25 Amazing Montessori Gifts for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers
When faced with endless options of toys with flashing lights and sounds - finding developmentally appropriate gifts for little ones is a challenge! Montessori gifts allow a child to play and learn, while building their confidence and independence. The Montessori materials also present challenges, so instead of just pushing a button and waiting to be entertained, little ones are honing their skills and developing a growth mindset. These types of gifts help raise children with the lens of “What can I do for the world,” rather than “What can the world do for me.” Montessori toys that provide open-ended, independent and child-directed play are available, but it can take some digging to find these gems. That’s why we did the work for you!
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From helping to develop your little one’s visual skills to encouraging their grasping, crawling and standing, there are plenty of ways to support a baby’s rapid developmental changes during the first year of life. For younger babies, mobiles and small, lightweight rattles are ideal Montessori gifts during this exciting time, while books with realistic images and tools for independent eating are great for older babies and soon-to-be toddlers. Here are some of our favorites.
Monti Kids Subscription Box
This Monti Kids Level 1 is a win-win for both parents and baby with its minimalist Activity Gym design and thoughtfully curated toys that evolve with baby’s development. Made from sustainable, non-toxic materials the program sets little ones up for success as they play and grow their visual skills, motor development, concentration, physical coordination, body awareness, and strength. An added bonus - parents will receive access to child development experts to help navigate the endless questions that may come up in those early sleepless nights!
Buy it: $297, MontiKids.com
Toki Padded Play Mat
Cushier than carpeting and far easier to clean, Toki Mats offer little ones and parents a safe and comfortable environment to bond and explore. The washable, 100% cotton covers feature fresh, neutral designs that feel right at home in any space, while the non-toxic and chemical-free insert is made from the squishiest natural foam. It’s a great investment since it grows with baby from newborn days into the toddler years as a safe place for tumbling and gross motor work - perfect for these times when we’re all staying at home more!
Buy it: $195, TokiMats.com
Sprout Adjustable Montessori Weaning Chair & Table Set
Besides looking adorable in your home, a weaning table and chair creates the ideal environment to introduce a baby to the joy of meal time. Allowing a child to eat at their own table instead of a high chair, even just once a day, encourages independence and a sense of self worth. We love Sprout’s as the chair and table come with longer legs to adjust for a growing child.
Buy it: $130, Sprout-kids.com
Global Babies Board Book
Babies love faces! Little ones will delight in the Global Babies board book as they come face to face with children from around the world, and are introduced to diversity from birth. It’s also in line with the Montessori philosophy since recommended books for babies include realistic images and a limited number of words per page.
Buy it: $7, Amazon.com
Baby Zebra 2 Open Edition Art Prints
Realistic children’s art prints are perfect Montessori gifts for babies. Hang them low in the nursery so your little one gets a full view and can engage with the images.
Buy it: starting at $24, Minted.com
This is a big year for your child’s gross motor development as they go from a happy crawler to a walking and even running toddler. As they learn to walk, they’ll need an outlet for that energy. Whether it’s a walking wagon, a tracker that encourages your toddler to squat, stand and squat again or a scooter that requires more coordination, the most well-loved Montessori gifts for 1-year-olds will encourage this work.
Monti Kids Subscription Box Level 4
The Montessori materials in Monti Kids Level 4 are thoughtfully designed for this stage of life as the toys encourage young toddlers to experiment with cause and effect to boost their memory and problem-solving skills. The Tracker, included in this box, is a quintessential Montessori toy. It encourages the act of squatting, standing and squatting again to place and retrieve the balls on repeat, which is great practice for a child’s balance. Added bonus - the box can be split into six gifts to place under the tree!
