Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers of 2020
Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers
September 9, 2020

Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers

Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers .
Photo by @dearkitchen
Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers

Toddlerhood is a time for curiosity, exploration and learning—all tenants of the Montessori method, a child-centered approach to education. If you’ve found Montessori to be a good fit for your little one and your family, then focusing on toys that support this philosophy can be the perfect way to encourage your little one’s learning through play.

Montessori-inspired toys should center around a few basic principles: they should be made from natural materials, err on the side of simplicity (no bells and whistles needed), focus on a single skill, and be realistic and purpose-driven. (For more on what to look for when choosing a Montessori-friendly toy, check out our Best Montessori Toys for Babies guide.)

These 13 Montessori-friendly toys check all of those boxes and, best of all: they’re fun. They’ll inspire hours of play and are toys your toddler will come back to again and again.

Skill Building

As your toddler becomes more aware of letters and sounds, a letterboard can be a useful—and fun—addition to your playroom. There are lots of ways to use this wooden board, which is made from maple and is available with uppercase letters, lowercase letters or a combination of both. Younger toddlers will love using their fingers to trace the engraved letters while building their fine motor skills. As they start to get the hang of it, you can move on to using the included tracing stick.

Wait, you want me to give my toddler a glass pitcher? Filled with water? Yup—but under supervision and after lots of practice, of course! Maria Montessori recognized that children love to participate in “real life” activities. Pouring a small glass of water on their own is a perfect first task for a toddler to learn to master, and this tiny pitcher is just the right size for small hands. Summon your patience and start with a tiny bit of water and work up from there.

This beautiful, heirloom-quality puzzle checks so many boxes when it comes to Montessori-friendly toys. The puzzle is made from natural wood (check!), doesn’t have any bells and whistles (check!), is isolated around a single concept (check!) and is true-to-life (check again). The pieces are the perfect size for toddler hands and we love that one side of the leaves are a natural wood grain while the opposite side is bursting with realistic colors.

Toddlers love playing matching games and using tools and manipulatives, and this toy combines all of these things. Younger toddlers can build their pincer grasp as they try to match the bees with their corresponding honeycomb, and older kiddos will love using the wooden forceps to get the job done. The wooden honeycombs can also be lined up or stacked for extra fun.

Play and Imagine

Need a bit of help cleaning up the house? Time to summon your toddler in the name of all things Montessori. These cleaning tools are sized down for toddler hands—and they look just like the real thing, an important feature in Montessori-inspired materials. Now if only their love of helping out would last through the teenage years…

Maria Montessori recognized that it’s tough for young children to distinguish between fantasy and reality, so she favored materials that mimicked the natural world. These forest animal figures look just like the real thing and are ideal for inspiring toddler pretend play. We love that they’re a bit oversized so they’re easier for toddlers to pick up and move around.

With countless ways to play, these silks will become a playroom staple from the toddler days all the way through to the big kid years. They’re made from 100% silk and available in up to 15 bright, vibrant colors. They work for dress up and other imaginative play, fort building, color sorting or whatever else your toddler can think up.

Part musical instrument, part toy and all fun. This hand kite with three bells encourages musical play, while the colorful rainbow ribbons will capture your toddler’s senses. Each kite is handmade and the wooden ring is sized just right for toddler hands. Just keep in mind that if your toddler is still putting things in their mouth, it’s best to hold off with this toy or use it under close supervision.

Toddlers will love this wooden play food that looks just like what’s cooking for dinner, but there’s a hidden feature, too. Use the wooden “knife” to slice through each piece, practicing cutting and building fine motor skills. The realistic details and natural wood make this set super Montessori-friendly. It makes a great toy on its own or as an addition to any play kitchen.

Move and Create

Finger paints inspire creativity and sensory exploration—not to mention just plain old fun. Aligned perfectly with the Montessori philosophy, these paints will encourage your little one in hands-on exploration and help with sensory development. They’re non-toxic, washable and safe for artists of any age.

Featuring a sturdy wooden frame and a double-sided easel with a blackboard and a magnetic whiteboard, this easel is just the spot for your toddler to create their next masterpiece. It’s the perfect place for painting, writing, drawing or whatever creative endeavor your little one has up their sleeve. We love that its height is adjustable, so it will last for years.

Balance, sensory stimulation, gross motor skills and imaginative play are just a few of the benefits that come along with introducing a toddler to a balance board. This simple, smooth piece of curved wood can be used so many ways, and that’s what we (and fans of the Montessori philosophy) love about it. This one uses eco-friendly wood and stains and is durable enough for years of play.

If you’re not familiar with a balance bike, it’s exactly the same as a normal bike, minus one key feature: pedals. Balance bikes are designed to help little ones develop balance through an intuitive process of first walking, then scooting, then running and ultimately gliding with their feet, making the transition to a pedaled bike (sans training wheels) seamless. Balance bikes encourage kids to get outside and help build coordination and gross motor skills.

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