Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers 1-3 Years

If you’ve heard the word “Montessori” bounce around your circle of mama friends but aren’t quite sure what it means or how to even embrace the Montessori philosophy, this post is a great starting point! I’ll be digging into the history of Montessori and some of the Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers 1-3 Years. Whether you’re looking to simplify your child’s play area or shopping for a birthday gift, the following Montessori inspired toys are a great resource to start your journey.

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Montessori Play Toys for Toddlers and Babies, Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers 1-3 Years

We will go over:

  • The History of Montessori.
  • What is a Montessori Inspired Toy?
  • Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers 1-3 Years

The History of Montessori

In the 1900s Italian educator Maria Montessori developed a groundbreaking philosophy that is now widely accepted all over the world. Montessori principles have largely grown in popularity over the last decade within modern circles and child-focused preschools. According to the American Montessori Society, “Montessori education is student-led and self-paced but guided, assessed, and enriched by knowledgeable and caring teachers, the leadership of their peers, and a nurturing environment.” At the root, children are given autonomy to explore and discover their own interests and environment within life-inspired self-guided play. There is a focus on each child’s natural desire for knowledge, understanding, and respect. Research shows “Montessori students grow up to be confident, enthusiastic, and self-directed learners and citizens, accountable to both themselves and their community.”

In 1906, Dr. Maria Montessori was invited to create a childcare center in San Lorenzo where she would be working with some of the area’s most disadvantaged, and previously unschooled, children. The doors of Casa dei Bambini—Italian for “Children’s House” opened on January 6, 1907. She was determined to make the Children’s House a quality educational environment for the inner-city kids whom many had thought were unable to learn.

While the children were wild and disorderly at first, they soon took to showing interest in engaging in hands-on learning experiences; working with puzzles, preparing meals, cleaning, etc. Dr. Montessori reported that before long, the children had started to display “calm, peaceful behavior, periods of deep concentration, and a sense of order in caring for their environment.” Ultimately learning that the children absorbed knowledge from their surroundings, essentially teaching themselves. 

Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers ages 1 year to 3 years

What is a Montessori Inspired Toy?

Although there is room for interpretation, what constitutes a Montessori inspired toy stems from the following learning principles; It does not overwhelm the child, has a purpose, and is rooted in reality. If you google ‘Montessori toy’ you will most likely see natural wood materials or rainbow colored items and toys that can be child-manipulated rather than battery-operated. They are typically simple, aesthetically pleasing objects made of natural material (wood, clay, cotton). Often times these toys are aimed at the development of one particular skillset and always look to support a child’s natural growth stage.

These skillsets can include any of the following:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Sensory skills
  • Stimulate problem solving
  • Gross motor skills
  • Language development
  • Build good concentration
  • Math skills
  • Arts and crafts
  • Scientific exploration

If you’re easily overwhelmed by choosing the right toys for your child’s developmental stage, you can sign up for a toy subscription box through LOVEVERY and receive a play kit full of Montessori inspired toys every 2-3 months as your child grows.

Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers 1-3 Years

Wooden music set montessori toy for toddlers boy playing drum, Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers 1-3 Years

Wooden Music Set Montessori Toddler Toy 

An adorable Wooden Music Set to inspire budding musicians, explore different cultures, or start a family band. This wooden music set introduces kids to a range of instruments. Teaches children about music from different cultures while promoting family bonding, creativity and teamwork. Made with durable wood and materials.

A great toy for ages 1-3 years of age.

Montessori Climbing Gym for Toddlers 1-3 Years

Looking to develop your baby’s muscles, balance control, and courage this climbing Triangle Ramp + Arch Set is an excellent training opportunity. You can boost your child’s Imagination and activity levels with this Montessori Set.

These sets come in a number of sizes so you can choose the appropriate level for your child’s current developmental stage.

  • Benefits imagination, creativity, emotional intalect and social skills
  • Improves balance, coordination and spatial orientation
  • Develops core muscle strength and flexibility
  • Enhances fine and gross motor skills

Great for ages 2+

Wooden Building Blocks Montessori Toddler Toy 

These Wooden Building Blocks for Toddlers spark early developmental skills. The set has multiple shapes to encourage a child’s imaginative and creative cognitive skills. It comes with a storage bucket that has a shape sorter lid so your child can work on matching the correct shapes to the holes.

