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With so many toys out there, it can be hard to find intentional gifts for our children that are both fun and meaningful. Using a Montessori approach to your shopping doesn't mean your choices need to be academic. There are plenty of Montessori-friendly toys that are beautiful and engaging, but also appeal to children's developmental needs.

Montessori toys are usually made from natural materials, non-electronic and foster independent play, creativity and concentration. Montessori materials are simple and somewhat minimalist in general, and this is especially true for infants and young toddlers. The world is so stimulating for these little ones already, that simple toys made of natural materials spark the child's curiosity without being overwhelming.

Here are some great options for the littlest ones on your list this year!

Black and white image cards

montessori kids gifts

As young babies can't yet see color, simple black and white images are the most striking to them. This set is great because the images can be used individually, or strung together into a book.

Age: 0-18 months

$15.99

Montessori mobiles

montessori kids gifts

While many mobiles are designed primarily to make the nursery look adorable, the traditional set of Montessori mobiles was developed specifically to provide the ideal level of visual stimulation at each stage for your growing baby.

Age: 0-18 months

$79.99

Activity gym

lovevery play gym

Many activity gyms can be overstimulating, but this one features wood and more muted colors and designs. It also converts into a little tent when baby is older and on the move.

Age: 0-18 months

$140

Wooden toy set

wooden toys for kids

These classic Montessori baby toys each isolate one concept that baby is working on, such as cause and effect (shaking a rattle), and in and out (placing a peg in a cup).

Age: 0-18 months

$26.19

Puzzle ball

montessori toy for kids

Puzzle balls are easy for babies to grasp and they don't roll too far. This encourages babies who are trying to learn to crawl, as the ball rolls just out of reach and they exert all their effort to scoot toward it.

Age: 0-18 months

$21.50

Object permanence box

montessori wooden toys

As your baby drops the ball into the hole, watches it disappear, and then finds it again, he learns that things do not necessarily disappear when he can't see them anymore.

Age: 0-18 months

$22.99

Global Babies book

montessori kids books

It is never too early to start reading to your baby and books that feature real images of people, nature and everyday items are a great place to start.

Age: 0-18 months

$5.99

Finger paints

crayola fingerpaint

As soon as your baby is sitting up independently, he can begin to enjoy finger painting, which is a wonderful sensory experience as well as an early introduction to creative art.

Age: 0-18 months

$16.83

Wooden shape puzzle

wooden toys for kids

This is a great first puzzle as it is made of beautiful wood and has only five pieces.

Age: 0-18 months

$23.71

Pop up toy

kids wooden toys

This toy is so simple, yet so entertaining for babies and young toddlers, who love practicing taking things out and putting them back in.

Age: 1-3 years old

$12.14

Watering can

kids watering can

A quality child-sized watering can is one of the earliest ways small children can help with yard work.

Age: 1-3 years old

$11.78

Mop and broom set

kids chore set

Toddlers love to help with whatever household chores you are doing. A mop and broom just their size allows them to clean alongside you.

Age: 1-3 years old

$23.99

Learning tower

kids learning tower

This enables your child to work with you at the kitchen counter. This particular model lets him climb in and out of the tower independently.

Age: 1-3 years old

$199.99

Pizza making set

kids pizza cooking set

Toddlerhood is the perfect time to introduce early kitchen skills, and what more fun way than making pizza together?

Age: 1-3 years old

$27.99

Hands Can book

kids books

This book features beautiful photos of children exploring, communicating, and showing kindness with their hands.

Age: 1-3 years old

$7.79

Wooden blocks

kids wooden blocks

Open-ended toys like wooden blocks encourage creativity and long stretches of concentration.

Age: 1-3 years old

$10.39

Musical instruments

kids musical intruments

Exploring rhythm and music together is a great activity for those cold winter months when outdoor play may be more limited.

Age: 1-3 years old

$29.99

Rainbow stacker

childrens rainbow stacker

This stacker looks beautiful on the shelf and also offers a challenge and introduces the concept of rainbow order.

Age: 1-3years old

$13.99

Easel

kids easel

An easel is ideal for early art work like finger painting and painting with large brushes.

