Like most families, we have many play toys we have accumulated over the years. While many of them are fun to play with, most of the time they are forgotten as they are placed in toy boxes. I consequently decided to use the Montessori method of having learning activities easy to access and open via a bookshelf. This has proved successful in our family, ensuring our children play with many of the toys they have (as I try rotate them as often as I can) but also encourages them to occupy themselves and not turn to screens which is always the easy option.
Since my last Montessori inspired activity shelf post (which you can find here) I have been able to update them with more exciting jobs for Xavier as well as Grace, thanks to A Whole Lot of Love. I initially found it difficult to find exciting activities for school aged children but I have now included a few jobs which Grace thoroughly enjoys.
Here is our shelf as it currently stands…
And here are the shelves in more detail…
Block shape pattern activity – you may remember this job from previous posts showcasing our activity shelves (found here and here) but they live on the shelf for a good reason. Both Grace and Xavier now play with it, sometimes spending up to 20 minutes replicating different pictures from the cards.
Animal block puzzle – This Melissa and Doug puzzle is now only played by Xavier but he loves it, usually completing all 6 animals before going on to something else.
Wooden blocks for free play – I often found my children using the blocks from the shape pattern activity to build towers and other interesting things so I knew I needed to include proper wooden blocks for free play. I opted for a 50 piece set so it was big enough to build decent buildings, but compact enough for the shelf for easy access. This beautiful set can be found here
Balance scales – I found this beautiful wooden one here and was immediately drawn by its versatility for play. It comes with four wooden pegs but Xavier also loves to weigh his different trinkets (which I shared on Instagram here). I like to use it to teach what is heavier than what and to practice addition and subtraction.
Dominoes with stairs and slide – This is a great domino play set and one my children have often played with on dreary rainy Melbourne days. I like how it encourages patience (as it’s so easy to knock down!) but also creativity as this set (found here) also comes with stairs, slide and a bell for the dominoes to hit at the very end!
Four logical thinking game – Grace usually gravitates towards this activity. You replicate patterns but it has to be done logically, as you can only move a certain number of circles at a time.
Shape halves puzzle – There are three hexagons, squares and circles. Each shape has a different type of half for it e.g. straight half, zig zag or curved. It requires concentration as the zig zag is often confused with the curved halves!
Animal memory game – Most of our memory games are flimsy cards and since the children love playing memory, I bit the bullet and got good quality, cardboard ones (found here). They are beautiful quality, the graphics of the animals are adorable and I know they will withstand a lot of play, unlike the other memory cards we have had!
Spelling puzzle – there are different wooden boards with a picture of an object and spaces for one to spell the word with wooden letters
Sandpaper letters – these are upper case sandpaper letters for Xavier. He likes to put them in order of the alphabet and I ask him to spell certain words when he’s in the mood!
Replicating patterns with two toned tiles – This is a great activity and Grace’s favourite at the moment (you can see her playing with it here). The tiles are two toned not only in colour but in pattern as well, making it quite difficult to replicate intricate pictures found on cards. It’s great the tiles are magnetic so it’s convenient for travel, but also good if you want a break from the job and want to come back to it later. We got this beautiful set from here.
Thank you to A Whole Lot of Love for helping us update our activity shelf!
Products were gifted from A Whole Lot of Love but our opinions of them are our own.