The Shark Tank Montessori toy subscription service Monti Kids recently made some BIG changes to their program. In this post, we'll look at whether or not they're for better or worse and if the curated selection of montessori toys for babies and toddlers is worth it as well as some of the new items and my experience with the parent support that you receive as a subscriber.
For more details on what Monti Kids is, how it works, and more of a high level review, be sure to check out my original review here which also includes links to my individual reviews of each box and how those compare to self curating.
- WATCH MONTI KIDS UPDATED 2022 REVIEW:
- What changed with the Monti Kids toy subscription program in 2022?
- What's Included In the NEW Level 4:
- How is the NEW Level 4 different from the original?
- A Look At The Old + New Level 5:
- What’s staying the same in the Monti Kids Program:
- Personal Experience with 1:1 Coaching
- Personal thoughts on Monti Kids changes:
What changed with the Monti Kids toy subscription program in 2022?
The biggest change is the price! Monti Kids has finally answered all of our wishes and reduced their price by about $100!
That's right, previously Monti Kids program boxes cost $297 and the new pricing is $195 per box! Shop the new price here!
Boxes By Age
Previously, Monti Kids said their boxes were quarterly, but they weren't. In fact, the frequency of boxes was a little confusing. The program is designed for 0 to 36 months, but they only had eight boxes. So you essentially got four boxes the first year, three the second, and then only one box between 2 to 3 years old if subscribed from the start.
Now they've finally cleaned this up and the boxes really are quarterly for a total of 12 boxes between 0 to 36 months.
The other big change is the introduction of new authentic Montessori items, all designed by Montessori educators including Montessori aligned books which they previously didn’t have (sans one wooden board book in the original level 2).
Monti Kids now has five original books spread out in the updated boxes. The boxes that do not have books have some sort of verbal language card set that can double for routine cards or other activities.
Subscribers can expect six to eight items per box generally. All of the boxes, except level 1, include at least one new item.
Here's a quick look at how the old versus new boxes looks:
What's Included In the NEW Level 4:
Object Permanence Box 2
A more complex variation to the classic Object Permanence Box, in which the infant will pull the drawer open to discover the ball.
Push Balls Set
Three primary color wooden balls that must be pushed through the holes.
Build hand strength, continue working on object permanence, and teach cause and effect.
Four wooden balls for rolling down the wooden ramp builds visual tracking skills, which is a concept they'll need for reading later on.
A chunky wooden wobbler with three wooden rings for stacking.
Shape Fitting Puzzles
Two 3D puzzles encourage bilateral movement as baby works to coordinate both sides of their body while getting the different shapes into their bases.
A beautiful board book featuring real children expressing various emotions with the word written largely on the opposite page.
The imagery is very warm, muted, and has a “nature” vibe to it with lots of greenery and sunlight leaks in the background.
How is the NEW Level 4 different from the original?
Not much actually! The current version of this box includes six items, and the original version of this box includes six items.
Now that's not a total apples to apples comparison. The original 6 items did include a set of puzzles that could technically be considered four individual items, not one lump item as they were all separate.
The items “removed” from the original box have been moved to the next level up. It seems like they basically shuffled half the items in some of these boxes around and included at least 1 new item in each box to better target the child's age range.
The reality is they didn't really “cut” items with the price cut.
A Look At The Old + New Level 5:
I think this is one of the more controversial changes that may possibly debunk my last statement of “not cutting items.”
In the past, I've said that Monti Kids undersold themselves in how they bundled items and looking at their old Level 5 is the perfect example of this.
The original Level 5 included “six” items. However, if you wanted to get technical, it contained more like 11 items when we look at these two:
The Multi-shape Puzzles
They called this one item, but it technically was two separate puzzles
A progressive shape sorting puzzle with five different lids providing a unique experience each time.
Competitors with similar items count each lid as 3 separate items, so in theory you could argue this is 5 different items.
In the updated Level 5, the items significantly changed.
The mailbox moved to Level 6 (still with 5 lids and 3 shapes).
Only one item remained the exact same. And the puzzle which originally included two, now only comes with the multi-shape puzzle.
The original had a lot of wooden boxes with small coins and felt a little repetitive.
The new box still has some of those same concepts, but with the addition of three new items, there's more variety in the different motor skills and grips (the rainbow is actually food grade silicone which is an interesting lesson in strength/grip compared to all the wood) being worked.