Age: 1-3 years old

$69.99

Felt weather board

kids weather chart

As growing toddlers become increasingly aware of and interested in the wider world around them, the weather becomes a fascinating topic.

Age: 1-3 years old

$20.95

Primary lacing beads

kids counting beads

There are so many fun ways for your 3-year-old to play with these colorful beads and necklaces. They encourage fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and open-ended play.

Age: 3-6 years old

$12.49

Hammer toy

kids hammer toy

This early hammering work is great for hand-eye coordination and introducing a real life skill. This one provides a greater challenge.

Age: 3-6 years old

$22.98

Pattern blocks or pattern play

kids pattern blocks

Exploring patterns is highly engaging and great for pre-math skills.

Age: 3-6 years old

$17.59

Parts of the body layered puzzles

kids learning puzzle

These challenging puzzles depict the human body in layers, from a skeleton all the way to a fully dressed child.

Age: 3-6 years old

$39.99

Memory game

kids memory game

Memory game is a wonderful gift that grows with your child, as younger children enjoy simply examining and matching the pictures and older children love the actual game.

Age: 3-6 years old

$18.75

Young carpenter's set

kids carpenters set

Once a child can be safe and in control, giving him real tools builds his confidence and allows him to participate in purposeful work.

Age: 3-6 years old

$11.89

Bingo

kids butterfly bingo book

Simple games like bingo allow young children to practice playing a game with friends, including how to win and lose graciously.

Age: 3-6 years old

$14.93

Fun with magnets set

fun with magnets set

Toys that support scientific exploration encourage your child to be his own teacher and keep his curiosity alive.

Age: 3-6 years old

$17.63

Yoga pretzels with yoga mat

kids yoga mat

Yoga helps children learn self-regulation, calming breathing techniques and control of their bodies. Bonus: Add these yoga cards!

Age: 3-6 years old

$14.28

Japanese brush painting set

Japanese brush painting set

Calming activities like Japanese brush painting help children in Montessori classrooms learn to be peaceful and can do the same in your home.

Age: 5 years old+

$34.95

Origami set

kids origami kit

Origami encourages development of spacial skills and a different way of thinking and children love seeing all of the things they can create with just paper.

Age: 3-6 years old

$13.46


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If you're already feeling a bit of cabin fever, it's time to get outside for some fresh air, mama. Whether you've planned your days around homeschooling activities or have decided on taking a more laid-back approach, there's always one thing that everyone in the family can agree on: playing outside!

From playhouses to tree swings, we've found 12 of the best outdoor toys to keep your little ones busy in the backyard during the coronavirus pandemic.

1. Gardening tools

kids gardening tools

Even the smallest of gardeners need the right tools to get the job done! These wooden + metal gardening tools look (and work) just like the real thing, and are crafted from natural materials and without toxic paints or finishes. Your little one will love getting their hands dirty while also developing their motor skills.

$27.99

2. Sidewalk chalk

kids washable chalk bucket

Get the kids outside to create sidewalk drawings (and positive messages for neighbors!). This giant bucket is filled with 50 washable chalk sticks, providing hours of outdoor fun.

$11.92

3. Water beads

kids water beads

Simply put, water beads are just so much fun! These smooth, squishy beads create an awesome tactile experience and are prefect for sensory play in a water table or any type of small container. You can even use them to practice color recognition, sorting, counting and so much more.

$10.99

4. Picnic + sensory table

picnic and sensory kids table

Sensory tables are a staple in any preschool classroom—and can be in your own home, too. They're perfect for stimulating your little one's senses and facilitating play, creativity and exploration. This beautiful table has a built-in sandpit that can hold up to 50 lbs of play sand or nearly 3 gallons of water. Plus, it doubles as a place to paint, color or draw.

$116.99

5. Web swing

kids outdoor web swing

This swing will take you back to simpler times and long, warm summer days spent swinging outside. With more than 1,000 great reviews, this is a bestseller for a reason. It holds up to 600 lbs so multiple kids can hop on (even parents can join in!), and the tree straps are built to be durable.

