Montessori Toys for Early Learning: A Comprehensive Guide

Parenting is a whirlwind! One day, you’re singing songs to your newborn, and in the blink of an eye, they’re off to school. At the center of this adventure, we all cherish memories and time spent with our children, especially during playtime.

Most importantly, we all want to set our mini-humans up for success, and guess what? With the right kind of tools, everything’s possible. Investing in early child development is the key to preparing your little ones for the life ahead.

Little blue-haired boy playing with colorful Montessori wooden rings.

So, in today’s discussion, we’re going to go over the Montessori toys by age and see how they align with the developmental progress in the early stages of our children.

Principles of Montessori Education

In today’s world, where educational methods for parenting come and go, the Montessori principles for fundamental learning are still present. Namely, Dr. Maria Montessori, the brains behind this approach, believed in nurturing a child's curiosity and independence through a carefully selected set of principles.

1. Parent/teacher education: At the core of Montessori philosophy are the educators. Parents, caregivers, and, most importantly, teachers all play a huge role in the Montessori learning method. They’re guides first, lecturers second.

2. The multi-age approach: The multi-age approach in the Montessori learning method is designed to include children of all ages. This means that children should play together, as they have so much to give. Older children become ‘’teachers’’ while younger ones look up to their older friends.

Preschool teacher painting with two toddlers.

3. Using Montessori toys: Montessori toys are specially designed to spark creativity, foster independence, and enhance hands-on exploration in children. These toys are created from wooden materials, ensuring children's safety.

4. Child-oriented methods: We can all agree that learning is not a one-size-fits-all principle. That’s why the Montessori method focuses on a child as an individual, allowing the child to choose their learning path. The emphasis here is on the learning process rather than on a fixation on end results.

5. Uninterrupted learning sessions: The Montessori method is best used when there are no limitations in learning sessions. This means that children are free to play and learn when and as much as they want.

In light of everything we said above, these principles aren't just educational strategies - they represent a philosophy that respects the natural pace of a child's development.

Choosing Montessori Toys

In the exciting world of early childhood, picking the right toys isn't just for fun and playing - it's about investing in your child's growth. Montessori toys aren't your usual picks; they're carefully chosen to boost learning, independence, and creativity.

Close up of a little girl in yellow dress playing with colorful Montessori wooden pegs.

Wondering how to find the perfect Montessori toy for your little one?

Let's make it simple:

Age-appropriate Considerations

Montessori toys are designed to meet the developmental needs of different age groups.

  • For infants and babies, consider toys that engage their senses, like soft rattles and textured fabric toys.

  • Toddlers, on the other hand, benefit from toys that encourage movement and coordination, such as building blocks and stacking rings.

  • Preschoolers thrive with more complex puzzles, art supplies, and activities that promote cognitive development.

Most importantly, providing your child with the right Montessori toy can enable them to go a long way.

Material and Texture

Montessori toys usually use natural stuff like wood, fabric, and even metal. These materials give a sensory-rich feel and link kids to nature. Pick toys with different textures to enhance your child’s sense of touch and encourage deeper exploration.

Multicolor wooden blocks placed tidily in a storage tray.

This is especially important for early development and children who are just stepping into the world of Montessori toys.

Open-ended vs. Closed-ended Toys

Montessori toys foster an approach that encourages children to use their imagination - these are called open-ended toys. They don't have a set use, meaning children can explore these toys and use them the way they want. This encourages creative play and allows children to develop creativity, independence, and cognitive abilities.

On the other hand, closed-ended toys have a specific purpose. These types of toys usually focus on one development field, like cognitive development. One good example of this type is a puzzle, which has a purpose - solve it.

Both these types have their educational purpose and can be found in a Montessori setting.

Montessori Toys for Various Developmental Stages

Cute Montessori toys placed on a fluffy carpet in a purple room.

Specially designed to address cognitive, motor, language, and social-emotional development, Montessori toys provide an educational approach to your child's growth. In that light, let's explore the ideal Montessori toys for each crucial milestone.

  • Cognitive development: To spark thinking skills, introduce your child to puzzles, matching games, building blocks, and shape sorters. These toys are quite popular in the early learning stage, where children explore more. Moreover, learning colors and shapes is going to create a strong foundation for problem-solving skills in the future, and Montessori toys are perfect for this. 

Little boy sitting on the table and moving the beads on his wooden abacus.

  • Motor skills development: Fine motor skills are usually best practiced with bead threading and lacing toys. On the other hand, balance boards and climbing structures are best for gross motor skills. These activities enhance coordination and movement, promoting physical development.

Close up of a girl putting together a structure made of Montessori multi-color shape blocks.

  • Social and emotional development: When it comes to social and emotional skills, the educator/parent has the most influence. However, using Montessori toys like a wooden rainbow or a pulling snail can enhance the playtime and allow the child to bond more with the parent. 

Little boy sitting in his mother's lap and smiling at a duck plush toy.

Tips for Introducing Montessori Toys

As we already discussed, parents play a big role in the Montessori method of learning. And, by providing your children with the right kind of toys, you also have to introduce them to the concept of the toy as well. 

Pinocchio themed Montessori wooden stacker toy.

So, here are a couple of tips to ensure you’re child can grow alongside Montessori toys:

1. Follow the child’s lead: When it comes to participating in playtime, it’s best to observe and intervene when needed. Children, especially babies and toddlers, are usually looking to lead and do things on their own, to explore and try new things. And, if you intervene too often, you might narrow their path and limit their exploration.

2. Encourage decision-making: Similar to the first tip; the parent should always encourage independence in their children. One good activity to remember is always providing them with choices. For example, put two totally different toys in front of your baby and make them choose what they want to explore.

3. Rotate toys to make things interesting: Another important concept of the Montessori learning method is to rotate toys frequently. This means that your child will learn much more if they’re always presented with a new challenge, for example, stacking blocks. By rotating toys frequently, you’ll spark their imagination and creativity, making your child always explore something new.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Making mistakes is part of parenting, but it would be best if we, as parents, knew exactly how to come on top when it comes to the education of our children. Therefore, creating a Montessori environment for your child involves more than just selecting toys. 

Siblings planting flowers in cardboard cups.

Let’s look at some of the most common pitfalls and try to avoid them.

1. Avoid overstimulation with toys: Your child only needs one or two toys at a time, not a dozen. The reasoning is simple: you should allow your child to focus on one thing at a time so it can develop a sense of independence.

2. Ignoring what your child likes: Make sure to observe your child's behavior and see the fields where they excel. For example, some children are better when it comes to drawing or coloring. And, in that case, you, as a parent, should nurture that side and provide them with the right kind of material (colors, brushes, pencils, white paper) so they can further practice this skill.

3. Give them time: Don’t rush things; let your child explore the world around them at their own pace. Allow them to play with toys without interruption. Even the simplest activities, like waving, are sometimes hard for our young ones.

By avoiding these, you’ll be on the right track to nurture an environment in which the Montessori method shines.


As we already see, there are plenty of things to look out for when it comes to choosing the best toys for early learning. From nurturing the Montessori principles to carefully considering age-appropriate toys, parents always face some challenges.

Luckily, we’re here to guide you through the world of Montessori toys and explain which ones are the best for early learning. So, why don’t you start here, with us? With a vast selection of toys that focus on child development in the right way, you’ll be able to provide your child with their new playing companion easily.

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