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Montessori inspired toys: Plantoys sorting board

Sep 24, 2016

Last week I started the series of Montessori inspired toys and after a reader’s comment, Amelie, I’d like to make something clear. The toys I write about are not Montessori materials like they ones they used in school: those are very specific educational materials, these are simple toys that I, personally, think can be described as “Montessori inspired”.

In fact, they are all wooden (or natural materials, that the Montessori method prefers), they don’t have lights or sounds (in a Montessori classroom you will not find “animated” toys, it’s the hands of our little ones to animate them) and they promote the development of motor skills, imagination, problem-solving skills and concentration. All of which, in my opinion and experience with Oliver so far, interactive toys do not offer.

That’s why I believe that there is a bit of Montessori in all of the toys that you’ll find on La Tela and I hope that, thanks to every one of these posts, you can learn a bit more (or even just get curious) about this beautiful philosophy and its application at home. And maybe, why not spread the word so that more and more families can get to know it and take it into their own houses.


Today I’d like to write about a toy that Oliver has loved from the very first moment: the geometric shapes of Plantoys.

Oliver received it for his first birthday and to my surprise he started using it right away, first by using only the circles (which was already quite difficult) without even considering the other geometric shapes. Gradually, though, he began to show interest in the other shapes, and tried putting them in their respective holes, but it took a couple of months before he actually could: when he finally managed, however, (around 14 months) he never stopped, and when he was 16 months (in the video below) he was able to complete the game alone.

This toy—even more than the Goula cubes I told you about last week—is wonderful to promote concentration. I like to sit next to Oliver and watch him take the shapes out and put them back in over and over again, without never interrupting him.

Now that Oliver knows how to put all the pieces in place, I tried to teach him to put them in order of color, but color is an abstract concept, and a quite complicated one (because it doesn’t give immediate feedback, as does a geometric shape with four holes that will not fit in the space with only three holes); so I decided to put this game away in the closet and take it out in a month or so to test it again for colors and shapes.

As you can see in the video, Oliver completes it and goes away, but he then remembers that he didn’t put it back on the shelf so he comes back: in a Montessori classroom each child must put the material back after using it, just the way he found it (so that another child can use it); order, though, is not something I taught Oliver consciously, but only through my example, always tidying up myself right away after using a toy. When Oliver was a year old he already showed interest and willingness to tidy up himself.

What do you think? Do you have this game or a similar one that your little ones love? What have you noticed? Don’t you think it’s gorgeous to watch how our children use their toys?

Tell me what you think

Did you like it? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear from you.

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The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

Mums, dads & kids
We don't know how to be parents, we learn it everyday as we go. This is my way of motherhood, the small victories and the bitter defeats, my inconvenient truths and the endless life lessons. And also all the baby products and toys we love the most.
How to leave the playground without power struggles
This is life
Audiobooks of real-life stories for kids
Let's not project our insecurities onto our kids
Question authorities
Parents need to be constructively selfish
One more step towards self-acceptance
When you think your marriage is over after kids.
Alex
We forgot our 10-year wedding anniversary!
Montessori
One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
Montessori express: change the sentences into positive
Montessori express: everything is NOT fine
My baby cries desperately in the car (15 months)
Take care of the mother behind the woman
Montessori express: ask instead of correcting
Montessori express: describe instead of criticising
An example of how I practice empathy with my kids
How I show empathy to my children
Happy 4th birthday, Emily
Montessori New Year's tradition
Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
Face yoga is an act of self love
Why you should wear the same outfit twice on Instagram
The power of creating habits (and why you should do it, even if you then break them!)
Responsible eating is the diet of the future (Would you like to teach it to your kids?)
The power of NOT complaining: can you do it for a whole month?
Clean up your planet, please!
Infographic: 8 steps to switch to cloth nappies (a guide for reluctant parents)
A personal note on happiness
A personal note on social media
A change of life always widens your horizons
New to La Tela?
I’ve prepared collections on various topics that I’ve written over the years. Perhaps you’ll find one that interests you.

Travel

We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.

Books

In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.

Instagram

I update Instagram almost every day to be "close" to my family far away.

Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
Carlotta
Carlotta dreaming of La Tela
I know! I don't want it to be over yet either.