If you walk into a Montessori classroom, you’ll notice that most of the materials are wooden. Similarly, almost all of the toys designed for babies and toddlers in a Montessori home environment are wooden. There are many reasons for this—developmental, aesthetic, environmental, and health-related, among others.
Why Are Montessori Toys Wooden?
Wooden toys promote sensorial exploration
Wood contains valuable information for your young child. It warms to the touch and cools in the air – unlike plastic – which stays roughly the same temperature. The feel and weight also change as the size of the object changes, because of its density. So your little one will experience this shift in perspective and dimension in a tactile way and absorb what this means as they explore toys of varying shape and size. There is much sensorial value in playing with wooden toys, and this information will add to their developmental experience as they explore the world around them.
Wooden toys are beautiful.
The grain adds natural patterns to the toys, and your baby will absorb this organic effect. Even when they are painted, the texture of the wood adds depth and nuance to the color in a way that colored plastic does not. Dr. Maria Montessori believed in giving young children beautiful toys. Because they are forming themselves, and because they have a mind that absorbs their environment without a filter, they will construct their intelligence and perspective from whatever surrounds them. Truly beautiful toys will enhance this developmental experience. Wood is beautiful in a way that human-made materials never will be, and by giving your little one this beauty, you are feeding their young mind with the finest materials.
Wooden toys come directly from natural materials.
They put your baby in touch with their natural world, which is enduring and always relevant. By connecting them to their environment this way, you encourage a connection to the qualities of the earth. While it is important to understand society and all the wonders humans have created, it is also of the utmost importance that children connect to their natural world. Having this relationship will inspire their creativity and ground them in history and the foundation of innovation—because all inventions ultimately come from the earth.
Wooden toys are highly durable.
They can withstand years of play, even generations! The Montessori curriculum is classic and enduring — and also intended for repetition and deep exploration. It is important and necessary for the toys to be able to withstand a lot of play. Birchwood, in particular, is especially hard and fine-grained. It is likely to last through many years and many children without falling apart or breaking.
Wooden toys are better for the environment.
Dr. Montessori had a deep respect for the earth. The materials she chose for her curriculum for all ages of children reflect this sentiment. Because wood is more durable, it can produce an overall smaller negative impact on the environment, simply because it is meant to last longer, and when a wooden toy does find its way into a landfill, it will biodegrade. Additionally, companies can choose to use wood that is sustainably produced, in order to reduce the total negative effect on the environment. Monti Kids is one such company, only using wood that is Forest Stewardship Council certified.
Wood is a natural substance with no health issues.
Monti Kids takes extra care in ensuring that even the varnish used on the finished wooden toys is water-based and non-toxic, so that it has a neutral impact on your baby’s health. Additionally, when toys are made of very hardwood, like Birchwood, which Monti Kids uses, they are unlikely to splinter or break. Which means that your baby can play without concern of injury. Dr. Montessori believed that your baby should be able to explore their toys with all their senses. And having completely safe toys ensures that they can play without reservation.
Wooden toys are the best kind of toys you can buy for your young baby. They are beautiful, natural, and healthy for your baby and the environment.