Wondering which Montessori-friendly gifts are best for the little ones in your life? We rounded up the best toys and games for you to choose from this holiday season.
The holidays are upon us and that means it’s time to take a break from school and spend time with our families. Winter holiday traditions vary from family to family but they all center around being together, eating good food, and sharing gifts. Children will appreciate a few carefully chosen gifts for them more than a lot of generic gifts.
Montessori gifts are not the same as Montessori classroom materials. What is used at school should stay at school so these things maintain their novelty and so that guides can supervise carefully to ensure that each material is used only for its intended purpose. Toys and games for a Montessori home may be more open-ended. They should relate directly to your child’s demonstrated interests and curiosities as well as being developmentally appropriate. Electronic toys are not in line with Montessori philosophy because they direct the child instead of it being the other way around. When shopping for gifts consider whether the toy or tool will empower your child and increase his independence rather than simply keeping him busy.
Reach out to Montessori guides for more information about what your child is working on and what developmental phase she may be moving into soon. Guides will have knowledge about your child that can help you choose gifts she loves and plays with often.
Here are our favorite gift ideas for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers:
Best Montessori Gift Ideas for Babies (0-12 months)
Babies’ interests are very much in line with their developmental leaps. If you know what your child is working on, a toy that taps into that skill is perfect.
- For babies beginning to grasp objects: An O-Ball Rattle will allow for lots of practice with this skill and most babies are fascinated visually with these toys as well.
- For babies who have begun babbling: Babies love to hold, chew, and babble at Sophie the Giraffe. This toy is the ideal material and has a little face, which babies gravitate towards around 3-5 months of age.
- For babies who are trying to crawl: You will want a toy that rolls slowly out of reach, encouraging crawling, like the Ball Cylinder Rolling Drum.
Best Montessori Gift Ideas for Toddlers (1-2 years)
Toddlers are beginning to have more personalized interests. They are usually working on walking and other gross motor skills while also remaining fascinated with small objects and how things work. This is an age for increased independence and curiosity, so look for gifts that will fill these needs.
- Best musical gift: The Hape Piano is small enough for little fingers to explore. We love it because it is not electronic but rather it functions like a real piano, using percussion.
- For beginning walkers: A baby stroller is a great toy to push along while practicing walking. Some toddlers just love having a baby doll in there too—especially if there’s a new baby in the family.
- For kids who love keys: The Melissa and Doug Doorbell House has 4 realistic looking keys that each open a different door, allowing for control of error.
- For toddlers who can’t get enough buckles: Buckle Penguin or the other buckle stuffed animals make the perfect lovey-meets-Montessori-work toy!
Best Montessori Gift Ideas for Preschoolers (3-5 years)
Preschoolers have more refined fine motor skills and they begin to think more creatively. They often focus in on a few specific interests and they want to learn new things.
- For little builders: Picasso tiles are great if you already have Legos and your preschooler is ready for something different to build with.
- For the budding paleontologist: The Melissa and Doug Dinosaurs Floor Puzzle has 48 large pieces making it easy for small hands to fit together and it features a variety of realistic-looking dinosaurs that can be named and matched with dino figurines after the puzzle is put together.
- For kids who love to help in the kitchen: Kid-sized baking supplies and a first cookbook make the perfect gift. This will provide inspiration for lots of baking projects through the rest of winter.
For the animal lover: Polar Animal Figurines teach about animals and their habitats. Ask your child why he thinks most of them are white.