The holiday season is upon us! Families are on the hunt for toys that not only bring joy, but also support their preschoolers’ development without overstimulation. Montessori- and Reggio-based toys are known for their ability to promote various aspects of a child’s growth. Let us give you some insight into the best investment toys based on your child’s age:
0-18 months old
Topponcino – A Montessori support pillow for holding babies. This Montessori staple has a unique design that makes it easy for you to provide neck support at all times while also allowing your baby to move and develop motor skills while you hold them with ease.
Amazon.com : Topponcino Company Topponcino Baby Lounger Pillow for Newborn (Natural) | The Authentic Montessori Baby Support Pillow, Infant Lounger Holding Pillow & Tummy Time Mat | Montessori Baby Essential : Baby
Blue Gobbi Mobile – This mobile allows your infant to work on and begin to develop their concentration and focus on soothing colors that fade Amazon.com : LEADER JOY Montessori Blue Gobbi Ball Gobbi Mobile, Montessori Mobile,Essential Mobile, Hanging Mobile Learning Mobile : Baby
Baby Paper – This crinkly toy for infants and babies incorporates all the senses as they feel, hear, and taste. Fine motor, gross motor, and sensorial are all a part of this activity. Get it in black and white to promote visual awareness of objects and exercise your child’s optic nerves.
Amazon.com: Baby Paper Original Crinkle Sensory Toy | Black and White Stripe and Zig Zag 2-Pack | Crinkle Paper for Babies | Sensory Baby Toys
Star Teether – As children’s teeth start to come in, they have the urge to put pressure on that specific area. Teethers feel good because it presses the areas and massages the gums. This specific teether is made of all natural materials,is easy to grasp, and easy for parents to clean.
Amazon.com : Natursutten Starfish Teether – Baby Teething Toys – Eco-Friendly Natural Rubber, PVC & 100% BPA-Free – Danish Design Baby Toys – Made in Italy Yellow : Baby Teether Toys : Baby
Sensory Balls – This was a favorite for my little boys! Their unique textures, densities, shapes, sizes, weights, and colors encourage tactile awareness, hand-eye coordination and fine/gross motor development.
Amazon.com: Montessori Toys – Sensory Balls for Baby Sensory Toys 1-3 Textured Hand Catching Balls, Baby Rattle 3-6 9 Months Old Baby Toys for Babies And Toddlers 6-12 Months : Toys & Games
Object Permanence Box – This is a classic Montessori toy, and a great activity for infants to play independently once they can sit up on their own. This allows children to have a real hands-on understanding of the object permanence concept- that once the ball disappears into the hole at the top, it still exists. It also helps develop their hand- eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Amazon.com: Elite Montessori Object Permanence Box with Tray and Ball : Toys & Games
Ball Maze Tracker -This is another favorite in my house and continues to be! This toy is good from infant to preschool. There are so many wonderful elements about this toy: the visual tracking of the ball allows your child to practice moving the eye left and right, which is a necessary precursor for reading. It also supports the idea of cause and effect, and promotes dexterity and distance perception.
Amazon.com: Je Joue Montessori Tracker Ball Maze Baby Wooden Toys for 1-3 Year Old : Toys & Games
Pickler Arch -This is an open-ended rocker board that could be used for balancing, sliding, climbing, or rocking. This activity supports gross motor development, balance, and spatial perception.
Amazon.com: OOOK Baby Rainbow Climbing Toys – Climbing Arch for Toddlers, Wooden Pikler Montessori Climbing Set, Children Indoor Outdoor Play Gym Learning Playset, Playground for Kids Gift : Everything Else
Push Cart- Wooden – This is a natural push and pull cart that aids in walking. It can also be used as a cart after they have mastered walking. The wheels are rubber so they don’t skid. You toddler will love putting items in and taking them out.
Amazon.com: Hopscotch Squad Baby Wooden Shopping Cart Push Pull Walker Doll Stroller for Toddler, Pretend Peducational Learning Walker, Play Wagon with Rubber Wheel, Larger Size 16.5” x 111.4” x 18” : Toys & Games
Xylophone (or any other percussion instruments)– This neutral color xylophone is perfect for a toddler to progress their sensory development, fine/gross motor skills, auditory processing, while also exposing them to the differentiations of music including: timbre, pitch, tempo, and dynamics.
