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You may have heard of Montessori schools, but have you heard of Montessori toys? The Montessori Method (developed by Maria Montessori) is a child-centered approach to learning, focused on encouraging children to use hands-on, sensory experiences when playing. Generally, kids will manipulate or engage with Montessori toys to better build their fine motor and visual skills, with little direction or guidance from parents in order to learn on their own.
Because Montessori toys are focused on tactile experiences, most toys are made of natural materials like wood or wool to connect children to nature. They’re typically simple (i.e., without sounds or lights) and realistic, so kids can learn about the world around them without being over-stimulated. Finally, these toys are usually focused on one purpose or task, so children will know when they’ve completed it correctly and why it’s important in today’s world.
Want to get some for your own little one? We’ve done all the hard work for you! Here are some of the most engaging Montessori toys for babies and kids from around the globe, all of whom take pride in sustainability and safety.
If you’re looking for even more toys, check out our guide to plastic-free and wooden toys! Building a play room or activity space? We’ve got you covered with these Montessori play gyms and pikler trianges. Let their imaginations run wild (in the best way!) and help unleash their potential.
Best For | Age-friendly play kits
Features | FSC-certified wood & sustainable materials, eco-friendly packaging, soy- & water-based paint, gives back
Age Ranges | 0–12M, 1, 2, 3, 4+
Price | Play kits start at $80
Lovevery makes play kits to help kids (and parents!) make the most of their toys, as they grow. These play kits are designed to help nurture and support each stage of your child’s brain development. How does it work? Play kits are available to purchase for each age range, up to four years old. As your child’s needs and curiosities shift, new kits get delivered straight to your door every 2-3 months. From explorer sets to thinker sets and more, your child will be immersed in new tools and skills through each interactive kit. Flexible subscriptions and free shipping make Lovevery’s kits the only toys your child will need.
Best For | Open-ended Montessori toys
Features | FSC-certified wood & sustainable practices, ethically made, non-toxic paints
Age Ranges | 0–1, 1–3, 3–6, 6+
Price | Toys starting at $20
Grimm’s is a family-owned company from Germany focused on sustainable and safe Montessori toys. Using FSC-certified wood from across the European continent, these colorful toys are hand-painted using nontoxic glazes and plant oils. We especially like the open-ended nature of these toys, to keep the possibilities as endless as can be. Find Grimm’s toys in stock at The Wooden Wagon.
Best For | Car, wheel, and boat-inspired toys
Features | Responsibly sourced materials & sustainable practices, ethically made, eco-friendly packaging, nontoxic dyes, gives back
Age Ranges | 0–6M, 6–12M, 12–18M, 2+, 3+
Price | Toys starting at $6
Plantoys believes in sustainability for the 3 Ms: materials, manufacturing, and minds. Made with sustainable materials like reclaimed rubber trees and sawdust transformed into eco-friendly wood, these toys are finished with non-toxic dyes and formaldehyde-free glue. You can find engaging and affordable Montessori toys for all of childhood, from water-play sailing boats to mini-golf sets.
4. Essential Montessori
Best For | Wooden toy sets
Features | Sustainable & organic materials, ethically made, nontoxic dyes
Age Range | 0–3M, 3–6M, 6–9M
Price | Toys starting at $6
Essential Montessori handcrafts Montessori toys with the best in sustainable and natural materials. The team responsibly sources US birch wood, which is then sealed by an organic beeswax and olive oil blend. For a pop of color, they use homemade vegetable dyes derived from beets, turmeric, or blueberries. We recommend the highly popular Montessori bundles for specific age ranges, so you’ll be set for a full three months.
5. Mirus Toys
Best For | Math & counting toys
Features | Responsibly sourced materials & sustainable practices, ethically made, nontoxic dyes
Age Range | 3+
Price | Toys starting at $12
Inspired by her own daughter, Suba Jagannathan launched Mirus Toys to combine science, sustainability, and art. Each piece is third-party tested and verified safe; if she wouldn’t give it to her child, she certainly wouldn’t sell it to you! Whether you’re looking for sensory, nature, or alphabet style toys, you can find them here. Our favorites are the math and counting toys for young children which make counting, multiplying, and even fractions fun.
6. Milton & Goose
Best For | Play kitchen & food toys
Features | Responsibly sourced materials & sustainable practices, ethically made, nontoxic finishes
Age Range | 3+
Price | Toys starting at $39
When Milton & Goose founder Shari Raymond couldn’t find a play kitchen for her children that was made locally and thoughtfully, she took matters into her own hands. After 18+ months of design and development, the results speak for themselves. Play kitchens are manufactured by second-generation Amish toymakers in Pennsylvania using responsibly sourced wood and non-toxic finishes. Plus, they’re aesthetically pleasing to both children and adults alike.
7. Odin Parker
Best For | Heirloom Montessori toys that give back
Features | Responsibly sourced materials & sustainable practices, ethically made, give back
Age Range | Baby, toddler, preschool
Price | Toys starting at $20
For handmade heirloom-quality goods that are as whimsical as they are practical, we like Oregon-based Odin Parker. From a surgeon kit to a picnic crate, these Montessori toys will help build kids’ real-life skills while still allowing for play and creativity. Every purchase provides meals to children in need; you can see exactly how many when you buy! These toys will make an impact in the lives of your children and in others’, too.
8. Tiny Land
Best For | Budget-friendly toys
Features | Responsibly chosen materials, toxin-free, gives back
Age Range | 6–9M, 10–12M, 12–24M, 24M+, 2–6 years
Price | Toys starting at $24
Family-owned brand Tiny Land ensures their toys encourage little minds to use their imagination to the best of their abilities. The Montessori toy collections are open-ended allowing creative ideas to flourish and endless possibilities to take place throughout playtime. Made from natural, toxic-free materials, these affordable toys provide countless hours of education and fun. For quiet playtime, we recommend the Boho Mama wooden blocks, while the 5-in-1 Rainbow climbing set is perfect for more active indoor-outdoor fun!
9. Wood & Hearts
Best For | Furniture & climbing sets
Features | Responsibly chosen materials, CE & CPC certified, natural water-based lacquer & paints
Age Range | 0–1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
Price | Toys starting at $53
Denys Shkribliak started Montessori furniture brand Wood & Hearts after coming to terms with the toxic effects of plastic toys for children. To this day, Denys works hard to design allergen-free wooden Montessori furniture for children that’s completely safe, even if placed in the mouth. With dozens of climbing toys and sets available, Wood & Hearts makes it easy to design your child’s dream playroom, Montessori-style and completely safe! Sets are also available in a wide range of colors, with shipping and delivery to over 60 countries.
Featured image from Lovevery