Frequently asked questions
Montessori Toys By Age
When you are starting out with implementing the Montessori philosophy, it can be difficult to work out what types of toys you should purchase for your home. It is best to start out with the toys you already have in your home.
Keep the favourites (and ones that align with the Montessori philosophy), donate some that are no longer used or appropriate, and put some toys into storage for rotation.
If your child attends a Montessori program, it is best not to replicate the same materials at home, so as to keep their curiosity and interest whilst at school. Below we have listed some broad stroke ideas for the types of toys you may wish to invest in for specific age groups, followed by specific examples of what we love.
This article may contain affiliate links. [Read full disclosure]
Babies 0-12 months
Montessori activities for Babies from 0 – 12 months may include:
- Object Permanence Box
- High contrast picture books or cards
- a Cuddly (crochet ball, play silks, small doll etc)
- Teethers and rattles
- Mobile and hanging toys
- Baby safe mirrors
- Musical instruments
Some of our favourites:
The object permanence box is a classic Montessori material that is introduced to infants when they can sit up independently (usually around 8 – 12 months). This activity helps a child to develop object permanence, whilst honing their hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, focus and concentration.
A wooden spinning drum is a great first instrument for your child. Supportive of visual tracking, tummy time play, and helping your child to start to develop control arm movement more intentionally.
It is almost never too early to introduce your child to reading books. A cloth book is a great place to start. This book introduces your child to the concept of animals, the sounds they make and also includes a mirrored pond for your child to peek in.
Toddlers 1-3 years old
Montessori activities for toddlers between 1 – 3 years old may include:
- Stackers and Stacking Cups
- Baby Dolls
- Practical Life activities (gardening tool sets etc)
- Hammer styled toys
Some of our favourites:
A no frills, life-like baby doll supports pretend play and can help children to nurture a sense of responsibility and kindness. Pick a doll that’s at the perfect size for your child to hug and cuddle.
A wooden Shape Sorter is a simple and fun activity for your toddler to enjoy. It allows your child to strengthen their hand-eye coordination, fine motor and problem-solving skills, as well as develop their vocabulary (eg. colours and shapes).
An easy-to-grasp wooden peg puzzle is a good staple to have in the Montessori activity shelf. It’s a great activity for developing hand-eye and visual perception skills.
Preschoolers 3-5 years old
Montessori activities for Preschoolers between 3 – 5 year olds may include:
- Building Toys & Tools
- Pretend Play
- Art supplies
- Gross Motor
- Language and Culture
Some of our favourites:
Some simple wooden dough tools and stamps combined with play dough, kinetic sand or clay are fun for children to work their hands.
These Ikea Moppe mini chest of drawers are great for storing art supplies. You can even make it an art activity with your preschooler to paint them, and fill them up with various paper and art materials that they can access on the ready.
Encourage your child to learn to look after the environment with a child-sized watering can. It is also a great way to practicing pouring water, and often this happens in the garden where there is less clean up required.
Montessori Climbing Toys
Whilst not a climbing toy as such, a learning tower helps to foster your child’s sense of independence by allowing your child to engage in activities at table or bench height. It is designed to sit just under your kitchen island bench so your child can help you bake, or watch you meal prep!
The Pikler climbing triangle is great for developing gross motor skills. You can even create your own adventure playground by combining the Pikler triangle with products such as the climbing ramp.
DIY Montessori Toys
With a little creativity, there are many Montessori materials that can be made yourself. Alternatively, you can browse through op shops, second-hand markets and/or adapt existing products from shops such as Ikea and Kmart.
Most of the Montessori visual mobiles can be made yourself. The Octohedron mobile is one of the easier ones to make because it is essentially folding and gluing paper together.
For an example see the Kavanaugh Report: 5 Montessori DIYs for Babies
For older children, you may wish to set up a mailbox insert work activity. All you need is a container with a hinged lid that you can make a slit in, and some discs that will fit through the slit.
You don’t have to be incredibly crafty or good with the needle and thread to DIY your own Montessori activities. Google and Pinterest is your friend. Open your eyes to materials around the house, and think of how you can use those materials to teach concepts that are aligned with Montessori philosophies.