In an ideal world, your little one would automatically love tasteful, high-quality educational toys and turn up her nose at the blindingly bright, deafeningly loud plastic monstrosities most kids love. In reality, most parents struggle to get their babies and toddlers interested in classic wooden toys — but maybe that's just because they don't know how. Now, even brand new moms and dads can master the art of educational play thanks to the Monti Kids Montessori subscription box. The only at-home Montessori program for birth to age 3, the toy curriculum comes with detailed email and video instructions — as well as access to a community of Montessori experts — so moms and dads get plenty of ideas and support.
Inspired by the knowledge that 85 percent of a child's brain is formed by age 3, Zahra Kassam founded Monti Kids as a way to "provide an easy way for parents, like herself, to create a stimulating, yet safe, nursery for their babies," according to a press release. Whereas only 4 percent of all toys in the US are marked safe for children under 3 (!), the press release continued, all of the toys in the Monti Kids program are made from "sustainably forested wood or food-grade silicone, and non-toxic inks." (Which is good, because educational or not, you know those toys are going in a lot of little mouths.)
The subscription service is a split up into eight "levels" of "safe, age-appropriate toys delivered quarterly to your home, along with guides for parents including short videos and articles on how to introduce and use the materials with your baby; you'll also get that aforementioned free access to "online classes, one-on-one support and a private community moderated by child development experts & internationally certified Montessori educators."
Each level represents a particular age range, according to the website, spanning 2.5 and 7 months; for example, Level 1 is for 0 to 3.5 month old babies; Level 8 is for 29 to 36 months. You're billed $297 for each level, with levels shipping every three months, though you can cancel at any time (order on the Monti Kids website).
If spending almost 300 bucks on a box of toys every three months seems pricey, it's worth noting that you're actually paying for an at-home Montessori program, so you're getting more for your money than some sustainably-made blocks. Not familiar with the Montessori method? As the American Montessori Society explained it, the Montessori Method is a child-centered educational approach with its roots in the scientific observations of Dr. Maria Montessori (Italy's first female physician). Over a century old, the Montessori Method is based on a model that builds "a child's learning abilities through physical, emotional, social, and cognitive learning." If you've ever met a devoted Montessori parent, you know that some families feel very strongly about the benefits of Montessori and plan on sticking with it for as long as possible. But the nice thing about the Monti Kids program is that you can try it out for a while in a no-pressure environment (i.e., your home) before deciding that you want to sign your kid up for a Montessori preschool, for example.
Either way, your little one should definitely develop very sophisticated taste in toys.