We use plenty of Montessori learning aids at home. I particularly like it because you just have to show the kid how to use it once and they can play with it on their own once they get the concept. And while playing, they are actively learning language, numeracy, science, geography and in quite a holistic way that engages multiple senses and also, encourage critical thinking and problem-solving. They are also beautifully-made, most of it wooden, so they are beautiful to display and creates easy invitations-to-play.
I have compiled here a list of Montessori or Montessori-like learning aids and accessories I bought from Taobao that might be useful for families interested in adopting this approach for home-learning. Some of the learning aids come from the Waldorf school of thought, but its not many so I am just going to lump them together.
To understand how to use these learning aids, you can look at the website How we Montessori, Montessori mom, or search for Montessori videos on YouTube, or pick up Montessori guide-books from NLB (there are plenty). You can also do a quick wiki of the name of the Montessori learning aid and you will understand very quickly how to use them just reading through the concept driving each learning aid. Understand the 3 period lesson and detecting your kids’ sensitive periods for learning, so you know when are prime times to engage specifically to their interests at the moment.
If you are new to Taobao and feeling blur, follow the step-by-step tutorial given by The Baking Biatch (I don’t read Mandarin and I managed to set up an account following her tutorial). And if this is still too difficult, you can find the exact same stuff in Lazada Taobao shop, Ez-Buy, Qoo10 or Aliexpress.
There are a ton of other stuff I did not include here. When you start opening the links, you will be suggested other items so feel free to browse.
I’ve personally never bought any practical life skills sets because they can simply be DIYed at home, but if you want child-sized life skills sets for your kid to tinker with, you can check out this Montessori shop and browse through all their items.
Daily life set: Link here.
Window and sound blocks: Link here.
XXL building blocks (link is from another shop because the shop I bought from disappeared). Link here.
Colour tablets (link is from another shop because the shop I bought from disappeared): Link here.
Marble run tree: Link here.
Movable alphabets (they come in medium and large sizes, the large one is separated into 2 boxes) : Link here.
Sandpaper alphabets (usually used in tandem with the sand tray, see below for sand tray): Link here.
Pink language series: Link here.
Blue language series: Link here.
Printed letter cards: Link here.
Chinese characters sandpaper boards: Link here.
Magnetic Chinese characters: Link here.
1-100 board: Link here.
Magnetic version of 1-100 board: Link here.
Wooden number cards 1-1000: Link here.
Stamp game (to learn place value and decimals): Link here.
Math Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division wooden boards: Link here.
Number counters: Link here.
Wooden balancing scale: Link here.
Wooden clock: Link here.
Teens and tens board: Link here.
Bank game (for learning decimals): Link here
Wooden geoboards: Link here.
3D geometric shape set: Link here.
Mental arithmetics box set: Link here.
Fraction skittles: Link here.
Addition set: Link here.
Subtraction set: Link here.
Multiplication set: Link here.
(Still looking for the division set)
Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division control plates: Link here.
Wooden geometric cabinet set: Link here.
Nature puzzles: Link here.
Nature puzzles with skeletal feature: Link here.
Solar system board: Link here.
Foliage board: Link here.
3D figurines to accompany science or vocabulary learning: Link here (cheaper than Amazon)
Insect observation vials: Link here.
Topographic map cards: Link here.
Flags: Link here.
Map puzzle: Link here.
Globe: Link here.
Map of Africa: Link here.
A2 Light panel; its not an actual light table but it works the same way!: Link here.
Sand tray; you don’t need an entire sand table to play with kinetic sand, a sand tray is good enough: Link here.
Clear writing sand tray: Link here.
Double-sided writing lap whiteboard: Link here.
Magnetic lined blackboard sheet; you can paste it over a white-board you currently have or any other magnetic surfaces, or simply use double-sided tape. Great for writing alphabets without having an actual bulky black or white board: Link here.
Magnetic whiteboard sheets: Link here.
Montessori display/learning trays: Link here.
Montessori child-height shelves (I used ezbuy’s Buy-for-me service to get these shipped to SG): Link here. The total cost for one 120cm shelf and one 80cm shelf, including shipping came up to around $70. The quality isn’t the best plus assembly was tough so if you aren’t the handy sort who can assemble something without instructions, don’t get it. We found it okay plus my husband is really good with his hands so he was able to assemble it for me. An alternative is getting an Ikea Billy shelf.
Montessori child-height shelves/cabinets/bookshelf: Link here.
Wooden painting jars, for water-color painting: Link here.
Water-color/drawing paper: Link here.
Many have asked where we gotten our art supplies. We usually buy them from Amazon or preschool supplies websites from USA. I found a cheaper alternative in Taobao which sells almost the same or similar arts and crafts supplies for little ones. Link here. Art Friend in SG also supplies cheap and good quality art supplies and you can see the ones I picked out here and here.
Bulk craft supplies: Link here.
Yayoi Kusuma dot stickers: Link here.
Multi-layered puzzles (or George Luck puzzles): Link here.
Wooden calendar board: Link here.
I don’t suggest buying everything. Typically if you have something for letters and something for numbers, its generally good enough. Plus, are you planning to be actively involved? If not, then just get those for fun like the sand trays.
This is the reason my kids don’t need screen-time and can occupy themselves while I cook, do chores etc. It also matters how you set up your learning aids. If they are stashed away in containers and boxes that can’t be seen, kids aren’t going to ask for them. They should be displayed, or you can rotate them out to be displayed, which will invite curiosity to play when they see it.