Our Educational Materials Library is filled with child-tested, Montessori inspired early childhood educational toys and furniture. We have spent a lot of time exploring different vendors, toy-makers, shops, and designers--all in pursuit of the best early childhood educational materials for you to take home and enjoy with your young learner. With over 300+ items in our library, we can confidently say that we know a good toy when we see it! We've composed a list of our seven favorite early childhood toy and furniture brands.
When we first brainstormed materials to include in our toy library, Julia eagerly pushed for the inclusion of gross-motor items and child-size furniture. Why are we so passionate about including these items in our Educational Materials Library? Because we want to include items that are perhaps out of a typical family's furniture and toy budget! We love the idea of having expensive furniture available to families at an affordable price with no pressure of having to love an item that might not be that interesting to your child.
Sprout is a Provo, UT based child wooden furniture maker. We found them through researching small child furniture companies, and we stumbled across Sprout on Instagram (which makes sense, because their materials are definitely Instagram-worthy). What we love about Sprout is their intuitive designs and natural materials. Most of their designs are made from birch wood (a beautiful, lighter wood) and uses an inter-locking design to avoid too many nails or screws--a big deal for something that will be used by young children. We ordered over 10 different pieces of furniture from Sprout to include in our Family Resource Center space and our Educational Materials Library, and we especially love their Pikler Triangle, Flip Chairs, and the Sous Chef Toddler Towers.
As Maria Montessori once said, "The child must live in an environment of beauty." Piccalio, another Montessori inspired wooden toy and furniture maker, took this quote to heart. Their designs are simplistic, beautiful, and made from natural materials. Our Educational Materials Library includes their Mini Stepping Stones and Balance Beam, which are perfect, small gross motor items for indoor play spaces. We love that their designs are created with space in mind, which allows families to easily store their gross motor items when not in use. The Kaleidoscope Learning team has their eye on Piccalio's foldable Chef's Helper Tower!
Melissa & Doug
A number of the brands highlighted in this article are not affordable for the average household (and we are very aware of this). We purposely include items in our library that might be outside the typical family's budget because we believe families should still have access to these materials in a low-cost, low-pressure way (i.e. borrowing these items from the Educational Materials Library). However, this is not necessarily the case with the brand Melissa & Doug.
Melissa & Doug, a brand almost every family knows, creates quality early childhood and elementary age children's toys that are great and engaging, but not totally unreasonable with price. Their items can be found at Target, online on Amazon, or even can be found at a local thrift store (if you're lucky). Their items are usually made from wood and are developmentally friendly. Our Educational Materials Library is filled with dozens of Melissa & Doug items, including wooden vehicles, large floor puzzles, and a solar system set.
If you are a parent of a young builder, you have probably seen Magna-Tiles before. Magna-Tiles are translucent, plastic building blocks that have magnetic edges, making it easy to build buildings, cars, structures, and more! The reason why we love Magna-Tiles is because all their pieces, no matter which set you get, work together. They are pretty indestructible, making it a great choice for the kids who love to build large structures, and then knock them down!
If you saw our recent Instagram posts, you know that we just acquired our first Loog guitar! Loog is a trendy guitar manufacturer that specializes in designing legitimate guitar instruments for young children. The Mini Acoustic Guitar, which features three strings, is designed for children ages 3 to 6 years old. We like Loog because they go above and beyond the typical instrument maker: they provide flashcards, Zoom courses, and an interactive phone app to make it easy for your young learner to pick up a musical instrument!
Make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook! Our next family symposium is on Tuesday, September 20th at 6:00pm at the Family Resource Center. RSVP here to reserve your spot today!