Toys

The 11 Best Montessori Baby Toys For Fun & Learning

Updated on 8 minute read

 

Are Montessori Toys Good For Babies?

Montessori toys can be good for babies, especially because they’re designed for self-directed, exploratory play.

A 2018 Frontiers in Psychology study concluded that the efficiency of exploratory play during the infant years might help promote longer-term cognitive development. (1)

The researchers were able to measure this by providing different toys to babies and doing a follow-up cognitive development analysis at age three. (1)

 

What Is Considered A Montessori Toy?

Some characteristics of Montessori toys:

  • Made of natural materials, such as wood 
  • Learning toys that teach or develop one skill at a time
  • Simple but beautiful
  • Meant to last for years, and repetitive use
  • Useful and teaches practical life skills
  • Designed for open-ended, independent play and learning

 

These toys follow the Montessori method, a learning approach created by Italian pediatrician and educator Maria Montessori.

Did you know that Montessori education has been around for over a hundred years?

Today, Montessori classrooms don’t just strictly follow the founder’s teachings but might also incorporate Montessori-inspired educational toys. (2)

That’s also something you can do for your baby’s playroom. You can adapt the Montessori approach but also include other toys for your baby’s development that might not be strictly Montessori.

 

Why Are Montessori Toys So Plain?

Montessori toys promote learning using things that are based on the real world. So, they don’t make artificial sounds or movements. They don’t have electronic parts nor use imaginary characters such as dragons, fairies, and Disney princesses.

These wooden toys are plain but designed for open-ended learning.

Kids can learn to improve different aspects of creativity by coming up with ideas to make the plain toy more interesting or entertaining. (2)

 

When Should I Start Montessori Toys?

Montessori learning can begin with newborn babies.

You can start with a play gym that has high contrast or black and white mobiles. 

While your newborn might still be too young for spinning drums and shape sorters, you can slowly introduce them to sensory toys during tummy time or give them a wooden rattle to develop their grasping skills.

As they grow older, or at around four months old, you can get them a Montessori-inspired teether. At 6+ months old, they might be ready for the Montessori ball, simple musical instruments, stackers, and wooden puzzles with knobs.

 

What To Buy: Single Toys Vs. Subscription 

It’s no secret that Montessori toys can be pricey. So, it’s really up to you to either buy single toys or get a subscription based on your budget.

What’s good about a subscription is that your child gets a set of Montessori toys designed for different skills and learning options. The downside is that the brand usually picks what toys to include, so you might already have duplicates at home.

What other Montessori toys should you get your baby?

We’ve prepared this list of 11 best Montessori toys and other gift ideas for babies.

 

The 11 Best Montessori Toys For Babies

1. LOVEVERY The Play Gym (0+ months)

(source: lovevery.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Organic cotton, non-toxic baby play mat with an activity center and hanging toys
  • Product Safety: Free from fire retardants, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and other toxic materials
  • Materials: 100% organic cotton, mouthable pieces made of silicone, and other non-toxic materials
  • Age Range: 0+ months
  • Educational Value: Five Montessori-inspired development zones to encourage learning and exploration
  • Extra Features: Can convert into a play fort for toddlers using the play space cover 
  • Certification: OEKO-TEX-certified fabrics (tested for toxic and harmful substances) and FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) sustainably sourced wood
  • Made In: Network of suppliers in Asia
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Can be pricey
  • Customer Reviews:

My niece’s baby loves this. He lays and kicks and stares at the cards concentrating on them.” – reviewer on LOVEVERY

I wish there was an option to buy pieces of this / other toys without the expensive subscription.” – reviewer on LOVEVERY

 

2. KiwiCo Atom Bead Maze (0+ months)

(source: kiwico.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Atom-inspired bead maze
  • Product Safety: Passes rigorous tests for all toy safety standards
  • Materials: Solid wood, metal wire, cotton string, and plastic plugs
  • Age Range: 0+ months
  • Educational Value: Fine motor skills, sensory stimulation, and early STEM learning (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)
  • Extra Features: Includes a chemistry-themed baby book
  • Certification: Certified by independent product safety testing labs
  • Made In: Not indicated
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Can be pricey
  • Customer Reviews:

