Many homeschoolers think it would be fun to use themes but feel overwhelmed at the thought. How often do the shelves need to be changed? Does everything need to be changed? What if there are activities on the shelves that my child still loves? What if it isn’t the perfect theme for my child?
You don’t need to worry about it. I have some helpful tips here for preparing themed Montessori shelves for a variety of ages from toddlers through early elementary.
Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links (at no cost to you).
How to Choose a Theme
You can use your child’s current interest as your theme, or you can use almost any theme as long as you individualize the activities for your child. Sometimes your child can help you choose the theme.
You’ll find more ideas about why themes are helpful either all the time or at certain times of the year in my post on “Should You Use Unit Studies?” That post also contains a very long list of all my unit studies (themed posts).
I have tips on creating unit studies for a variety of ages in my post on “How to Create a Unit Study.”
How Often to Change Your Theme
I like to keep themes for toddlers and preschoolers for a month. You’ll see that I change my themed shelves once a month (for me it’s for my blog post on the 15th of the month). I’ll sometimes rotate activities during the month, but I don’t change the entire theme (unless it’s a holiday-related theme that needed to end with the holiday). If you prefer, you can change your theme weekly or every other week. It’s really up to you and the needs of your child or children. For elementary-age children, I tend to change materials more often while keeping a larger theme for a month to six weeks (sort of like themes within themes).
What if your child loves an activity from the last theme? It’s fine to keep it for awhile longer. I often keep favorite materials out longer. I just move them to another shelf. If your child isn’t in love with your present theme, you might want to look at the activities. Are they too easy or too difficult? If it really is the theme that’s the problem, you can start your next theme earlier and have it last longer. The most important thing is to individualize your activities for your child(ren).
You can have your theme in one area like I do (although I’ll have certain of my themed activities on other shelves if they don’t all fit on one shelving unit). Or you might want to have some themed activities on each of your shelves without one centralized themed shelf. Either way is fine. It really depends on what works best for you and your family.
Our Themed Montessori Shelves from the Beginning
Although I didn’t have a designated themed shelf before January 2017, I’ve had a themed post using free printables on the 15th of each month since December 2011. And, as I said, you’ll find all my themed posts in my “Should You Use Unit Studies?” post, which I update monthly.
You can see all my monthly themes using free printables in my post with more than six years worth of free printables and Montessori-inspired activities.
Our Themed Montessori Shelves Throughout the Year
Here are our themed shelves from 2017 (Updated in December 2017). Note: In case you’re wondering I purchased our shelves from Amazon.
Our Themed Montessori Shelves from 2018
To keep this post from going on forever, I’ll just add the links rather than links and photo each month. Each link will go to the blog post with the shelves and activities for my monthly theme.
- Free Panda Printables and Montessori-Inspired Panda Activities
- Free Nest Printables and Montessori-Inspired Nest Activities
How to Set up Montessori Spaces at Home
See “How to Create a Montessori-Friendly Home” for ideas for a number of levels. Here are some of my main home environment posts here:
- How to Prepare a Montessori Baby Room at Home
- How to Prepare a Montessori Baby-Toddler Space at Home
- How to Prepare a Montessori Toddler Environment at Home
- Preparing Montessori Toddler Spaces at Home
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 2 Year Old
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 2½ Year Old
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 3 Year Old
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 3½ Year Old
- How to Prepare Montessori Shelves for a 4 Year Old
- How to Prepare a Montessori Home Environment for Afterschooling
- Create an Attractive Home Environment from Montessori at Home!
- How to Set Up a Montessori Homeschool Classroom
- How to Prepare Themed Montessori Shelves
This post is part of the 12 Months of Montessori Series 2017!
12 Months of Montessori Series – Homeschool or Montessori Work Areas (Homeschool Rooms)
Check the posts below for a variety of awesome ideas for homeschool classrooms and kid spaces!
- How to Set Up a Reading Nook Kids Love | Natural Beach Living
- Awesome Homeschool Room – Pictures & Printable Homeschool Planner | The Natural Homeschool
- How to Prepare Themed Montessori Shelves | Living Montessori Now
- Montessori Inspired Homeschool Space | Mama’s Happy Hive
- Montessori Home — Our Art Area | The Kavanaugh Report
- How I Organize our Montessori-Inspired Learning Space | The Pinay Homeschooler
How are you coming along with your classroom or Montessori space?
Learn more about Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy!
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