A Montessori-Inspired Second Birthday Wishlist

Searching for a birthday gift for a two year old? These Montessori-inspired toys are not just fun, they meet your tot’s developmental needs.

A two year old playing with guidecraft's wooden sensory blocks

Finding a second birthday gift that is educational, engaging, and meaningful can feel like quite a mission. (Lest we forget that it also needs to plant a big smile across their face!)

As a Montessori teacher, one way I approach birthday gifts is by thinking about the sensitive periods in a child’s development.

To help you understand the Montessori Method and to show you that it IS possible to find a birthday gift that will tick all of the above boxes, I’ll go over:

  • My Montessori approach to birthday gifts
  • Montessori-inspired gift ideas for two year olds
  • Chemicals to avoid in kids products

Scroll down to learn more!


My Montessori approach to birthday gifts

Maria Montessori used the term, “sensitive period” to refer to a specific time in a child’s life when they’re particularly driven and able to learn a particular skill.

For example, young children are most commonly in a sensitive period for language. Yes, you can learn a language at any time in your life, but early childhood is when it comes most naturally.

When thinking about what to get a child for their second birthday, I reflect on the six sensitive periods of a two year old:

  • Language (Vocabulary and communication skills)
  • Order (Being able to make a pattern or categorize something)
  • Music (Helps a child develop rhythm and coordination)
  • Refinement of senses (Any type of play that stimulates a child’s senses)
  • Movement (Fine & gross motor skills)
  • Grace and courtesy (Manners and understanding social norms)


Below, I’ll show you toys that will help a child reach important developmental milestones within these periods.


Montessori-inspired birthday gift picks for two-year-olds


PlanToys Road System


PlanToys Road System


Sensitive period(s): Language, order, movement


The PlanToys Road System is a fantastic toy for encouraging children to concentrate and problem-solve while honing their fine motor skills. It’s also a good way to encourage children to understand the concept of cooperation and working together with others.


Guidecraft Wooden Sensory Rainbow Blocks


Guidecraft Sensory Rainbow Blocks


Sensitive Period(s): Language, Order, Refinement of Senses, Movement

The Wooden Sensory Rainbow Blocks from Guidecraft take block play to a new level! With each block filled with an exciting colored sand, liquid or tiny ball – kids will build, shake, rock and stack for hours on end.

Particularly great for learning shapes and colors, this is a classic open ended play set that kids will love playing with for years, not months.


Dough Parlour Scented Non-Toxic Play Dough


Dough Parlour Garden Set


Sensitive Period(s): Language, Order, Refinement of Senses, Movement

One of the best activities for a child’s development is play dough. Dough Parlour makes it even more of a sensory experience by adding exciting scents to each of their dough pots!

Wonderful for strengthening the tiny muscles needed for correct pencil grip, buttoning a jacket and tying shoes, this 6 pack set of non-toxic play dough can also be used to teach colors, the names of fruits and sweet treats, for pattern making and even kneading out emotions!


Modern Blocks Shapes Memory Game


A child playing a memory matching game with Modern Blocks tiles


Sensitive Period(s): Language, Order, Movement, Grace & Courtesy

Memory games are loved by kids for a number of reasons. For starters, as they get better at matching, they start to build their confidence!

It’s also a fun game to play solo or with a friend. In this set, children can learn shapes, colors, the practice of taking turns as well as winning and losing with grace.


The Tot Play & Learn Set (2–3 Years)



Sensitive Period(s): Language, Order, Music, Refinement of Senses, Movement, Grace & Courtesy

The Tot Play & Learn Set for 2 – 3 year year olds is designed to help toddlers reach their important developmental milestones.

Consisting of a booklet featuring numerous activities to do, it also has six toys that will cater to all of the sensitive periods.


  • Booklet of teacher recommended activities
  • Opposites book (Language)
  • Lacing Beads (Order)
  • Drum (Music)
  • Scented play dough & pin (Refinement of Senses)
  • Shapes puzzle (Movement)
  • Flash cards (Grace & Courtesy)


Rock Blocks 


Rock Blocks Frosty Set of 16


Sensitive Period(s): Order, Movement

My son loves these abstract wooden blocks so much because he can use them as blocks, as a set for his action figures and even in a game of search & find.

Because of their unique shapes, kids have to focus extra hard when stacking, which helps form important connections between the body and the brain.


Domestic Objects Tower Tent


Domestic Objects Tower Tent


Sensitive Period(s): Refinement of Senses, Grace & Courtesy

The Domestic Objects Tower Tent can be used in a variety of ways. Some toddlers may love curling up with a book or soft toy for a nap, while others will use it as their fort during imaginative play.

With over-stimulation being a cause for many a toddler-tantrum, tents can offer a quiet and safe space for children to retreat to to catch their breath and reset their senses, which will help them manage their emotions.


Baghera Racer


Baghera Racer Metal Ride On in Red


Sensitive Period(s): Language, Refinement of Senses, Movement

Ride on toys are an important way that children strengthen their core and leg muscles. They’re also incredibly fun!

With the Baghera Racer, kids will love learning concepts like steering, slowing down, stopping, turning, and parking while feeling the floor on their feet and wind in their hair!


Milton & Goose Essential Play Kitchen


Milton & Goose Essential Play Kitchen


Sensitive Period(s): Language, Order, Movement, Grace & Courtesy

The Milton & Goose Play Kitchen is a classic open ended play toy that kids can’t get enough of.

Just the thing they need to practice their social skills, develop healthy eating habits and strengthen fine motor skills, this non-toxic play kitchen can be used independently or alongside friends.


Wiwiurka Climbing Triangle with Rock Climbing Board


Wiwiurka Foldable Triangle with Rock Climbing Board - Natural


Sensitive Period(s): Language, Movement, Grace & Courtesy

When toddlers climb on the Wiwiurka Climbing Triangle with Rock Climbing Board, they’re strengthening their muscles, furthering their cognitive development and building loads of confidence!

When not used for climbing and conquering, you can drape a blanket over it and use it as a cozy nook or ominous fort!


Wishbone Wagon



Sensitive Period(s): Language, Movement, Grace & Courtesy

Nothing says childhood like a little red wagon! Well, nothing says Montessori childhood like this 3-in-1 wagon from Wishbone!

Designed so kids can push, pull and even ride, it offers so many developmental benefits. From honing coordination to allowing children to work a mechanism, it’s a toy that can be used in a variety of ways.



Jupiduu Slide


Jupiduu Slide


Sensitive Period(s): Language, Order, Movement, Grace & Courtesy

Slides are in nearly every playground for a reason: they help children build confidence, find their balance, strengthen muscles and learn how to take turns.

I love the indoor slide from Jupiduu because it can be used as a slide OR a ramp to launch cars, a conveyor belt for packages/ building materials, a mountain your tot must conquer and so on!


Chemicals to avoid in kids’ products

At The Tot, we only use and recommend products that have passed The Tot Safety Test. This means we’ve reviewed third-party testing and asked in-depth questions about a product’s composition to ensure they’re free of all the chemicals we avoid.

When you don’t know what your child’s toy, you can run the risk of exposing them to potentially harmful ingredients such as BPA, BPS, Phthalates, PVC, Formaldehyde, Lead and other Heavy Metals. This is particularly worrying for babies and toddlers who inevitably put these items in their mouths. Many of these chemicals have been linked to prostate cancer, breast cancer, female infertility, obesity, endocrine disruption, behavioral problems, and even irreversible brain damage.

For a full list of Ingredients & Materials We Avoid and to learn more about The Tot Safety Test, Click Here.