lives. I have seen many children who grew up bilingual and it might be the case at the beginning, but later they usually catch up and do even better at school than children with one language! I have the same reasons, I want my child to have something that attaches her back to where we came from, this is super important to us. The thing is that children have so many different languages to communicate and you should not feel pressure to give up teaching them your language I think. It is awesome for their brain development as well. At the end of the day when they grow up they will choose which language they prefer to communicate in. My husband managed to keep Spanish because of his father who always spoke only Spanish to him.As soon as you have someone around who can help you and guide you, you will be fine. I suggest to keep reading, speaking, use pictures every day. Because we live in English speaking country and we are planning to homeschool I plan to do formal homeschooling in English once she turns 5-6. Outside of that I will be speaking only Russian.
You are doing an amazing job! All the best!
Your approach sounds pretty similar to what we do, except that I won't be able to homeschool full time (system is different here in the Netherlands). For now, we plan on supplementing public school with home school activities, which will be in Russian (mostly focused on Russian language Montessori style activities). We'll see how it goes, but for now our tot school activities fun if nothing else 🙂 Anyway, I really appreciate your very kind comments here, you gave me quite a bit of encouragement!
I LOVE all your ideas for Tot School! It is great to follow your journey too and I learn a lot from your posts! thank you for stopping by!
My name is Adina and I have a little girl. She is 2 y and 9 m.
Our shelves are full, literaly, of books. She doesn’t seem very interested in toys, but likes books a lot. I saw many Montessori rooms (online) with toys and very few books and I was wondering if I should put away some of the books and replace them with more Montessori toys. Still, it doesn’t fell like a good idea. My little girl spends hours looking in books and “reading” (she invents the story after viewing the pictures), but spends only a few minutes, maximum 10-15, playing with toys, or doing an activity like cutting with scissors, glueing.
What do you reccomend?
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