Monday, October 13th, 2008
Review: The Accidental Montessori Playing Card Holder
This was a wonderfully random find. Last Friday our family strolled the warehouse aisles of Michael Olaf, a local-to-us and terribly cryptic Montessori catalog business. The company doesn’t do online sales and you’d probably never find this item browsing through its hefty and nearly hidden PDF catalog. Many local parents don’t even know Olaf exists, or that you can visit on the second Friday of each month. I bring a handkerchief because there’s always lots of drooling.
At the bottom of the last aisle at the warehouse we found a “curved wooden card display.” It’s an 18-inch-long (20″ if measured on the curve) semi-circular piece of wood, a half-inch thick, 1.25″ tall, with a half-inch deep groove running through the middle.
It’s supposed to be a tabletop display for postcards and photographs used in classrooms for art appreciation.
Coincidentally, it’s perfect for holding playing cards. No longer does my daughter have to grasp a wad of cards with both hands and flip through them one-by-one while playing Crazy Faces.
And, no longer is my daughter tipping her card faces into my direct view (hey, I only use that inside knowledge during Go Fish when my wife is also playing… so I know which cards to ask my wife for).
The stand holds normal cards, over-sized cards and miniature cards (see image below).
It comes in two sizes, with the smaller one being 9-inches-long. I avoided the small version because it wouldn’t hold many cards and the shortened arc means it would be a little more tip-prone.
Incidentally, we also own a Gamewright Little Hands Card Holder and found it to be next to useless. It holds only a few cards and when pulling a card it’s easy for nearby cards to fall out.
If you like catalogs, grab this wooden holder from page 92 of the Child of the World catalog (“Environment” section) then print the order page or PDF version. Incidentally, Michael Olaf produces two catalogs, The Joyful Child (birth to 3-years-old) and Child of the World (ages 3 to 12). There’s a charge for having a printed catalog shipped, so view online.
Good news! I found the same card holder purchasable online at MontessoriServices.com for $13.50, the same price we paid at Michael Olaf. Sure, it’s somewhat pricey, but you’ll get years of service from it. We bought two.
Positioned end-to-end, 8 regular cards fit on the holder, although as many as 15 can be crammed in without too much trouble. Likewise, 8 to 13 over-sized eeBoo Crazy Faces cards fit. And mini cards (4×6 cm or about 1.5 x 2.5 inches) fit 8 sideways or 13 end-to-end before cramming.