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. Not sure how to choose the best Montessori gifts for kids? We can help!

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!

aerial-shot-of-child-playing-on-lovevery-activity-gym
Loveevery $140

1. The 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

wooden-stacking-rings
Oh Happy Tree $42.50

2. Stacking Rings

Stacking rings have been a part of early play for generations. And for good reason! They help babies develop and refine their hand-eye coordination and dexterity, while presenting a set of challenges that grow along with them. Start by handing them one ring to place and work up to placing them in size order.

Age: 0-18 months

black-and-white-image-cards
Wee Gallery $15.99

3. Black & white image cards

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

object-permanence-box-with-plastic-toy
Elite Montessori Store $18.99

4. Object permanence box

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

baby-laying-under-activity-gym
MontiKids $297

5. MontiKids activity gym

Nurture baby’s sight skills, concentration and coordination with this interactive activity gym. Simply change the mobiles and activities that hang on as your baby develops.

Age: 0+

global-babies-book
Global Babies $5.99

6. Global Babies book

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

wooden-shape-puzzle-with-primary-colors
Fly Whale $15.99

7. Wooden shape puzzle

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

Age: 0-18 months

wooden-sensory-blocks
PlanToys x pbk $24

8. Sensory blocks

This six-block set gives little ones a lot to discover! Each block includes a different surprise to help explore cause and effect while building motor skills and coordination. And while they’re great on their own, they also integrate seamlessly with a growing block collection! They’re made from sustainable beechwood and non-toxic water-based paint, so no worries when they end up in their mouth.

Age: 0+

kids-playing-on-a-navy-nugget-play-couch
Nugget $259

9. Nugget play couch

Is it a couch? A bed? A spaceship? Or a castle? Only your little one will know the answer! Encouraging open-ended play is a Montessori must—and this ingenious kid-sized “couch” with four separate foam pieces offers endless play possibilities. Your little one will love that it’s fun, soft, and endlessly rearrange-able, and you’ll love that it’s safe, free of harmful chemicals, and machine washable.

Age: 2+

honey-joy-wooden-triangle-climber-with-ramp
HONEY JOY $199

10. Pikler Trianlge

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 toddlers and bigger kids alike. This foldable version comes with detachable ramp that features rungs to climb on one side and a flat surface for sliding on the other

lovevery-block-set
Lovevery $90

11. Wooden blocks

Open-ended toys like wooden blocks encourage creativity and long stretches of concentration. This one is the only block set you’ll ever need.

Age: 18 month-3 years old

wooden-instrument-set
Melissa & Doug $20

12. Musical instruments

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

wishbone-balance-bike
Wishbone Design Studio $199

13. Balance bike

Unlike bikes with pedals and training wheels, balance bikes make learning to ride effortless and fun. By learning the key skill of balance first, they’re able to progress to riding without having to “unlearn” bad habits that take hold when riding with training wheels. This version from New Zealand brand Wishbone is pricier than others, but designed to last far longer than most models and the heirloom quality means it can easily be passed down.

Age: 0-4 years old

sand-toys
Hape $18.50

14. Sand toys

Sensory play is a critical part of the Montessori method. This beach set is great for sand or water and allows little ones to scoop, pour, sift and experiment.

Age: 1-3 years old

wooden-pop-up-toy
The Original Toy Company Store $17.44

15. Pop-up toy

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

gardening-set-toy
Kinderific $19.95

16. Gardening set

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

Age: 1+ years old

wheelbarrow-for-kids
Radio Flyer $39.97

17. Wheelbarrow

If they’re really ready to dig in (see what we did there?) and help, a kid-sized wheelbarrow and tools gives them all the license they need.

Age: 3+ years old

melissa-and-doug-cleaning-set
Melissa & Doug $21.24

18. Cleaning set

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

Age: 1-3 years old

learning-tower-green
Little Partners $199.99

19. 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

bilingual-book-learning-set
Habbi Habbi $74

20. Bilingual book + learning set

This book features beautiful careers and includes a ‘magic’ wand that helps kids read in both English and Spanish.

Age: 1-3 years old

rainbow-stacker
Coogam $14.99

21. Rainbow stacker

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

Age: 1-3 years old

felt-weather-toy-set
Melissa & Doug $20.95

22. Felt weather board

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

lucas-tower-wooden-toy
Plan Toys $24.99

23. Lucas Tower

Here’s the challenge. Move the entire stack to another rod, one disk at a time—without stacking a larger disk on top of a smaller one. Designed in 1883 by French mathematician Edouard Lucas, this puzzle is popular among Montessori teachers as it helps master problem solving, logic and enhance math skills.

Age: 3-6 years old

lace-toy-set
BM Toys $14.95

24. Lacing 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

parts-of-the-body-puzzles
Wonder Toys $19.99

25. Parts of the body puzzles

These challenging puzzles depict the human body in layers, from a skeleton, to the organs to the anatomy. It also comes with detailed educational cards to learn the different parts of the human body.

Age: 3-6 years old

wooden-hammer-toy
IKEA $18

26. 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

$12.99

27. Pattern blocks or pattern play

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

Age: 3-6 years old

memory-game-box
Little Likes Kids $16.99

28. Memory Game

A 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

wooden-carpenter-set
Hape $21.99

29. Young carpenter's set

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

Age: 3-6 years old

wooden-bingo-game-for-kids
Kiko + GG $52

30. Bingo

Simple games like bingo allow young children to practice playing a game with friends, including how to win and lose graciously. This one from modern-minimalist brand kiko & gg also helps teach numbers 1-50 and bonus! looks impossibly adorable on the shelf.

Age: 3+ years old

magnets-toy-set
Lauri $16.99

31. 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

yoga-mat-for-kids
Gaiam $17.98

32. Yoga pretzels with 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

japanese-paint-brush-set
Buddha Board $34.95

33. 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+

origami-kit-for-kids
My First Origami $12.58

34. Origami set

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

kids-knife-and-peeler-set
Opinel $49

35. Knife + Peeler set

Cutting, chopping and prepping fruits and veggies is a great way to get little ones involved in cooking (with supervision of course). This set offers the real thing with safety measures that keep it age-appropriate.

Age: 6+