Loving Slow Toys - Tumi Ishi for Toddlers!

Toddler Tumi ishi at How we Montessori balancing blocks wooden

In today's society, we are inundated with 'fast' toys. Fast toys are so prevalent in mass-market retailers it's easy to forget that we have other options. Fast toys are busy toys that are often cheaply made and of poor quality. They do a lot and may even hold the child's attention but for a short period of time. Slow toys are made from quality materials, may be handmade, they do very little but require the child to use their skills and imagination to use them and they are made to last. Tumi Ishi definitely fall into the slow toys category. 

I believe the origin of these polyhedric stacking stones is in the Japanese practice of piling stones. Each block is different in size and shape, just as stones are in nature. Each block is a polyhedron, a solid with many (poly) faces (-hedron).

"Tumi ishi, literally meaning piled rocks, is a children's toy derived from the simple creativity that a child possesses to turn everyday objects into enthralling games." - Spoon & Tango: Japanese Art, Design & Culture.

Toddler Tumi ishi at How we Montessori balancing blocks wooden

These are ideal for building towers, landscapes and for piling up as the child has to consider the best way to place each block, resulting in a ton of problem-solving and wrist rotation. These are fantastic for promoting creativity, resilience, and persistence (as the towers continually fall over and the child rebuilds) and for developing concentration and coordination. The key with toddlers is making sure the blocks are nice and big and the block faces are large enough for the toddler to successfully stack. The blocks are smooth and tactile. They are lovely to touch and to have in our home.

Toddler Tumi ishi at How we Montessori balancing blocks wooden

Beautiful.

Toddler Tumi ishi at How we Montessori balancing blocks wooden

Open-ended, made from natural materials, and developmentally appropriate. They can also be used for counting and can also be used with other building blocks. For a toddler I like to present these in a basket on a tray. I find the tray helps to provide a very flat surface for the child if they choose to use them on soft flooring like on carpet or a rug. 

The highest tower Otto has built is five blocks, it's harder than it looks! While these are more challenging than standard cube building blocks they allow the child to approach the building process in a completely new way. I recommend these for children who love building and are ready for a challenge.

Toddler Tumi ishi at How we Montessori balancing blocks wooden

Resources: We are using the Tumi Ishi Wood Balancing Stones in the Large Size, size 2-4 inches (natural timber) and Solid Wood Stacking Boulders  (c/o Lovevery).

Otto is working on the Chowki and behind him you can see the Wooden Infant Shelves (c/o Sprout). Otto is using the Ikea Ostbit Bamboo Tray (25.33cm).

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