Regular readers already know how much I love Montessori Services and why. I’ve been purchasing materials from them since long before I started this blog, and will continue to for as long as I work with children. I’m always happy to support them, not only because they have so many items that are useful for me as a teacher and a parent, but also because they’re a mom-owned company based right here in the US.
Montessori Services specializes in tools for the Practical Life area of the Montessori primary classroom, with many things that are useful for the home (and for other ages) as well. While Practical Life is their specialty, they also offer ready made activities and individual components for Sensorial, Math, Language, Science, and Art activities. I don’t go anywhere else for things like trays, rugs, or mats. They truly are an incredible resource for preparing the child’s environment.
Recently, Montessori Services was kind enough to send along an activity I’ve had on my wishlist for quite some time: Assembling a Flashlight. I’ve had it on our Practical Life shelf for the past couple of weeks and Annabelle absolutely loves it. I can’t wait until her classmates start so they can enjoy it, too. The activity comes with a medium-sized flashlight, which is a perfect size for a preschooler’s hands, and two AA batteries. Of course flashlights of various sizes can be bought at many stores, but what’s so special about this activity is the gorgeous, wooden tray with compartments that are perfectly sized for the individual parts of the flashlight, including the batteries, and are oriented from left to right. The tray’s tapered edges make it easy for the child to pick up, carry, and work with.
Flashlights seem to be appealing to young children in any setting, and the gorgeous set-up of this complete activity adds to that natural appeal. Screwing the top and bottom of the flashlight on and off again provides a wonderful, enjoyable fine motor activity. It’s also true that few activities offer so clear a control of error as the flashlight, which will only turn on if the batteries have been inserted correctly and the top and bottom completely reattached. The challenge of getting the batteries turned the right way and everything put together perfectly, is one most children are perfectly willing to take on for the joy of seeing the light at the end. For Annabelle, at least, it inspired pretty intense focus and concentration, and has been interesting enough to be repeated again and again.
As with the bolt boards, the tray for this work makes it a stand-alone activity that’s ready for your shelves as soon as you take it out of the box. You don’t need to purchase or prepare anything at all. The tray looks gorgeous on the shelf and is easy for the child to carry. It’s sturdy and heavy enough that they are unlikely to spill its contents easily, and given how nice it feels in my hands, I imagine it’s a pleasure for them to carry as well. The sections for each piece of the disassembled flashlight are perfectly shaped to provide a bit of a control of error in the layout of the activity, and deep enough that the pieces don’t slide around. If something should ever happen to your flashlight, or a part should go missing, Montessori Services sells the flashlight alone as well, so you can easily order a replacement that will fit your tray just as well.
The Assembling a Flashlight Activity (item number v37 in the Montessori Services catalog) sells for $39.95 plus shipping. This includes the flashlight with batteries and the beautiful, solid maple tray. The flashlight itself, without tray, is available for $10.50.
Readers with US or Canada mailing addresses can enter to win a $50 gift certificate to Montessori Services using the rafflecopter widget below. Your gift certificate can be used to purchase your very own Assembling a Flashlight Activity, or anything else in the Montessori Services catalog. Good luck!
Disclaimer: I received an Assembling a Flashlight Activity free of charge for the purpose of this review. I also receive a commission when you shop through my affiliate links at Montessori Services or For Small Hands. I’ve been using their products myself since before I knew what an affiliate account was, so this is just a perk to help cover the costs of this blog – all opinions are truly my own. I only share products I think are relevant to you and will enrich your life as they have mine. Read more about my policies on reviews and giveaways on the about page.