Montessori on a Budget: Home Alternatives

By Heather White

Social media may have given you this idea that Montessori is a picture-perfect, Instagram-worthy play space with brand new materials beautifully arranged, glistening shelves. The reality is that Montessori is so much more than the carefully developed materials and the beautiful shelves; it’s a philosophy and a way of life that guides how we interact with our children and how we encourage and empower them to become capable, confident members of our families.

The Montessori Method is accessible to everyone. No one should feel as though their house is not large enough or they can’t afford the fancy materials to implement Montessori at home.

In fact, Montessori can even be done without the materials. Read this blog to discover how to practice the Montessori Method with your little one without the materials.

There are actually so many ways to incorporate Montessori at home on a budget! Here are a few alternatives for incorporating Montessori at home on a budget:

Find alternatives to Montessori trays

Instead of purchasing expensive baskets and trays to display materials, try using recyclables. Shoe box lids can serve as replacements for trays and other types of boxes or even plastic or Tupperware food containers can be used instead of baskets.

Use other household furniture in place of Montessori shelving

Especially in small, shared family spaces, it can be challenging to find room for a shelf to display your child’s toys. Get creative and use furniture that already exists in creative ways. The bottom of a bookshelf or an entertainment center can serve as a great shelf for your child’s Montessori materials. Window sills that are within the child’s reach are another great option to display toys and activities. You can even place your child’s materials on the floor along a wall, using a rug or masking tape to serve as an outline for the space.

Explore the fundamentals of Montessori parenting with this free video by Sylvia Arotin, offering insights and strategies to empower and educate your child.

Think creatively about how household items can function as Montessori materials

Use what you have. Try to think outside of the box to imagine how household items might serve your child’s needs and interests. For instance, instead of purchasing a push wagon or pull toy, allow your child to push and pull a full laundry basket around the house or engage in heavy work by carrying a chair from room to room. Encourage your child to pull up and practice cruising using a low, sturdy piece of furniture like a coffee table instead of buying a Montessori pull up bar. You might be surprised by the multifunctional nature of various items in your home!

Create DIY Materials

Another great alternative to purchasing expensive Montessori materials is creating them yourself! DIY Montessori materials can be low-waste and engaging at the same time. Luckily, many Practical Life activities including washing dishes and sweeping require little to no extra materials. For other activities such as an Object Permanence Box or a Kicking/Sensory Ball, there are so many helpful resources available online to allow you to put your creativity to the test, using recyclable household items to create engaging works for your child. Check out the DIY guide in our Montessori at Home (0 to 3 years) Facebook group here

Regardless of where you are on your Montessori journey, it’s important that you don’t get discouraged by the unattainable picture-perfect representations of Montessori shown on social media or by the expensive nature of Montessori materials sold online. Remember that Montessori is a philosophy and a way of life that can easily be implemented with many things you already have in your homes with a little time, love, and creativity!

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