This week I’d like to introduce you to the talented Nicole Kavanaugh. I first found Nicole when I was looking for resources to share with the parents at our school about how to set up their homes in a Montessori friendly way. I loved how she had her bathroom set up to help her little ones be as independent as possible. Check out all the areas of her home for some great inspiration!
Hi! I’m Nicole from The Kavanaugh Report, where I blog about using Montessori principles in my home with my 3.5 year old son and my newborn daughter. I also host a tot school co-op and share the DIY work I create.
When people hear that we use Montessori ideas in our home, I’m pretty sure they think it requires expensive customized equipment and work. While this can be true in a school setting (although there are plenty of DIY options there too), using Montessori at home can be a lot different.
In fact, in my opinion, it’s all about making your home accessible to your children to foster independence within a nurturing prepared environment. But, how do you do this on a budget? Use what you have and thrift stores, thrift stores, thrift stores!
For me, one of the best and easiest places to cheaply incorporate Montessori is with my children’s toys. I do this using trays, baskets, and bowls. Instead of giant toy bins, try placing a few selected toys on a shelf in a specific container. These containers can be purchased at local thrift stores very cheaply. All of the ones I have used in this post cost me $2 or less. When looking for stuff at thrift keep a few things in mind:
Size — you want something that your child can easily pick up and move. If it’s too small nothing will fit on it and you won’t use it. If it’s too big, your child won’t use it because it won’t be comfortable for them.
Material — natural materials like wood, wicker, metal or glass are preferred in Montessori environments. I try to use a mix of all these materials in all areas of our home.
Cost — Children can be rough, and grow out of things quickly out of things. Find things for cheap is important!
Supply — never pay too much for any of these things, many can be found again! Check multiple thrift stores, garage sales and clearance sections for the best deals.
Here are a few ideas on how I use each type container and what I look for when I’m buying them!
Trays — These are my favorite and probably the most versatile. All sorts of sizes can be used. Larger trays are great for art or puzzles. Smaller trays are perfect for keeping smaller toys organized. They can also be used to make bathroom and food prep items accessible.
When looking for trays, try to find ones with handles. I find those are the easiest to use. Also, avoid trays that are too big or heavy. Wicker trays can be a great alternative since they are lighter, but I find stuff slides around more on those trays.
Baskets — Baskets are great for loose pieces of all sizes! We use them for stuffed animals, legos, wooden blocks and more. We also use baskets so my son has easy access to his socks and undies. They are also perfect for a baby toy. Since they are lightweight, babies can pull them from the shelf without hurting themselves and they provide a good way for babies to learn to place something back in its place.
Baskets are the easiest thing for me to find cheaply. But, I’ve learned there are different qualities of baskets. Look for ones that are sturdy and aren’t cracked or broken. Craft stores often have new baskets on sale or clearance too. I like to have a variety of these from tiny to large, there’s always a use for these.
Wooden Bowls — I use these for small work or organizing a larger tray. I love these little bowls because they hold up the best and are often the prettiest. But, keep them small, I’ve bought plenty of larger ones that sit around unused because they are just too heavy for kids to use. However, these are the ones I will pay the most money for — they tend to be in the lowest supply and the nicest to look at.
Thank you Trillium Montessori for letting me share these tips. I hope they help you incorporate a little Montessori into your home without spending tons of money! For more ideas on how to use Montessori principles in your home, stop by The Kavanaugh Report, or follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!
Where to Find Supplies
Many of the things you will need to make your home more Montessori and child friendly can be found easily at places like the Dollar Store, Target, and Walmart. You can also find a great selection of tools at For Small Hands, a company founded by a Montessori teacher.
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Seemi holds a Master's degree in education, and an AMS Early Childhood credential. She has twenty years of experience in Montessori as a teacher, school administrator, and school owner. Seemi is the founder of TrilliumMontessori.org.