Learning Through Play: 14 Best Montessori Toys For Babies Of 2020

cute toddler baby in white playing with montessori toy board at home

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It seems like toys for kids are getting more technologically advanced every year!

But if you would like to avoid the tech and focus on educational play, Montessori toys for babies are the perfect addition to your playroom.

Compared to traditional plastic toys, Montessori toys for babies are characterized by certain elements that set them apart and make them a great option for your baby’s development.

Children playing with educational toys sitting on a rug in a play room at home or kindergarten

For example, these toys are designed to support the development of specific skills, such as fine motor skills. On the other hand, don’t expect them to look very fancy!

Plus, most toys that follow the Montessori philosophy are super simple and made from wood or cotton, which also makes them extremely safe and non-toxic for babies.

As a long time supporter of Montessori method toys, I’ve found more than a dozen great picks for you to introduce learning through play to your own family!

For all of you busy moms, here’s a quick list of our top picks!

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1. Melissa & Doug Stacking Train

Toddlers and babies alike love playing with stacker toys and they are a great way to get your kids’ attention with something fun that will help them develop at the same time.

Stackers, in fact, can help those little hands learn how to grasp objects, which is beneficial to their fine motor skills development, too.

What’s more, it will help your baby learn hand-eye coordination skills, so there’s a number of fun developmental activities tied in with this simple wooden toy.

Melissa & Doug toys have been a favorite of mine for years now, and this stacking train model takes the traditional stacker toy and kicks it up a notch by turning it into a cute little train.

It comes with 15 blocks in all sorts of bright colors – yellow, blue, green, and red, and in different shapes too.

There are plenty of ways for your little one to play with this Montessori baby toy and as there are more than enough blocks, a sibling or a friend can join in, too.

I also really love how this toy will take anything your kids throw at it and it still won’t break!

It can even handle being chewed on and since it’s made from wood, it’s much safer than plastic toys and better for the environment, too.

2. Manhattan Toy Artful Skwish Rattle and Teether Grasping Activity Toy

A rattle is probably one of the very first toys your baby will play with.

Babies love to hold them, shake them, and listen to the rattling sounds they create.

And because it’s pretty much inevitable that a rattle toy is going to end up in your baby’s mouth, it’s best to choose one that’s made from wood and isn’t toxic.

Luckily, this rattler and teether toy ticks all of those boxes! I also love how soft the colors are – it’s perfect for all you minimalist-loving mamas out there!

Your little one can also play with it by squishing it down over and again.

Seriously, your baby will have lots of fun with it! Even adults find it can be a great anxiety-relief toy during those days when work is just stressing you out.

There’s also no need to worry about splinters forming on the rattler or pieces breaking off because it’s made from a kind of wood that’s very durable.

Also, I don’t know about you, but I’m really not a big fan of toy rattlers that come with batteries and create all sorts of sounds – that can get annoying very quickly.

But this toy makes just the right amount of noise to be fun for the baby and not be annoying for the parents!

3. The Play Gym by Lovevery

Play gyms are one of the most entertaining options for babies when it comes to playtime – they offer the kind of all-in-one fun that will keep them busy and engaged.

What I like about this play gym is that it uses safe and organic materials wherever possible.

For example, the legs are made from wood and rather than plastic.

Among other materials, it contains parts made from organic cotton, along with non-toxic polyester, so your baby will have a chance to play in a really safe environment.

You can set it up in only a couple of minutes (there’s no need to assemble anything) and it’s good to go!

The gym itself is made up of 5 zones for your baby’s development. I’m certain that your baby will love playing with the hanging toys or the card sets.

There’s even a teething toy included for your little munchkin to chew on.

I also love that it comes with a cover that allows your baby to play while feeling like they’re tucked away in a world of their own.

To help you discover just how multifunctional this activity gym is, Lovevery has even included a guide to help you come up with fresh ideas for your baby’s playtime.

4. Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano Wooden Musical Toy

When it comes to educational toys, you just can’t go wrong with musical toys.

Babies and young children absolutely love them and they give them a chance to get creative.

You might even find out that you have a talented little musician in your home!
And if not, the Baby Einstein piano will still make playtime loads of fun.

It comes with sheet music that has been adapted for babies and toddlers. Instead of notes, it has different colors to match the keys.