Buy it: $297, MontiKids.com
Radio Flyer Classic Walking Wagon
Nothing screams Baby’s First Christmas like a classic Radio Flyer wagon! The walking wagon is a favorite among Montessori teachers everywhere, and is ideal for a child who has started to cruise (meaning they are holding onto something while walking). It’s large base keeps it from toppling over when your little one pulls up on it. We recommend weighing it down with weights or perhaps a pile of heavy books (anything heavy and safe works). Weighing the wagon down sets your baby up for success when they are on the move since it slows the movement of the wagon to prevent falls.
Buy it: $80, Walmart.com
Ten Little Everyday Original Shoes
As a toddler is growing and moving, they’ll need shoes that can keep up with them! With a foot shaped toe box and flat, flexible sole, Ten Little shoes were designed to promote healthy development of little feet. As a child learns to independently put on their shoes, the wide base is easy to slip on, and the velcro straps are perfect for tiny fingers to fasten while on the go.
Buy it: $39, TenLittle.com
Lily and River Little Climber
One year olds are constantly looking for ways to challenge their movement, and Lily and River’s Little Climber helps meet that need for gross motor work. As a child works their way up and down the gym, they’ll be growing muscle strength, balance control and confidence as they take controlled risks. We love this one because it folds up for easy storage. Parents will be especially grateful for this gift on days when the weather keeps them indoors!
Buy it: starting at $200, LilyandRiver.com
Ehome Toddler Musical Instruments
At this stage of life children love to find creative ways to make noise - like banging, dropping and rolling objects. Having a small assortment of parental approved noise makers on hand can fulfill that need, while protecting a toddler’s playtime for more intentional fun. We love this assortment from Ehome designed for small hands!
Buy it: $36, Amazon.com
At 2 years of age, a child is seeking more independence and more “I did it myself” moments. From learning to ride a balance bike to experimenting with art and helping in the kitchen, a toddler will grow in confidence as they are given these opportunities to express themselves. Look for Montessori gifts for 2-year-olds that help cultivate this growing autonomy.
Woom 1 Balance Bike
A child’s first bike is a momentous occasion, and Woom’s Balance Bike is the perfect intro to the world of cycling. New walkers can practice their balance skills as they stroll with the bike. In time they will be able to hop on with ease, and be ready to roll for neighborhood rides with the entire family.
Buy it: $199, WoomBikes.com
Play-Doh Bulk 12-Pack
If you’re looking to gift a fun sensory experience that offers up a creative outlet, Play-Doh fits the bill. Little ones will love to mix colors and learn that blue and yellow makes green! All that work folding and rolling the dough helps strengthen their fingers and hand muscles, for future success when it’s time to learn how to hold a pencil and write.
Buy it: $12, Amazon.com
Honeysticks Beeswax Crayons
Non-toxic and designed specifically for small children, Honeysticks crayons are an ideal match for a budding artist. The crayons are perfect for a young child’s development as they’re designed for a small child’s grip. They are also made with food grade coloring, just in case a little one decides to fully immerse themselves in the creative process!
Buy it: $23, Amazon.com
LEGO Duplo Classic Deluxe Brick Box
LEGO Duplos have been popular for decades, and for good reason! They are ideal for creativity and open-ended play. Plus, all that building works a toddler’s fine motor skills and hand strength.
Buy it: $50, Walmart.com
Schylling Little Helper 3-Piece Broom Set
Toddlers innately love to help, and the child-sized Schylling Little Helper 3-Piece Broom Set moves from pretend play to practical. A toddler will gain confidence as they are able to make meaningful contributions around the home. This process of sweeping into a dustpan and dumping the debris into a bin encourages toddlers to practice multi-step processes and develop their executive functioning skills. Not to mention all the great gross motor and balance practice they’ll be getting!
Buy it: $11, BuyBuyBaby.com
Three-year-olds tend to become more social as they move away from parallel play to create more meaningful relationships with their peers. You can support this learning even if your child is staying home due to COVID-19 by modeling sharing with them or taking turns as you build Magna-Tile cities or work with Kinetic Sand. They will also become more capable around the house, so Montessori gifts for 3-year-olds that offer opportunities for contribution will help build their confidence and self-esteem. Pique their new curiosity with experiences (when safe) on nature walks or at the zoo or museums and do your best to answer their (many) questions.
Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 32-Piece Set
From building castles to robots, and everything in between, a child’s imagination runs wild while playing with Magna-Tiles. The durable, magnetic tiles have a unique ability to always connect, even when flipped. Working with various shapes is a fun intro to STEM as a child develops important math, science, spatial and tactile skills. Even grown ups will want to join the fun!
Buy it: $50, Maisonette.com
Kinetic Sand Beach Sand Kingdom Playset
It’s like bringing the beach home! The non-toxic, dry “sand” moves as if it was wet as little ones work it into endless formations. It’s very sensory, creative and peaceful. Parents will appreciate the easy clean-up factor!
Buy it: $14, Amazon.com
REI Co-Op Cycles REV 16’ Kids’ Bike
When a child is ready to graduate to a big kid’s bike, REI’s Co-Op Cycles’ lightweight, aluminum frame makes it easier to maneuver. With a little practice they’ll be ready to cruise! The bike includes an unexpected outlet for creativity with a sticker pack, providing some added fun as they leave their mark to stand out on the road.
Buy it: $189, REI.com
Fun With Nature: Take Along Guide
As a child explores their world, they can start in their own backyard with Fun With Nature: Take Along Guide. They’ll learn to identify signs of animal tracks, and the little critters they encounter. They’ll be sure to share their newfound facts with the family around the dinner table, where everyone is likely to learn something new.
Buy it: $16, Amazon.com
Mae Among the Stars
Incorporating inspiring books into your child’s bedtime routine will help encourage them to persevere in life. Reading together produces a sense of love and comfort little ones will begin to associate with books for a lifelong love of reading. We love Mae Among the Stars, the story of the first African American woman to travel in space. The story reminds children everywhere to shoot for the stars!
Buy it: $14, Amazon.com
A 4-year-old will begin to engage in more and more imaginative play. Montessori gifts that offer them outlets for this type of play will encourage them to use their imagination to create storylines and dilemmas based off of real world experiences. It’s also a way for children to process things that happen to them throughout the day. Using smaller toys and pieces will allow them to refine their pincer grasp even further as they learn to write with a pencil around this age.
Crayola Multicultural Colored Pencils
We love Crayola’s new Multicultural Colored Pencils as they encourage children to celebrate diversity and differences! Colored pencils are better than markers for this age range, because they require little ones to apply a decent amount of pressure in order for them to work which in turn strengthens their grasp even more.
Buy it: $8, Walmart.com
Plan Toys My First Doll House
A dollhouse can provide endless hours of open-ended play. Plan Toys My First Doll House offers up a beautiful, blank slate to let a little one’s imagination take the lead. Little ones will have endless hours of fun mimicking the happenings at their own household, or creating their own storylines.
Buy it: $147, Walmart.com
Hoot, Owl, Hoot! Board Game
Board games encourage children to take turns and learn strategy. Hoot, Owl, Hoot! is a great option for this age range because players will work together to get their owls to fly back to their nests before sunrise. It’s great for both emotional development, problem solving and growing self esteem.
Buy it: $16, Amazon.com
Fat Brain Toys Bamboo Builder Marble Run
Early engineering takes the lead when constructing a marble run. Fat Brain Toys Bamboo Marble Run is STEAM aligned as a child constructs the marble run from the ground up. Children will practice critical thinking as they work to create different paths and form hypotheses about which marble will speed to the bottom first.
Buy it: starting at $50, FatBrainToys.com
Forum Novelties Child’s Chief Surgeon Costume
This is the magical age for playing dress up! A child will love the pretend play that comes with a career costume. A child suited up in Forum Novelties Child’s Chief Surgeon Costume will be thrilled to diagnose their household’s imaginary ailments, as they learn about the medical profession.
Buy it: starting at $21, Amazon.com