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 10 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

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 and practicing reaching and grasping and is crafted from birch wood and food-grade silicone so you’ll never have to worry about toxins or chemicals.

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

Bonus: 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. From building focus to learning cause and effect, the mat stations along with a collection of interchangeable cards and toys (including an organic cotton high contrast Montessori ball, sustainably-sourced wooden batting ring, and an organic cotton teether with BPA-free silicone ring) keeps them busy and learning for hours.

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