Overwhelmed trying to figure out which toys to buy for your little one?

If you’re on the hunt for simple, beautiful toys that will encourage imaginative, open-ended play and grow with your child, then Montessori-style toys may be a perfect fit for your family.

The Montessori Method of education—a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth through adulthood—has been a popular education style for decades. It encourages a supportive learning environment and values the development of the whole child, considering everything from physical and cognitive development to social and emotional.

Related: 21 Montessori inspired toys that will grow with your child

We’ve chosen our top 15 toy picks for newborns to 2-year-olds that build off of the Montessori approach. We love these Montessori toys for what they have—purpose, beauty, and simplicity—as much as for what they don’t—sounds, lights, or other bells and whistles. They’re perfect for everyone from a newbie mom to a seasoned Montessori expert!

Best Montessori toys

mom holding a baby while a toddler sits on her lap

Montessori at home: Raising happy, helpful toddlers

This course will teach you very real and practical ways to introduce Montessori methods into your home and everyday life designed to encourage your children toward self-confidence and independence setting them up for success.

Piccalio Pikler Triangle

Pikler Triangle: Piccalio Mini Climber Set

Pikler triangles are a staple in Montessori classrooms and have subsequently gained popularity at home as well. Developed as a tool to help improve motor development skills, to forge independent activity, and to allow freedom of movement, they’re endlessly entertaining for babies, toddlers and bigger kids alike. This foldable version from Piccalio comes with a detachable ramp that features a rock wall to climb on one side and a flat surface for sliding on the other.

wooden toy play set

Pounding toys: Plan Toys Hammer Balls

​Hammering and pounding toys encourage your little one’s motor skills, develop hand-eye coordination, and teach cause and effect—all while providing endless entertainment for little ones. (Win for mom!) We love the modern look of this one, plus the fact that it’s made from recycled wood.

Teether toy

Grabbing toy: Loulou Lollipop Bubble Silicone and Wood Teether

This beautifully handmade ring is a grabbing toy, teether and rattle all rolled into one. It’s perfect for little ones exploring tactile senses as they practice reaching, grasping and hand-eye coordination. Like everything they make, it’s crafted from birch wood and food-grade silicone so you’ll never have to worry about toxins or chemicals.

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Play Tunnel

Play Tunnel: Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Crawl Through Tunnel

From crawling through to hiding inside a play tunnel offers a ton of fun and discovery. They’ll love exploring the bouncy spring construction by gathering it together and watching it pop back or even while they stand inside!

montessori play kit

The Whole Kit and Caboodle: Monti Kids Newborn Montessori Kit

The Newborn Montessori kit is your crash course in Montessori. While many families don’t become aware of Montessori until their children are school-aged, there are many benefits of using the Montessori philosophy at home, starting from birth.

This kit takes the guesswork out of play time, providing you with all the tools you need to bond with your little one and engage with them as they begin to discover the world around them then. It includes a painstakingly curated selection of developmentally appropriate toys, a child-safe mirror, a wooden book with black and white baby animals, double-sided black and white cards and a cotton rope basket to store everything. You’re also provided with a guide on how and when to use each toy, weekly emails to support you along the way and access to their online hub to learn even more.

Cassaro Kids jumbo waldorf rocker

A grow-with-me-rocker: Cassaro Kids Jumbo Rocker

It’s safe to say we’re a bit obsessed with the gorgeous grow-with-me rockers from Cassarokids. At once a place to play, relax and imagine, they can be used from age one all the way through childhood. When used as a rocker they can be outfitted with one of Cassarokids gorgeous tufted pillows to become the coziest place to read or snooze. Flip it over and it’s a super fun play structure that can support up to 200 pounds! And if you really want to create a space that’s made for play, it pairs perfectly with their equally stunning collection of pikler triangles and ramps.

black and white book for kids

Black and white book: Look Look board book by Peter Linenthal

High contrast black-and-white images will catch baby’s attention and are ideal for infants who are just beginning to look and learn. The eye-catching pictures make this board book a great addition to your little one’s first library!

play ball set

Sensory balls: Infantino Textured Ball Set

Encouraging sensory exploration is a huge part of the Montessori philosophy. These sensory balls are brightly colored, have varied textures, and are perfectly sized for chubby little hands.

play eggs with colors

Simple musical instruments: Haba Shakin' Eggs

Shake it up, baby! Each of these brightly colored eggs makes a different sound, encouraging musical abilities in even the tiniest among us.

rainbow stacking rings

Stacking toy: Rainbow Stacker

​This heirloom-quality wooden stacking toy is a staple in many Montessori classrooms. The possibilities for open-ended play are endless: little ones can practice nesting, stacking and balancing, and even use the pieces creatively in imaginative pretend play.

wooden stacking set

Chunky blocks: Plan Toys Water Blocks

We love these because they combine the simplicity of first blocks with the sensory benefits of water play. Younger babies can stack and shake them, while older toddlers can balance them or hold them together to learn about color mixing.

wooden puzzle set

Simple puzzles: Mamuma Bird Montessori Baby Puzzle

​Puzzles help babies develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills. And they are fun! We love the simple, beautiful aesthetic of this handmade option that also teaches first shapes.

sorting cube set

Shape sorters: Melissa & Doug Sorting Cube

Shape sorters are another classic—and Montessori—childhood staple that can benefit a child in so many ways and for quite a long time. We love this one crafted from durable New Zealand pine that will hold up to hours and hours of play.

wooden mower toy

Push toy: Papa Don's Wooden Toys Lawnmower

Once your babe is ready to get movin’, push toys can build motor skills and spark imagination. This handmade wooden “lawnmower” (or vacuum, or paint roller, or whatever your little one wants it to be!) is the perfect combination of color, movement, and sound

baby play mat

Lovevery Play Gym and Mat

From their earliest days all the way through toddlerhood, this stage-based play gym brings all kinds of age-appropriate Montessori activities together. Starting with the brilliant five zone play mat with flaps that can reveal or conceal in order to prevent overstimulation, little ones can explore sounds, colors and textures. Add in the collection of interchangeable toys (including an organic cotton high contrast Montessori ball, sustainably-sourced wooden batting ring, and an organic cotton teether with BPA-free silicone ring) and cards, and they’ll be busy and learning for hours. Even better, as they grow it can be transformed into a cozy fort to play in!

A version of this story was published March 9, 2021. It has been updated.