We've gathered a list of our favorite early learning tools. We are always finding new resources, so check back often. Some of the links are affiliate links, but some are not. They are all tools we've had personal experiences with and enjoy.
Montessori at Home by John Bowman has become my go-to guide for homeschooling my kiddos. We fit perfectly into the 3 to 6 year age range appropriate for this book. There are over 300 learning materials and activities as well as in-depth discussion of Montessori why and how. It truly is an approachable breakdown of all you need to successfully Montessori at home. You can find more details of the book at the Montessori at Home website. I also use other books by John Bowman: Teach Your Preschooler to Read & Write and Teach Your 3-7 Year Old Math.
Our family is pretty obsessed with Safari Ltd Toobs®. You can't go wrong with Safari Ltd figurines for early learning, but I love buying the Toobs because they come with a whole set of themed figurines. We often do unit studies and the Toobs are the perfect companion to whatever topic we explore. Plus, they are super affordable. The kiddos always go for the Toobs first when we get out our materials. The details are amazing. Recently we used the Human Organs Toob during our introduction to anatomy study. We've also used the In the Sky Toob for our flight study and the Musical Instruments Toob for a music study within the last three months. I've got my eye on the Ancient Egypt Toob for our current history lessons.
Sandpaper letters are an important tool for early language learning. Kiddos feel the shape and formation of letters through touch. It's amazing how quickly they catch on to the correct movement for letter formation. We have this set of lower and uppercase letters although we use the lowercase set most. I've seen tutorials on how to make your own sandpaper letters; give it a google. We use sandpaper numbers as well.
When your kiddo is ready to move onto larger numbers, the hundred board can be such a useful and versatile tool. Having a piece for each number that they can physically move helps cement concepts like counting, skip counting, missing numbers, addition, subtraction, money values, and even multiplication. We keep ours handy at all times so the kiddos can use it to work on any questions that might come up. There are several different kinds of hundred boards you can get. We like our traditional Montessori hundred board, but have also used a hundreds pocket chart to play missing number games.
Yoga might not be your first thought when it comes to early learning, but we've found it to be an extremely useful tool for our kiddos. Besides getting a workout and building strength, they are learning to listen, follow directions, and to be calm (sometimes.) Yoga can be a way to ignite focus at the beginning of the day, or to wind down at the end of the day. We often incorporate between learning activities to clear our minds. You don't need much for Yoga: a mat, comfortable clothes and a great training video. Check out our Yoga post for more of our recommendations or download our Yoga Nomenclature cards.
Math story books are a great way to introduce number and math concepts to early learners. NumberTales has been a wonderful addition to our math story book library. The books are engaging and cover numbers 1 to 10 as well as 30, 100, skip counting, simple addition and subtraction. It's so rewarding when we read these books and my 3 year old recognizes the numbers and counts along with the story.
A good set of ABC books that keeps kiddos captivated is a must for early learning. For our kids, it's the AlphaTales series. I've tried other popular book sets, but these always win. They are full size, and provide a fun story with lots of practice for letter sounds. They take turns figuring out the hide-and-seek picture page and we all chant the rhyming letter poem at the end. The set is a little pricey, but the quality is excellent and makes sense for us because they are being shared by multiple kids. See our other alphabet book recommendations here.
Magna-Tiles never get old. They are the one toy that stays put in our monthly rotation. There are so many possibilities for learning with Magna-Tiles. We have used them to make magnetic masterpieces, to build pyramids, on our light table, for 3-D art, to create furniture for small creatures, for tea party plates, and of course to build cities. I cannot recommend them enough.
I have mentioned before that we love puzzles. They are a big part of our homeschool AND family life. I believe they teach kiddos determination, focus, and patience. You can almost feel their confidence grow as they put in that last piece. This Melissa & Doug Wooden Shape Sorting Clock is a favorite at our house. We've had it for years and all of the kids enjoy it. The babe works hard to sort the pieces into the correct slot, the three year old loves to name the shapes, colors and numbers, and the five year old is now using it to practice telling time.