Did you know Maria Montessori was one of the first advocates for nature-based play? She was so convinced of the importance of nature in learning, that she advocated for children to have unrestricted access to the outdoors. It’s fair to say that in her ideal world, there would be no barrier between the indoor and outdoor learning space.
Of course one of the biggest benefits to outdoor play is the opportunity for physical development. Running, climbing, jumping, rolling - children are free to use their bodies in a way that’s often restricted inside.
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There’s also something to be said for the opportunities of other skill development, such as the fine motor skills required to pick a dandelion or collect pebbles.
Beyond that, though, the very act of being outside has countless benefits. From the fresh air and Vitamin D to the limitless opportunity for learning, it’s no wonder Dr. Montessori felt children should be outside as much as possible.
While going on nature walks or hikes through a forest are great - especially for those doing Montessori on a budget - there are also many Montessori-inspired outdoor toys that are great to add to your collection. Because let’s face it - sometimes we just want to hang out in the backyard, lemonade in hand, and relax while the children learn and play.
Outdoor Sports Fun
This is such a cute and sturdy little soccer set, perfect for toddlers to practice their hand-foot coordination!
Another fun set for our littlest athletes, this golf set is sure to be a hit with your little ones. Your kids will enjoy wheeling around the “golf bag” while practicing their hand-eye coordination as they try to hit the ball into one of the oversized holes.
This t-ball set has an adjustable height so it can adapt as your child grows. It’s great for developing motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and of course their batting skills!
This set is great for kids ages 1.5 to 5 years old. Not only is it a fun toy to have on hand for developing coordination and motor skills, but invite friends over and it’s a great social opportunity, too!
Climbing and Jumping
If you really want to help your little one burn off some energy, this next two suggestions are ones you’ll absolutely want to check out!
I love this Young Explorers Adventurer Climber playset. If your child loves to climb, this playset is a must! It’s built to stand the test of time, so it’s one your children are sure to enjoy for years to come.
I also really like this 7ft trampoline from Clevr. It comes with a safety enclosure net and spring pad, so your kids can jump around safely. It’s easy to assemble and is great for kids ages 3-10.
You’ll be the most popular house in the neighborhood with this dome climber play center. It’s completely free-standing, so no need to worry about it needing to be weighed down. Plus the opportunities for play are endless - from climbing over it to building forts under it, this one is sure to be a favorite of all ages.
Whether your little one is practicing their scoop/pour skills in the sandbox or helping you in the garden, this next set of toys are great to have on hand:
And speaking of sandboxes, I absolutely love this one from Step2 -
Don’t forget to pick up some play sand! I love this brand because it’s allergy free and 100% safe play sand (no quartz, asbestos, wheat, or nut risks) -
The play sand mentioned above is also great to use in water tables, such as one of these:
And what kid wouldn’t love to have this in their backyard! And it’s incredibly affordable, which makes it all the better. Not only will they work those arm muscles, but this sandbox excavator is great for gross motor skill development.
This one's a classic for a reason! Personally I’ve never met a kid who didn’t love the sit ‘n spin. Not only is it a great way to burn some energy, but it’s easy to carry for use both inside and out.
Let’s not forget the always important balance bike! This is a pedal-free beginner bike that allows toddlers to focus on balance and coordination. Believe me when I say that this will make teaching your little ones to ride an actual bike so much easier!
Lots of outdoor Montessori-inspired ideas to choose from and you really can’t go wrong with any of those that we’ve shared today. What matters most of all is letting your children be outside as much as possible. When we encourage children to explore the outdoors, we’re directly supporting their learning in a way that forced indoor lessons ever could. Have fun and enjoy that sunshine!