DIY Montessori Toys: Crafting Educational Play at Home

Do you often wonder if your little one is ready for a new type of activity? Will it be a hit or a miss? That's where the DIY Montessori toys step in: your very own trial-and-error kit for kiddo fun!

We get it - kids can be unpredictable. Will they be fascinated by that shiny new toy, or will it be cast aside faster than yesterday's leftovers? The beauty of crafting your Montessori materials at home lies in this uncertainty.

It's like a sneak peek into your child's play preferences but without breaking the bank.

Child playing with wooden toolbox set.

So, are you curious about where to start? We've got you covered with a lineup of 5 of our most popular Montessori materials.

The best part? We'll cover some of the DIY secrets so you can test the waters with homemade versions. If your little explorer gives the green light, you can always upgrade to a sturdier, store-bought version later.

Let’s dig in!

DIY Montessori Toy Ideas - Our Pick

Did you know that the Montessori method is over a century old? It was first developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the early 1900s! So, while we're busy crafting our DIY Montessori toys, we're actually part of a tradition that's been inspiring young minds for more than 100 years.

Think about that, huh?

Anyhow, prepare to get your hands dirty. Let’s see some of the most interesting DIY Montessori toys.

1. Spindle Box

Calling all parent crafters! Let's discuss the Spindle Box, a toy that allows your kiddo to practice math. Crafting this bad boy is as easy as raiding your recycling bin for milk carton boxes. You need hot glue, carton boxes, and popsicle sticks (colored ones are preferred).

Making it is a piece of cake. Simply start by cutting the carton box so it has one side and the top open. Do it multiple times and glue everything together. After doing that, you should have one big box with multiple containers.

Next, put the colored popsicle sticks in each container, representing the number of containers. For example, if the box is marked ‘’1,’’ put one popsicle stick inside.

Little girl playing with a wooden Spindle box.

Now, let's dish out the perks! This box isn't only for counting, no. It’s the ultimate self-corrector. When your mini-mathematician spots extra or missing spindles, they will immediately try to make things right. It's as simple as that: We recalibrate, we giggle, and we learn on the fly!

However, if you want to go full-math on your kiddo, we recommend getting the Montessori Smart Board.

2. DIY Cleaning Tools

When your tiny tornado shows interest in keeping things tidy, it’s important to embrace it. First up, the homemade cleaning caddy - made from cardboard and filled with spill-fighting essentials like a half-filled squeeze bottle, tiny towel, and trusty wet wipes. It's like a cleaning sidekick, ready for action at a moment's notice!

Box filled with cute kitchen and bathroom utensils for children.

Best of all, you already have everything in your house. It’s only up to you to assemble it together. Be creative; decorate the cardboard box with stickers or some decorative paper; it’s up to you.

This DIY toy, paired with the Montessori Cleaning Set, is always ready for action, letting their little one jump in whenever a spill happens.

3. Shoelace Tying

So, your little one hasn't quite graduated to the world of lace-up shoes. But oh boy, the fascination with shoe-tying is real. Right before leaving, it's become a pre-departure ritual to watch them try their hand at shoelaces - insisting you’re not going anywhere until they’ve had their shot!

Now, enter the DIY cardboard shoelace-tying toy. Crafted with an illustrated piece of cardboard and a spare shoelace, it's not about turning your kid into a shoelace-tying prodigy just yet. No, no. The real focus is on sparking their imagination first, boosting those fine motor skills, and maybe, just maybe, convincing them that shoelaces are not that hard after all.

Red-blue wooden shoe with pink shoelace.

Consider it the shoelace-tying pre-game as it sets the stage for when they’re ready to tackle real shoes. Until then, this DIY creation is the MVP.

4. Zipper Board

Gear up for a simple yet delightful DIY zipper board that's all about the joy of zipping! While you don't need every color under the sun, why not make it a mini-color party? It's a chance to sneak in some color talk enhancing language skills with your little one.

Here’s a little tip: keep the glue away from the zipper teeth. Smooth zipping is the goal, and we want those little fingers to glide without any sticky hiccups!

Purple, yellow, and blue zippers on a wooden table.

So, first, dig into your cardboard stash - the perfect place to start all your DIY projects. It's durable, practically free (thanks to all those packages), and perfect for creating a zipper board sensation. Next, get a dozen of zippers and glue them up on the board.

Last, decorate the board with some stickers, perhaps some drawings, and a touch of glitter. Soon enough, you’ll see your kiddo zipping like a champ.

Incorporating DIY Montessori Toys into Daily Routines

So, what good are DIY Montessori toys if your kid casts them aside? Therefore, incorporating these toys into daily routines is equally important as making them. It’s all about the process of making, incorporating, and, lastly, playing with toys.

Keep in mind these:

  • Exploration in the morning: Start the day with a burst of "What's this?" and "How does that work?" Throw in cardboard boxes filled with other toys or a zipper board - because mornings are made for discovering the unexpected.

  • Playing with intentions: Who said play needs a schedule? Spice up the day with multiple toys and activities. Rotate through skill-focused games - fine motor finesse, language leaps, and sensory wonders. Make it like a fun ride on a carousel; you never know what's next!

Little boy playing in a cardboard DIY castle.

  • Incorporate Montessori principles: Give your little one a leading role. Let them dictate the play and choose from the plethora of open-ended DIY toys. Follow all five core components of Montessori education, and you’ll do just fine.

  • Don't forget practical life skills: Turn everyday tasks into a game. Pouring, scooping, and sorting are super important early on. But later, include your little one in cleaning and laundry. Who knew play could be so practical?

  • Outdoor play rocks: Take the Montessori show on the road or, in this case, to the backyard. Nature-based toys, from gardening gear to outdoor puzzles, are perfect for playing outside. Learning about bugs is way more fun in real life. 

With DIY Montessori toys leading the charge, you’ll have a complete day with your kiddo.

Benefits of DIY Montessori Toys

Deciding to go with the DIY Montessori toys is the right call. Why? Have you heard of the IKEA effect? We value things we make on our own. Therefore, your kid will want to play with the stuff they’ve made more than something they got on their birthday.

Boy making a DIY airplane out of cardboard and paint.

Aside from that, here’s a couple of more benefits of DIY Montessori toys:

  • Custom learning moments: When you create DIY Montessori toys, you get to make things just the way your child likes. Plus, this is a great field for experimenting as well. Watch their faces light up as they get to play with their newly made toys.

  • Boost independence in your kids: Get your little one involved in the crafting process. It was never just about making toys, no. It’s about giving them control and enabling them to make something on their own. Crafting together boosts problem-solving skills and turns them into confident little explorers.

  • Family time is important: Imagine a family crafting party! Building toys and setting up learning spaces becomes a bonding blast. As you chat about the purpose of each item, you’re actually creating long-lasting memories. Plus, you’re showing your child that everything’s possible if you put some effort into it.

  • Budget-friendly option: Building your own educational tools can save you some cash. There's no need for pricey buys - just raid your home for cool, sustainable materials. You’ll be surprised to find out what’s actually hiding in some boxes. 


So, there you have it. Our quick tour through the DIY Montessori wonderland. Crafting your own educational goodies is beneficial for bonding and learning. So, grab your tools, scissors, boxes, and other materials, and get your kiddo involved.

Nothing beats the time you spend with your little ones, especially if it involves making something that they will use later.

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