This way, your little one will be able to learn about different colors while enjoying music.

I also like that you can adjust the volume – this comes in really handy when it’s time for more quiet playtime.

As it’s partially made from wood, you can easily clean it with a wipe or damp cloth.

5. PlanToys Wooden Punch & Drop Pounding Bench

One of the best Montessori baby toys to support child development is a hammer box set, which allows kids to really immerse themselves in play.

This set comes with a little wooden hammer, 3 balls, and a box.

Each piece is made from rubberwood, which is made from trees that have been grown in a sustainable way, and is friendlier to our environment.

If your little one ends up chewing on one of the pieces, you can rest assured that none of them are toxic or harmful, nor are they small enough for your baby to put in their mouth.

Your baby can play with the toy by either using the hammer or their little fingers to push the ball through, and then they can take it out of the box and do it all over again!

It seems a little repetitive, but babies love it!

6. Grimm’s 6-Piece Rainbow Stacker

Stacking toys just got a makeover with this wooden rainbow stacker set by Grimm’s Spiel und Holz Design.

While this might seem like a relatively simple toy at first, there are numerous ways for your little one to play with it.

As he or she grows, you will love all the different ways in which kids can rediscover this toy.

For example, they can use it to build a tiny cottage, a bridge, a tunnel… The possibilities are endless, so your kids will be able to enjoy it for years to come.

The toy consists of 6 individual arches that are made from wood and it’s painted with colors that aren’t toxic, either.

If you would like a toy that’s more minimalist, Grimm’s offers the same model in a bare, unpainted version.

7. Elite Montessori Object Permanence Box with Tray and Ball

One of the most important things that a baby will learn in the first years of their life is object permanence.

When a baby understands object permanence, he or she knows that an item (such as a toy) is still there even if they can’t sense it through sight or hearing.

Playing peekaboo with your little one is one of the ways in which he or she can learn object permanence, but you can also do so with this toy box by Elite Montessori.

The toy comes with a wooden ball that your baby can drop into the box and it will reemerge in the tiny drawer, teaching your little one all about the permanence of objects.

Your baby will also get to practice their fine motor skills as they play, too.

8. Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone

Little kids love music, so any baby toy that allows them to get creative with sounds is going to be an instant hit! At least that was the case with my kids, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.

With this toy by Hape, you will actually get two toys in one. It comes with a small and very colorful xylophone that can be pulled out if your little musician wants to play with it on its own.

Alternatively, you can slide the xylophone back into its place and allow your baby to use the hammer to push the balls down.

Once a ball drops and rolls down, it will create lots of fun sounds your little munchkin will enjoy.

This is definitely one of my favorite Montessori toys for babies because it allows kids to get creative with music but it also teaches them a handful of other useful skills.

For example, they develop their fine motor skills as they have to use the hammer to push the balls through.

When the balls drop, they create music, which teaches babies all about cause and effect, too.

You will also be happy to hear that this toy is made from wood and that the paint isn’t toxic, either. I also love that it’s very sturdy so your kids will be able to enjoy it for a long time.

And once they finally grow it out, you can donate it, since this really is a timeless toy.

9. PlanToys Wooden Baby Roller Learning Push and Pull Toy with Sound

A rolling toy is the perfect choice for younger babies who might find some of the toys on this list a bit too challenging to play with.

It comes with a small ball on the inside of the toy, which creates sounds when your baby rolls it or shakes it. The sound isn’t too loud, but will keep your little one entertained.

The roller is also pretty small, so it’s the perfect size for a baby to hold and play with.

Since your baby is very likely to try and put the roller in their mouth, it’s great that this toy is made from natural materials (rubberwood) and doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals that could hurt your baby.

10. The Original Toy Company Pop Up Fire Truck

This is another adorable toy that kids can play with for a long time as they rediscover the different ways of having fun with it.

It’s designed to look like a red fire truck with 4 little firemen who come in green, yellow, blue, and red colors.

Your little one can use their hands to push the firemen down into the toy and they will pop out 0150 I guarantee you this will cause lots of laughter.

It’s also a great toy for sharing with friends or siblings!

Once your kids get older, they can learn some basic math skills with this toy, too.
When it comes to the material, it’s also wood, and the color is safe for kids!

