Guidepost Montessori Holiday Gift Guide
With the holiday season in full swing, we wanted to share some of our favorite Montessori-inspired toys and non-toy alternatives.
The Guidepost Team
What makes a gift “Montessori?”
There are specific qualities that make certain toys more aligned with Montessori, which we call “Montessori-inspired,” or “Montessori-aligned.” In this gift guide, we’ll explain what these considerations are, why they’re valuable for all families to consider, and what our top picks are.
Montessori-aligned toys are:
- Simple: Ever notice how you can smell a flower with greater input when you close your eyes? Isolating our senses is what stimulates our senses. When multiple things are going on at the same time, we become overstimulated. The same is true for children. Avoid toys that have too many bells and whistles.
- Passive: Passive toys require the child to do something, whereas active toys ask the child to merely watch. The more passive a toy is, the more your child will play.
- Practical: The Montessori Method prefers toys and books that reflect the real world, especially for children under six who are naturally drawn to real, practical activities.
- Self-Correcting and Open-Ended: There is a role for both in a Montessori home! Self-correcting is a key feature found in Montessori activities at school. Like a puzzle, where pieces will only fit a certain way, it is a quality that activates independent focus and problem-solving. Open-ended toys, like unit blocks, foster creativity and are versatile in use. Children will evolve the way they engage with open-ended toys as they get older, which also makes them ideal for homes with siblings of different ages.
- Natural: Toys made of natural materials like wood, metal, glass, are preferred over plastic when possible, as these materials better reflect the real world and offer greater sensory feedback.
The point of these considerations is to minimize overwhelm by offering things that spark purposeful engagement. Below, we’ve rounded up a variety of options by age — focused on the early years, when building a toy collection can be most stressful!
Toys for Babies
0-4 Months: Visual mobiles are a perfect gift for newborns, whose vision will rapidly develop in the first few months of life. While these may only be used a few minutes at a time, they are purposeful. Visual mobiles support baby’s changing vision, ability to concentrate, and are also a fun way to introduce floor time. The Montessori visual mobiles include:
- The Munari Mobile
- The Octahedron Mobile
- The Gobbi Mobile
- The Dancer’s Mobile
Available as a set on Etsy.
4 Months +
Around four months old, babies begin reaching to bat and hold objects. Montessori tactile mobiles, rattles, and other grasping toys help satisfy this new skill.
- The Bell on a Ribbon
- Wooden Ring on a Ribbon
Rattles and more:
6 Months +
Bigger movements will become of great interest after six months old, as well as more precise hand movements after eight to nine months old.
- Spinning Drum - Etsy
- Rolling Drum – Amazon
- Climbing Triangle – Etsy
- Object Permanence Box – Amazon
- Imbucare Box with Changing Lids – Amazon
- Cube on Vertical Dowel - Amazon
- Palmar and Pincer Blocks – Etsy
- Foam Climbing Blocks - Amazon
- Nesting/Stacking Bowls - The Wooden Wagon
- First Ring Stacker – Etsy
- Little Balance Box Walker - Amazon
- Mini Playsilks - Amazon
Non-Toy Alternatives for Babies
- Floor Mirror - Amazon
- Floor mat - Monomat
- Tooth brush - Grabease
- Open cups for drinking - Amazon. Glass option available on Montessori Services
- Small bowls - Montessori Services
- Soft-sole shoes - Robeez
- Low shelf - IKEA Kallax or Sprout Kids.
