Montessori: Learning to Walk and the Toddler Wagon
In Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen, talk about how children should have a walking wagon/cart that they can push. The one they suggested buying was around $60 - way too much out of my price range!
But since there is now an IKEA in Utah I can shop at, I am much more aware of the products available at IKEA. I was so excited when I realized that I could buy the IKEA toddler wagon for 1/3 of the cost of one of the more expensive brands! So I bought one for TJ's first Christmas knowing that he would be using it before his 2nd Christmas.
TJ didn't start walking until he was about 13-14 months old. It was January and I would bundle him up and take him outside to walk on the sidewalk (which thankfully had been shoveled so it didn't have snow on it). I would hold his hands and let him walk in front of me, but my lower back would hurt bending over that much giving him the support he needed to walk. Then I remembered the toddler wagon I had gotten him for Christmas, so I got it out and put it together for TJ to use.
I have to say, I LOVE the IKEA's EKORRE toddler wagon/walker. At $19.99, it is MUCH more affordable than any of the ones offered by any of the Montessori product companies. The bar will adjust for a little one just learning to walk and then it can be adjusted when the child is more confident in their ability to walk uprightly without falling. It is made of lighter wood, but it can be weighted (to give more stability) since it has the handy box in front. You can see that I put things in box for Tips Jr. to push.
Not only did I LOVE having the toddler wagon, but TJ also loved the freedom and self-reliance that came with being able to walk more on his own without me helping him. In the picture above Tips Jr. has been walking with the wagon for about 2 months (the picture was taken in March 2008). He was always very confident with the toddler wagon and I would let him walk all the way to the park at his own pace.
The toddler wagon was a very natural, easy transition to independent walking and I recommend it for all little ones learning to walk!