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If you’ve heard of the Montessori method - an educational approach that aims to let children grow cognitively and physically by doing hands-on, multisensory activities, you’re probably wondering how to incorporate that into your child’s play space. Partify has found five categories of Montessori toys that are best for children of different ages, from babies to toddlers and even 5-year-olds and older. Read more to find out what makes a toy Montessori and what are the best picks for your child. Also, these are the most popular gifts that you can never go wrong with.
#1 Toys For Developing Motor Skills
Because babies are born to move, developing motor skills is an important aspect of raising your child since day one. When they are still in their bassinets (around 3 month old), babies can use the Skwish toy to practice basic movements by sliding the beads back and forth.
Since being multisensory is also what makes a toy Montessori, this minimalistic baby gym (with only three toys hanging) will make children more sensitive towards colors without overwhelming them. Better hand-eye coordination is developed as well, and you can take it with you wherever you go.
When babies are just over six months old and start wanting to crawl, a rattling roller is perfect for triggering their large muscles to move. Another great toy like this would be a Thomas train, which eight-month-olds can push it around.
When kids start having the energy to run around all day, channel it into doing exercises that promote limb strength and balance. For one-year-olds, you can start with this music parade ride on or a tricycle. And this micro scooter can accommodate two-year-olds as they grow. When children’s muscles become stronger, teach them to ride this balance bike (3-5 years) or climb this colorful outdoor dome (3-9 years).
#2 Toys For Pretend Play
Pretend play is a great way for children to comprehend how the real world works by operating their little models of it. You can provide your child with toys that are lifelike to allow them to better understand reality. Those toys should also be similar to tools and easy to manipulate because children will become more independent if they can use those toys to accomplish something on their own. You just need to let your child explore freely while giving guidance when necessary.
While train set (3 years) is a common option for pretend play, there are other amazing Montessori play sets such as this kitchen set (1 year) and those toddler size cleaning tools (1.5 years) which encourage children to learn how to use those objects safely in a smaller dimension. Additionally, there are many other pretend play kits for different professions, such as this medical kit and a cash register.
#3 Toys That Show Cause And Effect
The ability to connect a cause with its effect is crucial for children in their early development stages. They can perceive how an action leads to a result through playing with Monterssori toys. Once they observe a phenomenon, they will try to make sense of it themselves and become eager to know more, which will help them grow cognitively.
This handmade airplane mobile (1 month) is a great Montessori toy for demonstrating cause and effect when the baby sees it move with the air. Babies can also easily hold a tiny bell rattle (3 months) in their hands while making a bright, jingly sound. This not only enhances their auditory abilities but also shows them how a movement results in a noise. Another amazing option for the same purpose is this object permanence box with tray and ball (1 year). The ball will fall into the attached tray after the child pushes it. This also allows children to experience object permanence while improving wrist and finger control.
#4 Toys That Are Open-Ended
Open-ended toys require children’s creativity to become fun. This kind of toys is Montessori because children can learn how to express themselves through playing with them. It’s their art.
While LEGO (4 years) is a go-to for many parents, there are some other creative building blocks for younger children. For example, 2-year-olds can stack those mirror blocks on top of each other while taking in size relationships. Better visual perception is a plus. 3-year-olds can also acquire spatial and tactile skills by playing with the award-winning magnatiles (be mindful not to give it to young babies that can put it apart at swallow the magnets - it is really dangerous).
Last but not least, one of the most important outlets for creativity is music. Give your little one a musical instrument set (1 year) can stimulate the sense of musicality and rhythms. If they like it, you can buy a guitar, drum set and even piano.
#5 Toys For Improving Problem-Solving Skills
Puzzles are also Montessori toys that sharpen problem-solving skills. This wooden Tetris puzzle (3 years) can be solved in many different ways but is still a challenge to 2-year-olds. Since there are multiple solutions, this puzzle also encourages children to be innovative.
Sometimes puzzles can be informative as well. For example, this peg puzzle bundle (1-3 years) can teach a child about letters, numbers, colors, animals, shapes, and more. It will improve a toddler's pattern recognition abilities.
Another pleasant surprise for your child would be this layered wooden puzzle (1 year). Your little one can discover the rooms and their inhabitants of this monster’s mansion layer by layer and find out the surprise in the end.
The Montessori method starts at birth and continues on into adolescence. Basically, it’s a method that encourages children to learn actively. Since the learning process is self-driven, you should only give your child a few choices at a time so that they can focus on one activity and enjoy it wholeheartedly. Less is more here!
If you would like more Montessori toys ideas, check out our Pinterest boards here. Share this article if you find it helpful or leave a like below. You can try our one-click free online service to plan the next party for your kids! If you have any questions, you can click the “contact us” page or write a comment.
Written by: Natalie Wong.