Over the last several months, my opinion has become: the best toys are ones that inspire imagination and keep your child engaged over the long haul. If you choose toys that last for years and help with your child’s cognitive development, they will be worth the investment.
If your child is under 18 months, I created this list of Montessori toys for babies. But even if a toy is designed for younger hands, because of their simple design, Montessori style toys can be reinvented time and time again as your child grows and their imagination blossoms. They will not go to waste even as your baby grows into a toddler.
Today I am back with my hand-picked Montessori-style toys for toddlers. Know that there are lots of fun and exciting options out there, so use this as a starting guide and then let your imagination run wild. Simple, beautiful toys can have a positive impact on your child.
Feature image via Petit Collage
I feel like every child who is new to walking should have a wooden pull toy. There is just something so sweet about watching your little one walking by followed by a bobbing animal. They are just one of those timeless toys that not only will your toddler enjoy, but you too, mom!
2 | SCHLEICH ANIMAL SETS ($15.99+)
Schleich animals are made of plastic, and although that seems counter to Montessori principles, they do keep with the Montessori preference for providing children with lifelike playthings. These toy figures will provide your child with years of educationally valuable play that sparks the imagination. Choose from a wide range of different animals models, from farm animals to wild animals to dinosaurs. Start with a few and enjoy adding to your collection over the years!
3 | HAPE ALL-IN-ONE WOODEN ART EASEL ($79.99)
This is the perfect toy to have in any child’s playroom as it allows their inner artist to flourish! Your child can use chalk, paint, and markers to their heart’s delight. This easel has an adjustable height so it can grow with your child, plus a magnetic whiteboard, three paint pots, and replaceable paper roll. My guess is you should start making room on your fridge for all the artwork coming your way!
4 | EVEREARTH JR. RAMP RACER ($24.99)
There is such sweet delight in watching each car speed down the Ramp Racer. The four ramps stop the cars at the end, so they go back and forth down the track until they hit the finish line. It’s not only fun for kids, but it also helps improve fine motor skills and problem-solving.
5 | LITTLE PARTNERS ORIGINAL LEARNING TOWER ($199.99)
As your child grows, it is all part of the adventure to include them in more and more of your daily activities. This learning tower helps you do just that while keeping your child safe. Having your child at counter height allows them to participate in preparing dinner, assist in the cleanup, or even doing their own personal arts and crafts right beside you. They get to learn by mirroring you and then doing it themselves, which fosters independence.
6 | MELISSA & DOUG LET’S PLAY HOUSE CLEANING SET ($29.99)
Playing house is a great way for kids to develop responsibility while having fun! This cleaning set looks just like the real thing, and each of the cleaning tools gives them a pretend task to do on their own or right along with you. This builds real-life skills and boosts confidence. And who wouldn’t want to foster more of that?
7 | GRIMM’S 6-PIECE RAINBOW STACKER ($35)
The German-based company Grimm’s Spiel & Holz Design makes beautiful, heirloom-quality toys for kids. I think having at least one of their toys in your toddler’s toy box is a must. Their classic Rainbow Stacker is part of the ‘Elements’ Stacker Collection, and if it turns out to be a big hit you can add on the Stone Caves, Water Waves, Flames and Little Flower stackers. This stacker has been crafted to inspire creativity. The arches can be used as tunnels, little houses, hills, rocking chairs or beds for dolls.
8 | WOODEN XYLOPHONE FOR KIDS ($15.99)
I know, I know…instruments! Your ears are probably already hurting. Trust me, I hear you (pun intended). But music helps foster the ability to learn by doing, and that is so important. Plus, I am sure you will immediately recognize the powerful impact it has on social, emotional, and cognitive development. Add more instruments over time, and you’ll have a real musician on your hands in no time.
9 | IKEA FLISAT SENSORY TABLE ($49.99)
Independent exploration is a critical piece of growing up. Your little one’s hands should be encouraged to sort, pour, scoop, and empty all kinds of materials. Since having these activities can be messy, having a designated space to contain the mess will make it much easier on you! This IKEA table can easily be converted to a sensory table by adding some TROFAST storage boxes that can be filled with sand or water. Put the lids back on, and you can use it as an art table too!
This wooden puzzle, with its different shapes and colors, is sure to set your child on the path for a lifelong love of brain-teasers. It promotes both visual-spatial skills as well as color recognition and fine motor skills. And with that list of ‘pros,’ why wouldn’t you include this very reasonably priced toy in your little one’s playroom?!