The Montessori method is a child-centered approach to education and development based on scientific observation of how a child naturally learns. It encourages a supportive learning environment and values the development of the child's social, emotional, physical, and cognitive growth.

Play is an important part of the Montessori method and usually involves Montessori-friendly toys which aim to be purposeful, enjoyable and spontaneous. These Montessori toys help children learn independently and expand their imagination. The use of Montessori materials also emphasizes learning not only through listening and observing, but also by touching, smelling, and tasting. These toys aim to promote an environment wherein children can play without obstacles and parents or teachers can simply observe and gently guide them without directing them.

You will not find plastic, battery-operated, and flashy toys in a Montessori environment, as it uses nature to inspire children to learn. These toys are mostly made of natural materials with natural colors and different textures and shapes. Avoid toys that are heavy and complicated; instead, focus on the beauty and function! Here is a list of some of the best Montessori toys for babies and toddlers:

Grabbing Toys.Babies as young as 0-6 months are mostly interested in using their senses of sight, sound, and touch. They are naturally attracted to great color contrasts such as the colors black and white. Soft balls are good for their tiny hands for grasping and is a great way to familiarize them with different textures and colors.

Bell Rattles. Bell rattles provide a nice auditory stimulus. Just make sure that it is lightweight and fits their hands perfectly, so the child can do it by himself/herself. It is also a great way to learn cause and effect.

Hanging Mobiles. You can use some grabbing balls, rattles, and ribbons and tie them up on hanging mobiles. This is a perfect way to visually stimulate the child. Later on, it will also stimulate your child physically as the child develops the core strength and coordination needed to raise their little arms and stretch out their fingers to touch the toys.

Puzzles. Puzzles are fantastic for children of any ages. Even adults find it therapeutic and calming. When introducing puzzles to toddlers, start with a circle as it is the easiest. Then slowly introduce different shapes such as squares and then triangles. Aside from promoting hand-eye coordination, visual perception, and building concentration, these Montessori toys can be used as materials for other Montessori activities.

Stacking Toys. Stacking toys help children refine their motor skills, assist in color learning, help develop size discrimination, and develop grasp and hand-eye coordination. The Rainbow Stacking Block set is a perfect example of a Montessori-inspired stacking toy as it encourages open-ended play which is very important in a Montessori environment. A child can use it as building blocks, a tunnel for their cars, stack it as it is, or model their own imagined world.

Books. Children need books as sensory and information resource to build vocabulary. It is significant in a Montessori environment as it helps them understand concepts that are part of their world. Make sure that the books are appropriate for their age and rich in language. Include both interactive books like flip-flap books and those that contain realistic photos of objects. It is also a great opportunity for parents to bond and interact with their kids and discover what interests them.

Author's Bio: 

Md Rasel is a professional blogger.