Montessori Toys and Emotional Growth: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents

Did you know that the Montessori learning method was developed over 100 years ago? Thanks to Dr. Maria Montessori, a founder of the Montessori method, this educational approach has helped a lot of kids during their development, especially in the field of emotional intelligence.

We can go for days about how emotions are an important part of our lives, but controlling them is hard enough, even for adults. Imagine then the struggle our children face when they’re overwhelmed with emotions.

Cute baby sitting on the floor and playing with a wooden Montessori car toy.

But, believe it or not, Montessori toys and methods of learning are great for our children's emotional growth.

Be it anger, happiness, sadness, or just pure joy for receiving a favorite snack, our babies constantly show emotions in their own way. So today, we’ll see how the Montessori toys for babies can help with their emotional growth. 

How Do Montessori Toys Help With Emotional Development?

Montessori toys are specially designed to boost emotional development through play. These toys encourage empathy in children while also improving self-awareness and communication.

Montessori toys are like friendly guides for kids. They're designed to make playtime super fun while helping children understand their feelings and get along with others.

Baby girl sitting in her playroom with toys.

Combined with the basic Montessori principles, these toys promote:

  • Social skills: Montessori toys actively contribute to language development, helping children grasp their first words and understand connections between people.

  • Compassion: Kids use their toys to act out stories and make up new ones. This kind of play helps them understand how people feel and teaches them to be kind and helpful. It's like practicing how to be a good friend or solve problems, so when real-life situations come up, they're ready!

  • Self-awareness: While playing with Montessori toys, children are constantly learning, even about themselves. As children engage with a certain Montessori toy, they discover their knack for problem-solving and understanding which shapes fit where, for example. This helps them understand how good they are in a certain field, for example.

Guiding Emotional Development through Play

Playing isn't just fun; it's a powerful way to shape a child's emotional growth. Montessori toys can play a key role in this process, offering parents opportunities to guide and support their child's emotional development. After all, strengthening emotional development is important in early childhood

Baby crawling towards her toys in the playroom.

Here’s a couple of things to have in mind as a parent:

1. Observing and understanding emotions: Start by observing your child during playtime. Notice the expressions, gestures, and reactions. This observation helps you understand their emotions and provides valuable insights into their feelings.

2. Addressing specific emotional needs: Montessori toys can be specially crafted to address specific emotional needs. If your baby seems frustrated or uncomfortable, choose a calming activity like reading a Montessori Cloth Book. If they're excited, go for a game that channels their positive energy through play.

3. Promoting empathy and communication: Playtime is an excellent for teaching empathy and communication. Make sure to do a bit of role-playing, use toys to act out feelings, and encourage your child to express themselves. 

How to Build a Strong Parent-Child Connection?

In order to build a strong connection with your baby early on, you should involve them in decision-making, celebrate their developmental milestones, and have loads of patience.

The best way to do so is to stick to the Montessori learning method. Here’s a couple of tips to take into consideration for building a strong parent-child connection:

1. Create a Montessori-friendly environment: Create a space at home that encourages independence and exploration. Organize toys and activities in a way that allows your little one to make choices. One good example is shown in the picture below:

Montessori designed playroom for children.

2. Balanced screen time: While technology is getting more in our lives, Montessori principles focus more on hands-on experiences. Ensure a balance between screen time and interactive play, focusing on activities that stimulate the senses and also encourage physical movement and play.

3. Involve children in decision-making: Let your child participate in decisions related to their play environment. Whether choosing toys, setting up activities, or organizing their space, involving them will create a sense of empowerment for them.

4. Recognize and celebrate milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate your child's achievements, no matter how small. Montessori values the learning process over the end result, putting accent on the importance of effort and progress.

Father and daughter in the kitchen high-fiving each other.

5. Practice patience and presence: Arm yourself with patience during playtime, allowing your baby to explore at their own pace. Don’t rush them. Be present and focused on their cues, as this will only further increase your connection with the child.

6. Embrace child-led learning: Follow your child's interests and curiosity when it comes to Montessori toys. Whether it's a particular toy or activity, supporting their choices promotes a love for learning and strengthens the parent-child connection.

How Children Express Their Emotions Through Play?

Children express their emotions through their behavior while playing. Picture this: Your baby is having a hard time putting a ball in the corresponding hole; they get angry and throw everything away from them. You don’t have to be a certified pediatrician to know that this is anger.

Cute excited baby holding wooden Montessori blocks.

Something similar happens when they actually put the ball in the right hole and burst into joy; they might even clap their hands or put a wide smile as an expression of joy. That’s how they express emotions through play.

In that light, here’s a couple of ways to help kids express their emotions:

1. Educate them about emotions. 

Use a feeling chart with faces or a list of feeling words to help children identify and understand their emotions. You can even sing songs about emotions, as this is a great way to show them that getting angry or sad is nothing to fear.

2. Listen to what they have to say.

Create an open environment for children to express their emotions without judgment. Don’t categorize emotions as good or bad; instead, focus on acknowledging and understanding them. When a child expresses a strong emotion, like happiness, listen to them and then reflect the feeling back.

3. Show them how to react.

Demonstrate healthy expression of emotions by processing your thoughts and feelings out loud. This might be the best way to teach them, as they will believe you since you’re their parent. Share your experiences, acknowledge emotions, and propose positive ways to cope with challenges.

Close up of a baby drawing on white paper.

For example, you’re teaching your child how to draw a circle, but they keep getting it “wrong.” Your child gets overwhelmed as they can’t cope with the failure. At that moment, tell them that it’s ok if they can’t draw it now, and say that you also couldn’t draw it in the first couple of tries.

You can even bring other siblings into the picture as well. Tell them that their other parent or older sibling also couldn’t do it at first, but they kept trying and succeeded in the end.


Montessori education and toys are great for developing emotions and teaching children how to express them. The last thing we want is to teach our children to bottle everything inside and be afraid to express their emotions. That's why communication is the most important thing.

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