Tiny Playtime

big play ideas for little people

Best Montessori Toys for Babies and Toddlers

The lists of educational toys are overwhelmingly endless. Let’s narrow it down to the best Montessori toys for your child, incorporating the Montessori philosophy in your home. 

What is a Montessori toy?

A toy is considered Montessori or Montessori-friendly when it follows and encourages the same educational philosophies as the Montessori Method. Here are some helpful tips when finding toys for your baby or toddler.

1. Simplicity. Montessori toys tend to be simple. This means no flashing lights or loud noises and music (No more headache-inducing toys!). The toy should encourage your child to use their imagination when playing with it and not have singular use or function. Look for toys that support open-ended and imaginative play.

2. Realism. The Montessori philosophy is based in reality. Simply put, avoid cartoon images and characters. We want to surround the child with realistic and recognisable images.

3. Natural materials. Generally, traditional Montessori toys are made from natural materials. Look for wood, metal, wool and rock. A common misconception is that plastic is forbidden! You don’t need to run from plastic toys, but if there is a natural material option available, this is preferable.

Let’s look at some great Montessori toys

There are general guidelines of age ranges for these toys, but please check your specific model or version.

0 months+

Sensory balls

These are a delightful addition to your baby’s toys, offering tactile stimulation. Such a simple toy with so many benefits! Your baby will practise their fine and gross motor skills, visual tracking and hand-eye coordination.

Sensory balls

6 months+

Pikler triangle or climbing arch

We love versatility! Pikler triangles, climbing arches or play gyms are multifunctional, allowing you to adapt the set-up to your child’s age, development, needs and interest. Talk about bang for your buck! This equipment is great for gross motor development, body spatial awareness, coordination and balance.

Pikler triangle and ramp, Pikler triangle, Pikler triangle and slide, Ladder arch and slide, Ladder arch

Stacking toys

Develop your child’s sense of order with a stacking toy. Generally, toddlers show interest in stacking and building, this toy offers them a constructive way to meet that need. This toy can be an introduction to concepts like early maths, geometry, problem-solving, and cause and effect.

Stacking toy

12 months+

Wooden puzzles

Wooden puzzles are an amazingly durable and budget-friendly option for your baby and toddler. They will develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, problem-solving and language development. If you can find puzzles tailored to your child’s interests, even better!

Wooden puzzle

18 months+

Sensory table

Sensory tables are fantastic, they are so versatile. Ideally, find one that can be used inside and outside, giving you endless options of what to fill it with. A sensory table is always a win!

Sensory table

Learning tower

A learning tower is a piece of Montessori equipment rather than a toy, but they are incredibly handy. It keeps your child safe and stable in areas of your home they typically wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. Learning towers are commonly used in the kitchen or the bathroom. It should be non-slip and have support so your child can’t fall backwards. A useful investment for your home!

Learning tower

Balance board

If you do not have the space or budget for a play gym, a balance board is a great alternative. Smaller in size and price tag, your child will have just as much fun and develop skills in the same areas. An open-ended toy that lends itself to imaginative play – practise your balance or flip it over and use it as a ramp for toy cars.

Balance board, Balance board

3 years+

Magnetic tiles

These aesthetically pleasing toys which you have probably seen on every Montessori mom’s Instagram are the perfect open-ended purchase. For children of all ages, it offers the opportunity for endless imaginative and constructive play.

Magnetic tiles

Threading beads

A lovely activity with fine motor development and pattern recognition. There are options for simple and more complex bead shapes and designs, the choice is yours.

Bead threading, Bead threading

4 years+

Tool kit

Kids love to build and take apart. A Montessori-inspired tool kit is a fantastic purchase. Using a screwdriver and working with nuts and bolts is a common activity in a Montessori classroom and they have so many developmental benefits – fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and concentration, to name a few.

Screwdriver board, Tool kit

Montessori toys are a great investment for your child and your home. Consider your child’s interests and what items would be of the most value in your space. With so many fantastic options on the market, the choices are endless!