The Coolest Montessori Toys for Littles

If you’ve ever wondered what a Montessori toy is, exactly—you’re in luck. Named for the education style created by Italian doctor Maria Montessori in the early 1900s, Montessori toys are practically Amish and devoid of all the high-tech bells and whistles that do the thinking for kids (ahem, “screen time”—we’re looking at you). When bebe brains are developing, simple toys are the best; that’s why most Montessori playthings are made of wood and encourage kids to experiment as much as possible. We rounded up a few of our exploratory faves here, all beloved by SwearBy editors and their kids.

Fat Brain Toys Joinks

Remember Lego’s? These wooden dowels linked by silicone connectors are Lego’s even more fun cousin, capable of becoming everything from molecular shapes to geometric domes—and ideal for ages 3 to 5. “I love how this gift helps the imagination and has endless possibilities,” says Gabrielle Rosen. “It’s perfect for gross motor skills and kids love the colors and potential for growth.” The backstory is cool, too: they were invented by a design professor at Appalachian State University, who was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son—the inventor of Lincoln Logs. 

GeoMagic Mosaics - Best Building & Construction for Ages 3 to 5

Four year olds rave over these 250 geometrically-shaped wooden blocks, all painted a kaleidoscope of nontoxic hues. “The opportunities are endless with these blocks!” says Madeleine Letellier. “From creating beautiful mandala-like designs, to creating creatures, flowers, people, etc., kids will love the imaginative play that comes with these blocks. As a bonus, these blocks encourage fine motor skills, planning, creativity, spatial reasoning, and math skills!”  We love that even the shapes themselves are instructive, ranging from a trapezoid to a small rhombus. Bonus: they come in a reusable storage bucket. 

Lovevery Play Kit Subscription

Parents often scratch their heads at which toys are developmentally appropriate for their babies. “Is this puzzle too off-putting? Are these blocks meant for a kid 5 years older?” That’s where Lovevery comes in. “Lovevery’s Play Kits are perfect for babies of any age as they are specifically designed by experts and researchers for every development stage,” says Courtney Bowers. “Babies will love playing with them and parents will love knowing their kids are being educated while they have fun. It’s a win-win!” Among the playthings you can buy directly on their site: an organic cotton play tunnel and a bitsy baby stroller hewn from sustainably forested wood. 

Rainbow Tumi ishi Montessori Balancing Stones

If having your floors littered with toys is a little less than the MoMA-esque aesthetic you prefer, may we suggest these Tumi Ishi “stones”? “Ok I think these may just be the chicest baby toys I have ever seen,” says Courtney Bowers. “Not only do they help a baby’s development, but they won’t be a total eyesore when they’re scattered all over your floor.” We love that they’re made of eco-friendly wood and were made for the Japanese game Tumi Ishi, a.k.a. “Mountain of Stones.” 

HABA Perfect Pairs

Ideal for ages two and up, “This set will challenge your little with sorting, matching and color recognition!” says Melanie Granuzzo of this wooden set, which will have your kiddo matching squares, triangles and semicircles. “It’s also easy to pack for getaways!” Its Crayola-bright color scheme is sure to be a hit.

Hi! [Insert waving blonde emoji here] I'm a Colorado-based freelance writer, and I'm Niles Crane-level picky about everyyyyything.