Your baby's first birthday is a special milestone, which you may want to honor with a gift that supports the new skills you see surfacing every day, whether that's language forming, ability to turn pages in a book, or a strong drive to walk! Here are some of our favorite Montessori first birthday gift ideas.
Wooden Climbing Structure (Pikler Triangle)
This type of gross motor skill-building toy has a long life in most households as children interact with it in different ways over time. At the beginning of a child's second year, they may use it to pull up to a stand and as their second birthday approaches, they'll use the rungs to climb up. (Throw a sheet over it to make a fun passage-way to crawl through.) Pictured: Little Climber by Lily and River
Crayons Designed for Small Hands
For a toddler who is ceasing to put everything in their mouth, introducing art supplies offers fine-motor skill work that is satisfying. A set of triangle crayons and a thick pad of paper will allow you to prepare an environment for this activity.
Tip: Offer only one crayon at first, so that your child can focus on what the crayon is for. Show them how to make a mark on paper. Over time, you can offer a few crayons at a time and talk about colors.
A Child-Sized Table and Chairs
This year, your child will be ready to take on more independent activities, such as self-feeding and sorting and transferring activities. Offering your child an appropriate-sized table and chair that they can get into by themselves gives them agency. Learn more about what Montessori followers call a "weaning table".
A Wagon or Ride-On Toy
A child-powered toy that supports a toddler's desire to use all their strength is a fantastic first birthday gift. A wagon with which they can push toys around or a small car on which they can sit can be used indoors at first when their movements are smaller and then outdoors when they have enough stamina to go for more distance. We Recommend: Radio Flyer's Walker Wagon
Monti Kids Montessori Toys
We're including our own Level 4 Subscription Box in this list because it is a thoughtfully curated collection of materials that is designed to support a one-year-old's brain development by providing challenges in the form of play. The Level 4 box can be started between 11 and 13.5 months old and includes items such as a Tracker, which builds visual tracking skills critical for preschool reading; a Peg Box, which advances fine motor skills and shape discrimination; and, a Push Balls Set (pictured) which strengthens your child’s fingers and palms. See everything in the Level 4 Box.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8c5WMliN4I
Bubbles and Water Play Toys
Bubbles encourage a sense of wonder and offer a magical way for parents and children to play together outdoors. There are many bubble accessories at low price points and DIY lovers will have fun making their own solutions and using household items with which to blow bubbles.
A Forward-Facing Bookshelf and Books
Toddlers love to pull books off the shelf by themselves, and a forward-facing bookshelf empowers them to see their options and to make choices with intention. It also supports a curated rotation of books from your larger collection that you can update every few weeks to reduce clutter and overwhelm. Similar to pictured available from Sprout Kids. Use code MONTIKIDS to save on first-time Sprout Kids purchases.
Help, I'm picky!
A question the Monti Kids Learning Team hears a lot is "How do I steer my family towards giving Montessori-aligned gifts?"
Think about an activity you would like to invite your family to support, for example, art supplies to go with a new table or small garden tools to go with a water play table. If grandparents wish to give a generous gift, a forward-facing bookshelf is a concrete suggestion and other gift-givers can be told the bookshelf is coming and books would be appreciated. Experience gifts such as Zoo memberships or Music Together classes are wonderful -- and clutter-free!