10 Brain-Building Montessori Activities for 2-Year Olds

10 Brain-Building Montessori Activities for 2-Year Olds

Two-year-olds are loads of fun because their language skills are exploding; they are capable of imitating adult behaviors; and, they have an increased capacity to really dig into an activity and experience flow. Flow is that special place in which you are so engaged with an activity that you lose track of time and focus only on that one thing. Adults may have techniques they've developed over time that allow them to reach a state of flow more quickly, for example, listening to music while exercising. Providing toddlers with flow-friendly environments supports building their capacity to focus. This might mean a clutter-free play area where only a few toys are available at a time. Montessorians frequently place a rug or playmat to indicate a space where an activity is meant to be explored, helping a toddler focus on the materials on the mat and let the rest of the room fade back from view.

What Activities Offer Flow To 2-Year Olds?

Thinking about these three different buckets of activities and examples will help you come up with a diverse offering for your toddler: Toys, Practical Life Skills, and Nature.

Montessori Toys for 2-Year Olds

Toddler playing independently
The bolt board is included in The Monti Kids Program®: Level 9 to refine motor skills and build wrist strength

Classic Montessori materials for two-year-olds offer practice with skills they enjoy mastering: twisting bolts onto boards, sorting shapes by color or texture, and figuring out which order steps must be executed to accomplish a task.

Note: The activities in the Monti Kids Subscription are examples of Montessori toys for two-year-olds that invite flow because they are designed to meet children's abilities at exactly the level of challenge they enjoy.

Montessori Activities for 2-Year-Olds
The activities in the Experimentation Toolkit for ages 28-30 months

Other examples of Montessori toys for two-year-olds

Based on significant research, the Monti Kids Learning Team put together an assortment of toys for an at-home program for two-and-a-half-year olds

Materials we recommend for two-and-a-half-year-olds:

  • The Fabric Winder, a fun cause-and-effect activity that builds wrist strength, vital for writing and other important tasks.
  • A Graduated Puzzle that challenges a child's hand-eye coordination and encourages exploration, concentration, and repetition.
  • The Ring Slide, which gives your child practice with predicting consequences.
  • A Lacing Set, which challenges and rewards fine motor skills.
  • The Balancing Rings, which invites trial and error as little ones use precise hand movements to place rings along the pegs.

Watch: Cylinder Drop (from the Exploration Toolkit)

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Practical Life Activities for Two-Year Olds

Your toddler can do a lot around the house. You've probably already noticed that they know where many items belong and that they can open and close drawers. 

Involving them in household tasks from unloading the silverware drawer to putting groceries away to wiping up spills shows them that you know how capable they are.

Filling your child's confidence bucket each day by giving them practical life tasks may help them feel empowered and less likely to demonstrate undesirable power-seeking behaviors such as grabbing or throwing.

Even if there's no chore being accomplished, two-year-olds enjoy positioning themselves at the sink or using a spray bottle.

Incorporate these activities into your rotations:

  • Sweeping
  • Taking clothes from the dryer to a basket
  • Watering plants
  • Feeding pets
  • Putting books back in a basket or on a shelf before a nap or bedtime
Montessori Preschooler

Nature Activities for Two-Year-Olds

Interacting with nature offers children different sensory input than what they receive inside their home, so it's important to develop a routine of doing outside activities. 

Outdoor fun may range from true immersion in nature such as hiking in regional parks or backyard gardening -- or simply playing outside. Tossing a ball back and forth in a yard allows the practice of gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination and provides a child with a view of the sky and all the textures that make up a park or yard: grass, dirt, shrubs, trees, and flowers.

Some nature-inspired activities to do with a two-year old outdoors are:

  • Collections. Bring a pail or basket with a handle to collect like objects such as only twigs or only rocks. Pick up a different object, such as a leaf, and ask if it belongs with the twigs. Observation and classification skills can begin now.
  • Cause and effect. Find access to water, such as a stream or lake or even a puddle. Watch what happens when you drop sticks into it. It can be especially interesting to watch what sinks and what floats.
  • Outdoor meals. Inviting your child to take part in preparing a lunch that you will take outside is a complex planning exercise. Thinking about what you will need ("What should we bring to sit on?") and the sequence of events ("Let's close this bag tightly and when we arrive, we will open it and take out the food") is a way to challenge your little one and include them in contributing to the household.
Toddler helping in kitchen
Photo Credit: @PolishedPlayhouse

Montessori activities for two-year-olds are fun to invent. Observe your child's interests, thinking beyond favorite characters. Do they like to stack things? Imitate Mommy? Use "tools"? 

Find ways to bring these passions to indoor play, into nature, and to practical life activities. 

Monti Kids Montessori Toys For Two-Year-Olds

Toddler playing independently with peg dolls

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