Interested in the Montessori Method? Here are my favorite Montessori style baby toys for your little’s first year of life!
If you’re not familiar with the Montessori Method, then a quick synopsis is that it is a teaching style that emphasizes practical learning materials and independent exploration.
The teaching style also emphasizes order in a young child’s life, thus the fewer toys generally the better.
However, it is handy to have some toys on hand, especially ones that target specific developmental learning goals.
If you are interested in learning more about the Montessori Method, I will soon be writing a post about all my favorite parenting books and will be sure to include some on that subject as well!
However for now —here is my all encompassing list of all the toys you could ever need for your little one’s first year (or so) of life!
I LOVE the hanging gym because not only does it have an adjustable height (just tie the knots farther apart or closer together), which makes it able to grow with your child, but you can also hang anything on it.
I’ve hung mobiles for visual stimulation the first few weeks of life, then rattles for hitting practice/hand coordination, and even wooden tether rings to grasp and pull on.
By simply changing out what kinds of objects are tied onto your play gym, you can create a fun new activity that will be well suited to your child’s current developmental stage.
These mobiles come in a set of four with each mobile having a set age range to go along with the cognitive development stage your child should be at during that point in their life. For example, the first mobile called the Munari Mobile is for weeks 3-6, and is comprised of black and white shapes. It is designed to grab the attention of your infant during the period in which their eye sight is still developing and thus more attuned to see high contrast colors.
Here is the week layout for the four mobiles:
Munari: 3-6 weeks
Octahedron: 5-8 weeks
Gobbi: 7-10 weeks
Dancers: 8-13 weeks
After about week 13(ish), I switchled over to tying rattles, teethers, and other toys to the hanging play gym as I describe above.
As I mentioned above, I love to hang this rattle on the toy gym at the beginning.
I simply tied it on using some hemp string. This way my baby can learn to bat it with her hands and then eventually learn to grasp it. It is soft and tiny enough for little hands to hold and shake once they are using it sitting up as well.
This is a great toy (not a Montessori toy necessarily), but my little one likes them because they are fun to squish and hear crinkle! I also “read” them to her even though it is just one word per “page”.
I love this mirror because it can be set up both horizontally and vertically. I used to have it horizontally so my daughter could lay down underneath her toy gym and look into the mirror.
However, now that she is older it is vertical and she can use it to get dressed or just play around!
This pack of toys is super awesome because there are two wooden rattles, one with a bead and another with wooden rings.
Also, the interlocking circles is a big Montessori toy for babies because it teaches hand-to-hand transfer!
This toy can be used to encourage crawling as well as grasping for a sensory exploration.
This toy is used starting in the 8-9 month range to help teach object permanence.
The one I own only has one ball included, but I thought I’d link this one that has three different balls for sensory exploration.
Simple puzzles for little hands to start exploring how objects fit into one another.
Some Montessori books say to introduce this toy around 8-9 months of age; however, my experience was that my daughter showed no interest in it until around 13 months.
Rainbow stacking rings are the classic child’s toy.
While also some Montessori books say to introduce this toy around 8-9 months of age, it wasn’t until about 12 months that my daughter started to use this toy successfully by herself and enjoy it!
I like the Melissa and Doug version I linked above because it is larger and easier for toddler hands to grasp.
It is never to early to play with instruments I say! Probably best past 8-9 months though for safety reasons if you aren’t there to supervise.
However, I started giving my daughter some of maracas and such way earlier at maybe around 4 months (or earlier – I can’t quite remember!).
These are great books for mom, dad, and other relatives to start to explore with baby and then continue on with eventually as a toddler for pointing to words they know by themselves.
I now play games with my daughter using these books like, “Where is the…?” and “What does the (insert animal name here) say?”.
These arguably should have been put towards the top of my list, but nonetheless they are here and they are great!
When babies are young and haven’t quite developed their eye sight yet, these cards are great for visual stimulation.
They are two-sided cards (one side solely black & white, the other side adds a single color) that can be propped up against a larger mirror or pillow for visual stimulation during tummy time.
This toy is introduced later on in the first year of life (8-9 months) for developing hand coordination and understanding how certain shapes fit into others.
The one I linked above and bought myself is a three in one deal however that includes not only an egg shape, but a cube and a sphere as well!
This toy is awesome for developing muscle coordination plus the colors help to keep your baby 6-12 months old engaged.