I’d venture to say that this is my son’s new favorite toy. He loves to play with the beads, and the book is really cute.” – reviewer on KiwiCo

Very nicely made, good quality and great for a 7 month-old little boy!” – reviewer on KiwiCo

 

3. Wee Gallery Organic Crinkle Toy – Butterfly (0+ months)

(source: weegallery.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Butterfly-shaped crinkle toy
  • Product Safety: Non-toxic, organic toy
  • Materials: 100% organic cotton shell, crinkle paper filling, and soy-based inks
  • Age Range: 0+ months
  • Educational Value: Visual development, sensory stimulation, and learning about cause and effect
  • Extra Features: High-contrast design
  • Certification: GOTS-certified organic cotton (Global Organic Textile Standard) and FSC-certified paper
  • Made In: South India
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Can be pricey
  • Customer Reviews: None yet

 

4. Ece Toys Box of Montessori Mobiles & Toys (0+ months)

(source: etsy.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Box of different Montessori toys
  • Product Safety: Water-based paint
  • Materials: Wood, metallic paper, cardboard, cotton thread, cotton fabric, and fiber
  • Age Range: 0+ months
  • Educational Value: Hand-eye coordination, fine motor development, dynamic visual focus, concentration, and depth perception
  • Extra Features: Option available to choose the colors for the toys included in the box
  • Certification: Not indicated
  • Made In: Turkey
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Some complaints about possible choking risks
  • Customer Reviews:

We purchased the box of Montessori mobiles for our newborn and are so very impressed with the craftsmanship!” – reviewer on ETSY

With the rainbow mobile, there are small parts that if it ever came disassembled baby could choke on. The little metal rings that allow it to spin freely. And the wooden rattle with the bells on the end could present a choking hazard if the bills ever became detached, although I think that would be highly unlikely.” – reviewer on ETSY

 

5. LOVEVERY The Looker Play Kit (0-12 weeks)

(source: lovevery.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Montessori play kit with a wooden baby book
  • Product Safety: Free from heavy elements and phthalates
  • Materials: Wood, fabric, cardboard, and silicone
  • Age Range: 0-12 weeks
  • Educational Value: Visual perception, memory development, hand discovery and awareness, grasping, and tracking moving objects or sound
  • Extra Features: Includes a play guide
  • Certification: Meets regulatory safety standards
  • Made In: Curated in Idaho with products made by a supplier network in Asia (exact location not indicated) adhering to the “highest sustainability standards in the industry”
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Can be pricey
  • Customer Reviews:

We loved everything about the looker play kit. It was perfect for our 2 month old! She enjoyed all the different toys and we as her parents enjoyed playtime.” – reviewer on LOVEVERY

I feel like I could’ve saved myself the $80 and gone to Walmart, spent $15 and gotten the same experience.” – reviewer on LOVEVERY

 

6. Manhattan Toys Artful Skwish (0-2 years)

(source: forsmallhands.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Wood rattle and teether toy
  • Product Safety: Non-toxic, water-based finish
  • Materials: Wood and elastic strings
  • Age Range: 0-2 years old
  • Educational Value: Grasping, manipulation, and fine motor skills
  • Extra Features: Baby and toddler toy with balls, beads, and rods
  • Certification: CPSIA (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act), ASTM F963 (American Society for Testing and Materials), EN71 (European Toy Safety Directive and Standard), and SOR (Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and Toy Regulations)
  • Made In: Thailand
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Requires adult supervision to reduce choking risks if the strings accidentally break or if your child pushes the toy inside their mouth
  • Customer Reviews:

It’s lovely. It’s a rattle, a ball, a puzzle, a sculpture…. Your family needs one of these.” – reviewer on Walmart

The unique structure makes it so interesting to play with, and you could tell by his focus on it how it made him think and have his curiosity piqued.” – reviewer on Target

 

