Last updated on August 24th, 2023 at 08:12 pm
You’ve likely heard the buzz around the Montessori Methodology but what exactly are Montessori toys they and why should you encourage your child to play with them?
We’ll explore these questions and give some suggestions on the best Montessori toys for 1-year-olds we have found with our kids.
What Is Montessori?
It all started with Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, and teacher in the early 1900s. She is acclaimed for developing an education method that builds on the way children naturally learn. It’s now being taught around the world!
At its most basic, The Montessori Method is all about letting kids explore the world around them through self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative play. By learning through play, these real-world sensory experiences nurture healthy brain development and help raise smart kids.
Rather than playing by the “rules” of an iPad or tech-heavy toy, Montessori toys focus on free and creative play where the children use their imaginations. This creative play not only helps to boost their development while they are younger but these methods of learning foster a self-reliant toddler, teenager, and adult!
As they age, these play sessions will start to resemble household chores too. In a fun and engaging way of course!
What Are Montessori Toys?
While there is no official list of Montessori toys, some toys better align with the philosophy than others. These are toys that are designed with your child’s curiosity in mind and reflect their daily experiences.
Some characteristics of Montessori toys:
- NO ELECTRONICS OR FLASHING LIGHTS – You’ll appreciate the quiet!
- Based on real-life places and people- think pictures of life(people, places) replicas of animals, and books about activities. The focus here is on helping the child recognize their everyday world through realistic images rather than cartoon distortions.
- Made from natural materials. These often wooden toys are free of toxic materials and safe to mouth on.
- Promotes STEM Learning
- Encourages Independence
How to Introduce Montessori Toys to Your 1-Year-Old
First impressions matter! Help build excitement around the new toy by demonstrating what it does or how it works in an animated way! If you’re excited, there’s a good chance your child will be excited too!
But remember, this methodology is all about free play! Once you’ve shown the basics, through slow and deliberate movement with minimal words, sit back and let them have a turn. Encourage them to play with the toy in whatever manner suits them; while keeping general safety in mind.
Resist the urge to jump in and show them the “correct” way to play with the toy. If they are struggling or need some encouragement, ask some questions like “I wonder if…” or “What if we tried….”
Once your 1-year-old has had some time with the toy, ask if you may have a turn. It’s never too early to introduce sharing and group play!
I recommend introducing one new toy at a time to help with their concentration. I also rotate through the toys on a regular basis to boost their interest.
Best Montessori Toys For 1-Year-Olds
I’ve put together a list of 10 of our favorite Montessori toys for 1-year-olds to help inspire your next birthday gift or special brain-boosting toy for your little one! Don’t let the simplicity fool you, these wooden toys for 1 year olds are sure to stimulate the imagination!
We absolutely love the Lovevery play kits! You get a selection of the right toys at the right times for your baby’s development. They even include a little booklet with suggestions on how to introduce the toys, how to play with them, and milestones to work towards.
The toys are all high-quality and made with non-toxic materials. We love how simple yet classic they are. These toys are also super durable as they are made out of wood. Most importantly, our son has loved them!
Sensory busy boards are a great way to encourage your little one to work on those all-important real-life motor skills! They will get hands-on practice at some basic skills such zippers, buckles and latches. While this is rated at 3 years, this will still make a great Montessori toy for your 1-year-old! They will be able to play with this for many years.
Your little one will love the fun textures on these six blocks! They also get the added discovery of pushing these blocks through elastic bands and retrieving them again. This should create lots of free and creative play opportunities that aid in childhood development.
While I don’t necessarily remember playing with this stacker toy, it’s in the (grand) kids’ room at my parents’ house. These wooden toys for 1 year olds are a classic for a reason!
1 year olds and up will love the stacking and building options with this smooth wooden block set. It should be easy enough for your 1 year old to stack and as they mature, the multi-dimensional blocks will continue to engage their developing minds.
Here’s another great Montessori toy that will continue to grow with your child! Once your little one is crawling on their own, they can begin to explore their body limits safely under your supervision. Climbing, sliding, and rocking, this high-quality wood set will keep your kid coming back for more!
This set contains 20 blocks of 5 colors and 4 different shapes. Your little one will get to practice their fine motor skills, and hand eye coordination. There is the creative play option to use these as building blocks too.
Similar to the InnyBox above these object permanence boxes are great ways to help your 1 year old begin to learn cause and effect. We can even throw some physics in there too…
These nesting cups can be used all over the house, from stacking in the living room to filling with water in the bathtub to building sand castles outside! These cups help to develop dexterity and fine motor skills, counting, and perception to just name a few.
We have added these to some of our sensory bins and they are a hit!
10. Ball Maze
These brain-boosting mazes are great for toys for a 1-year-olds development as they help to improve cognitive skills and sharpen their memory while increasing their concentration levels.
Conclusion: Montessori Toys for 1-Year-Olds
Montessori-style play is an invaluable way of learning important skills. Not only are these activities fun and enjoyable for children, but also set the foundation for childhood development while offering a more creative and analytical approach to learning.
As parents, it is our responsibility to provide young children with the resources they need to reach their full potential. So why not introduce them to toys that will supplement their exploration of the world around them? With these kinds of toys, you can ensure that your 1-year-old is getting the most out of every moment spent playing and coming away with new knowledge!
Is Montessori good for 1-year-old?
Absolutely! Toddlers as young as 1 are able to enjoy learning through Montessori play. Free play is the cornerstone of this approach though, let your little one’s imagination run.
How to do Montessori for 1-year-old?
Introduce the new toy with some excitement and show them the basics through slow and deliberate movement. Try to use as few words as possible. Then, let them take over and play as they like!
Resist the urge to jump in and show them how it “should” be done. Over time they will build those independent skills.
What are Montessori-style toys made from?
These toys are often made from natural, minimalist materials that engage the senses. Often they are unfinished or unpainted wood, plain cloth, cardboard, or rope/string.
Don’t let the simplicity fool you, these toys are designed to encourage open-ended sensory exploitation and stimulate imagination.