Saturday, September 03, 2011
Montessori Toddler Treasure Bag
A few months ago, a blog I like to read (Frugal Granola) linked up to a site detailing how to put together a "Treasure Basket" for your baby/toddler. Around the same time, I retrieved a box full of childhood memorabilia from my parents' attic. What in the world was I going to do with little momentoes from around the world-- stuff I'd bought on family trips or received from a voyaging family member? Much of it was way too cool to throw away: the leather dragon I'd bought at a European castle, bright cloth bags from Guatemala, a leather coin purse from Canada, a metal horse from my horse collection, little Easter eggs on strings, a geode, a wooden kaleidescope... After reading the article on a Toddler Treasure Basket, the two came together. I think Montessori as an education philosophy has serious flaws, but I do love their emphasis on discovery and "sensorial exploration." So I culled through my knickknacks and selected those made of natural materials (wood, leather, stone, metal, cloth, ceramic, yarn) and/or with interesting textures and/or designs. I tried to include lots of container-type toys-- boxes, bags-- so she could practice putting things in and out. You can see many of the objects above. I put them in a giant zip-up bag from 31, and voila! Cheapest toy I've ever made.
I put this together some time in March, and it is now September ...so that's 7 months of play it's given (and still is giving) us. I add to the bag from time to time, and don't leave it out as a constantly-available toy, which I'm sure has extended its appeal. So far the bag has proved invaluable on car trips, in restaurants, and anytime we have to wait in one place for an extended period of time. At first I usually gave her only one object at a time (especially in a restaurant), but now that she is older I often give her the whole bag and she loves taking objects out and making them interact together. She often comments on whether the toys are cold or hot, soft or rough, etc., and she LOVES making the horses "gallop." Definitely my daughter.
So go on-- those random things you didn't know what to do with? They just might be a great part of your child's Treasure Bag. :)