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.