In line with Montessori philosophy here are some suggested toys & gifts for the different age groups and also some developmental considerations.
Many quality toys have age guides to help choose what the appropriate age is, but remember these serve as a guide and always check for small pieces when young children are around. The quality of the toy’s materials is a valid consideration; natural wooden toys will last far longer than plastics, but can prove a challenge to wash.
Lillard and Jessen (2003, ‘Montessori from the start’) said “your only purpose is to give a key to your child for discovering his world“.
Toys and materials can act as that key, they aid the child’s understanding of the real world and help them distinguish order and make sense of their environment. This is a true gift to the child.
Birth to 6 months - Babies are interested in exploring the senses of sight sound and touch
6-12 months - Developmentally interested in mobility, crawling, learning to walk, safety important as objects still being mouthed
12 to18 months - Children this age are curious about how things work and still put most things in their mouth. Mobility, coordination and manipulative skills are still developing.
- soft toys
- things with bright contrasting colors
- rattles (wooden or silver)
- mobiles (that catch children’s attention/ reflective)
- squeaky toys
- music boxes
- balls (of various sizes and textures)
- knock down toys
- bath and pouring toys
- simple wooden musical instruments
- push or pull toys
- spinning top
- drop boxes
- stacking toys
- rings and bases
- board books
18 to 24 months - Children are learning to control events and organize the world, they have little sense of danger. Mostly, cannot share. They want to imitate you, yet are still becoming independent
2-3 years - More imitation of adult behavior and exploration of the adult world. Enjoy manipulating objects, express their own personality and test everything.