Montessori Toys For Babies, Toddlers & Big Kids – Tot Gift Guide
Looking for an educational toy for your little one? Early Learning Educator, Christina Clemer, shares her list of the best Montessori toys for kids of all ages – babies, toddlers, and big kids.
Did you know that Montessori is so much more than just a type of school? For some, it’s also a way of life.
The Montessori school philosophy, created by Maria Montessori, focuses on how to best support a child’s independence and learning in preparation for life. A big part of this philosophy centers on creating a beautiful environment full of well-made objects that will spark a child’s desire to learn.
There are many ways for parents and caregivers to create the same environment at home that helps to encourage independence right from the beginning.
What are Montessori Toys?
Montessori materials and toys are designed to encourage curiosity and learning in children — and integral part of child development. Educational toys that fall into this category will stimulate a baby or toddler’s senses and allow them to develop their fine motor skills.
Below I’ll go over our recommendations for the top Montessori-friendly toys for babies, toddlers, and big kids.
The Best Montessori Toys For Babies
The best Montessori baby toys are simple with a calm aesthetic. They are designed to ignite a baby’s curiosity without overwhelming them.
Here are a few examples:
- High contrast black and white illustrations
- Interlocking discs
- Sensory tumblers
- Rainbow stackers
- Shape sorters
- Hammer & ball drop games
Scroll down to see our product picks for each.
Designed to help your baby reach important developmental milestones, The Tot Play & Learn Sets come with a booklet of activities, advice and tips! They also include six toys that can be played with in a variety of ways!
Playmats are a soft and safe place for babies to practice tummy time or simply play. Made from organic cotton, which is farmed without the use of chemicals like pesticides, the Wee Gallery Explore Organic Playmat takes the educational fun further with high contrast black and white illustrations which will help strengthen your tot’s eyesight.
So many activity gyms are completely overstimulating, crowded with different toys and bright colors that overexcite.
The Lovevery Play Gym presents a more calming alternative that grows with your child. It includes everything you need – from batting to teething to learning to focus – for your baby’s first year of play.
The best part: it transitions into a toddler tent!
Created by mother and Montessori teacher Zahra Kassam, this kit was specially designed for infants 0-3 months old. The materials in Monti Kids Level 1 nurture your child’s visual skills, motor development, concentration, physical coordination, body awareness, and strength right from birth.
With this gym, you can continue the lessons from the Montessori classroom in your own home. A great bonus? It’s crafted from natural materials, including sustainably forested wood and non-toxic paint.
Made from food-grade silicone, the Dena rainbow stacker does triple time as a stacker, nester and teether. Some may even argue it can be decor! Great for teaching color recognition, counting and patterns, it’s a toy that can go from birth right through childhood!
Available in more colors
Available in more colors
The Best Montessori Toys For Toddlers
When a child hits toddlerhood, they’re in an intense period of gross motor skill and language development, and they feel a need for order in their world. You’ll want to choose toys that will help them to master these new skills.
Here are the top Montessori toys for 1 – 3 year old kids:
- Stacking cups
- Egg shakers
- Fine motor toys
- Board books
- Threading sets
- Balance bike
- Small part play
- Indoor ball pit
- Household role play toys
- Kitchen role play toys
- Toddler tower
Learn more about these gift ideas for preschoolers below.
As your tot gets more advanced, so do The Tot Play & Learn Sets. Now that we’ve mastered milestones like reaching and grasping, it’s time to work on shapes, cause and effects, colors and more!
Fine motor play like the Miniland Eco Nuts & Bolts set is important because it helps strengthen the muscles needed to achieve correct pencil grip, button a coat and zip pants.
Blocks are one of the best gifts you can give a toddler because they encourage creativity, problem solving skills and dexterity and they will play with them for years to come.
These wooden blocks from Rock Blocks are particularly beautiful. They are made from a variety of wood and just the right size for little hands.
Both cute and fun, the Wee Gallery Wooden Stacker Panda is a new take on a classic today! Great for encouraging hand-eye coordination and building confidence, your tot will love piecing him together in a variety of ways.
Available in more colors
Toddlers and kids are fascinated by order and generally love any activity that allows them to create order from chaos.
Color sorting presents just such an opportunity. This beautiful Grapat set encourages toddlers to sort by color and develop their fine motor skills, as well as develop color vocabulary.
The fun thing about the Balu Organic Ball Pit is that it can be used from birth as a soft place to do tummy time, learn to sit up or play. Once strong enough, throw the balls in and that’s where the active and/or imaginative play begins!
Household role play toys like the PlanToys Washing Machine are important because they help children gain life skills and independence! (They also make playing “House” way more realistic!!
Play kitchen and food toys are one of the best ways to expand a child’s vocabulary, encourage independence and establish healthy eating habits. They’re also a fun way to develop social skills.
Available in more colors and configurations
Once your tot is ready to take on a real kitchen, having the Franklin + Emily Toddler Tower on hand will be just the thing they need to help you wash fruit, vegetables or stir a delicious bowl of cookie dough!
The Best Montessori Toys For Kids Aged 4 Years+
Montessori-friendly toys for young children should encourage creativity and exploration while helping them to learn about the real world and how to engage in it.
Here are our top Montessori picks for your growing child:
- Letter boards
- Weather/time board
- Flash cards
- Sets that encourage role play
- Wooden Balance Board
- Arts & crafts supplies
- Play teepee
- Coding kits
- Music toys
Shop these toys below.
From the age of four, many kids are at preschool or gearing up for a more formal education.
As an advocate of play-based learning, I worked with The Tot to create these play and learn sets fro 4 to 6 year olds. Designed with a focus on developing literacy, numeracy, science and life skills, they come with a booklet packed with activities, advice and tips!
Make Me Iconic Role Play sets are made from high quality wood and child-safe paints. Sure to be heirloom toys passed on from generation to generation, your children will love learning about their bodies, health and empathy!
The Wobbel gives children an outlet for their boundless energy even on the coldest winter days. Not only is it fun, but it also helps children develop balance and strong muscles.This versatile wooden toy is great for babies and toddlers too!
While it may not look as cute as a perfectly planned Pinterest activity, creating a work of art from open-ended art supplies gives children an entirely different experience. Let your kid lead the way with this set of materials that will inspire creativity and hours of child-led art exploration.
Take the fun outside with Twee Sidewalk Chalk! From creating a hopscotch course to free-styling a masterpiece to writing a welcome home message to Mom, kids will love the uniquely shaped chalk!
Handmade in small batches, Dough Parlour’s non-toxic scented play dough is the ultimate sensory experience for kids! Available in a range of sets and scents, it’s both a calming and creative activity.
Children love hideaways — a cozy nook that’s just for them. This teepee makes a perfect spot to keep a few beautiful picture books that encourage a love of reading.
Babai Play Tent
Available in more colors
Montessori is all about hands-on learning and this robotics discovery set lets children experience just that. It encourages problem solving and critical thinking while providing a foundation for basic coding skills.
Musical play is important for developing rhythm and coordination. It can also be calming, empowering and all sorts of fun! I love these sets from BabyNoise because they’re made of child-safe wood and non-toxic finishes.
- Interested in learning more about the Montessori Method? Check out The Best Montessori Toys That Grow With Your Child.
- Need some last minute holiday or Christmas giftss? Visit The Tot Holiday Shop.