$69.99

6. Pool

mini inflatable pool

There's really not much to say here other than WE COULD NOT BE MORE OBSESSED WITH THIS POOL! Measuring 5.5 feet wide and 1.5 feet tall, it's big enough for you and the kiddos (ummm or just you?) to stay cool. And have we mentioned all the fun designs? Swoon. 😍

$45

7. Scooter

kids radio flyer scooter

Whether you're zipping through city streets or riding up and down your suburban driveway, a good scooter is a must have for outdoor fun. It's a great way for little ones to improve their balance and coordination while also having a blast!

$22.88

8. Sprinkler

kids giant sprinkler

Nothing says summer like a giant inflatable cactus sprinkler in your backyard 🤣 This playful sprinkler stands almost 6 feet high and is the perfect way for kids to cool off during those hot days. (Shh, we won't tell if you want to join in on the fun, too!)

$58.99

9. Jumper

kids junior jumper

If you're looking for a jumping toy but don't want a full trampoline, this jumper is the perfect solution. It's super bouncy, super safe and really fun! This one is sized perfectly for smaller jumpers, and can handle multiple kiddos at once.

$169.95

10. Wheelbarrow

Radio Flyer kids wheelbarrow

If your kids are going to play outside, they might as well pitch in with the yard work 🤷🏽♀️. This classic wheelbarrow looks just like the real thing—just a lot smaller! Little ones will love filling it up, pushing it around, dumping it out, and then doing it alllll over again and again.

$39.99

11. Oceanbound tide pool set

For the littlest ones, it's easy to keep it simple. Take their bath toys and use them in a new way outside. With this tide pool set, there are so many opportunities for fun sensory play, whether it's in a sandbox, a rice sensory bin or just good old fashioned dirt. We especially love that these toys are made from 100% recycled plastic and that they come in their own adorable storage bag that can also be used for play.

$19.99

12. Wooden playhouse

Kids playhouse

This one is spendy for sure, but a sturdy, beautiful playhouse is an investment that will pay off in years of imaginative play for everyone from young toddlers to school-aged kiddos. This one is large enough for several children yet compact enough to work in even tiny backyard spaces. It's made from 100% cedar wood and features several large built-in windows, flower boxes, a working door + doorbell, and even a chalkboard.

$289

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If you had to only choose one product to toss in your bag, what would it be? Our guess is you're looking for something that's easy-to-use, affordable, clean and multi-tasks for you—something that'll simplify your routine because you have other things to worry about than what beauty product to grab (like making that Zoom meeting in time while you're working from home).

Enter: Arrow Beauty—a clean beauty brand created by Birchbox with products designed to save you time.

I had the chance to try out the entire product line and, let's just say I've made sure to toss one everywhere—in my bag, on my desk, in the bathroom. And during this pandemic, it's made getting ready (okay, looking presentable for video calls) in the mornings so much simpler.

Each product is created to be something you grab and go when you're in a rush. Everything is free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates and mineral oil, vegan and cruelty-free so you can still give your littles all the snuggles and kisses without stressing about transferring any bad ingredients over. And, they're designed to travel well. Birchbox made sure Arrow Beauty featured leak-proof and carry-on friendly items. Did we mention everything is under $25?

Here's what is in their first launch:

Nourishing lip oil

birchbox arrow lip oil

This one might be my favorite from the collection. A lip oil that leaves a high-shine finish that isn't sticky (!!!) and keeps your lips moisturized for hours. It comes in clear, perfect to top off your favorite shade, or color enhancing pink that reacts to the pH level of your skin, making a unique shade for you.

$16

Radiant skin moisturizer

birchbox arrow skin moisturizer

Have no time in the morning? Massage this into your skin for the ultimate pick-me-up. It has a subtle sheen that illuminates and nourishing ingredients—hyaluronic acid and aloe—that hydrates and gives you a glow.

$24

Color enhancing lip balm

birchbox arrow lip balm

The Birchbox team listened to customer feedback to reformulate their OG tinted balm and it's *so* good. There are three shades—berry, coral and blush—that look incredible on all skin tones because it reacts to the pH in your skin to enhance your natural color. Even better? It's buildable!

$15

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This is the #yearofthemother.

And this is the pregnancy book women deserve, from the experts at Motherly.

This is an unprecedented time to embark on the journey of motherhood. You are part of a new generation of women elevating empowerment in all its forms.

