Top Montessori Toys for 1-Year-Olds: Enhancing Development

When our young ones reach the 1-year mark, they become much more active and aware of the things that happen around them. And at this point, it’s a good idea to offer them a different kind of toy, something that they haven’t experienced yet.

That’s where Montessori toys come into play. These toys have been buzzing lately, but what's the fuss around them, and why are they becoming so popular?

Cute baby boy playing with silicone blocks.

Imagine your one-year-old happily playing, touching different textures, exploring bright colors, and discovering shapes. That's what Montessori is all about - a teaching method from Dr. Maria Montessori that focuses on hands-on, learn-at-your-own-pace experiences. It's not just for school; it's a cool way to make your child's playtime educational.

So, if you're curious about finding the perfect toys for your one-year-old that match this educational philosophy, you're in luck! Let's explore the world of the best Montessori toys for 1 year olds, ensuring your little one's play is not just fun but also helps them grow.

Understanding Montessori Principles for 1-Year-Olds

The Montessori method revolutionized education over a century ago with a system designed to match the children’s development needs from day one. These early years are like a supercharged learning period, where your little one's brain soaks so much information and knowledge.

And while many parents tend to associate learning with formal education, Montessori principles actually kick in early, recognizing the crucial importance of these initial years.

Cute girl in a yellow dress stacking a Montessori Rainbow.

In a Montessori setting, your child isn't just playing with toys; they're constantly exploring new options and possibilities, making them want to try and do more. These principles ensure an environment that's peaceful, supportive, and safe. It's a space where your child's natural curiosity, wonder, and independence are always nurtured.

Developmental Milestones for 1-Year-Olds

At the age of one, your young one is stepping into the world of exciting exploration. In that light, you’ll notice these key milestones for 1-year-olds in your child’s behavior.

Let’s take a look at the milestones in cognitive, motor skills, and social-emotional fields.

Cognitive development

When it comes to 1-year-olds at this stage, they are like tiny scientists, absorbing information and trying to understand what’s going on. Here are some cognitive milestones your child should reach:

  • Shape recognition: Your child should know how to match basic shapes, such as circles and squares for example.

  • Imitation: Children at this age should be able to mimic familiar actions, sounds, and behaviors usually seen by parents.

Motor Skills Development

Physical abilities are taking big leaps during this time. Your child has probably mastered some basic movements, and in that light, it’s important to nurture that side.

Mother holding his sons hands and helping him learn to walk.

Motor skills milestones for 1-year-olds:

  • Taking first stepsMost 1-year-olds are taking their first steps at this time, which is a huge milestone in gross motor skills development.

  • Standing: Some children are able to stand on their own, showcasing solid balance and coordination.

  • Fine motor skills: Grasping small objects, holding a spoon, or trying to scribble with a crayon is another everyday activity.

Nurturing both gross and fine motor skills is crucial at this point, as most of our children’s activities depend on them.

Social and Emotional Development

Your one-year-old is developing their personality and building social connections. Even if it sounds weird, learning how to promote a baby’s social and emotional development is important.

  • First words and gesturesAttempting to communicate with simple words or gestures marks a huge step in expressive language development.

  • Emotional bonds: They form stronger bonds with parents, grandparents, and caregivers. This way, your child expresses joy and sadness, which is a first step toward emotional and social development.

Make sure to interact with your child through play, but give them space to explore things on their own. 

Best Montessori Toys for 1-Year-Olds

With everything said so far, it’s time to discover some of the best Montessori toys for 1-year-olds and see how they align with children’s development.

Let’s take a closer look.

1. Montessori Pulling Snail

Montessori Pulling Snail.

The Montessori Pulling Snail isn't just a toy; it's a tool that enables your 1-year-old to develop and engage their senses through play. Beyond the joy of pulling it around with its smooth wheels and sturdy rope, this snail also introduces another activity - sorting and matching.

The colorful and adjustable shell parts encourage your child to explore their cognitive skills, enhancing both problem-solving and attention span.

This multi-faceted toy covers substantial ground in your little one's development. The pulling activity sharpens gross motor skills, coordination, and balance, while the sorting game focuses more on developing fine motor skills.

2. Montessori Vegetable Set

Montessori Vegetable Set.

Dive into fun learning with the Montessori Vegetable Set! This toy is a cool way to show kids where food comes from and teach them about the vegetables on their plates. Imagine your child happily "planting" veggies in matching spots. This activity sparks their creativity and helps them with coordination.

In addition, with its bright colors and shapes, this set teaches kids about healthy foods in a fun way. Most importantly, you’ll provide your child with a new educational toy that’s fun to play with and offers an opportunity to experience real-life things.

Plus, it transforms veggies from "yucky" to cool, making mealtime a bit less of a struggle.

3. Montessori Learning Rocket

Montessori Learning Rocket.

Adding Montessori Learning Rocket to your child’s everyday toys is like giving a kitten a ball of yarn - they’ll play for hours and love every second of it. Packed with seven activities in one, it's a toy that fosters sensory stimulation and teaches your child about stars, the moon, and planets.

But it's not just about knowledge; this rocket keeps those little hands active, boosting fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This toy is a great way to reduce screen time for your child and allow them to explore a whole new world of possibilities.

Most importantly, the learning rocket toy will teach your child about colors and shapes and enable it to create patterns for play.

Tips for Parents: How to Present Montessori Toys to 1-year-olds?

Getting Montessori toys is one thing, but presenting them in the best possible light is another. Therefore, showing your child how to play with these toys is equally important.

Mother, father, and their baby sitting on a carpet in the living room and playing with multicolor toys.

Let’s share some tips for parents:

1. Safety first: Ensure that the chosen Montessori toys are safe, free from small parts that could cause choking hazards, and made from non-toxic materials - we only feature those here.

2. Aim for simplicity: Opt for toys with simple designs and limited features, like the Montessori Pulling Snail - it’s simple, yet it offers so much.

3. Rotate and refresh: Rotate toys regularly to allow your child to explore new stuff every once in a while. But, keep in mind to always give them one or two toys at the same time.

4. Follow their lead: Montessori is about self-directed learning, so observe your child's interests and allow them to explore at their own pace. Don’t push them to play with toys that they might not like.

5. Independence is key: Choose toys that promote solitary play. You’ll quickly see what your child is capable of, and most importantly, you’ll witness their progress every single day.

6. Create a prepared environment: Set up a safe and comfortable space for your child to explore their Montessori toys.

7. Engage in joint play: While promoting independence, engaging with your child in play is also important. Makeup stories related to toys that they’re playing with and spend time with them.

8. Real-life connections: Choose toys that mimic real-life objects and activities, like the ones we reviewed above. 

Make sure to incorporate these into your child’s play. After all, playtime is the best way to connect with your 1-year-old as they learn about the world around them.


As the months fly by, our children learn more and more stuff every day, and that’s why providing them with the right kind of toys is important. The Montessori method of education and learning aligns perfectly with the children’s developmental milestones, and with the help of Montessori toys, they can go a long way.

As parents, presenting these toys involves fostering safety, simplicity, and encouragement. Rotate, observe, and adapt to your child's interests, and witness their learning unfold naturally.

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