Updated: Jul 24
Every time we are asked about Montessori toy/gift ideas, we recommend observing the child to find out which skills they are working on and what interests they have. Every child is different, BUT they still have some things in common. We have tried to create a list of the BEST Montessori aligned toys, practical life items and materials that most kids in the 3-6 age range will LOVE!
We have divided the list into different categories, and have tried to select a variety of items from different price groups. Our range is $2-100, so everyone should be able to find something.
🇬🇧 Amazon UK links at the bottom.
(The ones directly in the article are 🇺🇸 Amazon US links)
Arts and Crafts
Children aged 3-6 should be given lots of opportunities to create. We value process over product at this age, and have made sure to only select items of high quality.
Clay: Working with clay allows hand muscles to be strengthened while creating. This air drying clay comes in a few different colours.
Clay Tools: Work on the clay with these special tools. These are great for practising fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
Dot Stickers: Small stickers should be part of the 3-6 curriculum! They are great for developing a good pincer grip! Let the child use them in their own creations, or have them put Dot Stickers on a letter they are working on.
Buddha Water Drawing Mat: Draw with water pens or 'paint' with water and a brush. This mat is reusable, and will last a long time! (A Rusdal family favourite ❤)
Stockmar Paint: High quality paint that is even safe to eat! Paint on paper, your face or the window.
Crayon Rocks: These crayons are designed to develop the best pencil grip. They give lots of colour, and are amazing to draw with. They are quite small, so not for mouthing babies.
Adjustable Easel: This easel can be adjusted to fit children aged 3-8 years. It's double sided, and comes with a holder for a roll of paper. Chalk board, paper holder and whiteboard in one.
Child sized kitchen tools, garden equipment and anything else they may need to take care of themselves and the environment.
Knives: This knife set has a non slip handle so it's safer for younger children. (A Saffron family favourite ❤)
Measuring Cups and Spoons: This colourful set of cups and spoons make cooking with children so much easier. They get used constantly in our house. (A Saffron family favourite ❤)
Magnifying Glasses: 10x magnifying. Great tool in nature studies!
Gardening Tools: Proper gardening tools sized for kids. Because children can tell the difference between good and inferior tools too!
Binoculars: These binoculars can be used by children and adults. They magnify 10 times.
Kitchen Tool Set: Real tools are easier to work with. The rolling pin and cookie cutter are also great to use on modeling clay.
Crinkle Cutter: Start cutting soft food like avocado and banana, and slowly progress. This Crinkle Cutter is perfect for small hands, and helps keep those fingers away from the sharp edge.
Plant set: Decorate your own flower pot and plant the seeds. Let the child take care of their own seedlings 🌱
Wheelbarrow: A sturdy wheelbarrow with a good wheel so it is actually functional. Comes in green and red.
Hairbrush from Tangle Teezer: This Hairbrush is amazing for kids who does not like brushing their hair. It removes tangles easily without pain. This set comes with a 'pot' for hair accessories. (A Saffron family favourite ❤)
Hair accessories: Variety set
Work Mat A Montessori work mat is used to help define a child's work space and speak to a child's sense of order. It gives a child a defined place to set up and use work.
Butterfly Kit from Insect Lore See the miracle of nature and metamorphosis happen in real time and then have an amazing experience releasing them into the wild. Keep the kit safe and then just buy a caterpillar refill next year. Your children can enjoy this time and time again. (A Saffron family favourite ❤)
Watching a child makes it obvious that the development of his mind comes through his movements
Dr. Maria Montessori
Sensory Swing: Swinging helps to develop the brain! Sensory swings are amazing for neurodiverse children AND neurotypical children, even if they are advertised as 'autism/adhd swings'.
Skipping Rope: This traditional toy can be used in multiple ways before the child can swing the rope themselves. Use it to mark a play area, create obstacle courses etc.
Balance board (with felt): Choose between a variety of colours. Great open ended toy. Can be used in many different ways. Combine with the free wobbel yoga cards from wobbel.eu for an extra challenge. (A Rusdal family favourite ❤)
Foldable balance beam: Store away easily when not in use.
Yoga Mat: Place in front of mirror and add some yoga cards for independence.
Bicycle: This bicycle comes highly recommended. Different colours/decorations.
Depending on if your child is homeschooled, in a Montessori school or a different school. We do not recommend using traditional Montessori materials at home IF your child is in a Montessori school.
These are all materials that children love to use, and that can be used in different ways at different stages.
Globe: Traditional Montessori Continent globe.
Horse Puzzle: Traditional Montessori part of an animal puzzle. Each piece is a part of the animal. Let the child puzzle, draw around the pieces, label the different parts etc.
Safari ltd. Toobs: There are a huge selection of Toobs. These specific sets can be used in your Continent Boxes (every Continent box is very different, so you can absolutely have one at home even of your child is in a Montessori school without removing the magic of the material). You can also get Toobs with body parts, birds, sea creatures and much much more!; Landmarks and Australian Animals
Tessellation Tiles: Great addition to a Montessori home! Not a traditional Montessori material, but used in many Montessori classrooms. Create pictures, learn about shapes and angles or try recreating the pictures on the cards.
Knobless Cylinders: Traditional Montessori material. Look up the material at www.montessorialbum.com for activities.
Puzzle map: Traditional Montessori material
Open Ended Toys
You would not find open ended toys in a Montessori classroom, but they are a GREAT addition to Montessori homes! These toys can be used from around 3 years old and for many, many years to come.
Lego: This medium starter set of Lego will provide hours and hours of building and fun. Use the ideas booklet or create yourself!
Ball: What can you do with a ball? SO much! At this age, kids are ready to be introduced to simple games. Work on cooperation by using a play silk that each of you hold and put a ball on top. Work together so the ball slides from side to side without falling to the ground. Practice throwing and catching, kicking and dribbling.
Magnetic Tiles (Picasso): A favourite for young and old! These Magnetic tiles can be used to create anything you like! Picasso Tiles is a well known brand that will not break easily. (A Rusdal family favourite ❤)
Magnetic Tiles Marble Run (Picasso): Magnetic tiles are fun, marble runs are fun; what could be better than combining the two?
Schleich Animals: Use for pretend play, put them in your Continent Boxes, sort by size, type of animal, what they eat or habitat of where they live. The possibilities are endless.
Fort Builder Kit: Create different structures, throw on a blanket, and it is a fort! 3 year olds will require some help in the building phase, but they will soon be able to work independently!
🇬🇧 Amazon UK links 🇬🇧
Arts and crafts:
Buddha water drawing mat (Rusdal family favourite ❤)
Practical life items
Kids knives (Saffron family favourite ❤)
Measuring Cups and Spoons (Saffron family favourite ❤)
Binoculars (slightly different from the one on the picture, but same specifications)
Cooking set (Dinosaur style)
Butterfly kit from Insect Lore (Saffron family favourite ❤)
Wobbel board without felt (Rusdal family favourite ❤)
Skipping ropes (different brand for lower price)
Open ended toys:
Magnetic tiles marble run (different from picture above)
Schleich animals (50% off)
Cowritten and edited by Mie Rusdal and Jude Saffron. This article contains affiliated links to no extra cost to you.