Montessori Toys for 1-Year-Olds

Montessori toys provide your toddler with a fantastic foundation for early learning by giving them lots of opportunities for hands-on activities through self-directed play. Through Montessori play, your 1-year-old can explore the activities they're drawn to, building crucial motor skills, cognitive development, and creativity. If you're already intrigued, you can shop our full range of Montessori toys or read on to learn more about the Montessori method, what makes a Montessori toy, and the best Montessori toys for your 1-year-old.

Montessori pull along toy


What is the Montessori method?

The Montessori method was devised by Maria Montessori and is a method of teaching that encourages children to learn through their own natural interests, rather than in the form of more formal top-down methods of education. Through the Montessori method, children are encouraged to explore the world around them their way while mastering everyday practical skills from a young age. Play is a huge part of a child's early learning journey, as children use play to explore and learn about the world around them.

What are Montessori toys?

Montessori toys are those toys that stimulate your child's development and senses through self-directed play. They have a beginning, middle, and end and usually target one of the below skills at any one time:

  • Fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
  • Speaking and listening
  • Music and movement
  • Practical life skills
  • Arts & crafts

For example, a child practicing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination might be interested in putting a shaped object into its corresponding hole or building structures using various blocks. You may notice your 1-year-old repeating an action until they reach mastery before they swiftly move onto something else that they are drawn to.

Traditional Plastic Toys vs. Montessori Toys

So, what are the main differences between traditional plastic toys and Montessori toys? Traditional plastic toys usually target many different skills, for example, toys with buttons that also light up and roll around. Many plastic toys also work to entertain your toddler rather than them playing an active, hands-on role in using the toy to solve a problem or develop one of the skills already mentioned in the categories above. Plastic toys are usually made for passive play, whereas Montessori toys encourage active, hands-on play, promoting faster skills development, creativity, and imagination.

Many people think that Montessori toys must be wooden; however, this is not necessarily the case. Wooden toys are often preferred when using the Montessori learning method because toys made from natural materials provide a beautiful sensory experience for your toddler. Wooden toys are lovely to touch and safe for them to explore with their mouth. Not to mention these toys are often of much better quality than their plastic alternatives and bring a lot of beauty into your toddler's world.

So, what toys are a staple in any Montessori playroom? Below you'll find a list of the best Montessori toys for your 1-year-old by type with an explanation of how each toy helps your toddler in their early learning journey. To browse our complete collection of Montessori toys, see our Montessori toys shop.

Montessori Toys for 1-Year-Olds

Pull Toys

As your toddler becomes confident with walking, pull toys provide an excellent opportunity to practice their newly found skills. A pull toy is a little trickier than a push toy as it requires more coordination, concentration, and balance as your toddler must master taking steps and pulling the toy behind them simultaneously.

Shop all pull and push toys

Montessori pull along toy

Push Toys

Push toys are fantastic to help your toddler as they start to take their first steps. They allow your little one that extra support they need, helping with balance and muscle strengthening in their arms, trunk, and legs and allowing them to stand, walk and pivot. Push toys also encourage fine motor skills as your toddler learns to grasp and control their toy. 

Shop all pull and push toys


Little Dutch Wooden Push Along Walker



Little Dutch Wooden Push Along Walker
Buy now

Shape Sorters

Shape sorters are fantastic to strengthen and develop hand-eye coordination, problem-solving and fine motor skills. Not only that, shape sorters encourage your toddler to recognise the different shapes and colours. Encourage them to name the shape or colour before placing it into the sorter to develop their early vocabulary.

Shop all stacking and sorting toys

Montessori shape sorter

Stacking Toys

The stacking toy is a staple in every Montessori playroom. Not only do stacking toys help your toddler develop a sense of accomplishment, but they also help develop fine and gross motor skills, concentration, and cognitive development. At 1-year-old, your toddler will have great fun learning how things balance as they stack the toy upright, and once built, they'll just love to knock it back down again!

Shop all stacking and sorting toys

Montessori stacking toy

Musical Toys

Musical instruments such as a xylophone, tambourine, or drum are hugely important for your toddler's development. As well as building fine and gross motor skills and supporting sensory development, musical toys are crucial for cognitive development and encourage imagination and creativity from an early age as they learn to make music.

Little Dutch Wooden Xylophone


Shop our entire collection of Montessori Toys in our Montessori toys shop.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.