Are you looking for more natural, open ended, developmental based toys? Find the best wooden toys for babies and toddlers, as well as Montessori toys by age.
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It’s no secret that children prefer natural based, open-ended wooden toys.
Sure, my kids love their tablets as much as the next kid. And I truly believe devices can have a place in even the most minimal and mindful homes. But when it comes time for play, nothing takes the place of old-fashioned, wooden toys.
Plastic and electronic toys tend to be geared for closed play – press a button, complete an action, and playtime is complete. Whereas simple toys made of natural materials initiate more open-ended, imaginative play.
With less input from the toy, the child must be creative during playtime. This leads to longer stretches of play and brain-use. Which, in turn, better stimulates your child’s development.
So what are the best wooden toys for babies and kids? Where can you find naturally made toys and development based toy subscription boxes?
We’ll also cover the traditional Montessori toys by age and development stages.
What Are Montessori Toys
Elements of Traditional Montessori Toys
- They are simple – Montessori toys are designed to help children learn on their own. When toys over stimulate (especially electronic toys), they distract from the learning process.
- They’re made of natural materials – Natural materials provide babies and children with more information about their actual world. Woods and metals replicate how those textures feel, taste, and can be manipulated in reality.
- They are reality based – Montessori blocks, shapes, and other toys provide organized information that replicates relationships and structure in the natural world. Children younger than six do not distinguish reality from fantasy. Toys with true results and consequences (like a car rolling down a ramp) allow children to learn how the world really is.
- They are functional – Montessori toys require the child’s active participation. The best wooden toys allow for development to take place through manipulation and exploration.
Playing With Montessori Toys
The Montessori method of play encourages children to learn about their natural environment by playing with simple toys that replicate elements of the world.
It requires caregivers to create a space filled with appropriate toys and allow the child to decide for himself what he wants to play with. Montessori, at the core, is about providing a proper environment for children to learn on their own.
Traditionally, Montessori activities are called “works.” In a typical Montessori classroom, and even in some homes, activities are performed on a placemat or other designated space.
These unique elements enable children to develop respect for the items, a responsibility for maintaining space, and a solid work ethic.
Traditional Montessori Toys By Age
In classrooms especially, you’ll see Montessori toys by age and development. It’s important to note that each “stage” builds on the previous.
Binomial and trinomial cubes, for example, build on the foundation laid with basic cubes, like the pink tower. A pink tower varies only with its size, while the colored cubes in the latter stages vary by size, shape, and color.
The last thing that I want to mention is that while many wooden toys are labeled as Montessori, they aren’t all actually Montessori. Montessori toys are not just wooden, but are quite specific in purpose. While certain wooden staples, like Grimm’s Rainbow, are wonderful, they don’t entirely check every Montessori box.
We’ll be discussing other favorite and best wooden toys below.
Montessori Toys by Age: 0-2 / Baby and Toddler
Montessori toys for babies and young learners specifically teach emerging concepts. The object permanence box, for example, is designed to assist with a major infant developmental milestone and teach about the reality of object permanence.
Montessori Toys by Age: 3-5 / Preschool
Montessori preschool toys are designed to educate appropriately through independent play and interaction. Sensory activities, such as dressing frames, aid in real world living. Toys like sandpaper letters and puzzle maps teach more traditional school subjects in a realistic manner.
Montessori Toys by Age: 6+ / Elementary
In true Montessori fashion, the simplest of tools are used, even for complicated concepts.
More of the Best Wooden Toys
I’ve seen my fair share of toys, both wooden and plastic, Montessori and other.
As a mom of two, I prefer simple, wooden, and open ended toys. Our home values minimalism and mindfulness, especially when it comes to playtime.
While I do openly share that my children own electronic toys and tablets, I also know that they play better, longer, and more thoughtfully with analog or traditional style toys.
I also spent ten years working in a children’s library. One of my primary responsibilities was program planning, which included shopping for toys for structured programs, sensory based playtimes, and for our playroom.
It will come as no surprise that I observed the same with my library kids. Playtime was most productive with simple toys that lacked electronic components.
Here’s what I consider the best wooden toys and most worth of space in your toy cabinet. You’ll find the most sought after blocks and puzzles, as well as the best wooden toys from or inspired by classic brands, like Grimms, Coogam, Fagus, and others.
Best Wooden Toys for Babies
Best Wooden Toys for Toddlers
If you’re looking for some of the best wooden toys delivered straight to your door, check out LOVEVERY. Babies and toddlers will love their boxes, curated with developmentally appropriate toys, spectacular books, and only the best wooden and Montessori toys by age.
Best Wooden Toys for Preschool
Best Wooden Toys for Older Kids
What are some of your favorite wooden and Montessori style toys by age and development stages?
Personally, I love Montessori math activities and their ability to teach difficult (for me!) concepts with such simple tools. My baby loves his wooden shape peg puzzle and my toddler loves his animal tangrams. Of course old fashioned puzzles and blocks are still some of the best wooden toys, too!
Whether you’re looking for traditional Montessori toys by age or more of the best wooden toys to last through the years, this article should have you covered! If there’s an exceptional toy that we missed, though, please let us know in the comments!