There are a lot of really good board books for Montessori toddlers. But right now, with Otto at 16 months, there are two series that really stand out for me! If you have a toddler there is a good chance you have one of these books in your home. If you are a new parent or looking for a gift for a toddler, you can't go wrong with these.
At this age (0-3 years) the child is trying to make sense of the environment and the life around them. So we offer not only books that are reality based but are relevant and familiar to the child's life and daily activities. "Books can be a big help if they are well chosen. We should check if they present reality... The reality is that of people, family and the environment in which they live, which they experience directly. Starting from this base they expand their knowledge." - Understanding the Human Being. For this reason we love books about birds, flowers, insects, farms or trucks (especially garbage trucks), or that contain babies or parts of the body.
At 16 months Otto is in the locutory phase (12-20 months) and loves to point and name. Language cards could be used here but we are finding these simple books useful for this purpose. "There is a 'sensitive period' for naming things... and if adults respond to the hunger for words in an appropriate way, they can give their children a richness and precision of lanuage that will last a lifetime." - Silvana Montanaro in The Joyful Child. The child is wanting to know the names of things and books like these can help to satisfy that need.
First 100 Books by Priddy Books. For a toddler I find the actual words on these books unnecessary but they do help the adult, it couldn't be easier for the adult to give the chid the name of the items. We have First 100 Animals, First 100 Words and First Farm Words. I am not sure if there are different US and UK versions, some words are not what we would use in Australia but it's easy to look past them. We also have First 100 Christmas words which was a hit at Christmas time.
DK My First Books. I love that for the most part these have a white background and they give the names of the parts of the items, it just has a little more detail than the Priddy Books. Otto loves every single one of these, we have My First Things That Go, My First Trucks and My First Body. These not only allow the child to name the items but to put them into context.
Babies love looking at other babies!
While I adore these books, children obviously need story books too, these type of point and name books are just one type of book we can explose our children to. Another one of Otto's favourite books is A New Day, it shows the child going through their day and it has a real familiar tone, it shows the child's day from morning to night and it has lots of pictures of everyday life including sibilings who are building with blocks, going on a walk, parents cooking in the kitchen, reading a bedtime story, it's just lovely!