In line with Montessori philosophy here are some suggested Montessori toys / materials 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 only and you should always check for small pieces when young children are around.
The quality of the 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 understanding of the real world and help children distinguish order and make sense of their environment. This is a true gift to the child.
Montessori Materials / Toys for Infants
Birth to 6 months – Babies are interested in exploring the senses of sight, sound and touch. Examples include:
6-12 months – Developmentally interested in mobility, crawling, learning to walk. Safety is important as objects are still being mouthed. We like the following:
12 to 18 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.
Montessori Toys / Materials Ideas: Birth to 18 months
- 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
We like the following for the age group of around 1-2 years:
Montessori Toys / Materials for Toddlers
18 to 24 months – Children are learning to control events and organize the world, they have little sense of danger. Mostly, they 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. Children enjoy manipulating objects, express their own personality and test everything.
Montessori Toys / Materials Ideas: 18 months to 3 years
- Posting toys
- Wooden jigsaws
- Sandpit toys
- Hammer and pegs
- Wooden animals
- Rocking horse
- Crayons, colored pens
- Paints, easel board
- Simple musical instruments
- Household objects (real, child sized)
- Moving toys (such as trucks)
- Large threading beads
- Bean bags
- Wheelbarrow or a wagon
- Interlocking blocks
- Doll equipment and clothing
- Large cartons and boxes
- Play dough
- Realistic animals (farm or zoo)
- Child sized cleaning apparatus (mops, brooms, gardening tools)
- Simple story books
We like the following for the age group of around 2-3 years: