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The Most Essential Montessori Toys for 1-Year Olds

One-year-olds are so busy exploring their new abilities to move that it’s hard to know if the toys you’re offering them are the right ones. Frequently, they just crawl away to find an opportunity to pull up to a stand!

We are excited about sharing these brain-building toys for one-year-olds with you, but also want to acknowledge that the baby who was recently content to sit and explore an item with their hands might want to spend most of their time on their belly slithering away from you!

The desire to use maximum effort is a normal part of a child’s development.

If your child is walking, you’ll notice that as soon as they can walk, they want to walk while carrying something. If your child can pull up to a stand, you might find them doing that instead of sleeping.

Providing one-year-olds with opportunities and materials to explore using their entire bodies supports their learning. You may have heard the suggestion to follow your child’s lead. This might mean placing toys on a shelf or coffee table so that they can use their mobility skills to access them.

What activities fully engage one-year-olds?

Thinking about these categories of activities and examples will help you come up with ways to engage your almost-toddler and allow them to practice the skills they are excited to master: Memory, Spatial Reasoning, and Movement.

Montessori Toys for 12-Month-Olds

Montessori Toys for 12-Month Olds
The Peg Box in Level 5 of the Monti Kids Program teaches a toddler to discriminate size and shape while building wrist strength.

A low shelf from which your child can select from a small number of toys on their own will empower them. Model placing the items back on the shelf when they are done. Over time, they will imitate your action, especially once they are able to walk and carry at the same time.

Classic Montessori materials for one-year-olds require skills they will master over time. When you first introduce these items, your child will not be able to perform all the tasks, but will take great satisfaction in practicing and getting closer. This is a wonderful habit to support. Observe and give your child time and silence to focus on the toys. 

The toys in the Monti Kids Level 5 Box for ages 13-15 months are examples of Montessori toys for one-year-olds that invite focus because they are designed to meet children’s abilities at exactly the level of work they enjoy.

Coordinating their two hands together, for example, engages their brain and enables them to accomplish more. What we notice in the photo below is that this toddler is not yet inclined to hold the box steady with one hand in order to close the lid more easily with the other hand. Watching for that transformation in their one-year old is what parents learn in the Monti Kids Program!

Montessori Toy: Box with Sliding Lid
The Box With Sliding Lid in Level 5 of the Monti Kids Program supports hand-eye coordination and the concept of object permanence.

Other examples of Montessori toys for one-year-olds

Based on significant research, the Monti Kids learning team put together a curriculum for 13-15 month olds that offers challenges at just the right level to support a little one’s perseverance and concentration, with special focus on mastery and control of their pincer grasp! Here are a few examples of the activities our educators selected for this stage:
  • Rainbow Arches, which invite toddlers to explore shapes, colors, sizes and patterns
  • Stable Stacker, which requires precision to grasp and thread the rings.
  • Coin Box, which builds an understanding of geometry and the relationship between mathematically proportional shapes
  • Multi-Shape Puzzle, which encourages self-correction

More Activities for One-Year-Olds

Keeping in mind that your child may go through phases during which they are less interested in sitting down and focusing on a toy, consider other ways to follow your child’s interests.

  • Offer tubs or bowls of water to explore. Include a measuring cup and show your child how to scoop and pour water back into the bowl.
  • Sit on the floor near your child and roll a ball a short distance away so that they can use their whole bodies to pursue it.
  • Use a small blanket to cover a toy and reveal it in a peek-a-boo-style game. Then offer the blanket to your child so they can imitate you and cover the toy themselves.
  • Set pillows on the floor and invite your child to crawl over the pillows. Make a game out of stacking more pillows and tipping them over.
  • Create a dedicated drawer or cabinet that is accessible to your child to open and close. Show them how to put things inside and close it. If they cannot open it by themselves, introduce a baby sign for “help”. Use the sign and ask if they need help. Soon, they will use the sign to ask you to open the cabinet.

Related post: 4 Ways to Support Your Pre-Walking Baby Who Can Resist Pulling Up On Everything

Photo Credit: Jana from Oakland

Montessori activities for one-year-olds are fun to invent. Follow @montikids on Instagram or TikTok for lots of ideas about DIY activities for babies and toddlers.

Is your child closer to two years old? We have rounded up the best Montessori toys for two-year-olds, too!

Best Montessori Toys For One-Year-Olds

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