If you are a parent or guardian who’s new to the Montessori method, it can be overwhelming to look at the different toys and activities available in the market. This guide is designed to make it clear and simple for you to know what to look for when choosing Montessori toys – specifically for one-year-old.
Whether it’s your first child or you’ve already set up a Montessori playroom in your home, this article will give some insights on letting your child learn through play. We also highlight some of our favorite Montessori toys for your little tykes, as recommended by our fellow moms and dads.
Quick Picks: The Top-Rated Montessori Toys for 1-Year-Old
In a hurry? Check our best pick above, or keep reading for product reviews and buying guide!
Montessori Toys for 1-Year-Old Buying Guide
Even though the term is widely used today, technically there are no products that are categorized as “Montessori toys”. This is because Dr. Montessori and her successors never really created toys designed for Montessori education. Still, the term is used commonly to describe toys, puzzles, and activities for kids that reflect the core principles taught in a Montessori classroom.
The general idea is to go for toys or activities that are appropriate for your kids’ developmental stage, made of natural materials (as much as possible), and allow open-ended play. Avoid toys that are too complex, heavy for kids to carry on their own, flashy, or require batteries to play. Focus your attention on functionality and purpose, as well as beauty and appeal.
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Montessori Toys for 1 Year Old
Here are some factors to keep in mind when shopping for Montessori toys for your babies.
Appropriate for Your Child’s Size
First of all, choose toys that are at the same height as your child. This lets them easily see, reach, access them on their own, and return them to their place after playing.
Speaking of accessibility, we have previously shared a guide on choosing the right Montessori shelves for your children. Make sure that – as much as possible – their toys are on display instead of hidden away from sight (in cupboards or boxes).
If you enter a Montessori classroom, you’ll notice right away that the majority of toys are made of wood. There are no battery-operated toys or items that are made of plastic. You may ask why. It does seem wise to present kids with toys that create fun sounds and noises or spark up and move around, right? These might distract kids, yes, but they do not encourage engagement and self-learning, which is the core of Montessori education.
By choosing wooden toys that are age-appropriate and promote learning and curiosity, you’ll get the entertainment your children deserve while helping develop their gross or fine motor skills.
Made of Natural Materials
The best Montessori toys are selected thoughtfully and primarily offer multiple things to do for your child. They present puzzles, language activities, artwork, and activities that teach about practical life or important skills (such as problem solving, focus, and fine and gross motor skills).
In addition, they are often made from natural materials. Wood is a favorite among parents and educators alike. They are not just eco-friendly, they are also durable and reliable to last a long time.
When in shortage of toys, DIY activities can be a great alternative. Just look for things around the house that are safe and non-toxic that can double as toys to foster your child’s imagination. Examples that come to mind are cups, funnels, and other containers.
Product Reviews of The Best Montessori Toys for 1 Year Old
This Melissa & Doug Activity Toy has eight different activities that will help your kids work on developmental skills, including hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. It’s a top pick from many parents because of its versatility and quality.
Plus, it is made with natural wood. There aren’t many Montessori activity tables of its calibre that are made of real wood in the market today, and still it is quite affordable for its price. The material is of good quality, as well as the finish. It’s not just sturdy, but also visually appealing for kids and adults alike. The bright colors won’t fail to catch your child’s attention and keep them entertained for a long time.
- The size is perfect for one-year-old who have just started standing up or walking on their own, as well as those who are still in the process of learning how to. Kids will use it to balance themselves or even to stand themselves up. It’s also perfectly usable while your kid is sitting on the floor.
- The toy is amazing at keeping children’s interest. It looks quite regular at first glance but it does a great job at offering open-ended play.
- Even without being too repetitive at some of the activities, there is so much to do and engage with for your kids. After a while, your kids will tire of some parts, discover the other parts, and fall in love with the table all over again.
- Many parents swear to this toy as a worthy investment. Kids seem to keep playing with it for a long period of time.
- It’s not as large as other activity tables in the market, which could be an issue for some children.
- It is quite lightweight, which could make it an advantage when moving it around. However it can be a danger as well if your kids like toppling over stuff.
Check out this fun little push and pull toy that gives out a soft click-clack sound. Most toys of this design make sounds that are too harsh and loud, but this one gives a gentle effect. At 24 inches, it’s the right size for toddlers.
- This toy is well-made without compromising on the child-friendly aesthetics and design.
- It is made with water-based, baby-safe paint and finish. There are no phthalates and lead in the materials used.