11. CutiePieToys Montessori Ball Cylinder Rolling Drum

This wooden ball cylinder toy is great for little ones who have entered the crawling stage, as it can roll on the floor and your baby can try and grab it.

It’s also really easy for babies to hold it in their hands and shake it around. The inside of the cylinder comes with colorful little wooden balls that create noise, which is lots of fun.

To keep it clean, all you need to do is wipe it with a damp cloth, leave it out to dry, and you’re good to go.

12. Gemem Shape Sorter Toy

Sorting shapes is another really fun activity for babies and toddlers alike!

There are 12 shapes in this set, including a square, heart, and hexagon, and they come in fun shades you can use to teach your baby about the different colors.

Kids will love trying to figure out which piece fits where, but they can also use the shapes as building blocks and create towers, for example, so there are different ways of enjoying this toy.

It also comes with a yellow piece of string that allows the kids to take it anywhere they like.

There’s also a big hole on the top which allows kids to place all the shapes inside the box and this can double as storage space for all the pieces, too.

13. PlanToys Wooden Dancing Alligator Pull Toy

If you’re looking for a toy that’s loads of fun and that will inspire your kid’s imagination, look no further than this adorable alligator pull toy that’s great for pretend play.

It’s made from rubberwood and dyed in child-safe green and yellow colors that make for a very tropical look.

When the alligator is pulled, it makes a click-clack noise – kids absolutely love it, but you might find it a bit irritating after a couple of hours.

When the weather was nice, my kids used to love taking this alligator with them while we took a walk around the block, so it’s a good outdoors toy, as well.

14. Holz & Schnüdel Wooden Montessori Peg Board Counting Set

For toddlers, one of the best ways to introduce them to math and numbers is through an educational toy that can make counting lots of fun.

This wooden pegboard introduces little tots to numbers from 1 to 10. The numbers are marked in light blue and each contains enough wooden pegs that correspond to their number.

Along with the set, you will get two cloth bags where you can keep the pegboard when it’s not being used, which is a great way of preventing little pieces from getting lost.

What makes a good Montessori toy?

A Montessori toy is not just a fancy new trend in raising kids.

In fact, these toys are part of a bigger educational method that was created in 1897 by Maria Montessori, who was an Italian educator and physician.

The Montessori method of education is characterized by elements such as allowing kids to choose activities which will help them improve a particular skill, whether by themselves or in a group.

While your little one might still be too young to start a Montessori school or preschool, you can still bring the Montessori philosophy to your baby through toys.

A good toy that follows the Montessori method contains some of the following characteristics:

Little boy in red shirt playing mathematics wooden toy at nursery

  • simple, without fancy accessories or extra features;
  • made using natural materials, such as wood, while toys made from plastic tend to be avoided;
  • helps kids develop a particular skill, such as hand-eye coordination or object permanence;
  • reflects the real world, so a toy alligator is preferred over a toy unicorn, for example;
  • allows the baby to learn by using his or her senses.

As you can see, these toys are quite different from your regular, run-of-the-mill baby toys that come with batteries, lights, and all sorts of bells and whistles.

Another important thing to remember when it comes to toys that follow the Montessori philosophy is not to give all of them to your baby right away.

Allow your kids to play with only one (or a few) at a time so they can focus their attention on developing one skill only.

To conclude

In a way, Montessori toys for babies take me back to a time when toys were simple and didn’t need a whole lot of bells and whistles to be fun.

As we live in an era where screens and smart devices are everywhere, choosing toys that are made from natural materials and encourage learning through play gives kids the opportunity to develop in a natural way.

What’s more, these toys are completely safe to use and you can rest assured that your baby isn’t coming into contact with any harmful chemicals or materials.

They’re also really durable and can be handed down to younger siblings or cousins, as opposed to plastic toys that can be broken easily or need batteries to run.

I really hope some of these toys find their way into your home – I guarantee you that your baby will love them and play with them for years to come!

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Written by Ivana Davies

Hey there mamas! I'm Ivana, a millenial mom of two wonderful kids. I was a teacher, but now I'm a stay-at-home mom running this blog with the goal of uniting all moms into a supportive community and providing insight into the everyday battle of motherhood.