I know not everyone has access to a Toy Library, but today I want to share our most recent finds from our local Toy Library. Our Toy Library operates from our Council run Library however to borrow you need a seperate membership card and pay a small fee. We visit the library almost every week and we have found some wonderful toys! Here are seven toys that we currently have on loan.
I've included links to some of the items in case you want to see more detail. Hopefully this will give you ideas of toys that might appeal to your children, give you insight to how we use regular toys in our Montessori home and how we can rotate toys at a minimum cost.
This is the set up in our Library. Sometimes these shelves are full, it's fantastic to look over the variety and see toys I haven't noticed before. The large bags on the ground contain larger toys like ride on toys or larger play sets. For those local to me, I am in the Randwick City Council area (NSW, Australia).
I can't find a link to this toy but it's called a Jumbo Stacker. It has a lot of cards, a couple of wooden stands and lots of wooden pieces. I present this with one card at a time, with only the pieces that match the card. The child threads the pieces of wood onto the stand in order to match the card. Fantastic for cognitive development. This is a good reminder that just because a toy comes with 100 pieces, we don't need to present all the pieces at once. We can also take a toy like this on a tray, using a basket for the small pieces and present it in a Montessori way, remember to work from left to right.
Snail's Pace Race by Ravensburger. Wow, this is fantastic. Otto (43 months) loves it! I wish I had found this sooner, I feel it's appropriate from around two years+. The child/ren line the coloured snails at the starting places on the coloured leaves. The child/ren then roll the dice and move the snail matching the colour on the rolled dice one place on the board. The snail who reaches the end first wins. A child can play this alone or in a cooperative style with others. We love this and highly recommend it!
Dinosaur World by The Happy Architect. We've used The Happy Architect playsets before and they are always a hit. This is good for open ended play. Otto is super into dinosaurs and volcanoes right now so this is a good fit.
Move and Groove Dance Game by Think Fun. This is another Library toy that has been a huge hit. The child can play alone or with others. We roll the large fabric dice and what ever colour comes up we pick a matching colour card from the pile. Then we act out the move on the cards! This is a great game but particularly when it's more difficult to get outside for gross motor play. This is another toy I wish I had found sooner, it would be fun from around 18 months to two years+.
Bug Bingo can be played like regular bingo, or here my two younger children are simply matching the bug cards to the bugs on the large board. I love the life like images and the names printed on the cards. This is useful for language development and how wonderful are the bugs chosen? Rather than simply Cicada, they have an Empress Cicada, rather than a Ladybird they have a Harlequin Ladybird Beetle. It's awesome.
While I really like this Giant Weaving Kit (UK) it wasn't a hit. We will probably return it soon and borrow it again later. Perhaps it was too difficult for Otto, he didn't take to it. Often I will leave a toy or materials out if I think there is a glimmer of hope that he will return to the work but this just didn't feel right for now. Still, it looks really useful for teaching children to weave.
Sweet Koalas and Pandas Puzzle by Ravensburger. This is labelled for four years+ and each puzzle has 24 pieces. We adore Ravensburger Puzzles and it's nice to have a different puzzle that we can borrow for a few weeks and then return. As with all of our materials at this age we look for realistic, life like images that are also interesting and beautiful. Presenting puzzles on a tray helps to contain the pieces, the child can easily move it or even return it to the shelves even if they haven't finished it.
We can borrow up to eight items from the Toy Library at a time, the only toy that we have on loan that I haven't shown is a witch/wizard costume that Otto also loves to use.
If you have a good Toy Library near you please share in the comments!
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