Simple, beautiful toys with a purpose. No bells and whistles necessary.
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.
We’ve chosen our top 10 toy picks for newborns to 2-year-olds that build off of the Montessori approach. We love these 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!
1. Grabbing toy: Loulou Lollipop Trinity 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.
2. 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!
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Stacking toy: Grimm’s 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.
6. Blocks: Plan Toy 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.
7. Simple puzzles: MamumaBird 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.
8. Shape sorters: 8pipa Wood 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.
9. 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.
10. Push toy: Papa Don’s Wooden Toys Lawn Mower
Once your babe is ready to get movin’, push toys can build motor skills and spark imagination. This handmade wooden “lawn mower” (or vacuum, or paint roller, or whatever your little one wants it to be!) is the perfect combination of color, movement, and sound.
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