Amazon.com: Xylophone-Neutral Colors Toddler Toys-Aesthetic Kids Musical Instrument-Montessori Toys-Modern Boho Xylophone for Kids Playroom-Gender Neutral Baby Gifts-Wood Xylophone Toy : Toys & Games
Sorting and Stacking Shapes Puzzle – By encouraging core muscle balance, refining hand-eye coordination, and enhancing fine motor skills, these blocks provide both physical and cognitive benefits. Through critical thinking, spatial understanding, and sensory engagement, toddlers are continually learning and growing.
Amazon.com: nutty toys Montessori Wooden Sorting & Stacking Toy – Top Learning Puzzle for 1-3 Year Olds – Shape & Color Recognition, Fine Motor Skills Development – Best Baby & Toddler Stocking Stuffer Gift 2023 : Toys & Games
Gear Puzzle– The wooden gear puzzle provides a hands-on experience for toddlers to build and take apart gears. With different sizes and shapes, children can experiment with arranging the gears in multiple patterns. Also, by moving the gears, they can directly observe the result of their actions as the gears spin around. This provides a tangible link between their efforts and the visual outcome, promoting a sense of accomplishment and confidence.
Amazon.com: Le Toy Van – Petilou Wooden Educational Montessori Gears & Cogs ‘Busy Bee Learning’ Toy, Sensory Activity Toy For Toddlers Age 1 Year Old + Multi : Toys & Games
Easel/ Climber/ Tent playset – This has it all! A tent for hiding, an easel for art and rock climbing grips on the back. Your child will use this in a multitude of ways that support their imagination,as well as gross motor and fine motor development. It is also foldable, so it can be easily stored or taken inside or outside.
Amazon.com: Avenlur Oak Foldable Triangle Climber 5 in 1 Kids Playhouse Hideaway Montessori Learning Play Tent, Desk, Chair Stool, Art Easel, Chalkboard, Teepee Climbing, Crawling Tunnel Toy Toddler Playset : Toys & Games
Magnetic Tiles – Magnetic tiles are wonderful for all of childhood. When they are toddlers, they will stack them, and as they get older, they will build with more complexity. This allows for so much creative, imagination, and divergent thinking, as well as an introduction to geometry symmetry and balance. This is a great investment because they will get used daily and for many years.
Amazon.com: Fodoss Magnetic Tiles,102pcs Innovative 3D Magnetic Tiles Set,Magnet Building Toys for Kids,STEM Learning and Encouraging Imaginative Play (102pcs 3D Magnetic) : Toys & Games
Board Games – The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game
This is another one of my kids’ favorite games. It incorporates fine motor skills, taking turns, and being a good sport. With no reading required, once a child knows how to play, they can play with a sibling or a friend.
Amazon.com: Educational Insights The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game, 4 players, for Preschoolers & Toddlers, Gift for Toddlers Ages 3+ : Toys & Games
Board Game – Dinosaur Escape
This board game is great for 4-6 year olds. It’s a cooperative game that involves all the players having to rescue the dinosaurs from the volcano. With no reading required, children can play this with a sibling or a friend. It involves memory and team work,and isa family favorite.
Amazon.com: Peaceable Kingdom Dinosaur Escape Cooperative Memory Game of Logic and Luck for 2 – 4 Kids Ages 4 + : Toys & Games
Giant Cardboard Building Blocks – These cardboard building blocks are amazing. We have had our cardboard building blocks for eight years and my kids still use them. With a variety of shapes and good stability, they are so versatile. They promote open-ended play, collaboration, while tapping into the cognitive brain using science, engineering, and math.
Amazon.com: GIGI BLOKS Jumbo Cardboard Building Blocks for Kids – 60 XXL Interlocking and Stackable Jumbo Cardboard Blocks Set – Construction Cardboard Bricks for Kids – Sturdy & Easy-to-Assemble : Toys & Games
Discovering the perfect gifts for the holidays can be quite a task. However, there is no better gift to a child than their parents’ love and attention. May your holidays be filled with cherished moments with one another, embracing the joy of togetherness.