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Best Montessori Toys for Babies
Updated on
January 4, 2024

Best Montessori Toys for Babies

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Best Montessori Toys for Babies.
Best Montessori Toys for Babies

Thanks to things like parenting advice on social media and good old word-of-mouth, the Montessori philosophy—a century-old approach to education—seems only to be growing in popularity.

Developed by Italian physician Maria Montessori in 1897, Montessori is a child-focused approach to learning that emphasizes hands-on, child-directed work. The philosophy encourages kids to engage in thoughtful, age-appropriate activities that nurture their cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. It also focuses on the development of practical life skills like gardening or cleaning up. And while you may be a few years off from having to decide if a Montessori preschool is the right choice for your family, it’s definitely possible to start incorporating the Montessori philosophy at home from birth by letting your baby do what they do best: playing with toys.

What Is a Montessori Toy?

There’s no official list of “approved” Montessori toys; rather, a toy is considered Montessori-friendly if it supports the same educational philosophies as the Montessori approach. Here’s what to look for when choosing a Montessori-friendly toy for your baby:

  • Natural materials. The Montessori philosophy places importance on natural materials that children can learn about and explore. Does this mean absolutely no plastic allowed? Not quite. But for the most part, traditionally Montessori-friendly toys are made from natural materials like wood, metal, cotton, wool or even rock.
  • Simple and free of distractions. Translation: no batteries required. Think: toys that will encourage your little one to engage in open-ended, imaginative play.
  • Focuses on a single skill. Toys that focus on a single skill or concept build the foundation for more advanced learning later on. A single-shape puzzle, for example, or a rattle with a bell on it or a pounding bench are all single-skill toys that also teach more sophisticated concepts as your child grows and develops.
  • Realistic and purpose-driven. Maria Montessori favored toys and books that were rooted in reality, not fantasy. This means if you’re choosing between a figurine that’s a cartoon-like image of, say, a cow, versus a realistic image, it’s always best to go with the one that’s based in the real world. She also observed that children love to mimic the world around them, so anything that can help your little one feel like a true part of the “grown-up” world is encouraged.

There’s one other thing to remember when choosing Montessori-friendly toys for your baby: less is more. Instead of stocking your little one’s playroom with tons of toys, try to limit it to only a few. (Of course, we know your kid might get a ton of presents sometimes, so you can also try rotating toys in and out so they don’t get overwhelmed.) Focus on toys that will go the distance and that are appropriate for whatever developmental stage your baby is in at the moment. Fewer toys will enable your baby to focus more on the task at hand—and there’ll be less for you to clean up at the end of a long day. By the way, you can use these tips for incorporating Montessori as your baby enters toddlerhood and beyond.

Best Montessori Toys for Babies 0-12 Months Old

Set the Montessori Stage

A play mat + mirror + mobile or play gym = a safe and engaging spot for your baby to explore their surroundings and move their body during tummy time. Find more of the best toys for babies 0-6 months here.

Grasping + Grabbing

Our favorite toys for hand-eye coordination and fine motor skill development.

Lovevery
Buy Now

Feeling overwhelmed? Lovevery’s play kit subscription lets you receive a curated selection of toys for each stage of your baby’s development. They even include a little play guide for tips and activities.

Sensory Toys

From crinkly noises to toys they can safely mouth, incorporate a rich sensory experience in your baby’s play with these picks.

Montessori-Friendly Books

Reading is great for cognitive and visual development. Babies love simple board books with high-contrast images and pictures of real faces and objects.

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