Montessori teaching guides can make exercises seem stilted, so we wanted to show you a real life Knobless Cylinder exercise that includes mat rolling at the end. Notice how the mat doesn't really get rolled so neatly, but the child is trying very hard (despite being distracted by our camera and lights!)
Dressing Frames with toddler-friendly Velcro, large buttons, or zippers allow your child to work with these great materials before they are ready to use the smaller materials in the standard Dressing Frame sets.
The wooden frames are easy to put together, and you can use an old picture frame if you make sure it has no rough edges or splinters.
The Velcro Dressing Frame shown here is really nice for younger toddlers and older infants. You can put it together with two or three tabs of cloth that have Velcro on the underside.
The nice thing about Dressing Frames is that they can be placed on a mat or small table easily, allowing your child to be in a good ergonomic position when he or she works with the material. The dressing cubes that I have seen are a bit harder to use for younger children who can't zip or button materials that are facing in an awkward direction.
Thanks to everyone who wrote in about infant material! Yes, we know that the equipment is expensive, so we have been compiling good DIY suggestions to share with everyone.
Sue Eustis, director of the Apple Ridge Montessori School in Catonsville, Maryland, exhorts that "... all of the Montessori equipment can be made at home!"
Sue suggests button matching for older children for whom choking is no longer a concern. Look for pairs of identical buttons in different colors that can be used for matching in the same way that you use the Colored Tablets.
Once your child has worked with this basic matching exercise, you can vary the sizes of the buttons to expand upon the exercise.
For younger children, look for three pairs of large coat buttons in red, blue, and yellow. These buttons should be bigger than your child's mouth, so that there is no chance of them slipping in.