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ToddlerThe Best Montessori Toys for 1-Year-Olds

The Best Montessori Toys for 1-Year-Olds

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Here are the best Montessori toys for 1-year-olds:

Plan Toys Punch & Drop

Plan Toys


This toy teaches the child cause-and-effect as the ball pops through the hole and into the box. A younger 1-year-old will use the palm of their hand to push the balls through the holes, while an older toddler will begin practicing with the hammer, refining their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and building plenty of confidence!

PIccalio Pikler Triangle



The Pikler Triangle has become a staple in the toddler Montessori environment, however it was actually invented by Emmi Pikler, a pediatrician who developed a new way of thinking about caring for babies and toddlers based on respect, attachment theory and principles of child development. The Pikler Triangle was developed as a safe outlet for babies and toddlers to practice their developing gross motor skills. Though a Pikler Triangle may be a big investment for your child’s playroom, the best thing about Montessori toys for 1-year-olds is that they grow along with your child, lasting for years to come.

Galt Pop Up Toy



Removing and replacing the pegs into the holes provides the perfect practice for refining your toddler’s grasp and building their hand-eye coordination. What’s even better is how this activity grows with your child as they move into color matching and even imaginary play, using the smiling pegs as people in their creative storytelling.

Adena Montessori Discs on Horizontal Dowel

Adena Montessori


This classic Montessori work is perfect for practicing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, the precursor to stringing beads in just a few short years as they grow into more advanced Montessori work. Threading across the body’s midline also prepares the child for writing, dressing themselves and other important life skills later on.

Elite Montessori Coin Box with Thicker Coins

Elite Montessori


Another classic Montessori shelf activity for toddlers, this work adds object permanence to the fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills children are working on at this stage in their development. Object permanence develops as your child begins to understand that objects still exist, even when they don’t see them. When the coins drop into the box, it can be surprising to open the drawer and see the coins reappear! Take note, this toy requires adult supervision due to the small size of the coins.

Adena Montessori Sorting Stacking Toy

Adena Montessori


This traditional Montessori material helps the child learn to identify and sort primary colors. The bright colors will entice any 1-year-old to choose this activity from the shelf!

Toddler Educational & Musical Percussion for Kids & Children Instruments Set



1-year-olds love making all kinds of sounds, and this set of percussion instruments provides the perfect opportunity for them to bang, shake and jingle! At this age, toddlers can begin to change their movements to reflect the tempo or mood of music, so feel free to play along to your favorite songs.

Leader Joy Multiple Shape Puzzle

Leader Joy USA


This is the ideal first puzzle for young toddlers. Here they are gaining experience with primary colors, basic shapes, and ordering by size. Not to mention the large knobs are just right for little hands with developing fine motor skills.

Grimm's Large Set of Boxes



Stacking and nesting these beautiful wooden boxes provide hands-on experience with beginning mathematical concepts, instilling a sense of order as they discover how the boxes nest and stack. Younger toddlers might appreciate only two or three boxes set out at a time, to simplify the activity. As your toddler gets older you’ll often find them filling these little boxes with objects or using them in countless ways in imaginary play.

Hape Scoot Around Wooden Bike



1-year-olds love practicing big gross motor movements as they gain more sophisticated coordination. Pushing themselves forward (or backward!) using their feet on a small bike is a great way for them to develop muscle strength and balance.

plan toys walk and roll



As your 1-year-old learns to walk, this toy will entice them to keep practicing. The jingling noise this “walk n’ roll” toy makes as your child pushes it forward is satisfying, giving them confidence as they make things happen! The natural wood and soft colors make it a lovely addition to your child’s space.

ryder flyer wagon, one of the best ways to support 11-month-old motor development

Radio Flyer


This classic Radio Flyer wagon is just what new walkers need. With a sturdy handle for little ones to pull to standing and wheels with adjustable resistance to offer more support, your toddler will enjoy pushing their wagon around as they take their first unsteady steps. This toy is sure to get plenty of use as a vehicle for transporting all kinds of things around as your child grows and their imagination blossoms.

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