You want all the best for baby’s first year–and Montessori toys are a great way to go! Here are five Montessori baby toys you’ll want for the first year (and beyond)!
When I began my teaching career, I fell in love with Maria Montessori. Dr. Maria Montessori was an Italian physician, scientist and educator who found after working with poor, inner-city children that they were not stopped by their circumstances, but their learning environments. When given the opportunity to work with puzzles, prepare and clean up their own meals and engage in hands-on learning that interested them, they soared.
Thus began the Montessori movement, and it’s a beautiful teaching methodology for baby and life.
There are tons of reasons to consider Montessori toys for your baby/toddler but my favorite is that their not just good for development, but good for the planet. They’re most always made of natural materials like wood, rubber, different fabrics and more, and they are based on the concept of less is more, really. Fewer quality toys that spark a baby’s brain is the goal and Montessori toys do that. Here are five must-have Montessori baby toys for baby’s first year!
Best Montessori Baby Mobile: HABA Nursery
Yes, it sounds old-school–particularly if you’re wearing your baby everywhere (and that’s encouraged!). But believe it or not, you don’t want to be your baby’s sole focus all the time.
Your baby will grow to find her place in the world, and Montessori thought believes that encouraging babies to find naturally interesting things in their world encourages an inner investigative spirit and development.
Paula Polk Lillard is a co-author of Montessori From The Start: The Child at Home From Birth To Age Three, and she said that babies belong to the world, not just to us. A mobile allows a baby to find what intrigues her, narrow her focus and critically examine, even in early stages.
- Simple Design
- Made in Germany
- Made from Sustainable FSC harvested wood
- Non-toxic, water-based dyes
Best Wooden Rattle: Plan Toys Ring Rattle
Again, old-school wins for babies around 3-months-old. But, a clutching toy or rattle will help your baby develop their grasping skills, while also allow them to make connections between their hands and the sounds and movements they see in the rattle.
They begin to see they have a place in the world (yes, from a simple rattle!) and we love this colorful, non-toxic rattle from Plan Toys.
Plan Toys uses sustainable rubberwood and organic, water-based dyes to make sure their toys are 100% good for the earth and good for your babies. They’re committed to quality play toys for your children, and especially Montessori based in tenets.
- Sustainbly harvested rubberwood
- Non-toxic organic, water-based dyes
- Chemical free
Best Playboard and Cards: TummyTime Playboard and Cards
These gorgeous art cards are so easily switched up to keep it spicy for your little one and they encourage tummy time–a KEY part of development that affects not just their fine and gross motor skills but their reading and writing skills later on too! (Yes, tummy time is THAT important!)
With these art cards and playboards, you’ll have something to entertain baby and to encourage that important reflex and core strength development!
There’s a big difference between vision and sight, and these cards will help stimulate the eyes and develop the visual center of your child’s brain. The reflective backside of the Playboard can be used to help baby’s eyes learn to track images and focus and we love the inside flaps having a usage guide for parents to learn from too.
- 7 art cards with high-contrast illustrations for rotation
- Usage guides for parents
- Flip and Stand Playboard is easel for tummy time
- Grows visual center of baby’s brain
Best Montessori Baby Stacking Toy: Petit Collage Stacking Rabbit
This adorable stacking toy is great for babies 8-months-ish and up. Younger babies may enjoy practicing grasping but as littles begin to figure out they have control of the things in their hands, they’ll delight putting them right.where.they.want.them (or at least trying!).
This stacking toy helps baby learn about cause and effect, problem-solving and logic (creates great neural connections for later learning) but they’ll just think it’s fun to grasp, chew and throw for a while.
Made with sustainably harvested nontoxic wood and colored with nontoxic water-based dyes, it’s easy to keep clean and in the toy rotation for many years.
- Nontoxic water-based dyes
- Sustainably harvested wood
- Strengthens problem-solving skills
- Unique design is easy for littles to grasp
Best Montessori Play Gym: Lovevery Developmental PlayGym
Developed by the experts at Lovevery, this non-toxic, organic material Montessori play gym will keep baby curious and investigative as she grows. The toys can be changed out (and should be!) regularly, and it will help develop fine and gross motor skills while meeting baby’s natural curiosity about the cause and effects of her world.
It’s easy to set up and take down and we love that it encourages sensory exploration based on baby’s natural inclination and needs of sensory diet!
Tummy time is key for so many developmental milestones, and while many babies don’t love it, Loveevery’s developmental playgym makes it so much more fun (and easier for mamas too). As children grow, the Montessori style continues to keep them intrigued and their curiosity piqued. From playmat to fort, this one does it all!
- Easy to take up and put-down
- FSC sustainably harvested wood
- Organic cotton
- Parent-owned company
- Montessori focused playmat
What Makes The Best Montessori Toys For Babies The Best?
In a few words, the best Montessori toys for babies are ones that will stimulate their brain and curiosity withOUT overstimulating them with too many noises, colors and parts. Maria Montessori believed in the power of a child’s ability to observe and explore naturally, without needing so many bells and whistles that toys of today will try to attract you with, and there are a few characteristics about the best Montessori toys for babies that ring true.
1. The best Montessori toys for babies are basic.
Sweet and simple, that’s what is best about them. They let your baby use her incredible brain to organize and make sense of the world around her, and they do so in a planned way. Though they seem super simple, the best Montessori toys for babies are ones that allow children to learn and absorb information about relationships and features without having so much distraction from additional novelties of the toy. That lets them really focus on essential elements of whatever they’re playing with and gives them a stronger foundation for moving to bigger concepts.
2. The best Montessori toys for babies use natural and sustainable materials.
Not only are they designed with the bigger picture of protecting our world in mind, but Montessori toys made from safe non-toxic wood or metal will allow your child to have better sensory input and exploration. Plastic is pretty much the same from one toy to another. Metal is different, though. It can be cold and then hot…and then cool again. Wood comes in all forms of colors and textures and both ‘taste’ different but are safe from leeching issues. Naturally made toys give more characteristics in weight, shape and form, and using sustainable and natural materials is good for the generation of your child and her earth as well.
3. The best Montessori toys for babies are interactive with initiated exploration.
Toys should not be passive. They should not be created so a child sits and watches, with little opportunity for exploration or involvement. Montessori toys are designed to allow them to explore and try things out, not watch how someone else does something over and over again. Montessori toys allow children to safely build and manipulate and test out their theories and ideas (yes, babies have theories and they’re brilliant).
4. Montessori toys teach real-world concepts.
Montessori toys are purposed and intentional. They teach cause and effect and true consequences that your baby can actually see and relate too. There’s a big difference in putting a ball in a hole and watching it fall and pushing a button with some flashing and noise that doesn’t have any connection to anything other than your baby pushed a button. Montessori toys teach children to harness their intrinsic curiosity and desire to learn and lets them go at their own developmental pace.
5. Montessori toys don’t overwhelm children.
Let’s just be real. There’s a lot of choice in this world today, but too many choices can have an adverse effect on your child and brain development. Think about how hard it is for you to decide what to wear when your closet is full of outfit after outfit. Now, imagine you’re your baby and you are overwhelmed with toys and deciding what to play with.
When we give children basic, limited options, they get to really decide on something because they’re genuinely curious about it and want to know more about how it works and what they can do. The best Montessori toys will be ones that don’t make it hard to choose, and offer babies the opportunity to create inquisitive, imaginative neural connections that will lead them to be life-long learners in this great big world of theirs.
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