In other words: while it could be argued they “cut” items here, it seems like they focused on a wider variety of fine motor skills and fewer small parts for parents to lose.
What’s staying the same in the Monti Kids Program:
You still get the same level of parent support as a Monti Kids program subscriber – only it's even better than before, particularly in the updated Monti Kids Curriculum.
The expanded Monti Kids Curriculum via video lessons in the Parent Learning Center is now divided into chapters by learning goals rather than one per week as well as a new Toy Rotation Guide. The other significant change with their video curriculum is that they, once again, have dummy-proof Montessori by explaining exactly to montessori parents “what you'll notice, what it means and how you can help” to truly make implementing montessori at home as easy as possible.
Additionally, subscribers receive access to the exclusive online group. Which is a great resource where parents can find support from experts and peers to empower their parenting journey with joy and confidence
Lastly, Monti Kids families can receive 1:1 parent coaching with a certified Montessori expert as part of their subscription.
All of this really sets Monti Kids apart from others. It's SUCH a valuable component. One of the biggest things I hear from Montessori families struggling is that they don’t understand the PROCESS of teaching kids these skills or how to use the materials, which ultimately results in a defiant child or a child who is scared to do anything.
I think it's critical to acknowledge that if we focus on the end result most Montessori families boast about online, it can actually lead to a lot of issues in our children. Particularly with building their confidence momentum (that desire to even TRY new things).
So often we see the beautiful Montessori photos or hear “my kid is getting themselves dressed independently at 2!” but no one talks about HOW the child got there.
Heck, I know I’ve been guilty in past videos saying “my daughter plays independently with an object permanence box for 30+ minutes,” which looking back I know set some people up for disappointment or frustration. What I failed to mention was how much time I invested to get her there (something I do cover more in my Montessori Tips To Encourage Independent Play post.
Monti Kids does a great job of showing HOW you get the child from point A to point B in those videos and just how hands on play/learning is during these years.
Personal Experience with 1:1 Coaching
We've actually been struggling quite a bit with my toddler. The day she turned 3 it was like a switch flipped inside her. Our once perfect sleeper – literally she's slept through the night since 8 weeks with basically no sleep training – was now taking hours to fall asleep, waking up multiple times a night sometimes for hours each time, and then waking up for the day at 4:45.
It's been 3 months of this and we've tried just about everything when I spoke with Stacy from Monti Kids.
Stacy is an AMI Montessori certified teacher, M. Ed and the head of the Monti Kids Learning team. When I first got on with her it was like talking to a little celebrity as I’d seen her face in Monti Kids emails and materials often. She contributes extensively to the curriculum and works with new and expecting parents to keep a pulse on things.
She helped me come up with a few new approaches and tweak some one's that we'd tried implementing unsuccessfully.
It's too soon to say how implementing the suggestions will go, but what I can wholeheartedly say is that it just felt GOOD to talk to another parent, especially one with a similar parenting philosophy, on how to troubleshoot.
I'd talked to sleep consultants which just left me feeling empty with suggestions that either didn't feel relevant or didn't resonate with my parenting style; especially since her sleep issues are layered and mixed with some other stuff going on.
I walked away from my chat with Stacy feeling grounded, inspired, and good about not only a path forward, but ways to troubleshoot the inevitable obstacles and hurdles toddlers tend to throw at parents with the best laid plans.
The other thing I want to say that I thoroughly appreciated about the coaching, is that it's not this crazy strict all or nothing Montessori approach; it’s truly a Modern Montessori approach. I think the online space has sometimes gone a little too overboard with a Montessori purist mentality. Oftentimes forgetting that it was built for schools 100 years ago, not the home in modern times. It was honestly so refreshing and felt so supportive to have insights from a Montessori educator that could blend other approaches and find what works for our family.
Personal thoughts on Monti Kids changes:
Personally I think the changes are awesome – you can see everything new here!
Obviously the price reduction is a huge win; but I also like the flow more.
I had the original 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8 levels. While levels 1, 2, and 3 felt well paced, 7 and 8 often left me hanging with my toddler. Some of the items in those didn't feel well matched for her age range – and they shipped so infrequently at that point it just left something to be desired. I'm thrilled they rectified this for a more consistent experience.
Additionally, I think the updated flow continues to dummy-proof Montessori for families as you have a more consistent approach with no lag or gaps.
Lastly, I think it's awesome they kept the classic montessori items and stayed true to their roots, while also introducing some new items. The older boxes' new items look particularly awesome in my opinion!