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Our Favorite Montessori Friendly Toys

The holidays are coming, and for many of us, that means we’re thinking about new toys for our children or grandchildren. It can be hard to figure out what to buy for kids when it feels like they already have everything or you don’t want a million more toys in the house. Here’s a list of some of our favorite Montessori friendly toys that might make great holiday gifts for the kids in your life.

Toddlers – 18 months to 3 years old.

These youngsters are intrigued by practical life lessons. They’re learning how to take care of themselves and their environment at school and home. Toys that encourage them to take care of things and work on gross motor skills are great for this age range.

  1. A cleaning kit. It might seem crazy, but we often find that our toddlers love to clean their environment. Melissa and Doug make a great wooden kit that includes child-sized broom, mop, dustpan, dust mop, and a rack they can reach to put everything away when they’re done.
  2. Bead Maze. Young children love beads and bead mazes. These bright, colorful toys are all wooden and help children develop dexterity and hand-eye coordination. They watch the beads move from one side of the toy to the other.
  3. Wooden blocks. There’s something special about classic wooden blocks. Children can build anything they can imagine with blocks. A solid wood set is a very Montessori friendly toy. This particular one comes with a pull wagon for storage so the child can get the blocks out and put them away independently.

Preschoolers – 3 to 6 years old.

We find preschoolers are interested in pretend play, creative play, helping mom or dad (practical life based, and artistic activities. Toys that encourage the children to move around or allow them to sit quietly and concentrate on an activity can be useful for this age range. They’re working on developing fine motor skills and preparing for school.

  1. An Easel. A great Montessori friendly gift for this age child is an artist’s easel. Having a place where they can draw, color, and paint allows the child to express their creativity and develop fine motor skills. In a Montessori classroom, we prefer solid wood easels, but you can choose what’s right for your home.
  2. Play silks or scarves. A set of silks or scarves can let children explore creative play and use their imagination. They may turn them into superhero capes or twirl them in the air; they might toss them up high and watch them fall back to the ground. There are many ways they play with something like this.
  3. Giant puzzles. A puzzle is fun, but a giant puzzle is even more fun for a little kid. You can choose from all sorts of designs. We like the Melissa and Doug Jumbo Jigsaw floor puzzles because they’re 2’ by 3’ and durable. Puzzles are an excellent activity for quiet time or playing with friends.

This holiday season, think about what you want your children to learn with the toys that you’re buying. There are so many options out there; it can feel overwhelming. If you’re going to opt for toys that are Montessori friendly, look for natural textures, no batteries, and an educational benefit.