Here our collection of Winter books. I try to find books that don't mention Santa…
Every single week in my classes, parents ask me "where did you buy that toy?" and "where can I find that material?". So I thought it would be a good idea to list my favourite shops to purchase Montessori-inspired toys and specific Montessori materials in the UK.
I will also emphasize that Maria Montessori didn't design toys. She designed specific learning material for the classroom. Based on her observations of the children, she didn't see the need for toys in the classroom.
At home however, it would be almost impossible not to give toys to your children. By following some simple principles, you can choose toys that are in line with the Montessori education.
You can also read this blog post about how to choose Montessori-friendly toys.
Here are my favourite Montessori suppliers and toy shops.
A monthly subscription box of Montessori materials through your Letterbox!
In October 2018, we launched the first Montessori Subscription box in the UK. We now ship across Europe and also worldwide for our one-off boxes.
The box contains our exclusive learning cards, materials and some crafts to learn in a very concrete way.
Each topic is reality-based and in line with the Montessori principles.
Yes, I will include charity shops in this article! I have found so many great toys, books and items for practical life activities in second-hand shops! Actually, I would say that half of the toys we have come from a charity shop. Read more about how to hunt for Montessori toys and material in thrift stores and charity shops here.
This shop is a real Alibaba cave for Montessori parents! They have branded toys for half the price! These brands are generally well suited to the Montessori lifestyle although they are a far stretch from specific Montessori material. Some examples of brands you can find there: Melissa & Doug, Green toys (plastic toys made of recycled milk bottles - perfect for the bath), Schleich animals which are the most realistic animal figurines perfect for all the Montessori language activities and so many great books. I often see all the classic wooden toys for babies and toddlers such as shape sorters, rattles and so on. In addition, they often have the brand Joie that does lovely child-sized kitchen accessories such as a crinkle cutter, egg slicer, lemon squeezer and so on. And you can also find many baskets and trays.
From their website:
Absorbent Minds Ltd. is a family-run business offering excellent personal service and value-for-money Montessori educational equipment to education providers around the world. Their range includes products unique to Absorbent Minds. They supply Nienhuis Montessori premium products in addition to their own brand, and a Discount Montessori outlet brand.
This family company was founded in 2004 is run by husband and wife team Leon and Fiona Moon, with help and distractions from their three children. Fiona is a qualified teacher having over 10 years' teaching experience in mainstream primary schools and a Montessori preschool. She graduated from Bristol University and studied education at the University of the West of England and at the Montessori Centre International in London.
This website is primarily aimed at schools and teachers and you will have to add the VAT on the price shown on the website. The threshold to reach the Free shipping is quite high.
Fiona is very approachable and very friendly. I have ordered much materials from their website, mainly from the middle and discount range. They are still in good order after 6 years!
This is a small family-owned business. It is run by a homeschooling family and due to a small turnover, they don't have to charge for VAT so it's cheaper than other shops. I really like that when you buy from them, you support a family in their home education journey. Every little helps!
Nuccia originally studied 3D Design before travelling through the Caribbean and America, working in Montessori schools and completing her Montessori Diploma. After running several Montessori Nurseries she established her own school in the New Forest. Montessori Design by Nuccia was started out of a love for making Montessori equipment and after she sold her school.
I love how well crafted her material is. She has a talent to source child size accessories. It is a great website to source specific furniture and accessories to promote your child's independence.
Montessori Design by Nuccia: handwashing station
I also love this woodworking set. I am planning to buy one for my own son when I go to the Montessori Conference in London as she is an exhibitor.
She is also the only one in the UK who makes a Topponcino: A Topponcino Pillow is used to provide the newborn baby with security when being passed between adults and when transferring from the warmth of arms into bed. It is made with thin layers of cotton fleece held in calico and covered in a removable sleeve making a comfy flexible pillow which is slightly longer and twice as wide as a newborn baby. It is a bit like a transitional object!
This company was set up by a husband and wife who have come to passionately love organic clothing and cloth nappies in the past year. 11 months ago they welcomed their first child into the world and their lives changed forever.
From their website: Before, in all honesty, we didn't buy organic and beyond the normal recycling we didn't make much of an effort to care about the environment. Our perspective has been forever changed by our little one, the need for worrying about the quality of what we wear on our skin and put in our mouths, as well as the environmental impact of it all, has taken a forefront in our minds. That is why we have started this little shop and we hope that you feel as passionately about it as we do.
They have now added a "Montessori" category on their website and I am working with them to bring more affordable Montessori friendly toys to the UK. We have selected many toys that fit the Montessori principles and there are more toys and specific material coming in the next months. I am thrilled to help them grow their Montessori inspired range!
Enter MONTE at checkout for 10% off.
I know many of you are reluctant to purchase off of the giant Amazon. There are some good finds and some not so good! I recommend this retailer called "Amazing child" on Amazon (who hasn't disappointed me so far). You can find many toy brands that are compatible with the Montessori education on Amazon.
Schleich animals are really realistic and many Montessori families prefer these to a more sustainable wooden version as you can use Schleich in water or mud. We have a huge collection built up over 10 years! As I intend to keep these toys forever, I believe they are quite sustainable and good value for money. My children still play with them almost daily and I use them in many Montessori activities.
You can buy from their website. Over the years, I found some in Charity shops and many garden centres stock them too.
If you don't want to make the Mobiles yourself, you can purchase them on Etsy. Personally, I have no experience with shopping on Etsy so if you have a personal recommendation, let me know and I will be happy to include it.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of Montessori suppliers! If you have some personal recommendations, let me know in a comment!
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Carine Robin is a a mother of 2 children. She raises them the Montessori way. Originally from Belgium where she worked as a child psychologist for several years, Carine spent 6 years in Ireland before settling in in the UK. She qualified as a Montessori teacher 10 years ago and has since worked as Montessori teacher and preschool manager. She founded Montessori-family in 2011 to provide opportunities for parents to discover Montessori. She believes that it’s truly possible to implement the Montessori ideas at home to make your house and family life welcoming to your child, her needs and her thrive for independence. She offers parents & babies classes, toddlers playgroups; Montessori home designs, one to one support, parenting classes and online courses.
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