What makes a toy “Reggio” inspired?
If you’re trying to create a Reggio Emilia inspired environment at home, it is much easier than you would think. There are two main principles for doing so.
Unlike the pre-prepared activities used in Montessori learning, Reggio Emilia environments are completely open ended. The child chooses what to play with and how. You can create small projects, or purposeful activities, but within that activity, the child directs their own learning. Our stacking toys, be it the natural colored rainbow or the colorful nesting bowls, are a perfect example of an open ended toy. They can be stacked in several configurations, used to prop other toys, tunnels for play, marble runs, and more! There is no “right way” to play.
Reflective of the real world:
Reggio materials seek to reflect reality. They can be colorful or neutral. The approach does encourage natural items, so avoid plastic "kiddy" toys. For example, when trying to set up a Reggio environment, opt for a wooden play kitchen over plastic. Fabric play food, and metal dishes. Try not to give the plastic “kid” version of things, but the items and materials they would find in the real world like glass, metal, wood, fabric. The materials in a Reggio environment don't necessarily have to be toys either. Cardboard tubes, rocks, or pinecones can serve as playthings. A bowl of pebbles, buttons, seashells, or fuzzy pompoms can be incorporated into other aspects of play. So the possibilities are endless! We keep both neutral and colored toys available in the shop so you are free to choose how your child’s play space looks. We pride ourselves on the use of natural materials to inspire children’s curiosity, and reflect the natural world.
When setting up a Reggio Emilia inspired environment, remember there is no “right way” to play. Anything that captures your attention is likely to do the same for your child, so feel free to incorporate whatever you like into their play space. Leaving room for your child to explore at their own pace is the only rule!