What Makes a Toy Montessori? Discover Their Unique Qualities


Some toys aren’t officially called “Montessori toys,” but they fit well with the Montessori way of learning. Montessori toys help kids learn by repeating activities and having a clear purpose, similar to their everyday lives. To bring Montessori learning into your child’s playroom, choose toys that match these qualities. Put a few toys on a low shelf and switch them around to keep your child interested. When introducing new toys, move slowly and say little, letting your child figure things out themselves. Make sure they have space to explore and solve problems independently.

Characteristics and Benefits of Montessori Toys

Below are some key characteristics that make a toy “Montessori.” Use this to guide you on your hunt for educational toys for your child:

No Electronics or Flashing Lights

Just like some foods don’t give much energy to a child’s body, some toys don’t give much to a child’s brain. Toys with batteries that do flashy things when you press a button might seem fun, but they don’t help kids understand cause and effect. For example, if a baby presses a button and a toy cow pops out with lights and music, the baby’s brain remembers that, but it’s not really useful for learning. It’s not like real life, where actions have natural results, and it doesn’t let kids explore and learn freely.

Based on Real Life

Babies and toddlers love exploring the real world, so it’s good to give them toys and books with real pictures and things that look like the stuff they see every day. Maria Montessori, who watched how kids learn, said that before they start imagining things, kids need to see lots of real stuff. Little kids feel comfy and excited when they see things they know.

Books with talking animals and fun adventures are nice, but your child might like books with real pictures of people, animals, and things even more. Books about everyday stuff, like playing outside, cooking, or going to the doctor, help kids understand things they’ve done themselves.

Made with Natural Materials

Kids learn best when they use their senses together. Their brain turns all the cool things in the world into skills they can use. Things like squishy rubber, smooth wood, cold metal, and soft felt help them learn about textures, temperatures, and weight. This kind of learning is super important in Montessori schools.

One Skill at a Time

Toys that follow Montessori ideas help your child concentrate on learning one thing at a time by cutting out extra distractions. Just like having too many toys can be too much, toys with lots of stuff to do can stop your child from learning deeply. For instance, a stuffed octopus with activities on each tentacle can seem smart, but jumping from one thing to another doesn’t help your child stay focused.

Look for toys that can be used in different ways but focus on one thing at a time. For example, you can use animal toys in three ways:

  • Teach New Words: Start by showing the animals and saying their names, like “this is a cow.”
  • Play Games: When your child knows the names, play “I Spy” with the animals, asking, “where’s the cow?”
  • Matching Game: Later, match the toys with pictures of real animals to make a game.

Encourages STEM Learning

Your child learns a lot by trying things out and playing with whatever they can find. Even everyday stuff at home helps them figure out big ideas, like how things move or fit together. Toys that follow Montessori ideas are great for this kind of learning. Dropping a ball into a box and seeing what happens teaches cause and effect, or figuring out shapes in a puzzle helps with problem-solving. Through exploring different things, they can even learn about opposites like heavy and light, hot and cold, or rough and smooth.

Promotes Independence

Montessori helps kids learn to help out and take care of themselves and their surroundings using tools that are just right for them. The idea is to show your child they can do important things in their family and community. You might already have tools like small whisks or spatulas and a little apron at home for when your child helps you cook.

Introducing a Montessori Toy to Your Child

Studies say this simple setup helps kids concentrate longer and be more creative. It also lets them play by themselves more. After setting up, show your child each new toy in the play area. Here are some expert tips from to help you do it right:

Minimal Words

When showing your child a new toy, move slowly and big so they understand what it’s for. Say very little or nothing at all. This helps them concentrate on what you’re doing and learn better.

Offer Them a Turn

Let your child explore on their own, but gently guide them if they need help. You can say things like “I wonder if…” or “maybe try…” This gives them room to learn by doing things themselves, which is what Montessori is all about.

Wait for Yours

After you show your child how to use a toy, let them have a go while you watch. This lets them learn on their own and teaches them how to take turns. It’s tough to wait for both of you, but try to just watch and wait. Give them a few minutes before asking for a turn yourself.

Embrace Repetition

When your child does the same easy task many times, it makes their brain stronger. Even if it seems too simple, let them keep trying it before moving on to harder things. Doing simple tasks over and over helps their hands get ready for tougher stuff, like solving trickier puzzles.

Focus on Possibilities

Toys often have a certain way to play with them, but that’s just the start. Your child might discover a whole new way to have fun with it.

Incorporating Montessori Toys Into Your Child’s Daily Routine

Want to make learning fun and effective for your child? Explore Montessori-aligned toys and activities that focus on simplicity, real-life experiences, and hands-on learning. Create a play environment with minimal distractions to encourage your child’s curiosity. With these toys, you can foster their development while promoting independence.


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