25 Best Montessori Toys for 1 Year Olds
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Your one year old child is at an age where curiosity and mobility kick into high gear. The best Montessori toys will support their developing fine motor skills, emerging language, growing mobility and independence over the next year.
Keep reading to see our picks for the best Montessori toys for 1 year old's.
What Are Montessori Toys?
The playroom is the perfect place to introduce your child to the Montessori method. But when buying your 1 year old toys, how do you know what qualifies as a Montessori toy? Here’s what to look for:
- Natural materials - Toys made of wood, wool, cotton, metal, ceramic and even rock are Montessori staples, since they connect children to nature and are generally safer for the mouth.
- Simple and free of distractions - This means no batteries required. Think toys that will encourage your little one to engage in open-ended, imaginative play.
- Focuses on a single skill - Toys that focus on a single skill or concept build the foundation for more advanced learning later on.
- Realistic and purpose-driven - Maria Montessori favored toys and books that were rooted in reality, not pretend. This means if you’re choosing between a figurine that’s a cartoon-like image of a cow, versus a realistic one, it’s always best to go with the one more real world.
- No bells and whistles - Montessori toys are designed to encourage kids to explore and discover independently.
1. Teething Toy
Wooden teethers are great for little sore gums. Some teether are made from all-natural beech wood or food-grade silicone. These toys are easy for your 1 year old to grab, and they can be washed with running water and mild soap when it needs a cleaning.
2. Play Gym and Mat
3. Coin Bank
Getting coins where they belong is a fine motor problem solving activity. Your 1 year old can work hard to pick up each coin, turn it to the right position, and drop it into the slot. Fitting objects like coins into slots and dropping or pushing them through is called posting.
Puzzles are a classic Montessori activity and a great tool for developing spatial skills and practicing resilience. A circle is the easiest shape for your child to match because it has no corners, so it can fit in any way. Starting out with a simple flat circle helps your toddler build awareness of how shapes fit together.
5. Push Toy
Now that your child is one, push toys can build motor skills as well as spark imagination. Toys like a handmade wooden lawnmower, vacuum, or paint roller, is the perfect combination of color, movement, and sound.
6. Vertical Stackers
Vertical stackers can be mastered by most one year old's. Vertical stacker toys come in all different shapes and sizes, and allow you to rotate multiple different stackers in your toy rotation. Most of these stacker toys are made from heavy wood and come in all sizes.
Real-life figurines are perfect for language development in 1 year old's. These sets can be made up of safari animals, arctic animals, pets, and things that fly in the air. The possibilities are endless with these figurines and they make for a great learning toy and can be used also in matching the figurines to identical sets or printed cards. These figurines are great for language development.
8. Musical Instruments
Musical instruments are toys that should be a staple in all Montessori playrooms. Besides building fine and gross motor skills by picking up and shaking the musical instruments, studies have shown that musical instruments create more pathways in the brain and speed up brain development.
9. Hammer Toys
Montessori toys are developed with a single concept in mind like hammering a ball through a hole. (And of course the fun of watching it roll out again.) But there’s a lot more going on here, from helping your little one build fine motor skills to teaching them about cause and effect. We also love the simple, classic design and the natural wood materials.
10. Montessori Wooden Blocks
A good set of wooden blocks is not only Montessori-friendly but is a toy that can grow with your child. Blocks encourage your 1 year old to build, imagine, develop motor skills and even experiment with math and physics concepts. Most of these sets are made from natural wood and finished with non-toxic paint.
Also Read: The 25 Best Montessori Toys for 2 Year Olds
11. Sensory Toys
Most one year old's love exploring their senses, and sensory play is encouraged within the Montessori method of learning. Each of these toys have a nubby surface that your baby will love to touch, taste and explore.
These toys are also great for developing motor skills. Your child can bounce, roll and toss them around safely without worrying about getting hurt.
12. Shape Sorting Cube
Shape sorters are a classic Montessori childhood staple that can benefit your 1 year old in so many ways and for good amount of time. They are usually crafted from durable pine that will hold up to hours and hours of play.
13. Chunky Water Blocks
These chunky blocks combine the simplicity of first blocks with the sensory benefits of water play. One year old's can stack and shake them, while older toddlers can balance them or hold them together to learn about color mixing.
14. Grabbing Toy
This classic rattle and teether is a perfect first Montessori toy for your 1 year old. Thanks to its light weight and unique shape, it’s easy for even the tiniest hands to grab onto and explore. The gentle rattle noise and the squishy structure make for the perfect first sensory learning experience.
15. Rainbow Stacker
This beautiful stacking toy is a staple in many Montessori classrooms. The possibilities for open-ended play are endless. Your one year old can practice nesting, stacking and balancing, and even use the pieces creatively in imaginative pretend play.
16. Board Books
The Montessori method recommends choosing children’s books that are based in reality, include interesting details and are appropriate for a child’s age and learning level. Bright, realistic images will help with expanding their vocabulary with lots of new words.
17. Wooden Nesting Stacking & Bowls
This toy is great for watching your child focus on stacking towers and then knocking them down, only to rebuild again. These nesting and stacking bowls are usually handcrafted and finished in nontoxic, water-based dyes.
18. Wooden Puzzle Shape Sorter
Your one year old can learn about shapes and colors with circles, triangles, and squares with a puzzle shape sorter. Toddlers can play with the four different shapes in four different colors, then stack them on the corresponding pegs.
19. Crawl and Climb Foam Play Set
Your toddler can let out their energy safely with a Crawl and Climb Foam Play Set inside the house. These sets are usually made up of foam blocks in unique shapes for kids to crawl on, jump over, build up, and roll off.
20. Bath Pipes Toy
Montessori play can even be fun while in the tub for your toddler. Bath Pipes Toys encourages creative thinking, as kids can stick each pipe on the wall with suction cups and pour water through.
21. Maze Toy
This toy is perfect for your toddlers hands-on, imaginative play. Research shows play promotes self-confidence, social and cognitive skills, resilience, and more. Using a maze toy is crucial building blocks for success and personal fulfilment in adulthood.
22. Pop Up Toy
A pop up toy is an amusing wooden toy with 4 colorful figures which bob up and down on concealed springs. Designed to encourage hand and eye coordination and introduce color awareness.
23. Peg Box
Your one year old can enjoy hours of play by rotating the pegs to fit into the base. Your child learns to discriminate size and shape while building wrist strength.
By watching each ball roll down the ramp builds visual tracking skills vital to reading in preschool. This will get your one year old headed in the right direction.
25. Push Balls Set
Building on object permanence awareness, this toy strengthens your one year old's hands, and demonstrates cause and effect.
There’s one other thing to remember when choosing Montessori toys for your 1 year old and that is less is more. Instead of filling your child's toy box with lots of toys, choose only a few.