With so many toys on the market, the options of what to provide for your little one can be a bit overwhelming. Keep in mind, there is really no right or wrong direction to take when it comes to how you decide to stimulate and entertain your child. But one method that is regaining popularity with moms today is the Montessori Method. This method is based on a plethora of observations of how children naturally learn. It encourages parents to create spaces full of developmentally appropriate toys and games, and then let kids choose for themselves which ones they want to play with.
Montessori toys are generally made of natural materials, have fewer, if any, ‘bells and whistles’, and tend to be miniaturized versions of real items. Most of these types of toys will be made of wood or cotton and tend to be lifelike and rooted in reality. There are not a lot of battery operated toys in the Montessori tradition, as this method encourages kids to explore and discover independently. In addition, many of the toys will have a purpose and are uncomplicated to the point that your child will need to engage their own imagination.
There are a lot of wonderful Montessori toys to choose from, so here is my list to help get you started. These 10 toys can form the foundation of a playroom for your baby and will not only help develop their gross and fine motor skills but also spark their innate and magical imaginations!
1 | MELISSA & DOUG CLASSIC RAINBOW STACKER ($7.99)
This colorful classic is not only a staple but also a Montessori favorite. It is perfect for encouraging dexterity and coordination. Plus, it introduces your child to the concept of relative size as they sort and stack each ring from large to small.
2 | MANHATTAN TOY SKYWISH RATTLE ($15.95)
This non-traditional rattle is suitable for ages newborn and up as it is designed for little hands to grab. The specific construction of the Skwish allows babies and toddlers to clutch, stretch and flatten it while always returning to its original shape. This one has been a favorite of parents (and kiddos) for over 30 years.
3 | ENCHANTED PLAY SILKS ($19.95)
Infants love to explore, and of course mouth, the soft and smooth texture of this play silk. You can even hang this from your baby’s play gym for them to visually track and reach for it. Plus it can make for a very pretty game of peekaboo. As your little one gets older they can use this silk to build forts or to don a flowy, colorful cape. Again, the options are only as endless as their imaginations.
4 | OBJECT PERMANENCE BOX ($21.99)
The Object Permanence Box is probably one of the most classic Montessori toys out there. Like most Montessori-based playthings it is specifically designed to encourage baby’s motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It is also a super-fun and easy way to learn about cause and effect. The ball goes through the hole, disappears and then reappears again! Just like that!
5 | PLANTOYS ROLLER ($12.99)
This is not only a beautifully made toy, but it can also grow with your baby, which is a perk of the Montessori-based toys. The colors, sounds, and motion of this rattling roller encourage gross motor movement in babies and can serve as a tool to help those little ones itching to crawl. Roll the rattler to and from baby spurring their natural tendency to move toward their fun toy!
6 | INFANTINO TEXTURED BALL SET ($9.99)
As mentioned above, Montessori toys are usually made from natural materials. This ball set does deviate from that, but it still makes for a very Montessori-inspired toy set. These balls are very tactile and are therefore easy for baby to grasp, roll, maneuver, squeeze and of course put in their mouths. Plus the different colors and sizes can lead to many discussions about color, shape and relative size.
7 | RADIO FLYER CLASSIC WALKER WAGON ($79.99)
The Radio Flyer wagon has been around for decades, and for good reason! This walker is not only beautiful and fun, it is super functional for both babies and toddlers. The Radio Flyer Walker Wagon has a special ‘resist push’ feature that allows beginning walkers to safely build confidence and balance. And once your little one learns to walk, they can find plenty of other uses for their wagon. Plus… this one has built in furniture-friendly bumpers. Hello! Smart!
8 | MANHATTAN TOY CLASSIC BABY BEADS ($14.99)
I think you might be hard-pressed to leave a baby shower without this classic toy making an appearance, and for good reason! This simple, yet stimulating plaything is perfect to help promote dexterity in developing hands. Manhattan Toy uses all sustainable wood and non-toxic, water-based finishes on all their baby beads, so no need to worry when this spends a lot of time in baby’s mouth!
9 | PLANTOYS PUNCH AND DROP ($27.49)
This toy made the 0-18 month list because you can add it to baby’s play area earlier then you might think. Just take away the hammer for a while and let baby explore with their hands. Pushing those balls through the holes is such a great way to strengthen hands and develop hand-eye coordination. Then, when your tot gets a touch older, bring back the hammer and let them re-discover this toy in a new light.
10 | PETIT COLLAGE WOODEN STROLLER BOOK ($14.99)
This is such a great first book for little hands. The wooden texture and colorful images are sure to keep your child’s attention as you stroll around the grocery store. And as everything makes its way into their mouth at some point, this book will keep it’s integrity despite being covered in drool. Made from all natural materials and non-toxic paints, this fits right into the Montessori way of playing.
This list just scratches the surface of all the Montessori-inspired toys that are available. These toys provide a place to start but allow your child to help guide you in the direction that they prefer. There is no right or wrong path with Montessori toys, just make sure to join in on some of that imaginative play sometimes, as a little more of that wouldn’t hurt any of us!