10 Best Montessori toys in Charity shops

Montessori materials and wooden toys can be quite expensive. Therefore, shopping in charity shops and second hand sale is a money saver.

A few tips when you shop in Charity shops:

  • go often as the stock can change quickly
  • explore new towns, especially the posh areas if you can (like Nothing Hills in London 😉 ) to find the best quality toys,
  • End of July is a great time to shop in charity shops for educational supplies: it’s when the teachers sort their classroom (potentially at the end of August too).
  • November/December is another great time as well as January (before and after Christmas)
  • Try to go without your children as they will make you buy that flashy plastic “horrible” toy.  You have been warned!
  • Look for toys but also for books and practical life material (small jugs, tongs, trays, cute bowls, baskets…)
  • If you like to have seasonal activities, find what you need in charity shops such as heart shapes ice cube tray, small pumpkin shape bowls, tongs in shape of a crab, Christmas tree shape box.
  • Brilliant for cultural items, I cannot tell the number of “holidays” souvenirs waiting for you in the charity shops! (china tea set, boomerang from Australia, mini Eiffel tower…).

Now here my 10 best toys and Montessori material in charity shops and what you are sure to find most of the time!

  1. Baby toys such as shape sorting box, peg board, hammering set, push along and pull along toy, wooden peg puzzles. There is something like that every week!
  2. Constructions toys such as wooden blocks, duplo, legos, other kind of constructive toys.
  3. Puzzles. I don’t remember buying new puzzle! I always go to the charity shops and when my children are not interested in completing it again, it goes back to the charity shop (maximum £3 for a puzzle, bargain!)
  4. Orchard toys. This UK brand is nearly always available in charity shops. I found older versions of most games (so old fashion pictures but the game is the same) such as Shopping game, Ladybird counting game, Alphabet lotto and many more. I believe 3/4 of our Orchard toys comes from Charity shops. Also lots of matching games, and other educational games (especially letters and counting games!)
  5. Plastic animals included many Schleich ones! I was shuffed to find 5 big Schleich animals in one of my last trips! I bought the lot for £5!
  6. Books of course! You can find most classic children’s books in charity shops. I found many of our Julia Donaldson and Eric Carle Books there. Also the Usborne books are always in good supply and I was able to source many educational Usborne books in charity shops (books cost between 25p to £2)
  7. Items for treasure baskets and heuristic play, in no particular order: kitchen paper holder, mug holders, big baskets, napkin rings, massage tools, lavender pillow, big wooden and metallic bangles, wooden eggs, kitchen tools, cute little boxes, purses!
  8. Wooden musical instruments. I built up my collection that way: small tambourine, shakers, chinese tambourines, exotic musical instruments too!
  9. Trays, sorting boxes, boxes with lids, purses.
  10. Small jugs. I bought 3 in charity shops (two with lids, one was sadly broken so I was happy to find a second one, and a 2 glass wines jug).
  11. Bonus 😉 Costumes, and dress up items such as scarves, pieces of fabrics, wigs, fun sunglasses, necklaces, ties, hats and more!

Now, a collection of what I have found recently!


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About the Author Carine Robin

Carine Robin has a Master’s Degree in Psychology, specialising in child psychology. She worked for various social services in her home country of Belgium, before moving to Ireland in 2006. It was there that she started working in a nursery and discovered Montessori education. After having her first child, her passion for the philosophy grew and she qualified as a Montessori teacher and managed a preschool. Carine has been running a Montessori based parents and toddler group and coaching families for 9 years. She now also runs an online group for over 14000 parents, sharing her knowledge and passion with people from around the world. In 2018, Carine realised families needed more support and launched her popular online parenting courses and monthly subscription boxes, full of personally designed Montessori materials.

  • Some lovely toy ideas here. I’m lucky in that Jamie has always preferred wooden toys to plastic ones. He’s a massive fan of puzzles too. Love the upcycling idea – buy from charity shops then take back to charity shops 🙂

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