The 10 best Montessori toys for toddlers—age 2-3

The best Montessori-inspired toys for your curious toddler.

The 10 best Montessori toys for toddlers—age 2-3

It’s no secret around here that we ? all things Montessori, especially when it comes to toys. We love their simple, beautiful design; we love that they each have a clear purpose; and we love that they grow with your child and help encourage hours of open-ended, imaginative play.

If your little one has moved beyond her favorite infant Montessori toys, it’s time to check out our picks for the toddler years. We’ve selected toys that build fine motor skills, develop cognitive thinking, encourage pretend play, and that satisfy every toddler’s “I can do it myself!” urge!

1. For helping out

A learning tower is the perfect tool for the curious toddler. There are so many uses here, but we especially love it for all things in the kitchen, whether it’s cooking, baking, or even learning to meal prep or wash dishes. We also love that it’s sturdy and adjustable to grow with your child. It’s an investment, but one that we think is well worth the splurge!

Little Partners Kitchen Helper
$176.99, Wayfair


2. On the move

Perfect for pretend play, this all-natural, durable (and a-dorable) doggie push toy made from solid maple will be a playroom staple for years to come. We also love that Little Sapling plants a tree for every toy sold! ?

Little Sapling Dog Wooden Push Toy
$34.00, Etsy


3. Sorting skills

One of the most popular Montessori-inspired toddler toys that packs a conceptual punch—these colorful wooden cups and balls teach colors, numbers, and spacial skills, along with developing fine motor skills. So many ways to play!

Mama May I Colored Cups and Balls
$24.00, Etsy


4. A soft doll

Montessori-inspired dolls should be as lifelike as possible. We love that this one fits the bill while also being completely machine washable and durable enough for hours of toddler pretend play.

Lakeshore Washable Doll
$19.99, Lakeshore Learning


5. Peg dolls

Simple, colorful peg dolls are a Montessori fave. They’re perfectly sized for little hands, and there are countless ways toddlers can play and pretend with them for many years. We love these because they also teach sorting and basic colors.

Grimm’s Seven Friends in 7 Bowls
$55.95, Amazon


6. Household objects

Toddlers will love practicing their “knife skills” with this wooden food set—and you’ll love that you won’t have to worry about a trip to the hospital! This is a great play set to start teaching your little one about household asks.

Melissa & Doug Cutting Food Play Set
$17.09, Amazon


7. Practical life activities

The Montessori approach focuses a great deal of attention on teaching little ones the basics of "real life” routines and responsibilities. Why not accomplish this and get your shelves dusted at the same time? ??

Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House Pretend Play Set
$26.99, Amazon


8. Realistic figurines

Just like with dolls, the Montessori approach encourages kiddos to play with animal figurines that look just like the real thing. These hand painted figurines are super detailed, come in dozens of varieties, and are perfect for hours of imaginative play.

Schleich Wildlife Starter Set
$16.99, Amazon


9. Complex puzzles

When your toddler has mastered simple puzzles, it may be time to start developing their spacial skills and move up to tangrams. This one’s pieces not only fit within the hexagon base, but also can be removed and manipulated into whatever shape your little one can dream up.

Mako Toys Tangram Puzzle
$12.99, Amazon


10. Interlocking blocks

Interlocking blocks are the perfect challenge for any curious toddler looking for the next step up from classic block sets. These wooden robots will help your kiddo learn about building, balancing and stacking.

Tree Hopper Toys Whoa-Bots
$20.00, Tree Hopper Toys


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A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.


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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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