This is a very interesting and practical book for parents, practitioners and anyone else working with or caring for young children. It is aimed at children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years and has a total of 70 play ideas, all based upon the Montessori method of early learning. The key principle of Montessori was that children should learn through experience and the activities in this book certainly conform to this theory.
Each activity is clearly labelled with the age of the child/children that it is suitable for. Every chapter offers a development timeline to indicate what children of a particular age group can do. Each of the six chapters covers a different set of activities for example, Exploring Senses, Co-ordination, Arts and Crafts, Games and Movement etc.
What I did find the most useful were the descriptions of the way the activities were set up and how they could be extended etc. In many cases it was rather like reading a recipe; there was a list of materials that were required and what to do with these and then a numbered list of how you use these with the children. In addition there is a box that tells you how the activity can be extended and also a Tip Box of points to note and where necessary a Safety Point if there is a potential hazard.
I was most impressed with this format, as it made it very easy for parents, practitioners and anyone else using the material. I found the book very useful as it makes the day to day business of trying to keep children amused (whilst at the same time ensuring that they are learning something) a very easy task.
Child’s Play: Montessori games and activities for your baby and toddler
New Holland, London (2008)