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!

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

Stacking rings

Plan toys 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

$15

Bilingual learning games

Encourage bilingualism in your little ones with these books, cards and puzzles from Canticos, the #1 bilingual brand for preschoolers. These colorful and beautifully designed options let you introduce vocabulary like colors, letters, and animal names in a simple way that feels more like play—and they integrate seamlessly with the Canticos app and videos when your child is ready for more.

Age: 1-4 years

$18.99

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

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

MontiKids activity gym

montikids montessori 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+

$297

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

Wooden shape puzzle

wooden first puzzle

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

Age: 0-18 months

$15.99

Wooden blocks

lovevery wooden block set

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

$90

Musical instruments

Janod confetti musical set

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

$39

Easel

Janod splash easel

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

Age: 1-3 years old

$99

Sand toys

Plan Toys sand toys

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

Age: 1-3 years old

$30

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

$16.49

Gardening set

plan toys gardening set

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

Age: 1-3 years old

$30

Wheelbarrow

Janod kids 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: 1-3 years old

$50

Cleaning set

kids janod 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

$38

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

$29.99

Bilingual book + learning set

habbi habbi bilingual 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

$74

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: 1-3 years old

$14.99

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

$21.95

Lucas tower

Plan toys wooden 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

$25

Lacing beads

Plan Toys 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

$20

Balance bike

Janod vintage scooter 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.

Age: 3-6 years old

$121

Parts of the body puzzles

Human 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

$33

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

$16.96

Pattern blocks or pattern play

kids pattern blocks

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

Age: 3-6 years old

$12.99

Memory game

memory game little likes kids

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

$17

Young carpenter's set

Plan toys tool belt

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

$25

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

$14.99

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

$16.99

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

$17.98

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

$12.58

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.