A while back I wrote about toy rotation and how it can keep your home from being overrun by play materials. With all the options for young children, it can be difficult to keep things simple! But lots of toys (especially the more open-ended ones) can be used or presented in a variety of ways. This idea (that there is more than one way to use a material) is a huge part of Montessori curriculum (and is especially true for Sensorial materials). What it means for you and your child is that you get several toys in one.
Take this shape sorting and sequencing puzzle. There's a lot going on - three different solids, each a different color, with varying heights and removable blocks. As it is sold and packaged, this material is great for a preschool aged child. But here are five other ways to present this toy:
Voilà! This has just become a toy that can be purchased when your child is a baby and be used again and again until she goes off to kindergarten - saving you money, space, and reinforcing creativity and ingenuity for your little one.
PS. If you have this toy, there are even more ideas for how to use it on the underside of the base. Good ol' Melissa & Doug!