There is nothing better than a Montessori Playroom. They are simple, clean, and a great way to help the child learn.
When done right, a Montessori Playroom should promote concentration and independence.
So what makes a playroom a “Montessori Playroom”?
What Is A Montessori Playroom?
Nothing is set in stone, but in general, a Montessori playroom:
- is simple with a limited number of toys/activities
- has everything displayed nicely at the child’s level
- include some open space
- uses toys that promote engagement over entertainment
- has a set place for items to create order/routine
- mixes in a variety of activities
- is a cozy space that your child will enjoy
Let’s dive into each of those a little further…
Montessori playrooms are often simple with a limited number of toys/activities for the child.
Having a limited number of activities allows the child to focus better and master activities, rather than jumping from activity to activity without ever completing or mastering any of them.
Most Montessori guides recommend around 8-10 activities in your playroom, which we’ve found to be a perfect number for our little one.
But what do you do if you have more than 8-10 toys? A toy rotation is a perfect solution for this and will help keep your child engaged with their activities.
We rotate out toys about once per week on average – keeping a few on the shelf that she’s really engaging with and working on mastering and rotating out the others that aren’t being used as much.
Activities At Child’s Height
Everything that the child can use in their playroom should at their level so that they can both see it and be able to easily reach it (allowing them to pick it out and put it back when finished).
Because we want the child to engage with their Montessori toys and activities, the Montessori approach is to always have them on display (rather than hidden away in a toy box).
Many companies sell playroom shelving units for young children, which I cover more in this Montessori Shelving blog post.
On top of having activities displayed at the child’s height, it’s also recommended that artwork and plants or flowers are at a height that allows the child to appreciate them as well.
Open Space For Movement
If your home allows for it, open space in the playroom is great for promoting gross motor skills.
Allowing your child to have space in your home that they can move around, climb, and explore is extremely important – especially early in life.
We left a big open space in the middle of our playroom where our little one can use her activities but also allows us to build climbing spaces.
Our Nugget Comfort couch is perfect for this, as the cushions can be used to create various different setups great for climbing on, in and around.
When our daughter got older, we purchased a Pikler Triangle and Ramp (pictured above) to give her more gross motor options.
Again, your open space for gross motor work doesn’t necessarily have to be in your main Montessori play space if you don’t have the room for it, but it’s important to create somewhere in the home to develop the gross motor skills.
Toys That Promote Engagement
Have you noticed that a lot of Montessori style playrooms use a lot of wooden toys?
There’s a reason for that, and it’s the same reason you don’t see many plastic or battery-operated toys that light up and sing.
The toys that light up and make noise seem great as they keep kids entertained and distracted, but they often don’t do much good for the child (besides keeping them entertained and distracted).
You can get the same effect with age-appropriate toys that aren’t battery operated and don’t sing and light it up to distract the child, and at the same time develop their fine or gross motor skills.
Montessori playroom activities are carefully selected and usually include a variety of activities such as puzzles, practical life, language activities and books, musical instruments, artwork, and activities that work on different skills (fine and gross motor, problem-solving, concentration, etc).
Many Montessori parents like to choose toys made from natural materials (such as wood) because they are environmentally friendly, long-lasting, and beautiful.
But with that said, plastic activities can be much more budget-friendly and can work if you choose toys or activities that serve a purpose!
Don’t forget about DIY activities, which can often be free to make from things laying around your house and great for the child’s development.
Give Everything A Place In The Playroom
Children thrive with order and routine. The best thing to do with your playroom is to give everything a place in the room and keep things there.
Of course, you can rearrange your playroom from time to time, but the idea is not to just have toys and activities scattered all over the place in different places each time your child comes into the room.
This is also a great way to teach your child about cleaning up after themselves. If a toy or activity has a place on the shelf, you can help them put it back in that same spot (and they will probably enjoy doing so).
Our little one is 16 months right now and usually won’t put things away on her own, but we continue to demonstrate putting things back in their spot and when we ask her to “please put your activity back on the shelf if you’re done using it” she usually lights up with a big smile and puts it back in its place.
Update – Our little one is now 22 months and will put her activities back on the shelf a majority of the time without us asking 😊
Mix In A Variety Of Activities
I touched on this briefly earlier, but Montessori Playrooms ensure that the child has a variety of different activities to choose from.
This could include vertical stackers, horizontal stackers, puzzles, musical instruments, pull toys, threading toys, etc.
There are many options to choose from out there, and the idea is that the child can work on a few different skills each week.
This also doesn’t mean that every single toy has to work on a different skill.
A big part of the Montessori Method is observation, and this comes into play with choosing the different activities to set out for your little one.
If you notice your child is really engaging with puzzles, maybe you set out two or three different puzzles on your next toy rotation.
Or if they are having a tough time with a threading toy and it looks like they aren’t ready for it, maybe you put that away for a few weeks and mix a stacker toy in the rotation.
Lastly, but just as important as the rest, is that your playroom is a cozy space that you and your child can enjoy spending time in!
This will look different for all Montessori families, but for us I like that we have some natural light in our play space, a small comfy couch to sit and read or snuggle on, some artwork and a nice plant on the shelf.
Do whatever works for you and your family to make your space cozy!
Montessori Playroom Tour
I recently shot a video of our Montessori inspired playroom that you can check out below:
Recap On Setting Up A Montessori Playroom
When it’s all said and done there is no real set in stone rule for your Montessori Playroom.
You may notice that many Montessori inspired playrooms look similar, and that’s usually because they are following the Montessori approach that we talked about above.
If you take a similar approach to your playroom you can call it your own “Montessori Playroom” and I’d bet your child will love it!
Montessori is more about just the playroom. If you’d like to learn more ways to practice Montessori in your home check out this Montessori At Home Guide.
I’d be happy to hear in the comment section if there’s anything in a Montessori Playroom I left out, and I will finish this article off with a few common questions about Montessori inspired play spaces.
Frequently Asked Montessori Playroom Questions
A Montessori playroom is a simple, clean space with a limited number of carefully selected age-appropriate toys designed to help the child develop skills such as their fine and gross motor skills. It is a place that promotes engagement rather than just provide entertainment.
To ensure your playroom fits the Montessori approach I would recommend making everything accessible to the child with child-friendly furniture, limit the number of activities to around 8-10 at any given time to promote focus and choose toys that promote engagement and development.
Wooden toys are often used in Montessori Playrooms because wood is natural, beautiful and long-lasting material. The wooden toys that Montessori Playrooms choose usually have a purpose for development, unlike a lot of battery-operated toys that are more for entertainment.
If you are creating a Montessori Playroom you should include child-sized furniture, artwork, nature (flowers or plants), open space, and activities that help the development of the child.