In this guide, we’ll take a look at what are “Montessori-friendly” toys and give you a list of the best Montessori toys for toddlers and preschoolers you can currently find on the market.
What are “Montessori-friendly toys”?
The Montessori method is an educational approach that was developed by an Italian physician Maria Montessori at the beginning of the 20th century.
She based her teachings on careful scientific observation of children and their developmental stages, respecting their own pace and independence.
Although Maria Montessori did not leave many direct instructions when it comes to toys, we can safely declare some toys to be Montessori-friendly. All we need is to take the Montessori principles and apply them to the selection of the toys for our children.
A Montessori toy is one that fulfills the following criteria:
It does not overwhelm the child
Simplicity is one of the most characteristic features of a Montessori toy. You won’t find batteries in them. They don’t make any artificial sounds or noises.
It has a purpose
A Montessori-friendly toy should have a clear purpose – it should be aimed at the development of one particular skill or focused on a single concept.
The skills a toy can be aimed at include:
- Sensory skills
- Fine motor skills
- Gross motor skills
- Language development
- Math skills
- Arts and crafts
- Scientific exploration
It is rooted in reality
A Montessori toy should be rooted in reality. Toys that are based on real-life objects help to learn around the world around us.
Best Montessori toys for toddlers (1-3 years)
A rainbow stacking toy is one of the symbols of quality wooden toys and a Montessori classic. It develops sorting skills as well as color differentiation abilities.
The concept of busy board is simple. It encourages hands-on learning through a set of practical activities aimed at fine motor skills development. It will keep your toddler busy for a long time, so it’s often used for car or airplane travel.
Musical instruments are a great way to encourage creativity and develop musical ear in children. This durable set by Stoie includes 9 musical instruments from all around the world so your little one can experience different cultures from an early age.
Another Montessori classic. Knobbed cylinders help toddlers to enhance fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination while introducing the concepts of size, height and thickness.
Nothing gives your toddler more creative play time than a big set of beautiful wooden blocks. The award-winning brand Melissa & Doug ensures high-quality and perfect craftsmanship.
Marble runs are very popular (not only) among kids. This wooden piece is perfect for toddlers as it helps them to understand the cause-effect relationship in a playful way.
Animal figures are often used as a vocabulary development tool in the Montessori approach. This set by Boley contains 12 realistic safari animals that are well-crafted and made of non-toxic materials.
The Pikler triangle has become very popular in Montessori households. It’s a wooden frame developed by Hungarian physician Emmi Pikler, made specifically to be used by little climbers. Perfect for both indoor and outdoor activities.
Another great toy to develop your child’s gross motor skills. Besides balancing, it is pretty versatile and can be used in various creative ways.
The Montessori method encourages kids to participate in everyday household activities as it gives them the sense of responsibility and independence. This functional child-size cleaning set is a perfect gift that will allow that.
This pedal-free bike is a perfect starting bike for toddlers. It teaches them the most important skill of coordination and finding the balance so they are perfectly ready once they use a full-size bike.
Best Montessori toys for preschoolers (3-5 years)
Play is at the core of learning during the early years and it can take many forms. One of the most important of these is sensory play because it engages all of a child’s senses (taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing) and thus has a enormous positive impact on brain development. These sensory play kits are designed to engage as well as entertain.
This beautiful set contains 120 colorful wooden blocks that can be assembled into an infinite number of shapes and patterns. The package also includes 10 design boards to follow and a practical storage tray.
A popular Montessori educational toy that helps your preschooler learn new words. The blocks spin and create dozens of possible 3-letter word combinations.
As preschoolers start to understand the concept of numbers and counting, it is great to give them a visual aid that will help them to learn the written numerical symbols.
The “Hundred Board” is another beautiful Montessori-friendly numerical toy. It teaches children to count from 1 to 100.
Geoboard is a versatile educational toy that develops fine motor skills and encourages creativity. Children can start with simple 2D objects and continue with more complex patterns as they grow older.
The beauty of this toy lies in its simplicity – just a wooden board, 5 metal screws and a screwdriver. A great tool to develop fine motor skills through the practice of inserting and removing various kinds of screws.
Alphabet tracing is a perfect activity for children of preschool age as it helps them to train the pencil grip and develop the muscle memory needed for writing. The set includes a practical guide bonus ebook.
Sand tray writing is another popular Montessori activity that can be used both for letter writing and creative drawing. The package includes a wooden tray with a scrape block, pencil and a pack of sand.
Connetix Magnetic Tiles don’t need much introduction as they’ve been one of the biggest hits among the purposeful toys in the last few years. All we can say is to confirm that they are really as great as advertised.
Kids love to help in the kitchen. This realistic stainless steel cooking set is just perfect for What’s more, the set is food safe and dishwasher safe!
Preschoolers tend to be very curious about science and the human body. This magnetic play set will let them explore the human’s basic anatomy and organs in a creative way.
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