7. Miniland Sensory Balls (3+ months) 

(source: minilandgroup.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Set of sensory balls
  • Product Safety: Eco-friendly, washable toys that can be disinfected
  • Materials: 100% natural rubber
  • Age Range: 3+ months
  • Educational Value: Sensory learning and fine motor skills
  • Extra Features: Different texture per ball
  • Certification: Not indicated
  • Made In: Canada
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: The set can be pricey; some complaints about the strong scent
  • Customer Reviews:

These are completely sealed (so we even use them in the bath) and are pure rubber. It’s pricey, but this set is fantastic quality and will be part of our play for years.” – reviewer on Amazon

…the balls smell so extreme, the smell is reminiscent of the smell of a balloon that I have to consider throwing the balls away. Even washing out multiple times didn’t help.” – reviewer on Amazon

 

8. Loulou Lollipop Bubble Silicone & Wood Teething Rattle (for babies and toddlers)

(source: louloulollipop.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Montessori-inspired teething rattle
  • Product Safety: Free from PVC, BPA (bisphenol-A), heavy metals lead and cadmium, and phthalates
  • Materials: Wood and 100% food-grade silicone
  • Age Range: Babies and toddlers
  • Educational Value: Soothing tender gums while developing fine motor skills and grasping
  • Extra Features: Teether and toy
  • Certification: Exceed safety standards (safety-tested by a leading third-party laboratory)
  • Made In: Vancouver, Canada
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Some complaints about quality
  • Customer Reviews:

I feel very comfortable knowing that my baby girl is playing with a product that is made safe and reliable.” – reviewer on Crate and Barrel

The wooden rings were rough to the touch and not finished. I wiped them clean and oiled them hoping it would help soften them but they are still rough so I’ll need to lightly sand them and re oil them to see if they will be usable after that.” – reviewer on Loulou Lollipop

 

9. 2Woods Montessori – Bell Roller (4+ months)

(source: etsy.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Wooden Montessori bell roller
  • Product Safety: Lightly stained with non-toxic flax oil
  • Materials: Solid wood and a metallic bell
  • Age Range: 4+ months
  • Educational Value: Motor development or control and hand-eye coordination
  • Extra Features: Bell rattle that can also be used as a roller
  • Certification: Not indicated
  • Made In: Czech Republic
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Some complaints about quality
  • Customer Reviews:

Lovely quality toy, baby is enjoying chomping on it as much as chasing it! Thank you.” – reviewer on ETSY

Forwma correct, but not smoothed nor protected by protective finish, so it loses many splinters if the baby puts it in the mouth. Not suitable for young children, too bad that the age range of use should be that!” – reviewer on ETSY

 

10. Heirloom Kids US Montessori Level 2 Collection (4-8 months)

(source: heirloomkids.us)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Set of five Montessori baby toys
  • Product Safety: Food-safe dye, water-based sealant to prevent color leakage, and beeswax and flaxseed oil
  • Materials: Wood
  • Age Range: 4-8 months
  • Educational Value: Problem-solving, grasping, and fine motor skills
  • Extra Features: Includes ring and cube rattles, interlocking shape puzzle, and ball and bell cylinders
  • Certification: CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
  • Made In: USA
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Can be pricey
  • Customer Reviews: None yet

 

11. Adena Montessori Full Size Object Permanence Box (6+ months)

(source: adenamontessori.com)

 

  • Pros & Best Features: Object permanence box with tray and colorful balls
  • Product Safety: Non-toxic and water-based paint
  • Materials: Solid hardwood (according to Amazon)
  • Age Range: 1+ years old
  • Educational Value: Hand-eye coordination, science concepts (object permanence), and logical thinking
  • Extra Features: Large balls to reduce choking risks
  • Certification: Not indicated
  • Made In: China
  • Product Recall: None
  • Cons: Some complaints about quality
  • Customer Reviews:

My kid loves this toy. Such a great learning opportunity with it and keeps my baby occupied for long periods!” – reviewer on Amazon

My 6 month old barely used this, we played for about 10 minutes and I noticed flecks of paint on the horizontal wooden surface.” – reviewer on Amazon

 

 

Other Montessori Toys

 

 

 

References

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5991261/

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6161506/

 

 

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