Montessori bookshelf with wooden montessori toys on the shelves

How a Montessori Bookshelf Can Help Your 1 Year Old Develop Independence and Creativity

Let me tell you about the coolest morning routine in my house! My daughter wakes up and just bolts to our little reading nook, where we keep the most magical Montessori bookshelf.

It’s filled with all of her favorite storybooks, learning toys, puzzles – you name it! She loves examining each shelf, running her fingers over the smooth wood. You can just see the gears turning in her head as she decides what fun adventure to start the morning with!

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Then this mama gets the privilege of watching my little bean completely engrossed in her books and activities, exploring and learning at her own pace. It just melts my mama heart!

We designed our playroom using Montessori methods, so everything is focused on nurturing our kids’ independence and curiosity. And y’all, the Montessori bookshelf has been the all-star of our learning space.

Having everything easily accessible and organized just lights up their passion for storytime and play. She directs her own learning, and it’s beautiful to witness. This mama may have gotten a lil teary-eyed seeing her toddler bloom before my eyes!

Long story short, I’m so grateful we incorporated Montessori into our home. Watching them thrive has hands down been my greatest joy. Now excuse me while I go squeeze my kiddo!

What Is A Montessori Bookshelf?

It’s basically a low, accessible shelf filled with fun activities and books for my kiddos to explore. I try to curate it with engaging toys and materials that match where my little ones are developmentally—stuff for sensory play, math concepts, language, and practical life skills, all organized neatly into categories.

Child playing with Montessori inspired toys in front of a Montessori bookshelf

The Importance of a Montessori Bookshelf for Toddlers

These bookshelves are so important because they really encapsulate the Montessori philosophy of fostering independence and self-direction from an early age.

By having all these neat activities and books readily accessible, my kiddos are empowered to explore what interests them at that moment. They’re making choices, developing focus, and putting those growing minds to work. I love watching their little faces light up when they select a new activity to work on!

It also teaches them to take care of the materials and put them back properly so everyone can enjoy the items on the Montessori toy shelf. The bookshelves make learning hands-on, interactive, and driven by their own curiosity rather than just instructions from me. I can really see their concentration and pride growing as they work through activities at their own pace. It makes learning joyful!

And they’re gaining important skills, like problem-solving, coordination, and language – all while following their passions. So the Montessori bookshelf is foundational. It really brings Montessori philosophy to life in our home!

1 year old playing with montessori toys in a basket

Setting Up Your Montessori Toy Shelf

A Montessori bookshelf for toddlers should be easy for them to access and organized in a way that gets them excited to learn! I pick a sturdy, low shelf and put it against the wall, more on these below – safety first with my busy kiddos! Then I filled up cute baskets and bins with different activities and labeled each one with pictures and words. Things like puzzles for motor skills, sensory bins, practical life skill toys, and books for their specific reading levels – all things I know my kids love and are on target with where they are developmentally.

I try to rotate new activities every week or two to keep them engaged and build on what intrigues them most. Reading their interests helps me know what kinds of new materials to add! Organization is key – I keep like types of materials together and try to avoid clutter!

I keep their other toys and books in bins in a different room so they are able to focus on what’s on their Montessori toy shelf. This also helps to keep the room from looking like the Tasmanian Devil came whirling through!

Montessori Nursery Shelves You’ll Love

The Montessori Playshelf – Lovevery

As a mom always looking for ways to spark my kiddos’ development, I’m so excited about this 2-in-1 storage shelf and how it brings Montessori-style learning into our playroom.

The simple but modern birchwood design looks great in our home. My littles love picking their own activities from the open bins and trays. It helps them learn to care for their toys and embrace order.

With storage for up to 6 playkits (hidden in the back), I can keep our playspace calm and clutter-free by rotating new toys in and storing others out of sight. As a mama, I highly recommend The Playshelf for any family wanting to create a Montessori-inspired space for their kiddos to explore and learn. It’s brought such joy and focus into our playtime and development!

What I don’t love as much is the price tag! While it’s the most expensive on the list, Lovevery makes high-quality items.

Woodandhearts Kids Bookshelf

This stylish natural wood bookcase has 5 shelves perfect for organizing all your kid’s books and treasures. It’s sized just right for little hands with the side handles.

Based on Montessori principles, it helps teach independence and tidiness. My daughter loves choosing her own books and returning them when finished. It’s building her confidence!

The modern design looks great in any room. It’s handcrafted from birch plywood so you know it’s sturdy and safe for ages 1-6 with smooth sanded edges.

Woodjoy Children’s Bookcase Montessori Mini Toy Shelf

This wooden storage cabinet is perfectly sized for little hands, with low shelving that makes it easy for kids to access their own toys and books.

The materials are top-notch – sturdy wood construction with rounded corners to keep tiny explorers safe. It cleans up nicely too, which is a lifesaver with sticky fingers!

KidKraft Wooden Bookcase with Reading Nook

It’s easy to see why the KidKraft bookcase with a reading nook has become so popular among parents looking to create an engaging reading space for their children. This cleverly designed piece of furniture pulls double duty – providing both storage and a cozy reading spot kids will love.

The roomy shelves are perfectly proportioned to accommodate all those big, beautiful picture books as well as smaller treasures like figurines and stuffed animals. Built with durable wood materials, you can trust this bookcase will hold up well even with energetic young readers pulling books on and off the shelves. Sturdy construction gives parents peace of mind.

The cushioned reading nook tucked into the side beckons children to curl up with a good book. Kids adore having their own special little hideaway carved out just for reading. The nook is sized just right for small bodies to relax as they become engrossed in stories.

It comes in at a great price point too!

