I was looking for a Wobbel board for Otto, my four-year-old. Wobbel boards are expensive so I decided to take a look at the cheaper Kmart version in person. While visiting Kmart I noticed many new things in stock including a kitchen helper. Who knew Kmart has kitchen helpers? They also have two new Montessori books in, so it's time for me to write another Kmart Montessori at home post!!
There are compromises, the kitchen helper isn't height-adjustable, the balance board has a weight limit of 70kg (Wobbel's capacity is 200kg). But they get the job done and they are affordable. I haven't tried all of these products so please do your due diligence and research first. BTW I bought the Kmart balance board and Otto loves it!
These items are not Montessori materials and were not designed by Maria Montessori. These are the types of materials that are suitable for Montessori homes and may be favoured by Montessori parents. Let's take a look.
Above are The Montessori Book of Coordination and Life Skills and The Montessori Book of Words and Numbers. These are activity type books with lots of ideas for practical life, literacy and numeracy activities. You can read my review of these two books here (my review is of older editions).
Yes, Kmart has an affordable kitchen helper! The Stand Up Stool has a fantastic price and fantastic reviews. Although it is not height adjustable. The manufacturer suggests from 18 months+. In store I found this in the baby section, near the baby gates, pottys and play mats.
I'm still thinking about getting the Wooden Climbing Frame. You can see it being used here. It's similar to the Pikler triangle and children would like it for climbing but also for hiding, pop a blanket over the top for lots of creative, imaginative play.
Need a ramp or slide for the Climbing Frame? I can't find the Climbing Ramp and Slide online but there were plenty in stock at my local store.
The Wooden Hiding Cube is another piece to help develop gross motor skills.
We love the Wooden Balance Board. The weight capacity is 70kg so keep it for young children, older teens and adults may be too heavy.
If we had unlimited space I would have got this too. The Balance Boat and Rocker looks like a ton of fun and it's good for developing coordination, strength and balance.
This would be a nice way to contain a small Lego collection, especially for young children. My four-year-old has just a few favourite Lego pieces and this would be perfect. Construction Display Table with Storage.
Reversible Padded Play & Floor Mat - my local store had one mat unwrapped and it felt nice to touch, soft but still firm enough to use for tummy time. This is the first playmat in any big store that I've really liked. Would work well in an infant movement area or work area for an older child.
Life Cycle Wooden Discs for learning the life cycle of an apple, frog, sunflower and butterfly. We've had these for six months+ and they are still as good as new.
Dotted White Board - could be useful for children learning to write using lines.
Sand Funnel Tower - for use at a sand/water table, in the bath or for sensory play.
Modelling Clay Tubs. I wish I bought these. The price is so good and I love the colour options. For developing fine motor skills and strengthening the hands, preparing the hands for writing.
Wooden Post Box - for pretend, imaginative play. It would be fun to buy two, for siblings to post letters to each other, encourage them to write (or scribble, draw, make marks) to each other and promote early literacy development.
Wooden Light and Colour Blocks - this set has 14 blocks. We use similar transparent blocks all the time. For colour exploration and open-ended block play.
Wooden Sand Combs - perfect for making patterns in the sand at the beach, sandpit or in a sand/water table.
Don't forget the baskets at Kmart, they have lots of options.
Concertina Wall Hooks. We've used this style of hooks previously in our toddler entryway to provide hanging space for backpacks, hats and coats. Remember to make them child accessible and hang at the child's height.
Kids Large Wooden Gardening Tools for practical life in the garden.
Various beach tools including Metal Buckets (1.6L) - this is a fantastic size for children, Metal Beach Tools, Beach Spade - the pastel colours are good. These are called beach tools (and are located in-store with the beach toys) but I can't see why they can't be used in the garden too. The buckets are useful for all sorts of practical life, like washing and cleaning activities.
3 Piece Table & Chair Set Natural. This is a lovely neutral set for a child's room or work area.
My First Bathroom Vanity. Could be used in a care-of-self area (washing face, brushing hair, applying lotion).
Light Up Dress Up Rack - I would use this as a child accessible wardrobe. I love the mirror on the side.
There are two items that I couldn't find in store but are available online. Above is the Kids Velvet Chair. This would work well in a child's reading area or in the bedroom.
Children's Wooden Gardening Station.
Kmart stock varies from store to store, I always use the website first to see if the items I want are at my local store. Kmart's website has reviews on most products, which are always worth checking out before ordering.
Unfortunately, Kmart has a lot of early literacy materials that would be useful if they were not all in uppercase/capital letters. Montessori schools and parents teach lower case letters (phonetically) first, as do many other schools and parents, and I hope Kmart reconsider this approach.
Other Kmart, Montessori at home posts include: