Montessori Dressing Frames Buying Guide
One of the most popular Montessori terms and what generates a lot of initial interest in the Montessori method is practical life applicability. We all love the aspect of not only teaching our child book knowledge, but also life knowledge.
What are they? - Dressing Frames are tools to give your child a chance to practice activities he/she will find throughout the process of getting dressed. They provide a frustration free and fun avenue to increase the dexterity required to button a button, or zip a zipper. The self-independence these frames create is incredible to observe and will soon have your child asking to put on her clothes all by herself or have your bot wanting to zip his own shoes.
What they develop - The exact skills being developed by dressing frames are concentration, coordination, dexterity, hand strength, fine motor control and task persistence. Dressing frames allow the child to approach the task of clasping a buckle from whatever angle they please. This is enormously helpful to learning the motion required to complete the task and keeping them persistent in their mission.
How do you use them? - So, now you may be wondering how to approach teaching with dressing frames. Here is a step by step:
1. Ask the child to come and observe the frame and let them know what it is. Something like: "This is the buckle dressing frame"
2. Next show the child how to carry the frame, so as to not have it destroyed and let them be effective in moving it.
3. Now, demonstrate how to unbuckle the buckle. Show where to hold, how to squeeze and the object of what you are trying to accomplish. Remember that when you talk, the child is not observing what you are doing, but watching your lips. So try to use as few words as possible.
Leave the child at it and give them some space to work independently.
Why would you buy them? - Maria Montessori said: "Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself, reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is derived from a sense of independence." Creating an independent child will create a happy child.
What this buying guide covers? - This buying guide will cover our favorite brands and the pros and cons of different dressing frames that are easily available for purchase.
What does your child interact with daily? - when looking for a set of dressing frames, try to cater your choices to tasks your child will interact with daily. Try to closely resemble the buckle on her car seat, or the zipper on his shoes. This will go a long way in creating independence because you child will be practicing on the right tasks.
How to find good frames? - When we are looking at dressing frames, we have a couple of requirements to qualify. Here they are in order of importance.
1. A sturdy frame. I know this sounds like a no brainer, but there are many frames out there that are sub-par. We generally look for a wooden frame so we know it will hold up to abuse and give our child the biggest chance for success.
2. Fun and playful colors and patterns. Most frames meet this criteria, but some can be a little drab. This activity should be lots of fun to convey enthusiasm and help motivate them to become well versed in the skills.
3. How is the cloth attached to the frame? We typically look for cloth that is completely wrapped around the stretcher or riveted/screwed into the frame. Anything else is subpar. We don't want anything glued or similar as, in our experience, that will not last as long.
Our recommended brands - So, now we get to the good part. We have our favorite brands, some expensive and other very budget friendly.
If you have the budget, go for any of these from Neinhuis. They are extremely well made and what you will find in most Montessori classrooms.
For more budget friendly options, we have compiled a shopping list on Amazon with frames that meet our specs. You can check out that list by clicking this button.
Thanks for reading!