Are Montessori toys good for babies? It’s a question I see a lot from those who join our Montessori Inspired Homeschooling group on Facebook and a fair one at that!
Those who are newer to the Montessori method often wonder at what age you can start Montessori and what exactly makes for a Montessori toy. So let’s jump into what is often meant when looking for a Montessori toy and some of our top recommendations when shopping for Montessori baby gifts.
Best Montessori Aligned Toys for Babies
Here at Multisori, we talk about Montessori aligned toys because there’s technically no such thing as a “Montessori toy”. Montessori is an educational philosophy so when we’re looking at toys, we’re looking for toys that align with said philosophy.
Those new to Montessori, though, don’t necessarily realize this because of course if you search online for Montessori toys, you’ll have dozens of websites trying to sell you exactly that - the idea that you have to buy specific toys to be considered Montessori.
So let me repeat -
There’s No Such Thing as Montessori Toys
What makes a toy Montessori aligned, then? They’re toys and playthings that ignite your child’s curiosity.
So when you’re looking for toys for baby, look for toys that are:
- Simple - no electronics or flashing lights, you want toys that help focus in on one skill development at a time
- Made with natural materials - babies use all of their senses to learn, so look for toys made of natural things like wood, cotton, stainless steel, felt, etc.
- Age-appropriate - Montessori-aligned toys are never “great for all ages!” Instead it’s important to look for ones that align with a child’s developmental needs and where they’re at in skills such as gross motor skills, problem solving, and hand-eye coordination.
- Attractive - similar to above, we’re not looking for toys that are mass produced and plastic. Instead you want to find toys for your baby that are visually appealing, attractive, and built well.
- Based on real life - books about a pigeon driving a bus are cute, but before that mental leap to fantasy, expose children to objects that accurately represent the real world
- Encourages repetition and active engagement - say yes to things that require baby to be hands-on (like stacking cups) and no to anything that requires batteries
- Open-ended - Open-ended toys are those that aren’t intended for any specific use. For example, you want toys like blocks and dolls which encourage a child to be creative and give them freedom to explore (Note that this is in stark contrast to Montessori educational tools which are purposely crafted to be close-ended!)
Moving forward, it comes down to remembering this: Montessori isn’t about having exactly the right stuff, it’s about philosophy and education through example. With a clearer picture in mind as to what makes for a Montessori aligned toy, let’s talk about some of our favorite Montessori inspired baby toys!
Montessori Toys for Babies
Encouraging sensory exploration is a huge part of the Montessori method, especially when it comes to infants. These textured balls have different surfaces that your baby will love to touch, taste, and explore. They’re also brightly colored and are perfectly sized for tiny hands. This natural rubber multi-ball set is also great for developing motor skills as baby can bounce, roll, and toss them around safely.
This crinkle toy is highly rated for a reason! It stimulates both auditory and tactile senses as the baby grasps and squishes it. This baby paper makes a satisfying crunch with every movement. It’s also important to note that since babies see high contrast better in the first few months (think black and white) the design of this crinkle toy is just perfect! Bonus - it’s machine washable.
Look look book
As mentioned above, high contrast books and art are great for babies. And these high contrast black-and-white images are sure to catch a baby's attention. It’s a brilliant book that’s ideal for infants who are just beginning to look and learn.
Be sure to also sign-up for your FREE high contrast book directly from Multisori -