25 Montessori Inspired Toys for Toddlers

Montessori inspired toys that will keep your little coming back for more and more playtime.

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Children learn through play. It might not be a new concept, but the research is in to show that play based learning helps children advance in language, literacy, social emotional skills, and even math!

When given the freedom to play, within safe boundaries, kids are free to explore the world around them. Back to those toys – What kind of toys do toddlers really need? How many toys should toddlers have?

What are Montessori Toys?

Montessori toys tend to be well-constructed [natural materials], non-battery operated, and foster open ended play. Open ended toys are not telling the toddler what to do, they are simply providing an opportunity for kids to explore and experiment. 

Montessori inspired toys are based on reality, not fantasy. Young children under 6 aren’t quite capable of telling the difference between what’s real and what’s fantasy. To put this into practical terms, reading about make believe characters in a book is harder to distinguish from being real that visiting a zoo or reading books describing the animals at the zoo. Filling a toddler’s mind with real depictions of the world will in turn help them connect with the real world and later develop their imagination. 

When it comes to clutter at home, toys can be a big culprit. It’s not just us moms that get overwhelmed by it, littles can too. That’s one reason we love the Montessori motto of less is more in the toy department. In selecting toys for toddlers, consider the following guidelines: natural materials, higher quality, can grow with your child, and has a purpose. Toddlers play longer & happier with less toys!

25 MONTESSORI INSPIRED TOYS FOR TODDLERS, THE TENNESSEE MOM BLOG, calling tennessee home, best toys for toddlers, wooden toys, tool set for toddlers

25 Montessori Inspired Toys

Each toy or item has been independently selected and are items my own toddler uses on an almost daily basis. While not 100% of these will be toys in the general sense of the word, they all promote real-world, open ended, Montessori style play. 

Art Easel – This one is dual sides with both a chalkboard & whiteboard AND the ability to add a roll of paper.

Balance Board – It also becomes a great indoor slide, car ramp, resting spot, and much more!

Play Couch – While we opted to go with the Sam’s Club version instead of the Nugget, it’s been a huge hit; my son lots to play under the ‘teepee’.

Animal Figurines – The animals get named, sorted, counted, feed, and well, occasionally stepped on. 

Endless Books – Montessori is about leading with the child’s interest and for J, it’s all about the books. PS- we still throw in some non-realistic stories too.

Cleaning Set – If mom is cleaning, my toddler probably is too. What better way to meld practical life application with play with learning responsibilities. 

Floor Cushioning – These floor tiles might be made of foam, but they are oh so necessary for keeping your little safe while exploring. They get bonus points for being easily reconfigured.

Toddler Tableware – The key here is making it also at their level. Toddlers like to help by putting away or retrieving dishes. 

Cars – Really any small wheeled toy helps toddlers explore physics in the most simple terms.

Lacing Sets – These help develop fine motor skills and dexterity while problem solving. They can later be used for early math learning. 

Nesting Cups – A set of measuring cups will even do here. The cups help toddlers to practice pouring water from one container to another as well as nesting them by size. 

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Tool Set – Learning to thread, twist, tap, and put together objects are all working those fine motor skills and creative problem solving as well as eye hand coordination. 

Spider Web Swing – Great for one rider or two, my toddler likes to push dad on the swing to mimic how we swing him. It takes some big muscle groups to achieve that!

Kitchen UtensilsKid safe knives and cookie cutters are always the first choices for toddlers. 

Kid Sized Furniture – This table serves so many purposes outside of mealtime. Toddlers need spaces with furniture that are designed for their height.

Balance Bike – We are on our second one not for any other reason than J outgrew the first. he absolutely loves it! His first was only suited from  about 9-18 months. Most balance bikes require. a pretty high inseam that he couldn’t meet until turning 2. 

Pushing Toys – The big dump truck and lawn mower have been two favorites here. These help build up those much needed leg muscles.

Musical Instruments – Oh boy, this is the noisy part. Pots and pans and other household items work too.

Baskets – They organizer, double as a place to throw balls, turn into a chair, and pretend helmets. 

Gardening Tools – More practical life application with using shovels, rakes, and watering pales.

Flash Lights – The kind you hold or the kind you put on your head, both play well for exploration. 

Dress Up – These are pieces that would naturally be worn such as uniforms or things grown ups wear to do a specific job. 

Balls – Different sizes, textures, and uses. Mix them up and see what happens. 

Empty Boxes – These become so much more than just a used piece of cardboard. If you don’t want to keep them around long, have your toddler paint or draw in them to confine the potential mess.

Real Animals – Animals are not a toy HOWEVER scooping our their food to feed them, brushing and bathing them, and even taking them for a walk count as play! 

What is your toddler’s favorite non-toy, toy?


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