Would you like to make Montessori toys for your children? This tutorial will show you how to build a Montessori tangram puzzle and other toys in just a few hours. These toys help your children learn about the world they inhabit, as well as develop their independence while they are playing.
One of the main principles of the Montessori method is to let the child grow and develop at their own pace. In order to achieve this, children are encouraged to participate in a number of activities, involving the manipulation of objects, repetition, or work, but in such a way that they are able to learn things for themselves and build their autonomy.
Montessori toys therefore have the following characteristics:
- They require few materials and in small quantities
- They are visually appealing in order to stimulate the child’s curiosity
- They must be appropriate to the child’s age, neither too simple nor too complicated
In the following tutorial, we will show you a number of Montessori activities for your children to engage with at home. It will barely take you a few hours to make these toys. And what’s more, you can get the little ones to help you in this small DIY project!
Tools and materials
- Mitre box and hand saw
- Bow saw for marquetry
- Combination pliers
- Framing square
- 1 strip of pine wood measuring 100×2.2×2.2 cm, 1 strip measuring 100×4.4×4.4 cm, 1 wooden board measuring 20x20x1.8 cm and 1 MDF board measuring 12x12x0.3 cm
- Wooden discs
- Wood screw eye bolts
- Number stencils
- Grab adhesive
- Suction hooks
- Water-based paint
Cost, time and difficulty
If you already have the necessary tools, the cost of materials is less than 20 €. This is clearly well below the sale price of just one of these toys.
In addition, the level of difficulty is easy. You will only need a few hand tools, which you probably already have in your toolbox. It is therefore the perfect project for those of you starting out in the DIY world.
Each of these toys can be built in a couple of hours, and what’s more, most of this time is taken by painting the different pieces.
How to make a Montessori tangram puzzle step by step
A tangram puzzle will help your children learn how to calculate areas and perimeters, understand the Pythagorean Theorem, etc., in a fun and creative way.
The aim of this game is to create different figures with all of its pieces. Children will thus be studying mathematics through play, as they will learn to distinguish different geometric flat shapes, and to calculate their angle, area and perimeter.
In order to build this toy, all you have to do is follow the steps below.
1. Build the puzzle
This puzzle comprises the following pieces:
- 2 triangles, with sides measuring 8,5 cm
- 1 triangle, with sides measuring 5.5 cm
- 2 triangles, with sides measuring 4 cm
- 1 square, with sides measuring 4 cm
- 1 rhomboid parallelogram, with sides measuring 6 cm, 2 angles of 45º and 2 angles of 135º
First, using the framing square draw with a pencil the pieces listed above on the MDF board measuring 12×12 cm. Next, cut the pieces with the bow saw.
In the following step, paint each of the pieces with bright colours that are appealing to children. We recommend that you use eco-friendly water-based paint suitable for toys (in compliance with the Toy Safety Standard EN 71-3).
2. Build the base
The wooden base has a double use:
- On the one hand it helps children learn to store their toys once they are finished playing with them
- If you turn it upside down, it can be used as a base on which to arrange the puzzle pieces and create different figures
In order to build it, follow these steps:
- Cut 2 strips measuring 16 cm long and 2.2 wide, as well as another 2 measuring 12 cm long and 2.2 cm wide
- Join them with grab adhesive to the square wooden base, with sides measuring 20 cm, making sure that you leave a couple of centimetres on each side
After following these steps, your children will be able to create numerous figures with their Montessori tangram puzzle, and then store the pieces once they are finished playing.
Learning numbers with wooden discs
A very fun way for children to learn numbers and arrange them in ascending or descending order, is by playing with wooden discs with numbers painted on. The child will not only learn to distinguish each of the numbers, but they will also be able to manipulate the discs in order to figure out how they are meant to be positioned.
Making this toy is so easy! All you need to do is put a wood screw eye bolt in each of the discs. We recommend that you use pliers to make this easier. Next you can use stencils to paint the numbers on the discs.
And lastly, fix a series of suction hooks on the wall or on a door, such that the child can hang the discs on them, as well as change they position of the hooks.
Geometric shapes and colours with wooden cubes
This toy is perfect for the smallest ones in the house, as they will learn to recognise different geometric shapes and at the same time distinguish different colours. All that you need to do is follow these steps:
- Using the hand saw and the mitre box, cut a wooden strip measuring 4.4 cm wide into cubes with sides measuring 4.4 cm.
- In each of the sides of the cubes paint different geometric shapes (squares, circles, triangles…). All the sides of one cube will have the same geometric shape painted on, just with different colours.
Which one of these three Montessori toys are you going to build first? The Montessori tangram puzzle and the other two toys are each ideal for different ages, so you could build each of them as your children get older. If you would like to make more toys and activities for your children to play with, or to give away as gifts, you can’t miss the following tutorials:
- Montessori Method Bookcase
- Build a DIY Connect 4
- Create a Lego table
- Generate light with a potato
- Fun articles for children
Visit ManoMano for all your DIY, home & gardening project needs!