Best Montessori Outdoor Toys And Activities

5 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Outdoor game is the kind of activity that helps kids learn more about the environment, care for nature, explore, experiment, move and develop comprehensively. All these things correspond to the Montessori education approach, as it emphasises the importance of hands-on learning and exploration. Outdoor activities benefit health and physical and emotional development equally. 

The main advantages of outdoor Montessori activities:

  • Active play and exercises contribute to the improvement of motor skills, coordination, and muscle development.
  • Outdoor play can promote children’s social development and teach them to cooperate, communicate and resolve issues. Playgrounds help children make new friends and develop social skills.
  • Outdoor games can help children develop imagination, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

Learning through research and play activities occurs relatedly, without constraining children in freely choosing activities and promoting their independence, determination, and ingenuity.

10 Montessori outdoor toys kids will love

Montessori outdoor toys can help children develop curiosity, creativity, and ingenuity and promote physical, cognitive, sensory development, and social skills.

  1. A kid-sized gardening tool set can encourage children to explore and care for plants and learn about different gardening tools.
  2. Stepping Stones is a fun and challenging way for children to develop balance and coordination. They can be used to create obstacles and paths, or just as a fun way to move around the yard.
  3. An exploration kit can include different items such as a magnifying glass, binoculars, and a field guide to encourage children to observe and learn about the natural world around them. 
  4. A mud kitchen is an excellent way for children to engage in sensory play and explore the properties of mud and other raw materials. Kids can mix and create recipes with pots, pans, and other toy kitchen utensils. Parents can also offer the little ones to cook together in a real kitchen, and it is precisely what the learning tower by WoodandHearts was created for.
  5. Sand and water table provide endless opportunities for sensory exploration and creative play. Kids can use all of these to build sandcastles, create waterfalls, or simply explore the properties of sand and water.
  6. Sandbox play is a great opportunity for sensory exploration and creative play. Children can build castles, tunnels, and other structures while developing their fine motor skills, sensory skills, and creative thinking.
  7. An arch or dome climber is probably the best outdoor toy for toddlers. Here you can climb and balance, thanks to which the development of gross motor skills, balance, and coordination of movements, as well as the perception of one’s body in space, occurs naturally. Such games with Montessori furniture and toys make children skilful and strong and give them self-confidence, thanks to successfully overcoming difficult, but sometimes tricky, obstacles.
  8. Drawing on an easel is something that is enjoyed not only by talented artists but also by toddlers. This activity combines several advantages at once: observation of nature, development of creative abilities, benefit from a walk, and opportunity for open and sincere communication with the toddler. In addition, kids can experiment endlessly with colors, materials, and drawing techniques without worrying about the cleanliness of the furniture or the room: you can allow much more on the street. Also, parents or educators can join the drawing process, and then the child will also enjoy the joint activity.
  9. The balance beam is another fun and exciting pastime the child will be delighted with. And while the child enjoys his antics on the balance beam, he develops concentration, attention, and coordination of movements, learns to keep balance, and gains confidence in his own strength.
  10. The balance bike has no pedals or training wheels for insurance, and this is not a technical error but a deliberate idea. Balancers teach the child to maintain balance, control his movements, and manage the process. After the balancer, children no longer need training wheels on a regular bicycle; they already master the rules of safe driving so well.

What Does Montessori Say about Outdoor Play?

Maria Montessori, the founder of Montessori education, believed that children naturally desire to explore, and that outdoor play provides the perfect environment to interact with the natural world and develop their physical, social, and cognitive skills. At the same time, she emphasised several key aspects of street play.

Practical Life Activities

Activities like gardening, cooking, and cleaning are more than just essential life skills. They also help children develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and concentration and promote a sense of independence and responsibility. Therefore, it is worth involving children in planting and watering plants, offering them games simulating cooking, and allowing them to be active and take the initiative.

Climbing, Balance, and Movement

Jumping, running, and exercises on balancers allow children to develop their gross motor skills and coordination of movements, be aware of their body in space, and strengthen their muscles. Physical activity directly impacts mental development, so when a child performs a variety of exciting exercises, it is easier for him to focus on learning and creative activities. Moreover, you can also playfully learn many valuable things on the street: shapes, figures, directions, and the simplest mathematical operations, as well as develop speaking and socialize with children. Playing makes it easier for children to befriend their peers and learn to interact in a team.

Sensory Play

According to Montessori, sensory play is important for children’s cognitive, emotional, and social development because they learn through their senses. Meanwhile, walks and games outside promote sensory exploration. Kids can collect twigs, flowers, cones, and nuts, smell flowers, listen to birdsong, and feel the wind on their faces, and it is easy to try with no extra effort. In addition, children can experiment, explore, and recognise different textures and materials by touch while playing with mud, sand, and water. All this contributes to general awareness, develops creative thinking and speaking, calms the little one, and even relieves anxiety.

Seasons and Weather Exploration

Watching the weather from the window is less enjoyable than basking in the sun or feeling the first raindrops on your cheeks. It is interesting for children to watch the insects that rustle in the flowers or make snowmen. At the same time, they learn to notice the change of weather depending on the seasons, observe how animals and birds behave, etc.

Opportunities to Create

The Montessori method is often criticised for paying the slightest attention to the development of creativity, but in fact, the founder of this approach believed that children should be encouraged to express themselves through art. Moreover, it’s easy to do in the classroom and in the open air, where little ones can choose all available natural creative materials. According to the Montessori approach, such games become the basis for forming emotional intelligence, making children open and brave, and helping to cope with complicated or intense emotional states. But it is not necessary to allocate separate hours specifically for creativity: it is worth focusing on the calls and desires of the child and offering those game options that may interest the baby at any time, according to the condition, mood, and even the weather outside.

These aspects of the Montessori philosophy now constitute the basis of educational programs for children’s early development, and become the basis for such a direction in psychology as art therapy. Psychologists and teachers are unanimous that outdoor games are necessary for a child not only for learning but also for mental, emotional, and cognitive development. They help the child to cope with various tasks, add confidence, develop abilities, and contribute to the growth of an independent and self-reliant personality.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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