One-year-olds are busy little people who are growing and taking big steps (literally!) in their development each day. From learning to walk and climb, to refining their hand grasp and fine motor skills, to developing hand-eye coordination and acquiring language, these young toddlers undergo an impressive transformation in twelve short months of life, emerging taller, stronger, and increasingly articulate and independent by their second birthday.
There are countless toys on the market today, but many only serve to entertain or even overstimulate little minds. While every toddler can benefit from a home filled with books and rich language, providing a thoughtfully-cultivated shelf of developmentally-appropriate toys is essential in keeping your little one engaged and learning at home.
Montessori toys for 1-year-olds center around your child’s developmental tasks, inspiring and challenging their brains and bodies in just the right way. The best thing is that these toys will grow with your child, sure to be enjoyed for years to come.
Learn more about the best Montessori toys for 1-year-olds and find the perfect materials to enhance your toddler’s environment.
What makes a toy Montessori?
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator whose philosophy centered around child development and the ways children naturally learn. She founded the first Montessori school in the early 1900’s, which she called Casa dei Bambini, or “Children’s House.” Her work focused on early childhood education, as she believed that children’s minds are like sponges before the age of three, soaking in the world around them. She said, “Our work is not to teach, but to help the absorbent mind in its work of development.” By focusing less on teaching and more on preparing an enriching environment for children to explore freely, Maria revolutionized the way we think about learning.
Today, Montessori’s ideals have captivated the attention of modern parents, and while traditional Montessori works that are found in the classroom are especially beautiful additions to any toddler’s playroom, there are other high-quality toys that align well with Montessori’s philosophy.
Montessori toys are:
- Passive. The toy should not make noise, light up, or otherwise do the work for the child. The purpose of the toy should be to get the child active in putting it to good use!
- High-quality. Most Montessori materials are made of wood because Maria felt that it helped children to connect with the natural world, and offered a valuable sensory experience by feeling the weight and texture of the material in their hands.
- Based on the child’s development. The best Montessori toys for your 1-year-old will be those that offer an outlet for them to practice skills they are already working on in their development. Whether it’s taking their first steps, refining their pincer grasp or sorting by color, you’ll often find your child doing these tasks in daily life with objects you find around your house. Then you’ll know it’s the perfect time to introduce just the right toy to keep them engaged in this important milestone in their development.
- Visually appealing. Trade in the toy box for a low shelf where your little one can easily see and reach all of their favorite Montessori toys for 1-year-olds during playtime. Helping your child practice taking one activity off of the shelf at a time and putting it back when they are done instills a sense of order and makes clean-up time much easier for everyone!
Montessori toys for 1-year-olds are valuable because they:
- Promote healthy development
- Follow the child’s natural interests
- Provide the “just right” challenge for their developing brains
- Increase their self-esteem
- Avoid overstimulation
- Encourage focus and concentration
- Instill a sense of order