Melissa & Doug

16 Toys Every Montessori Mom Has In Her Home

The Montessori philosophy was started in the early 1900s by Italian physician Maria Montessori. Her idea was that children are capable of being independent, and if they are allowed to do things at their own pace, they'll thrive and grow up to be creative thinkers and well-rounded adults. When I think of Montessori, I think of wooden toys and lots of hands-on activities, with no screen time, blinking lights, or annoying loud, plastic toys. If this sounds great to you, you may be wondering about the toys every Montessori mom has in her home to get started with your baby.

I'm not claiming to be 100 percent on board with the Montessori lifestyle — e.g., I will not let my kid sleep on a mattress on the floor in his room — but I'm definitely dabbling in it by doing a lot of research about the philosophy, and being very particular about the types of toys I want my 9-month-old son to play and grow with.

All Montessori toys inspire the philosophies above and encourage free play and using their hands to entertain themselves. These toys are awesome because they involve a lot of wood and they're quiet, but more importantly, they allow my son to use his imagination, and they create open-ended play. The kid-sized furniture is also great, so kids can learn practical life skills and do things themselves like grownups do — just fun sized. I also love the fact that the Montessori philosophy suggests creating a "prepared environment" that inspires your child to "develop freely," according to the American Montessori Society website. My son's room is set up as a "prepared environment" where he can crawl to shelves on his level (the floor) and pick out which toy he wants to play with, giving him flexibility and independence — within reason.

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So we have quite a few toys on this list, including Melissa & Doug stuff, play silks, wooden musical instruments, and even some sensory bins as we try to stick to the Montessori philosophy of anything that inspires the child to use their imagination and learn to do things themselves. Since another aspect of the Montessori philosophy is to have a minimal amount of toys out at once so your child can focus on the task at hand in an ordered environment, a "Montessori Mom™" probably doesn't have every single one of these on this list, but I bet at least a couple of these would most definitely be found in their house.