I believe that hands-on learning has a positive, long-term impact on learning. In order to save on cost and upcycle materials, I try to DIY many activities. However, I don’t have time or skills to make everything, so we need to buy some learning materials. Many parents have asked for recommendations for quality educational products that they have seen on my Instagram account which highlights our Montessori-inspired home learning environment. For years, I have stopped buying plastic toys to instead invest in eco-friendly, educational toys that are well-made, durable, and fit our minimalist style.
Here is a list of our favorite products from Etsy with photos of how we have used them! Most of these learning materials are appropriate for ages 3-6, but please consider the developmental level of your child to see if they would be suitable. The hyperlinks will take you to the relevant Etsy shop!
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Montessori-inspired Educational Toys on Etsy
1. 0-9 Numbers Wood Puzzle (From Jennifer)
This is a fantastic puzzle for children of all ages. Even infants who are too young to read can still benefit from holding the numbers and becoming familiar with the shapes! I typically present the puzzle incomplete as shown in the second puzzle. This way the child has an incentive to finish the puzzle!
2. 1-10 Number Reversible Tracing Board (From Jennifer)
This beautiful wood board comes with wooden balls and a wood tracing stick. However, the beauty of this board is that you can use any loose parts for learning! Below is an example of how we used flowers from our yard to learn the concept of even and odd numbers!
The next photos show a fun way to set up fine motor and number practice with pom poms! We used these colorful 0.4″ pompoms for this number board. To present this activity, you can pom poms and the board in a tray. I put a limited amount of pom poms corresponding to a number to teach 1:1 correspondance.
The included wooden balls are show in this next photo. My daughter was making a beehive with them! I love that these products have room for creativity – this is the beauty of open-ended learning materials!
3. 1-10 Chinese Numbers Reversible Board! (From Jennifer)
I’m so excited that my favorite Etsy store, From Jennifer, has expanded her products to include other languages! Although my daughter already knows Chinese numbers, I think it’s important to have products in our minority language so that it’s a part of our home life. The wood is sanded smoothly and has no rough edges or sharp corners.
4. Korean Hangul Alphabet Tracing Board (From Jennifer)
Since my kids are also learning Korean, I felt strongly about ordering the Hangul Alphabet wood tracing board! The board it so much more than a tracing board! You can use pom poms as shown above or rice as a sensory activity! (For extra fun, we made rainbow rice with expired rice with this recipe from Happy Hooligans.)
5. Crystal Discovery Kit (Soundsations)
Since my daughter is going through a rock-obsession phase, I got her this gorgeous crystal discovery kit to sort and create with! I looked all over for a good quality set of rocks, and this is the best variety of colors and textures that I have seen.
6. Nature Play Prompts (Soundsations)
Since there was a delay in receiving our Crystal Discovery Kit, Soundsations was very apologetic and voluntarily sent us the Nature Play Prompt cards! I’m so happy that we have this, as I never would have thought to order them! The front of each card is a play prompt, and the back has suggestions of different nature activities you can with your kids!
7. USA & Continents Tracing Board (From Jennifer)
More geography resources can be found in this link.
8. Montessori Nuts and Bolts Board (MOMtessoriLife)
For practical life skills, my 4-year-old practices twisting the nuts onto the bolts with this board from Momtessori. It is very well designed, with 4 different sizes in order of large to small.
9. Montessori screwdriver board (MOMtessoriLife)
We also ordered this set for practical life and fine motor skills. It currently is not in listed in the Etsy shop, so you may want to email the shop owner to see if they are still making it. If not, this screwdriver board from Indigogame looks very similar!
10. Wooden toy clock (From Jennifer)
I really love this simple wood clock toy. Initially, I was not sure if I should get it since we already had two other clock toys. But this one is to the point, beautifully made, and fits right in a child’s hand. Our other clock toys had shapes and other things that distract from learning about time. And this is the one that truly helped my daughter understand how to tell time! My Instagram post below has a short video of the clock and also supplemental learning activities!
11. Wooden Geometry and Multiplication Boards (From Jennifer)
This high set of reversible wood geometry boards and multiplication circles is so unique and educational! This is a fantastic teaching tool for shape/pattern recognition and basic math skills. Of all the products listed here, this one has the widest age range and would be useful in the lower elementary school years!
12. Montessori Number Counting Board (Mirus Toys)
We have the 1-10 board as well as the 11-20 board form Mirus Toys. The beautiful and educational counting board matches the traditional Montessori bead colors perfectly (eg, 1 red bead, 2 green beads, 3 pink beads etc). My daughter has the colors scheme memorized and knew exactly where the beads went when we got the boards. This is very helpful for learning how to count, notice patterns, and practice addition and subtraction.
13. Montessori Felt World Map (Em Is Crafty)
Both kids have a blast with this large felt world map! The colors are consistent with Montessori geography materials, and the kids like putting their toy animals on the map!
More geography resources can be found in this link.
14. Sensory Bin Scoops and Tongs (Montessori Restore)
My kids love these adorable mini scoops and tongs! These are perfect for sensory bins with dry rice or dry beans!
15. Pikler climbing triangle (Lily and River)
My kids love climbing and sliding on the pikler climbing triangle! This is such a fun way for kids to get their energy out when stuck indoors. They also love pretending that it’s a tent and hiding under it as shown in the below picture!
I hope this list helps you find educational toys that your family loves and learns from! If you’re looking for science materials, definitely check out the beautiful Etsy store MirusToys. The store has many unique puzzles and other learning materials that I have added to my wish list. Maybe one of you already have their biology or music puzzles? If so, please let me know!
If you’d like to see how we have set up our Montessori-inspired home learning environment, you can see the detailed homeschool tour here. I also regularly share how we update our kids’ play area on Instagram with the #chalkacademy_home hashtag and in my Instagram stories.
For crafty or semi-crafty parents, DIY hands-on activities are organized by topic here!
If you need tips on how to teach your child Chinese, these posts are for you!
- Teach Your Child a Second Language at Home with 5 Key Steps
- Raising Multilingual Children as a Non-Fluent Parent
Bilingual Facebook Group!
For families interested in Chinese learning in a Montessori-friendly environment, please join our new Facebook group! Montessori-inspired Kids Learning Chinese is a great community of parents all over the world sharing Chinese book recommendations and Montessori tips and learning materials.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll try my best to answer them! Please leave a note in the comments!
Happy learning, friends!