If you're a parent of a young child, odds are you are probably guilty of endlessly scrolling for new ideas to keep them entertained (especially during the pandemic!). While scrolling, you've likely seen photos of smiling children and excited parents sitting on top of large rectangular orange boxes with the word Nugget on it. Seemingly overnight, the $229 Nugget Comfort Couch has become a must-have for parents everywhere (156,000 were manufactured and sold in 2020 alone), and if you're wondering why, we'll catch you up! Part furniture, part toy, this couch's design is simple on the surface: four foam pieces, a base, cushion, and two triangular pieces, but its open-ended configuration fosters creativity, allowing your child to create endless forts, ramps, and even cozy reading nooks.
Whether you already have a Nugget couch, or are looking for some reasons to justify this lofty purchase, below are 5 Montessori-inspired uses for your Nugget.
1. Free Build
The Nugget couch checks all the boxes of being "Montessori material": child-sized, open-ended, and allows the child themselves to move and manipulate it. This means that children are able to transform the foam pieces into climbing structures, castles, slides, you name it, all without adult help (just think, they can build a castle and you can drink your coffee in peace!). The foam in the Nugget is sturdy and durable, but the weight of the Nugget is still light enough that children can maneuver the pieces on their own.
2. Reading Corner
One of the best ways to foster a love of reading at a young age is to have a dedicated reading area in your home. The founder of the Montessori approach, Maria Montessori, believed you could light this spark by having a space where the child can lose themselves in their stories, and where the adult provides them with the tools to do so. The Nugget couch is a great addition to a reading nook because of its compact size, along with the fact that your child can make their reading space look and feel how they want it that day. Adding some additional pillows, soft lighting, and familiar books will turn this into one of the most used areas of your home.
3. Felt Objects
Although the Nugget couch is typically thought of as something you are either building with or lounging on, it can actually be a handy tool for your child to create felt art that can be taken down and redone again and again. It's common to see a large chalkboard wall or multiple art easels set up in a Montessori classroom so kids can create art while standing, versus sitting at a table, engaging their entire body—something considered essential in Montessori practices, especially for younger children. Felt shapes stick without adhesives to the microsuede material of the Nugget. You can get crafty at home and make your own felt shapes, or purchase pre-made sets from places Amazon or Etsy. This can be fun for a young toddler as well as an imaginative older child.
Typically you will not find a play kitchen or playhouse in a Montessori classroom; this is not because the philosophy doesn't support imaginative play in this way, but instead is because of the limits that come from an adult set up space. The Nugget couch can provide an opportunity for your child to create their own walls, doors, and even windows (felt pieces for the win again!) in their play space. One day you may find a veterinary clinic inside the walls of the Nugget, and the next that may be the cabin of a rocket ship on its way to Mars. When your child is able to make the decisions on the direction of their play, they are likely to stay engaged with the activity longer and to continue returning back to it day after day.
5. Nugget Couch Add-Ons
The Nugget is marketed as an all-in-one product that can be enjoyed the moment you open that big orange box, and the options above are just a few ways to do that. You do not need to purchase any accessories to get the benefits from your Nugget, but adding a few pieces to your child's playroom along with the Nugget can help your child get even more from their play! Try the Wooden Rainbow Stacker, Balance Board, or Felt Farm Animal Pieces.