The learning toys from Mama May I awaken creativity for the whole family. We recently received a bundle of the handmade wooden games for my 18 month old. These toys are the perfect tools to teach her basic skills about colors, puzzles, stacking, sorting, and assembling. That’s just the beginning of the lessons that Mama May I inspires!
From left to right, we’ve been playing with the Make A Match Farm Edition for toddlers, Bambino Bamboozles, and Little People Rainbow World. Hannah learns more about each toy every time she plays with the sets. I’m constantly amazed at the connections she makes between games, songs, sign language, and physical skills.
With toys like these, it’s easy to satisfy her growing hunger for knowledge.
I like to let Hannah guide our playtime as much as possible. I’ll demonstrate skills I would like her to learn, offer assistance when needed, and provide gentle encouragement, too. Her cues show me what she would like to learn and when I oblige, she enthusiastically takes charge of the lesson. Here’s how our first experience with the Farm Animal tiles panned out:
Hannah noticed the new bag of toys immediately and set out to explore the contents. Her small hands fumbled with the bag until she looked at me and signed “please.” I opened it a little bit so that she could finish the task and she began pulling out tiles and setting them on the table. She quickly recognized that the tiles had animal pictures and sang her favorite verse of Old McDonald, “Ee-i-ee-i=o.” I pointed to a few animals and named them while trying to coax the sounds from Hannah. She offered “awooo” for the dog and “baa” for the sheep. She began to notice that there were two dogs, so I tried to show her more of the pairs. We turned the coins back and forth, moved them around the table, and then returned them to the bag.
A set like this offers open ended play opportunities for many ages. It’s great for identifying animals and sounds. Even swapping your question from “What does the cow say?” to “Who says Moo?” presents a new challenge for a child. Older children will enjoy moving the tiles around on a farm learning mat and imagining the job of the farmer or playing a memory game. Mama May I suggests this activity:
Need to put them to bed for the evening? Tuck them into their drawstring pouch for easy put-away. Or have you little one plop them into an empty tissue box – a game sure to inspire your little one’s growing fine motor skills with a rewarding clink. Clink. Clink.
The Bambino Bamboozles hone fine motor skills and stack in surprising ways. This set is small, so I like to keep it in the diaper bag as a quick-fix to keep Hannah’s attention when we’re out of the house. How many ways do you think the set can go?
When I see rainbow toys, I immediately think of Mama May I. So many of the items in the shop feature classic colors. These sets are hand painted with child-safe paints, although Mama May I discourages allowing children to put these toys in the mouth. Sets like these are perfect for boys and girls. Children can learn colorful lessons while practicing balancing the tools. Flip everything upside down and start over for a new game or teach older children about complementary colors while mixing and matching the pairs. I love to watch Hannah explore games like this, but I am ever mindful of her tendency to put toys into her mouth. Some children are just wired this way, so having a fixed task like placing an object into a cup can help distract from that act. She announced her first color shortly after we played with a set: yellow!
Montessori learning can start at birth. There are items in the shop that feature bold geometric patterns in black and white to captivate young babies. Hannah and I love to play with the Tiny Tickler that I bought for Audrey this summer. I’ll wave the colorful ring around while tickling here and there on the two girls. Hannah giggles and says “Tick tick tick” while she plays along. This is one of the first toys she reaches for in her box of baby gear. Do you think that she likes it so much for the tickling sensation or for the enjoyment of playing with her sister?
I credit Jessica, the artistic owner behind Mama May I, as the inspiration behind teaching my girls Waldorf and Montessori lessons. Each toy in Mama May I has a vivid description of a lesson that you can share with your children. Let her guide you into a vibrant playroom filled with a million opportunities to learn.
GIVEAWAY and COUPON CODE DETAILS
Mama May I is offering Coupon Code ECOIN for 15% off your purchase through 12/14/12. Click here to shop now. You can also win a set of Rainbow People by commenting on this post! Simply click over to www.mamamayishop.com and let us know which toy would be perfect for your little people in the comments below.
You can earn two extra entries:
1. ‘Like’ Mama May I on Facebook, then come back and leave a comment letting us know!
2. ‘Like’ Eco Incognito on Facebook, then come back and leave a comment letting us know!
Contest is open to US residents only. We cannot guarantee prize delivery prior to Christmas. Winners will be announced 12/14/12 and contacted via email.
Disclosure: I received a sample of each of the toys in the first photo in exchange for this blog post. This is a shop I’m happy to support through marketing because it is owned by my very talented friend. I’ve purchased toys for the girls on occasion and plan to continue that trend as they get older. All thoughts and opinions are my own.