I always talk about how you can build the perfect learning environment with mainly home sourced material. But if there is one brand worth spending money on, it's TickiT Education. Simply because … they really got it right!
All their resources support children’s fundamental need for active learning. This need they have to be hands-on and freely manipulate. Maria Montessori felt strongly that the hand and the head must develop in harmony. The hand reports to the brain and the brain guides the hand. This results in the early development of the intellect and this is what all TickiT material achieves to do through their simplicity.
TickiT provides materials that you will use throughout the first 6 years of your child’s life at least. Why? Because they are open ended, which is an advantage not only for the child but also for the parent.
For the child, it means there is no ‘correct answer’. The child is doing the work not the toy. The child is free to manipulate, create and come up with their own plan. For the parent, it means endless ways to extend and modify your child’s learning using this material. So many possibilities!
Best of all, open ended means easy to store and rotate. It’s all loose parts so you can make your own arrangements. Only have a few out if you feel the need to reduce to help your child settle or to fit a smaller space, add more if you feel they need the extra challenge or even combine 2 sets. Categorise and store them in a see-through bag so you can see what you’ve got in storage, or just take a few in your changing bag for long journey, holiday, or trip to the pub.
Endless possibilities as your child grows!
The Rainbow Wooden Discs and the Rainbow Wooden Rings are my top examples and one of my personal favourites for the first years of life. I have been using them repeatedly as much with my daughter as with my workshops and been recommending them to all the families I have worked with so far.
They are beautiful, uncomplicated, completely safe (so ideal for independent play) lovely to feel and actually make you want to play with them yourself! This is a very important point many parents don’t realise. If you love your children’s play material yourself, it will make such a difference. If you love the look and feel of the material, so will they. That’s how we should feel about all resources we offer our children. Maria Montessori said “Play is the work of the child” It gives us an indication of how important all these ‘toys’ really are.
The Rainbow Wooden Discs in particular, have so much versatility. Whether you use them as tools for the baby as a first hand-eye coordination exercise, for the toddler to feel and concretely compare quantities in their hand or on a scale, transfer them with spoons or tongs or in and out of boxes, use them for sorting, in colours or combined with other sets like the wooden rings and even later for more advanced concrete maths like additions.
A worry parents often have is what if it’s not enough? Is it enough colour? Would it be more interesting with flashing lights and loud sounds? Trust me.. No! This kind of material will only provide short time entertainment and will likely quickly end in the charity shop. Less is definitely more.
Think of it as these simple resources covering the child’s overall development all at once. I’ll prove this again with another example, the TickiT Rainbow Block Set (another one of my favourites). They cover language with their colours and shapes, maths when used as loose quantities, early geometry with their basic shapes, creativity with free building, early sensory with the visual senses or simply as an early hand eye coordination or crawling tool with the baby… It’s all there!
They are dream tools for the Montessori environment, not only because they enable you to provide order, which little ones need so much, but even more importantly they enable you to follow your child’s individual and current needs, giving you a chance to use your observation and make decisions accordingly. What I also love is that the rainbow blocks are the perfect activity for teamwork, like playing with siblings or friends, ideal for a school setting too, but equally perfect for independent play.
It’s hard to only choose a few but I lastly want to mention my obsession for the Rainbow Wooden Nuts & Bolts. Another favourite for those crucial first 3 years. A fun and purposeful practical life exercise toddlers often love to persevere with, helping make their little hands strong, develop independence, perseverance and that feeling of achievement, contributing so much to little one’s confidence and self-esteem. I also love the fact they offer the colours & shapes matching, so lots of language work while keeping little hands busy. The joy to learn through play and active learning.
All these resources being so versatile, show that TickiT materials perfectly support children’s play and support the varying schemas. A very important part of early learning. Schemas are patterns of behaviour children like to repeat through their play, until they understand the process correctly. You may notice these fascinations that come and go in your child’s play. Whether it is for things that are contained (moving in and out of boxes), rolling, rotation, lining up or moving through the air (to name a few) - these are all schemas and all responsible for strengthening their intellect.
A child will continue to be fascinated as they discover their world. So whether it's the transfer of the flat stones in and out of containers, lining up the blocks in a repetitive pattern or choosing to turn the bolts for rotation. Your only role is to provide the right material, offer it in an appealing way and then simply stand back and observe.
There is nothing you can’t do with these amazing resources!
Find out more about How2Montessori and discover fantastic Montessori inspired play ideas here:
You can find How2Montessori's TickiT favourite resources for a Montessori setting here: