I admire aspects of the Montessori approach of 'teaching' and I love to follow a long with developmental milestones via a few other resources as well.
Montessori kits are expensive, (you know- all the trays and manipulative matertial). So, I've decided to create my own 'knock off' versions via thrift store (or use stuff I already have). You save a TON of money and the end result is the same!
Thrift store chip and dip plate ($1.29) with melon baller (.29 cents) and marbles from Chinese Checkers game ($.99). Buy a Montessori kit like this online and spend $20. Seriously.
Great for fine motor, transfer and sorting.
Thrift store tray ($1.29), spoon or small tongs (free/home), mini ice cube tray (.29 cents) and grab bag of plastic beads (.99). Same thing, Montessori supply places sell these trays and materials for much more.
Thrift store wood needlepoint looms ($1.00). Size order recognition, learning to color within the circle, trace circle.
Slotted spoon/strainer, sand (could also use corn mean or whatever), buried bugs (bugs were a thrift store game find/new!). Dig and transferr buried items to container. So far,she is not light with shaking the sand through the spoon - it gets flipped in the air sometimes (the price of learning- right?).
Here, she gives the bugs a bath (getting the sand off of them). Using an old unwanted cake pan, nail brush and small bowl. She can sit and do this for 20 minutes. Big hit!
A tray, small pitcher and small bowl. Transferring water, sponging up any spills. Next to 'bug bath', this is her favorite activity. Would be better with TWO small pitchers or creamers (on the list to find, but we used what we had on hand this day).
Game pieces used as counting manipulative (thrift store games .99 cents each). All the games were barely used or new- plus, we can play the actual board games when she's older.
You can use unwanted cookie pans (this was ours and in bad shape, so I repurposed it). Using dollar store magnetic numbers and letters, this is a great way to teach order. Also, the pieces don't get lost, they stick to the pan!
We are working on smelling bottles/cards now...a long with a few other Montessori type knock-offs! I will post as we go.
"We cannot know the consequences of suppressing a child's spontaneity when he is just beginning to be active. We may even suffocate life itself. That humanity which is revealed in all its intellectual splendor during the sweet and tender age of childhood should be respected with a kind of religious veneration. It is like the sun which appears at dawn or a flower just beginning to bloom. Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life.” Maria Montessori