- First table and chair set - Sprout Kids or Etsy
- Framed Artwork – Lovevery
- Board Books - For Small Hands
Toys for Toddlers
- First Shapes Puzzles - Amazon
- First Shape Sorter - Brio
- Sensory Tools - Amazon
- Ball Pounder - Amazon
- Drum - Amazon
- First Set of Blocks - Lovevery
- Ball Tracker - Amazon
- Pull Toy - Amazon
- Stepping Stones - Amazon
- Hape Peg Puzzle – Amazon
- Rocking Ring Stacker - For Small Hands
- Sensory Match Game - Etsy
- Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions - Amazon
- First Balance Bike - Amazon
- Ring Slider - Etsy
- Realistic Vehicles - Target
Non-Toy Alternatives for Toddlers
- Bissell Featherweight Vacuum - child-sized with the top stick removed, Amazon
- Gardening set - Amazon
- House cleaning set - Lakeshore Learning
- Float and Sink Activity Set - Montessori Services
- Window Washing Activity Set - Montessori Services
- Open and Close Activity Set – Montessori Services
- Real Flatware - For Small Hands
- Accessible Wardrobe - Sprout Kids Furniture
- Montessori Place Mat - Etsy
- Scaled-down spray bottle - Montessori Services
- Wavy Chopper - Amazon
- Dressing Frames - Etsy
- Kitchen Helper - Target
Toys for Preschoolers & Kindergarteners
- Jigsaw Puzzles - shop by age at Ravensburger.
- Memory and Matching Game - For Small Hands.
- Counting and Tracing Boards - Etsy.
- Balance Board - Etsy.
- Peg Board - Amazon.
- Realistic Schleich Animals - Happy Hen Toys.
- Snap Circuits Jr. Electronics Game - Amazon
- Magnatiles - Amazon.
- Clear Treasure Blocks - Kaplan Learning
- Art Easel - IKEA
- Marble Run - Amazon
- Living vs. Non-Living Book - Amazon
- Montessori Planet Work Book - Amazon
- Montessori Map Work Book – Amazon
- Sandpaper Letters - Etsy
- Labyrinth - Amazon
- Puzzle Maps - Pink Montessori
- Hape FlexiStix - Amazon
- Learning Resources Volcano - Amazon
- Geometric Solids - Amazon
Non-Toy Alternatives for Ages 3-6
- Buddha Board - Amazon
- Beginner Knives - Amazon
- Cooking Apron - Etsy
- Camera - Amazon
- CD Player - Amazon
- Walkie Talkies - Amazon
- Child-sized Mixing Bowls - Amazon
- Nail Brush - Amazon
- Glass Pitcher - Amazon
- Kids Couch - Nugget
- Linear Calendar - Etsy
- Thumb Piano - Amazon
- Curious Chef Measure & Prep Set - Amazon
- Forward Facing Book Shelf - Amazon
- Magnifying Glass - Amazon
- First Luggage - Amazon
- Camping Tent - Amazon
- S'mores Kit - Etsy
- Personalized Mugs - Etsy
Montessori-Aligned Subscription Boxes
If you'd rather take the guess work out of looking for age-appropriate toys, we've rounded up four different Montessori subscription boxes below:
- Guidepost Homeschool - If you're looking for full access to the Montessori Method at home, this monthly subscription delivers our carefully-sequenced curriculum for early childhood and elementary in a way that's approachable for families to implement. Home materials kits are also available. Details here.
- Monti Kids - With age-appropriate development top of mind, these Montessori-at-home kits are delivered every three months. See more on the Monti Kids website.
- Lovevery - They offers Montessori-inspired toys at $36/month, in addition to other home and play items. Learn more on the Lovevery site.
- Nido Box - as the company name would suggest, Nido Box focuses on intentional items for newborns and infants. Subscription boxes are available in two-month stages and start at $80/month. Learn more on the Nido Box website.
- Hoppi Box - Subscriptions from Hoppi Box include four to five toys selected for your child's stage of development. Prices start at $22/month. Learn more on the Hoppi Box website.
- KiwiCo - KiwiCo offers monthly science and art projects that activate your child’s desire for hands-on work. Learn more here.
- Raddish Kids - This company designed a monthly cooking club for kids as young as 4 years old, making practical life in the kitchen that much easier! Learn more here.
- National Geographic Kids - If your child loves getting mail, sign them up for this kids magazine subscription! Details here.
Are you a Guidepost family or proud Montessori parent? You might also enjoy shopping our new online store where we offer clothing and accessories for infants, toddlers, children, teens, and parents. Grab a Montessori Mama or Dad shirt and dress your little one in our best-selling, "I am capable" shirt.
Holiday gifting season can be stressful at times, so we hope these options outlined above help make your life easier!
The Guidepost Team
The Guidepost Team is a group of writers and educators dedicated to helping demystify all things Montessori.
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