You can get these blocks in a wood finish or mix of colors!

A great gift for ages 1-3 years of age.

Other Wooden Building Block Options Include:

Hammer Peg Montessori Toy for Toddlers 1-3 Years

The Hammer Peg Toy or Pound-a-peg is great for children to develop coordination and self-control. This toy is offered in a variety of forms, hammer + peg or sometimes a hammer + ball with a tracking path underneath. For older children you might look for a hammer and nail/pin.

This type of Montessori toy for toddlers develops their fine motor skill that is attributed with self-control and coordination due to the hand-eye coordination needed to reach the objective of hitting, and pushing the peg or ball down.

A great gift for ages 2-4 years of age.

Other Hammer Toy Options for your toddler include:

Montessori Realistic Baby Dolls for Toddlers 1-3 Years

Montessori Baby Dolls help teach children nurturing skills. They can work on developing social-emotional learning and value people from diverse backgrounds around the world. While most any baby doll can help develop these skills, Montessori baby dolls are typically a more realistic version and atomically correct. This helps reflect the realism and diversity of the world.

Great for ages 1+

Other Montessori Inspired Baby Doll Picks:

Montessori Realistic Schleich Animal Figurines for Toddlers 1-3 Years

Give your child the gift of real world experience as they delve into playing with these Montessori Realistic Animal Figurines. Young children can use Schleich animals to learn concepts from matching to geography!

Although Schleich animals are made of plastic, they are still in line with the Montessori method because ultimately Montessori learning values reality over fantasy. Although this method of learning prefers children to have materials made from natural materials, Schleich animals like the ones above are so life-like, they are permitted.

It is worth noting that some believe parents/teachers should not introduce your child to Schleich animals representing an animal they have not seen before. The biggest reason being because of size and stature being similar to other Schleich animals but in reality vastly different. If you want to expose your child to Schleich’s models of exotic animals, you may need to take a trip to the zoo first.

Schleich animals are not only great for geography, matching, and spelling but also open-ended play. Consider adding Schleich Montessori animal figurines in a purposeful way to your child’s environment and watch how their eyes open to the beauty of the animal world.

Great for Ages 2+

Montessori Balance Board for Toddlers 1-3 years

A Montessori Balance Board for toddlers gets them moving and working on their sense of balance. It helps engage similar skills to those they need to ride a bike, ski or skate! This particular board can host 2 kids at once or even a child and one parent.

  • Balance boards can become a slides, stepping stones, bridges, or teeter totters
  • Can be used practically as a kids table
  • Boosts imaginative play! Maybe it becomes a cradle or even toy car racetrack. Just see what your child dreams up!

These types of balance boards originated from the Montessori education method and puts emphasis on problem solving skills, sense of discovery, and independence.

A wonderful choice of activity for toddlers ages 3+

Montessori Inspired Cleaning Set Toddler Toy

Looking for a functional children’s toy your little one will love? If they are always trying to help you clean around the house, this is the perfect gift set for them to inspire independence and motivation while building practical skills and confidence! This Melissa & Doug cleaning set is a one stop shop for parents looking for something with all the tools. It’s an affordable price, well made with durable material, and a functional choice your little one will surely cherish.

Included in this set is a standing broom, a hand broom, dust pan, duster, and a mop.

Great for children ages 2+

If you’re looking for a Montessori inspired cleaning set with less color because you’re a mama who loves the muted tones, these are some great choices below!

Montessori Balance Bike for Toddlers 1-3 Years

Movement is such a big part of child development and truly what better way for your child to explore the world of movement than on a balance bike! This is a great way for children to leave their training wheels behind and get ready for a pedal bike as they grow through the toddler years.

When your child is ready, a balance bike can introduce them to the feeling of being on a bike, building up their confidence by encouraging striding and allowing them to practice bike-handling skills they will use on a future pedal bike.

Balance bikes are recommended for children starting at 18 months to 5 years.

Montessori Wooden Car Ramp and Marble Run Toddler Toy 

Montessori Wooden Car Ramps are a great way to encourage your child’s hand-eye coordination development as well as attention span in a fun and interactive way! This wooden car ramp is a great way to work on ‘taking turns’ while playing with their own colored race car and ramp. It helps in the development of communication skills, dexterity, and repetition through play.