Whether this is your first baby or your fourth, whether you're still deciding about pregnancy or already have a baby on the way, becoming mama involves your body, mind, emotions, lifestyle, relationships, schedule, spirituality, worldview—and most of all, your heart.

The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama celebrates the wonder of your new baby and honors you through this profound life transformation.Inclusive, holistic, and evidence-based, this book was made for you—a loving and supportive embrace of your unique motherhood journey in all its power, complexity and beauty.

Peek inside here!

the_motherly_guide


Praise for The Motherly Guide

"Mothers around the world deserve the guidance that this book offers: unconditional support and access to expert-backed, non-judgmental information. This book is the first of its kind to support the whole woman through the whole journey from getting pregnant, to birth, postpartum, and beyond. The maternal wellness revolution has arrived." —Christy Turlington Burns, founder, Every Mother Counts

"Motherly is leading the conversation about how pregnancy, birth, and postpartum transforms a woman's world―and The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama is their greatest contribution yet. Women deserve all the support as their bodies, minds, and lives transform, and this book delivers it with so much heart."—Katrina Scott, cofounder, Tone It Up

"The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama is like having an entire birth team on your nightstand...it offers grace, empowerment, and support for however and wherever you find yourself on the becoming mama journey."—Anthonia Akitunde, founder and editor-in-chief, mater mea

"THE essential guide to pregnancy and birth has finally arrived. The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama is the only book you need to get you through this adventure. It's woman-centered, warm, and informative . . . it's the book I wish I would've had, and the one I'm so excited for you to have."—Natalie Gordon, founder and CEO of Babylist

"This epic book is a cross between an encyclopedia and a wise aunt. In this thorough and comprehensive resource, the Motherly team offers equal doses of wisdom, love, and cold hard facts so that each new mother can develop the confidence that she desperately needs on her pregnancy and motherhood journey. A soulful and dependable guide for all women."—Kimberly Ann Johnson, author of The Fourth Trimester

Pre-order your copy ofThe Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama, and join us as we redefine motherhood, together.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic effect on so many people's lives, and mamas everywhere are feeling it especially hard. The outbreak has been an especially scary time for pregnant women who worry about getting the support they need during this already challenging time.

At Motherly, nothing is more important to us than helping mamas everywhere feel supported and empowered from the very beginning of their motherhood journey. That's why we took two major steps toward helping pregnant women everywhere feel more confident right now:

First, we wrote the pregnancy + birth book you deserve.

The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama provides evidence-based, women-centered support for every stage of your journey, from trying to conceive to caring for your sweet new baby.


We wrote The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama to ensure that every person has access to high-quality, nurturing pregnancy and birth guidance. It is the pregnancy book you deserve. And we would be honored if you would consider pre-ordering it now.

You can pre-order The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama at your favorite retailer, and it will be on its way to you when it releases on April 14th:

During this difficult time, please consider ordering from Barnes and Noble or an independent bookstore as they are greatly impacted by COVID-19. (Also, please note delivery times from various outlets may vary or be delayed due to the virus.)

Second, we're making our Becoming Mama™ Online Birth Class absolutely free.

For the thousands of women who are unable to attend their birth class due to the virus, our class, taught by Diana Spalding, Motherly's Digital Education Editor, certified nurse-midwife, and writer of The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama, is the nurturing, empowering resource you need to have your best, most supported birth no matter what.


This class will prepare you for your birth, while the book is about the entire journey—from trying to conceive, to pregnancy wellness, birth, postpartum and caring for your sweet new baby.

More than 7000 women have joined Motherly's FREE online birth class

Pregnancy and birth are some of the biggest moments of life—it can feel like an emotional roller coaster. Going through this process during a transformative world event—a pandemic—can make it feel so daunting. We want you to know that we are here for you.

You deserve to experience pregnancy, birth and motherhood with confidence and joy—and we are honored to be on this journey with you.

As founder of mater mea, Anthonia Akitunde said, The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama "is like having a whole birth team on your nightstand."Because you deserve to experience it all with confidence and joy—and we are honored to be on this journey with you.


To sign up for our free online class, please fill out this info, and we'll email you access to the class (within 24 hours) and sign you up for our newsletter.


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