My only criticism is the cubbies are all one size which could be limiting if you already have bins

FUNLIO Montessori Bookshelf for Toddlers 1-5 Years

The FUNLIO Montessori bookshelf is designed for displaying and storing babies’ favorite storybooks. It has taller dividers and wider spaces between them to securely hold books. The dividers are deeply embedded into the sides for stability. Babies can easily access books to explore reading independently.

Made from high-quality, non-toxic pine wood, this toddler-safe bookshelf is natural and durable. The water-based finish is easy to clean and long-lasting. Rounded corners ensure safety.

This front-facing shelf takes up minimal floor space but provides storage in the back for toys. Simple instructions make assembly a breeze. It can be a great gift to develop babies’ reading skills and independence.

FUNLIO offers a 90-day return policy and 1-year warranty.

Guidecraft EdQ Two Shelf Open Storage 24” Natural with 3 Fabric Bins

While not explicitly a “Montessori” shelf it sure checks the boxes!

The natural birch finish and rounded edges help to ensure this piece lasts. The 3 natural fabric bins being included is a huge plus also.

I also really like how the shelf comes down to the floor which will prevent little arms and toys from getting stuck under the Montessori toy shelf.

Montessori Toy Storage With Hidden Shelf

This 41-inch wide toy shelf is handcrafted in the USA from high-quality 1/2″ and 1/4″ Baltic birch plywood. It features a sturdy, solid design perfect for displaying toys or books.

The unfinished birch wood allows you to stain, paint, or seal the shelf to fit your décor. It assembles easily with included hardware and instructions. Just a Phillips screwdriver and rubber mallet are needed.

This Montessori-style shelf is 18 inches deep and 23.5 inches tall. It has a hidden storage compartment for keeping other items out of sight. Made to order, it usually ships within 5 business days.

Unlike competitors, this toy shelf is proudly American-made for durability. It provides beautiful yet functional storage space for toys to help create an engaging Montessori-inspired space for kids to learn and explore independently.

It’s the same price point as it’s main competition (first one in this post) but it’s made to order by a small business owner in the USA!

Toy Storage + Kid Clothing Rack

Are you looking for a stylish storage solution that will also help nurture your child’s independence? Well, do I have the shelves for you!

These wooden Montessori-style shelves are just what you need to organize your little one’s space in a fun and functional way. You can mix and match to get the combination of shelves and clothing storage that works for your little one.

Not only are they super convenient for storing kiddo stuff neatly in one place, but they also look great! The natural wood design adds warmth and style to my daughter’s nursery.

Personalizes Small Toy Storage + Large Montessori Bookshelf

You’ll get a matching toy storage and large bookshelf with the option to have the bookshelf personalized! This company sells the pieces individually also.

I think the overall design is attractive and love the personalization.

However, the gap between the bottom of the shelf and the floor isn’t my favorite! But they are cute and have great reviews on Etsy so if you like them, go for it!

Wall Mounted 4 Shelves Space Saver Kids Bookshelf

A lot of the wall mounted bookshelves out there are pretty flimsy and narrow(Ikea). But I really love how these are deep enough to store multiple books and tall enough where, well, I can store lots of books!

I’ll swap out the upper and lower shelves to keep things interesting.

I’m a big fan of the Etsy shops for these types of items! I love supporting small businesses that make quality products that are safe for my kids!

DIY Montessori Bookshelf

Looking for a fun weekend project that’ll get your kids excited about reading and staying organized? Making your own Montessori-style bookshelf is the perfect DIY for the job.

If you’re crafty, or know someone who is, you can build the perfect bookshelf to fit in your space.

I haven’t built these but I found a few plans online that seem reasonable. They have PDFs which is very helpful!

DIY Montessori Bookshelf

How To Make a Montessori-Style Bookcase

DIY Montessori Style Toy Shelf

How to Choose A Montessori Bookshelf For Toddlers

Choosing the right Montessori-style bookshelf for your home can take a bit of thought, but it’s fun to find one perfect for your family’s space and needs! Here’s what I considered when selecting ours:

Low shelves are best so my kids can comfortably access everything independently. I made sure to measure the height against my sons reach. Shelves with adjustable height levels are great since I can modify them as he grows.

Next, I looked at organizing features like baskets, bins, and trays to neatly separate learning materials. Labels with words and colorful pictures help my kids identify and return items to their proper spots. Some shelves come with these built-in, but I also found cute options to DIY!

Of course, finding the right size to fit in his room was important. I wanted lots of visible storage to spark curiosity, but not overwhelm with too many choices. Shelves around 32″-40″ wide with 3-4 tiers have worked well. We went with a natural wood finish that’s both neutral and Montessori-chic.

It was also essential to choose furniture that’s stable and won’t be tipped over by excitable kiddos! Securing it safely to the wall gave me peace of mind. Now our Montessori toy shelf is our favorite gateway to learning through play!

Nursery Shelf Wrap-Up

Setting up a Montessori-inspired bookshelf at home has been such a rewarding experience for my family. I love that it provides an inviting space where my children can direct their own learning through self-chosen activities and discovery. Watching their independence blossom as they explore all the neat materials on their own terms has been so heartwarming.

Of course, curating the perfect bookshelf takes some thought and planning. Choosing child-accessible furniture, neatly organizing engaging materials, and rotating new activities to match their developing interests are keys to success. But it’s been a fun family project, and the payoff has been huge. My little ones are focused, motivated learners who beam with pride in their accomplishments.

To all the mamas considering a Montessori bookshelf – I say go for it! Guiding your children’s natural curiosity and love of learning in a prepared environment is such a gift. Just take it step-by-step to find what works for your space and family. I have no doubt it will quickly become their favorite place to discover, play and grow. Hang in there during the messy phases – it’s all part of the learning process! Most importantly, enjoy this special time fostering your child’s independence. The joy on their faces is everything.