In the AMI Montessori tradition, every guide (teacher) knows what I mean when I talk about “indoor shoes”. Some guides will ask for indoor house slippers. But I like to ask for a shoe made out of rubber so that they can maintain traction while the child is spilling water all over the place, so that they protect the child’s foot should something get dropped, and so that I have a great shoe for the child to wear through toilet learning, which will inevitably get peed on.
This particular school year has been unique in that I have been transitioning an absurdly high amount of children into my classroom for an absurdly long amount of time. Transitions basically have never stop happening since I accepted my position at a frequency of about once a month. So it has allowed me the privilege of being able to watch a ton of different parents/families fulfill our “required supplies” list. Then I can take mental notes about what products parents prefer, how parents perceive how to dress a toddler for learning independence around dressing skills, and what parents are able to find to support a child’s functional independence and successes.
Basically when an awesome product comes along, I’m taking notes and thinking “yepp, this is a game changer for toddlers’ care of self skills”. I’m also watching the children, and watching how they utilize the variety of things their parents provide, and how successful they are able to be independently in the classroom. So even though it has been a circus transitioning so many children into a room, being able to observe toddlers utilize things and to be able to tweak my requested supplies list and better advise parents has been a unique perk.
All that being said, after years of doing this work, I finally had a child transition into my classroom with what I can’t help but describe as my dream toddler indoor shoes. Someone designer out there finally got it right!!! Bless you, whoever you are! Bless you!
I was utterly surprised to discover that they are (what?! ) crocs brand, because a lot of parents hate how much crocs made toddlers stumble around. Natives had trumped the crocs in my mind, until now. Because Crocs has now created the dream shoe. Why? Because they feature a characteristic that I have been literally dreaming would exist: the elastic around the “tongue” of a rubber shoe. Behold… The Crocs CitiLane Roka Slip-on Sneaker. I don’t know how long these will exist, so if I was a parent I would get my toddler multiple pairs ASAP, and plan on hand-me-downs. I hope it is a design that crocs will continue to implement and in which other shoe brands will start to follow. They are $35USD.
Why these are super ideal for toddlers:
+ they can get wet and washed/wiped dry pretty much instantly. I like to spray our peed on shoes with hydrogen peroxide and then wipe them off with a dry rag. A wet wipe would be my go-to if I was out in public.
+ they are a pretty standard shoe design, so provided they fit decently, I don’t expect or observe too much stumbling/ tripping (which is a major complaint about the original clog-style crocs shoes for toddlers).
+ they don’t have that dreaded strap around the heel. That strap around the heel is super difficult for many toddlers to try and manage; and a lot of the time they want to push it over the top of the shoe and keep it off, even though it serves the functional purpose of keeping the shoe on their foot.
+ these shoes are a basic slip-on style, which should be every toddler’s first kind of functionally-independent/ independently donned shoe style.
+ they let the child’s foot breathe.
+ you can let the child wash and dry them when they start looking dirty (If you are an AMI guide interested in knowing how I set up my shoe-washing activity, send me a photo of yourself holding your AMI diploma, and I will share my presentation with you…can people send private messages on here? I will find out, and if not I will create an email account to go with this website).
+ the particular child who brought them in has received them sliiiiiiightly large, and they aren’t falling off too much.
+ they look sleek and cute, with a simple, plain-color design that isn’t going to send the child off on an emotional tailspin about the presence of mainstream cartoons on their shoes.
+ they are offered in a variety of colors.
Bonus tip: use a permanent marker or a sticky monkey label and put your child’s initials or name on the insole of the shoe so that everyone knows they belong to your child. When your child outgrows them, and if you wish to resell of gift them, use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to wipe off the permanent marker, or peel the name sticker off.