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Montessori Materials for Preschool: The Essentials

If you're looking for a good list of Montessori preschool materials, you've come to the right place.

The materials used in the Montessori early childhood environment are very unlike the learning materials you'll find in a traditional preschool program.

This leaves parents and caregivers with a lot of questions about what these special items are and what purpose they serve in educating a child.

Today, I'm going to go over a bit about what is taught in a Montessori preschool, why special learning tools are required for this method, and what Montessori materials are used in the preschool environment.

Whether you're sending your child to a Montessori preschool and you're interested in learning about what materials they'll be using or you're planning on doing Montessori homeschooling and need a list of materials to accompany the curriculum you've prepared, this will be a helpful post.

So, let's get right to it.

pinterest image of collage of montessori preschool materials.

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What is taught in Montessori preschool?

The benefits of Montessori education are well documented and the methods of teaching are very unique, as are the areas of learning.

In a Montessori preschool, children are taught everything from academics to manners and everything in between.

Children start by engaging in activities that help them develop control of their movements. This helps them function better in the classroom environment.

They will learn lessons on how to interact respectfully with staff and classmates, as well as the classroom itself and its contents.

Children in the Montessori preschool environment will also learn to read, write, and perform the 4 math operations.

They will also learn some geography, science, and culture.

All of the learning happens through the senses, in an order that makes sense, and at the child's own pace.

What materials are used in the Montessori method of learning?

A wide variety of materials are used in this method of learning.

Some of the materials are designed to refine a specific sense in preparation for future learning, as well as life.

For example, The Sound Cylinders help refine a child's auditory sense.

They will use this sense in life when they listen to music and play instruments and in learning when they are given instructions by a teacher or need to tune out noise to concentrate on a task.

All of the preschool materials they use early on in Montessori heavily involve the senses.

As a child moves through the years of the primary program, they will need less and less sensory-heavy learning.

The foundation for a deep understanding of math, language, & science has already been laid at a certain point.

You'll see, for example, a 3.5-year-old counting with Golden Beads. Across the room, a 5.5-year-old might be performing a math equation primarily on paper.

The 5.5-year-old in this example has already gone through sensory-heavy material like Sandpaper Numbers, Hanging Frames, and Golden Beads.

Thanks to his work with those materials, he has a deep understanding of the quantity represented in written numbers.

You can apply this logic to other Montessori materials.

Onto the list of materials.

List of Montessori materials for preschool

Below is a list of Montessori materials that are used in the preschool years.

It should be noted that children in a proper Montessori school will be in a mixed-age classroom.

So, there is no real “preschool” per se in the way preschools are in the United States, where children are generally divided into classrooms labeled PK-3 and PK-4.

A Montessori primary (preschool) classroom might have children as young as 2.5 years old up to 6 years old.

I've included a link in each heading for a list of materials and activities for that specific learning area for those who are interested in learning more about each topic.

Most of the links in the lists will lead you to posts where I explain the lesson and give shopping links, while others are shopping links themselves.

Practical Life

Practical Life Activities are normal activities of daily living. These activities include things like sweeping, pouring water, and preparing food.

Young children enjoy these activities and gain strength, coordination, and concentration by engaging in them.

Because these activities center around real-life experiences, there aren't many Practical Life Materials that need to be purchased for a proper Montessori education.

In addition to the materials I'm listing below, small furniture is a needed “material” for a proper Montessori preschool environment.

It's not possible to write a full list of Montessori preschool materials for Practical Life because the list of activity ideas is endless. You likely get the idea, though.


Some of the language materials listed below will need to be purchased, but many of the cards, as well as the pink, blue, and green materials, can be made on a computer, printed out, and laminated.

There are also plenty of sellers on Teacher Pay Teachers with quality printables.

Culture & Science

Montessori preschool materials for culture and science that need to be bought are limited to just a handful.

In a Montessori classroom, you'll see everything below and more that the guide and students have prepared themselves, though.

If you're homeschooling, almost everything on this list can be made yourself, like the Land & Water Froms and Sandpaper Globe.

The Puzzle Maps are helpful and children enjoy them.

Most who homeschool Montessori-style would argue that the Flag Stand and map can be replaced with homemade flag pins on a regular map.


The majority of Montessori preschool materials in this section can be made at home with some woodworking tools and paint. Just be sure to get the dimensions correct.

Even materials like the Touch Tablets & Boards, Thermic & Baric Tablets, and Sound Cylinders can be made at home.


If you are homeschooling and have a set budget for your Montessori preschool materials, you'll notice that a large portion will be going toward math materials.

Some of these, like the Number Rods, Numbers & Counters, Sandpaper Numbers, and Spindle Boxes can be made with some effort and know-how at home, but most people will want to purchase the rest of the materials.

Of course, Montessori teachers are so thoughtful and creative that you'll see a variation in materials from classroom to classroom.

All Montessori preschools will have a standard set of materials, though.

What is your child's favorite Montessori material?

Leave a comment below and let us know about it.

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