The wooden car ramp is designed for children ages 1 + 2 years old.

Another popular version of this Montessori toy is a Marble or Ball Run for toddlers. Colorful wooden balls run on the wooden track that can develop your child’s hand-eye coordination, visual recognition, and problem-solving skills. This toy can also help Improve the speed of your baby’s visual tracking according to the rolling speed of the ball.

Due to the smaller parts in the Marble Run Ramp, you’ll want to supervise your child closely while playing with this one. A great toy for ages 2+

Other Montessori Inspired Car Ramps and Ball Runs for Toddlers:

Montessori Stacking Rings and Other Stacking and Sorting Toddler Toys

Montessori Stacking Rings and Other Stacking Toddler Toys work in developing your child’s color and shape recognition, stacking and sorting ability, and counting skills. They are often made of wood or silicone materials and colorfully designed to help engage your child in play.

These types of Montessori toys are great for children 1 year old and up.

Other Montessori Stacking and Sorting Toys:

Silicone Star Stacking Toy | Stacking Cups | Montessori Wooden Peg Dolls

Montessori Inspired Stainless Steel Pots and Pan Cooking Play-set for Toddlers 1-3 Years

Montessori Pots and Pan Set for Toddlers, Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers 1-3 Years

If you have a little chef that’s always trying to help you in the kitchen, a cooking set is the perfect Toddler Toy for them. These come in an assortment of materials, being stainless steal (to mimic real cook ware), wood, and even plastic. Play kitchen accessories encourages imaginative role play and storytelling.

These little sets are the perfect gift for ages 1-3 years old and up.

Other Montessori Inspired Cooking Sets We Love!

Alphabet Tracing Montessori Toy for Toddlers 1-3 Years

A Montessori Writing Board and Letters in a finished wood tracing form are both fun & easy to use. These types of toys help your child master the basics and introduce them to the world of letters! The boards have curved grooves to help your child exercise their hand-eye coordination and help improve fine motor skills. Through the repeated tracing, children can form muscle memory for writing ABC’s and easily recognize letters, numbers, shapes.

Great for Ages 2+ to introduce your child to the world of letters and writing skills.

Montessori Busy Boards & Cubes for Toddlers 1-3 Years

Montessori Busy Boards and activity boxes are great toys to help develop fine motor skills, dressing skills, dexterity and brain development. The elements on the wooden learning toys helps your child train finger grip, turning movements, and learn how to control their hands. These boards allow babies to learn the most common things in life while promoting play in an exciting and engaging way.

A perfect toy for babies ages 1+

Other Montessori Busy Board and Cubes for Toddlers:

Lacing & Sewing Montessori Toddler Toys

Lacing and Sewing Montessori toddler toys help children develop strong essential skills such as shoe tying, zippering, and buttoning. These types of toys are great for working on focus, hand-eye coordination, and creativity.

Great for toddlers 2+

Other Lacing and Sewing Toys for Toddlers:

Dog and Strawberry Lace Toy | Fruit Sewing Toys | Wooden Lacing Beads

Montessori Nesting Doll-like Toys and Stacking Cups

Montessori Nesting Doll-like Toys and Stacking Cups help your child exercise their hand-eye coordination and creativity, promoting healthy brain development. These colorful stacking toys can help them recognize colors and sizes as they learn to match and put the pieces together. They come in various material from wood to silicone and make great gifts for any occasion such as birthdays, holidays, and special days. A great way for 1+ years olds to develop their cognitive and fine motor skills through play.

Great for children 1-3 years of age.

Silicone Nesting Dolls | Mushie Stacking Cups | Animal Nesting Dolls

Montessori inspired Play Tent for Toddlers 1-3 Years

A Play Tent is the perfect toy if you’re looking to enhance your child’s use of imagination or give them a private space to play or calm down. These make a cute and functional play space in your child’s bedroom or even living room. They are easy to assemble and perfect for children’s reading nook, a small cave, or sleepover tent.

Great for ages 1-3 years old and older.

2 thoughts on “Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers 1-3 Years”

  1. Love this! I have a lot of the toys you listed but it reminds me of stuff I could get rid of to make room for more intentional toys. This would be a great post to send to family or friends around birthdays to gently remind people of the toys we want in our home! ❤️

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