Today I have something fun for you. I am all about living with less, but I still find it fun to do a little bit of thoughtful gift giving in the holiday season. Here is my Montessori gift guide for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Enjoy the giving!
Best non-Montessori toys
Let’s start with some non-Montessori toys that, whilst I wouldn’t include them necessarily in my classroom, they can be super fun for some open-ended play at home.
- Board games – We love Shopping List and Orchard for older toddlers and preschoolers. With Shopping List everyone gets a shopping list with items and if you turn over the correct card, you place it in your shopping trolley. Orchard is a collaborative game where you throw a dice and collect the fruit before the raven comes!
- Flockmen building blocks – I spotted Flockmen first on Insta and then finally got to try them myself. They are addictive and the raw wood is lovely to the touch. So many options for building and patterns – check their Insta for lots of ideas. This would be a fun thoughtful gift that is so reasonably priced. Even the bag they come in make them perfect for travelling or taking to a cafe.
- Lego/duplo – whilst this is not something we would have in a Montessori classroom, I love the open possibilities of Lego and Duplo. My children enjoyed their Lego sets both to complete a kit and mostly to make up their own inventions.
- Wedgits – this sequencing toy has endless possibilities. I’ve seen children from 2 years old work out how the shapes fit together and the older children like to follow a template or make their own creations.
Best Montessori gifts for any age
- Schleich farm animals (+ a farm) – the farm in my classroom gets used a LOT. These sturdy animals from Schleich are beautifully made and include details right down to the hooves on the horse’s feet. I would rather have a few of these high quality farm animals and build a collection slowly.
- Schleich African (and other) animals – great for building vocabulary and to nurture the child’s interest in animals. These are the same great quality as the farm animals.
- Outside – a simple reminder that heading outside is free and so much fun. Collect leaves, throw leaves, or simply jump in the leaves. Or head to the beach, the mountains or the lake.
- Musical instruments – I love to have a variety of instruments to bang and shake. The Melissa & Doug music puzzle, plays the same tune with different instruments. The children in my class love it.
- A child-sized dustpan and brush – for all our practical life needs.
- A child-sized watering can – encourages the child to learn to look after the environment and is great for practising pouring water (and wiping up spills!).
Best Montessori art gifts
- Stabilo 3-in-1 pencils – I’ve been recommending these pencils for years. They are the perfect size for little hands and make a beautiful colour on the paper.
- Cutting set – look for rounded ended real scissors and use with supervision. It’s easiest to start with sturdy card cut into strips.
- Playdough/kinetic sand/clay – some simple tools and some homemade play dough or kinetic sand or clay are fun for children to work their hands. My favourite play dough recipes are HERE.
- Art supply drawers – I found these MOPPE drawers at Ikea and painted them. Something similar at home makes it easy to have various paper and art materials at the ready.
Best Montessori newborn gifts
- Topponcino – this is a soft quilt that is lovely to place a newborn on. It becomes a point of reference for them, is lovely to place baby on when they are being handled by a lot of different people and will become a special gift for a newborn. This one by Ithmos Kids is currently closed. You can find topponcinos here or make your own!
- Grasping toys – as a baby starts to grasp around 3 months, this is a lovely selection of wooden toys. The interlocking disks and Skwish are easy to grasp and the bell in a box makes a lovely sound too.
- Munari mobile – I love the Munari black and white mobile balanced with a glass ball. Great for a newborn to practise their focus. This lovely image and mobile from Bunny & Bella. Thanks Helen!
- Gobbi mobile – as the baby begins to focus on colours, the graded colours of the Gobbi mobile are ideal. Again, credit for this lovely image and mobile goes to Helen from Bunny & Bella.
Best Montessori baby toys
- Pop up toy – this toy by Galt is great for a baby to teeth on, then to start getting the pegs into the holes, then working out how they spring up, and, as they get older, to match the colours.
- Hammering balls – first they can use this toy with their hand to push through the balls. Then to practise eye-hand coordination you can add the hammer.
- Balls – a selection of balls that are easy to pick up make fun objects for rolling, crawling after, and passing from hand to hand. Here you see a nipple ball, a patchwork ball, and a Pikler ball.
- Books – I love simple lift the flap books with this age. “Dear Zoo” by Rod Campbell is a timeless favourited that you will enjoy reading again and again. You can find other book suggestions HERE.
Best Montessori younger toddler gifts
- Coin box – I love the coin box. They love to work out how to drop the coins in the slot and then, once mastered, how to open the box with the key. You can find these in stationery stores.
- Peg board – This peg board is hard to find, but you can find similar ones. These ones stack too for building high towers.
- Threading – this threading activity is great for younger toddlers as it has a piece of wood on the end of the string to make it a little easier. The natural wood pieces are lovely! This one from Manine Montessori.
- Peg puzzle – look for puzzles with large knobs and fewer pieces to start with. Build up to 9 pieces with smaller pegs as their grasp refines.
- Nesting boxes – this toy can be used with just a few boxes to start with and build up to all ten.
- Books – “Hairy Maclary” by Julia Donaldson has a lovely rhyme and realistic pictures of a group of dogs having a little adventure. You can find other book suggestions HERE.
Best Montessori toddler gifts
- Russian doll – timeless fun and hours of pleasure.
- Threading – this is a more difficult threading set with a shoelace for increasing difficulty.
- Layered puzzles – for increasing difficult try a layered puzzle like the animal puzzle by George Luck or…
- …. this building a house puzzle by Chelona
- Peg board with elastics – toddlers love to work out how to stretch the elastics over the pegs. Older toddlers start to make patterns with the board too.
- Books – “Press Here” by Hervé Tullet is a favourite in our toddler class. You press the yellow circle to start, turn the page and there are more! Lots of fun. You can find other book suggestions HERE.
Best Montessori preschooler gifts
- Buddha board – this is a special blank tablet that you use with a brush and water. The designs dry and the board is ready to re-use. It is very relaxing and preschoolers love it.
- Hammering shapes – a corkboard, some shapes and little nails make a perfect gift for a preschooler who is refining their pincer and needing to do some pounding. Also available here with geometric shapes. This set was found at Flying Tiger.
- Prick work set – this sharp prick pen and felt board are great preparation for writing. The child starts to use a pencil grip and can follow along the line to prick out the shape.
- Composition puzzles – for those preschoolers that enjoy puzzles, look for more difficult composition puzzles like these beautiful wooden ones from woodpuzzles.com.au (sadly now closed).
I hope that you find this gift guide useful for all your Montessori inspired gifts this holiday season. I love enjoying all the festivals at this time of year. Let’s put on some cosy socks, grab some hot tea and get festive!
I’ll be back soon with more Montessori inspiration.
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