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Every year, I always make sure that a few gifts that my preschooler receives are open ended educational toys that we can use in our homeschool preschool. I send out the list to family members so that they can take their pick. My family members are usually grateful for the list since it saves them time for planning. These gifts also bring new ideas for our homeschool curriculum next year.
Our homeschool preschool incorporates Waldorf concepts into a Montessori curriculum. This just means that we use a lot of open ended toys, nature objects, puppets and imaginative play sets in our Montessori curriculum as well.
This post contains a lot of toys that we had success using and some toys that my son will be receiving this year.
Our Pinterest Boards: Montessori Education and Waldorf Education contains many amazing ideas on how to use these open ended toys in activities.
Check our Posts What is Montessori Education, What is Waldorf Education.
Our Pinterest Board: Toys for Peace contains other wonderful open ended toy ideas for your Christmas shopping list.
10 Waldorf Inspired Toys for Homeschool Preschool
1) Mega Bloks
Mega Bloks are very easy to handle and extremely versatile. A one year old child can handle them and stack them. A two year old can begin to construct simple structures. A three year old can build elaborate structures and follow patterns. A four year old can count the blocks and compare measurements. If there’s one toy that will last in our household, it is this one.
2) Grimm’s Rainbow Stackers
Grimm’s Rainbow Stackers has many uses for the preschooler. The curve shaped nested stackers can help to build fine motor skills, gross motor skills and spatial awareness. They can be used to learn color, shape, numbers and patterns. Check our Pinterest Boards for ideas of how to use them.
3) Learning Resources Plastic Pattern Blocks
Learning about patterns and shapes are a great way to teach the preschooler about following instructions. Pattern cards can be easily printed online. The preschooler can match the shape to the pattern cards. As a free play activity, the preschooler can create his/her own patterns.
4) Melissa & Doug Hi-Rise Wooden Dollhouse with 15 pcs Furniture – Garage and Working Elevator
A doll house is almost a must in any household. We practice gender neutral parenting at our house, my son has grown to love playing with dolls as well as trains and cars. This dollhouse is very versatile. It comes with furniture. My son loves the working elevator to the garage. I love the fact that it doesn’t promote the pink or blue color. It’s probably one of the best gender neutral dollhouses around.
5) LEGO Education Duplo World People Set
I’m actually quite appalled at the number of multi-cultural doll brands that are available these days. However, LEGO makes these world people that are great for little fingers to hold and play with. These world people also wear uniforms, so they can fit easily into car play, dollhouse play and construction site play. We use them as characters in our imaginative play sets.
6) Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Board Waldorf Kinderboard
A balance board is not only amazing for developing a preschooler’s balance and climbing skills, it is also great as a part of an imaginative play structure. My son can literally play with the board for an hour at a time. Usually, some dolls or animals are involved, he’s either walking them up and down the balance board or he’s climbing the board himself.
7) Ganowo Magic Snake Cube Mini 6 Pack – 24 Blocks Twist Puzzle Collection
These snake cubes are a great introduction to pattern play. They are bendable to create all kinds of different shapes. It’s a great way to start preschoolers on visualizing shapes in space. Visualizing shapes in space is the first step in visualizing more abstract concepts for math and science.
8) Guide Craft Wooden Tabletop Puppet Theater
This is a solid play theater that will spark your child’s imagination. Role play is central to the development of imaginative play in a preschooler. Imaginative play can help the child learn emotions and resolve feelings that are too big to handle. Imaginative play can inspire empathy and lay the foundation of elementary school learning.
9) JOYIN Animal Friends Deluxe Kids Hand Puppets with Working Mouth (Pack of 6) for Imaginative Play
Hand puppets are a must in the Puppet Theater. However, we use them as a part of our bedtime routine when we talk about our day. Hand puppets can be a very interactive and engaging way to model behavior and discuss emotions with your child. As part of our bedtime routine, we use them to talk about parts of the day that is difficult, such as a tantrum, a fight or a disappointment. I also use hand puppets to chase my son around the house in a game of “don’t tickle me, mama”.
Check here for 10 Ways to Teach Preschoolers Gratitude During Thanksgiving.
10) Guide Craft Learning Tower
This learning tower will double as a puppet theater, a gross motor climbing toy and also a kitchen stool. If you work a lot in the kitchen with a preschooler, you will know that containing them is difficult. This learning tower contains mine well enough that I don’t have to worry about my son getting on the kitchen counter. We usually work on sensory activity or water transfer while we are in the kitchen. This learning tower made it all possible.
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