Budget Montessori: How It Started
Social media introduces us to so many new ideas including recipes, life hacks, and even parenting styles. I came across several mothers on TikTok who follow Montessori principles as a way to guide their parenting. I took to this concept immediately but quickly became hesitant when I searched for Montessori toys on Amazon and saw the prices. My husband works full-time and I am a stay-at-home mom, so we are on a budget. While some companies have Montessori-inspired toys that occasionally go on sale, there were specific toys I wanted for my daughter that these companies don’t offer. My search began for less expensive alternatives and I started posting my ideas on my TikTok to share with others who are in the same boat as us!
If you’re interested in introducing Montessori methods in your household without breaking the bank, try some of these tips!
Tips for Budget-Friendly Montessori Practices
Search for a toy that you’re interested in without actually searching the toy.
I know you’re probably giving me a weird look right now, but bear with me. Say you’ve been wanting one of those baby “tissue boxes” that your child can pull different fabrics out of but, holy cow, they’re $20+ online! My favorite alternative to this that I’ve shown on my TikTok is buying a wooden, unfinished tissue box cover for around $12. You can then add in colorful scarves, washcloths, dishrags, or whatever else you have on hand for your baby to pull out. Bonus: the lid slides out making it easy for you to create your own cardboard lids and use it as a coin drop box, ball drop box, or peg drop box! Those boxes go for $40+ on Amazon!
Be on the lookout for every day items that look like the Montessori toy.
My most viral TikTok is where I show wooden floating shelves that I purchased from Five Below. I mounted the shelves on my wall in a way that works as a ball tracker. These ball trackers are sold on Amazon for $40+ but my way can be done for around $10!
Remember to follow your child’s interests and find toys accordingly.
This is why I don’t typically recommend buying into Montessori-inspired subscription boxes. They are good quality and aesthetically pleasing but there is a chance your child won’t immediately be interested in the toys and, sometimes, never be interested. Plus, your child may be advanced in some areas and have already mastered a toy or skill that’s included in the box.
Involve your child in household activities and self-care practices.
This doesn’t cost you anything monetarily but will cost you time because you’ll have to move slower and be patient. Brush your teeth together and brush slowly so your child can observe. Cook together and show your child how to stir and pour. Water plants together. Clean together.
Embrace thrift stores, secondhand items, and DIY.
I have found SO many awesome Montessori-inspired toys at my local thrift store for just a few dollars. Also, Facebook Marketplace to buy and sell! If your child is no longer interested in something, sell it and use the money to put toward a new item that they will love! Or, get creative and make what your looking for using materials you already have!
A Final Few Thoughts
I have received so many comments on my TikToks from mothers who stated they felt “guilty” for not buying certain toys due to the prices. Please, please don’t fall into the social media misrepresentation of what Montessori is! Not everything has to be aesthetically pleasing and not everything has to be wood. Focus on the principles of Montessori along with following your child’s interests. Be kind to yourself - you’re doing great!
About the Author:
Kay Kline creates content on her TikTok that focuses on inexpensive alternatives to Montessori-inspired toys and activities. Kay and her husband follow Montessori practices with their 14-month-old daughter. In addition to caring for her family and creating TikToks, Kay is taking classes to obtain her doctorate degree and become a Family Nurse Practitioner.