Gareth enjoys playing the “Montessori apps” (and more here) that I downloaded for him onto the iPad and iPhone. However, given the fact that he seems so addicted to anything with a screen (TV, computer and iPad/iPhone), I have been keen to increase the repertoire of other activities that do not involve a screen to engage him with.
Since Gareth really enjoys the Montessori activities he has been doing in class and he likes taking his brother’s Fun Thinkers grid and rearranging the number tiles, I figured it was time to get some real Montessori activities for him. The only Montessori activities I could think of were the Melissa & Doug wooden toys which are sometimes sold at Toys ‘R’ Us. So I went to check them out but the range available is rather limited. I don’t suppose anyone has noticed any of these Melissa & Doug toys selling locally?
I was also looking for the Montessori Hundred Board:
I found several retailers online for this. It retails on Amazon for US$25.99. It is available on My Montessori Materials for US$45. Bambini Montessori retails it for US$29.
While I was looking through Toys ‘R’ Us for suitable Montessori activities for Gareth, it occurred to me that we could use other games with modified rules to create activities for our younger children. For example, you could use Scrabble to play random word games (if you get the travel set you can also play it in the car).
Gareth loves playing with letters. We bought him a magnetic alphabet set but you have to buy several sets to get enough letters to make up a few words at a time (we can’t even make up his full name with one set). The other problem with the magnetic letters is that he likes to swipe them off the fridge which then leaves marks on the fridge door. The advantage of getting a scrabble set is that when your children are old enough, they will be able to play the game so you can still continue using it.
Then there is Connect Four by Milton Bradley who now has a four player version which can double up as a colour matching activity. You can also use it to make patterns with colours as a creative activity.
The only thing you need to be wary of with these games are the small bits that can be put in mouths – so not ideal for children under 3 years. However, if you or another responsible person is around to monitor them while they play, then these can be excellent materials for activities for young children. Not to mention that once the children are old enough, they can play these games the way they were intended so you get more mileage out of them.
What games (that do not involve a screen) do you use to entertain your younger child?