- The cord length is just the right size for pulling. It’s not too long to cause tangles and won’t get caught up in corners.
- Some parents report that it doesn’t work on certain surfaces.
This activity cube is designed to encourage learning on many fronts. Your kids will love playing with this while improving their counting and math skills, learning about shapes, patterns, and colors in a fun and engaging way.
- This cube can keep your children entertained for a significant stretch of time.
- It also is effective in encouraging kids to enhance their math and alphabet skills.
- It is a great learning tool for colors and shapes, too.
- Your kids can start learning about time-telling with the funny clock as well.
- It’s a joy during cleanup because it doubles as its own storage box, which means you minimize the chance of losing any of the pieces.
- Some parents say they expected it to be larger than it was.
- The cube has no base, which means the pieces fall to the floor after inserting them into the shape holes.
Wood City’s stacking and puzzle toy includes five shapes and five colors. It’s a great starter toy for one-year-old to help your kid learn about colors, shapes, and numbers. Watch them improve their math skills after trying different combinations.
- Kids love playing with this toy over and over because of the variety of activities they can do with it.
- It offers several opportunities to learn math, logic, and even language skills while also supporting fine and gross motor skill development.
- It is very durable and durable. The paint does not chip away even after a while.
- Some of the parts are quite small. Parents have advised to wash the parts in case kids put them in their mouths. It will need supervision to avoid choking.
Our final entry is the popular carrot harvest game. It’s a relatively new learning toy for kids. It’s very simple enough when you look at it, but when you give your kids the time to try it, it can be quite a challenge and a learning experience for them. It’s a great mental exercise that teaches them about different sizes and shapes, as well as problem-solving and logic.
- The toy, upon first glance, is very cute. It definitely gets the attention of kids right away.
- It’s also well-made and sturdy.
- The concept of the game is simple but presents so many learning opportunities.
- The carrots are the ideal size for one-year-old to grasp and move.
- It could be improved if the slots and carrots also had numbers written on them to add a learning opportunity for counting and matching numbers.
How Can You Apply the Montessori Method at Home?
We’ve tackled the basics of Montessori education, as well as how it relates to your child’s learning. The main goal is to help your kid to be more capable and independent – whether this is in the classroom or at home. To do this, you’ll have to let your kid be a contributor in the family.
Kids love to help out and do their part. In the Montessori method, it all makes sense. The kids watch you and other grown-ups in the house do things, perform chores, get ready for the day, and go about your day. These things are very exciting for your child’s mind, and we often don’t recognize that.
By encouraging independence, we let them learn about self-care and even simple chores. By letting them – even in the tiniest ways – be part of the family’s daily routines, you can be a Montessori home.
How Do You Introduce Montessori Activities at Home?
First things first: you have to slow down. It’s understandable to welcome a surge of information when you’re just learning about Montessori education. But try not to rush the process. Don’t rush everything else, too, including your kids’ engagement and contribution at home.
Take small steps like letting your child help in preparing breakfast. Resist the urge to do everything on your own just because you’re in a rush.
In terms of new activities, expect that it will take a bit of time for your kids to learn and adjust to them. Slow down and be patient in teaching them. Repetition and consistency with daily routines would be very helpful. You’ll thank yourself when the day comes and your kids are doing things on their own even without assistance or instruction!
Begin with simpler, more straightforward tasks when they are young. Later on, you can build on these chores as they grow up. A good example would be letting your kids add their own fruits to their cereal bowl in the morning. Next, they’ll be able to peel the banana on their own! And before you know it, they will be pouring the milk on their bowl with no help. Soon, you’ll be watching your toddler prepare her own cereal bowl for breakfast.
This not only gives her independence and increases her self-esteem. It’ll undoubtedly give you more time for other chores in the morning. Follow this mindset for other activities you want to teach them at home and you’ll all be fine. Just be patient!
Parents often start with the notion of “doing everything” for their kids. Of course – they are so tiny and helpless, right? They need all the help they can get. They have no skills and knowledge about self-care.
Soon you’ll find out that kids – even babies under age 1 – can catch on quick. They pick up on stuff faster than you realize. They are able to help out and contribute even as tiny little humans. In a Montessori home, kids are considered “mini adults” with their own abilities to contribute to the family.
Keep this in mind when choosing toys and activities for them. Choose ones that promote independence and learning about real life skills. Offer open-ended play and give help only when absolutely necessary. You’ll find kids are innately self-learners!