With so many toys out there to choose from, it can be overwhelming to choose presents that are fun, engaging and meaningful. We’ve put together some thoughtful Montessori friendly gift ideas for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, as well as a few useful things to consider when choosing toys.
What are Montessori-style toys?
Ever bought your child a fancy toy with all the bells and whistles, only for them to have even more fun playing with the box it came in? You’re not alone! The world is already so stimulating for growing little minds, that simple toys and objects tend to spark a child’s curiosity without being overwhelming. This is why Montessori-friendly toys are minimalist in general, and are usually made from natural materials such as wood. They’re also non-electronic and encourage independent play, creativity and concentration.
While the toys with flashing lights and sounds are fun for a short time, it teaches children that when you push this button, it only does this, which means there is little to no freedom for creative imaginative play. Now, this isn’t to say you should never buy these types of toys for your children, it’s simply about finding the right balance. What we love about Montessori-style toys are that they don’t tell your child what they are supposed to do, but rather give your child the freedom to discover and create on their own. After all, our world needs more innovators, critical thinkers, and creative problem solvers, so it’s a great idea to start now while they are in the sensitive periods of wanting to explore that!
Tips for choosing Montessori gifts
- Look for open-ended toys that can be used for more than one purpose.
- Choose toys that spark creativity through imaginative play (e.g. art activities, play kitchens, train tracks, beads, blocks, etc.).
- Children love to do REAL work, so choose child-size real life tools (such as brooms, garden tools, and cooking utensils) over pretend versions.
- Observe your child and pay attention to the things he/she plays with the most.
Gift ideas for babies
Focus on beauty and function, and try to keep it as simple and natural as possible.
- Grasping toys
- Hammering toys
- Beautiful mobiles
- Wooden or crochet rattles
- Fabric balls
- Eggs in a cup
- Ring stacker
Gift ideas for toddlers
Your child’s personality is really starting to emerge at this age, so try to follow their unique interests and abilities.
- Pull toys
- Nesting / stacking toys: rings, blocks, shapes, discs, Russian dolls
- Shape sorter
- Bean bags
- Play tunnel
- Hammering toy
- Imbucare box
- Wooden vehicles
- Peg board or puzzle
- Coin box
- Threading activities
- Wobble board / balance rocker
- Puzzles: chunky piece and knobbed puzzles, name puzzles, half-shape sequencing puzzles, fraction puzzles, opposites puzzles
- Doll stroller
- Tea set
- Musical instruments: hand bells, drum, tambourine, harmonica, xylophone
- Art: paint brushes, easel, finger paints, play dough
Many children at this age have strong preferences, so be sure to follow them!
- Building toys and tools: magnatiles, wooden tools sets
- Pretend play: wooden play house, kitchens
- Games: board games, memory games, math games
- Musical instruments
- Art supplies: paints, kinetic sand, clay, sun art, rainbow scratch paper, stencils, stamp pens
- STEM: microscope, magnets, marble runs, science experiments, terrarium kit language & culture: globe, wall map, letter puzzle, magnetic letters, hand puppets
We hope you found this gift guide useful for all your Montessori inspired gifts this holiday season. There are so many great choices to fit every child, and every budget. Enjoy the giving!