When Zahra Kassam first became a mother, she noticed there was a serious education gap for kids under the age of three. According to experts, 85% of brain development takes place before your child turns three. In the US, school doesn’t usually begin until kids enter preschool at four, or kindergarten at five. That’s why Kassam, an internationally-certified Montessori teacher, felt she needed to do something to bridge the gap and founded Monti Kids.
And yes, you might have seen her on the ABC TV series Shark Tank with Monti Kids.
The subscription program, which delivers toys and instructions to your doorstep every three months, is designed to help children from infants to 36-months-old develop skills like the ones needed to learn math, literacy and more.
Parentology writer Lauren Wellbank was lucky enough to test the level 8 box (perfect for toddlers as old as 36 months) with her two- and four-year-old daughters. Here are her thoughts.
There’s nothing that delights my children more than a giant box, so the Monti Kids program was a hit from the moment it showed up on our porch. The three of us sat on the floor to pull out all seven boxes included in the package, while ooh-ing and ahh-ing as we looked at each one. Their excitement quickly turned to frustration, when I told them we were only opening one at a time. This was admittedly my mistake for letting them be there at the initial unveiling because you’re supposed to space out the introduction of toys over a three-month time span.
Bonus: All of the boxes are 100 percent recyclable according to Monti Kids, making the packaging sustainable and earth-friendly. Something I looked up as soon as I saw just how much packaging was included with each shipment.
Before we could start to play with the first toy I had to watch a very short video that showed me how to introduce the toy to my girls. It was clear, concise and I’m not going to lie, very relaxing. It gave simple instructions on the correct way for kids to use the toy and included whether it was better suited for floor or tabletop use.
There’s no question these are high-quality toys. Each piece was constructed with solid wood and had a brightly-colored, high-gloss finish. The products are all made out of non-toxic materials and meet, or exceed, US-safety standards. Which means they’re safe for younger siblings who may gain more enjoyment from these toys by putting them in their mouths.
The toys stood up to excessive smashing from my two-year-old with nary a chip to show for it. I can imagine them still looking like they did the moment we pulled them from their packaging for years to come, as long as we don’t lose the individual pieces, of which there were many.
The number of pieces actually gave me pause, since each toy came with its own pouch to store loose bits, but didn’t necessarily fit the larger board that accompanied them. I’m quite sure my kids will lose most of the pieces by the time I’m done writing this sentence. However, since the Montessori method is based on learning by play, I don’t think that really matters. As long as they are having fun and learning, even if it’s only with half the pieces, the toys are serving their purpose.
Bonus: All products are manufactured at an award-winning factory that uses only sustainably-forested wood.
The Price Point
Here is my one and only complaint: the subscription box will be too expensive for many parents to afford, myself included. With the high cost of raising children today, a $297 fee every three months won’t be within many budgets.
That’s not to say that the program is overpriced — in addition to the steady stream of high-quality toys and instructional videos, you also get access to a Facebook community that’s moderated by the learning team. Here, you can connect with other families and discuss all things baby and toddler. But $1,200 a year will be a tough price tag for many families to move past, no matter how beneficial to learning and development the products may be.
To purchase this product visit Monti Kids.