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It was during my doctorate studies that I first began taking an interest in Montessori education. In reality, this education is defined by very few basic principles, the majority of which seek to make your child “succeed on their own”.
Maria Montessori believed that certain resources that children had in their environment could help them build important skills. Considering her principles can help guide your choice of Montessori toys for 2 year old toddlers.
Age two is an important age in children’s development. They have learned many skills and they are still learning many new ones or reinforcing those that they already have.
The best toys for 2 year olds help them work on their fine motor skills, their creativity and imagination skills, their gross motor skills, their visual discrimination skills, and so on.
There is a huge debate about whether “Montessori toys” really exist. In my opinion, any toys/objects/games that align with the principles put forward by Maria Montessori can be referred to as “Montessori toys” or “Montessori-inspired toys”.
Here are just a few of these principles to help you choose the best toys for your child.
Choosing Montessori toys for 2 year old toddlers
Many Montessori toys share a few common characteristics:
- The best toys encourage your 2-year-old to be active. They encourage functional and manipulative play.
- Good toys are designed in forms, shapes and colors that appeals to children.
- They are developmentally appropriate, meaning that they are simple and easy for your 2-year-old to manipulate.
- They are designed with a specific purpose (or several purposes) in mind. Good Montessori toys for 2 year old toddlers target the development of fine or gross motor skills, toddlers’ visual perception skills, their creativity or even the development of multiple skills at the same time.
- The best Montessori toys are made of durable and safe wood, even though there are some very good toys made from safe, non-toxic plastic.
- Montessori toys are open-ended, meaning that your 2-year-old can play with them in many different ways. This also means that these toys grow with your child because depending on their age, they can play with them in different ways.
Here are a few options to choose from.
Toys to develop fine motor skills
Blocks are the ultimate Montessori toy for 2 year old toddlers because they are great for developing so many skills: creativity, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, visual perception skills and so on.
I am a huge fan of rainbow blocks because they allow your child to practice lots of different skills.
Like blocks, good rainbow stackers can help your child develop their fine motor skills, their creativity, their visual discrimination skills and their hand-eye coordination skills.
I love these ones because they propose 12 different colors and sizes and the blocks are made of quality wood. These wooden stackers are great because they give your child so many different play options!
Toys for your child’s cognitive development
This wooden peg board will help your toddler reinforce their fine motor skills, perfect their visual discrimination skills and work on their hand-eye coordination.
The peg board is made of natural, non-toxic wood.
Good geometric board blocks can help your child work on more than just their cognitive skills. These ones will help them develop their fine motor skills, their hand-eye coordination and their visual perception skills.
I love that they are made of non-toxic wood.
You will love absolutely everything about the Lovevery Block set:
- The brightly colored blocks that will attract your child’s attention
- The high quality of the block set
- The 70 different blocks and shapes proposed
- The 20+ activities your child can do with this block set
This block set is so comprehensive that if I had to choose just one Montessori toys for a 2 year old toddler, this is without a doubt the one I would go for!
The best toys for gross motor skills development
Climbing triangles are great Montessori toys for strengthening your toddler’s gross motor skills. I love this one because it proposes three sets of items that your child can use in different ways as they grow older: crawling under, sliding, balancing themselves, and so on.
This climbing triangle is made of high quality wood, meaning that your child can use it for years.
A wobble balance board
If you’re looking for great Montessori toys for 2 year old toddlers, then you’ll love the Wooden Wobble Balance Board.
This toy is more than just a toy! It’s great for developing your toddler’s gross motor skills, sense of balance and posture, but it’s also a great open-ended toy. You’ll see that your child will play with their wooden balance board in ways that you’d never imagine!
The best toys for developing toddlers’ imagination
Have your heard about the Moluk Bilibo? If you haven’t, it’s time you checked it out!
The award-winning Bilibo was designed by child development experts in Switzerland as a toy to stimulate creativity and open-ended play. Basically, a Bilibo is designed to inspire lots of different ways of playing.
I love that the Bilibo is very durable and your child can use it until age seven!
Play silks are a common feature in Montessori classrooms because they are perfect for sparking imaginative play. Your toddler can play with them in any way that they can imagine.
Montessori’s views on pretend play
Montessori believed that instead of promoting imaginative play, children benefited more when they were allowed to participate in real life activities using objects adapted to their size and their development.
In other words, she believed that it was important to privilege real life situations rather than fantasy play. Here are a few items that can help your child participate more actively in your everyday life.
One of Montessori’s best known quotes is “help me to help myself”. Montessori believed that children should be provided with whatever they need to make it possible for them to succeed by themselves.
This is the reason why learning towers are quite common in Montessori education because they increase children’s autonomy and make it possible for them to do things by and for themselves. For example, they can reach the sink to wash their hands or reach the kitchen counter to participate in preparing family meals (for instance by slicing soft fruits and vegetables). Learning towers are a safe choice because unlike stools and chairs, they protect your child from falls.
You could also consider getting your toddler an age-appropriate toddler knife set, a child-size broom and dust pan, or a kids’ cleaning set to make it easier for them to participate in age-appropriate chores.
If I could give you just one piece of advice, I’d say “Don’t buy everything!”
It can be tempting to over-invest but there’s no need to overwhelm your child with toys.
Paradoxically, the more toys children have, the less they play with them and the more they become dependent on external sources for their wellbeing. This has actually been proven by several scientific studies which found that scarcity sparks creativity. For instance, once study found that eliminating toys strengthened children’s creativity, autonomy and problem solving skills.
That said, there’s no good reason to get rid of all your children’s toys, especially because toys are good for kids’ development. But, you can get them fewer and more durable toys.
Montessori toys are therefore a great option because they are manufactured using high quality materials and many of them are open ended. This means that your child can use them in many different ways and will still find them captivating as they grow older.
Instead of buying too many toys, privilege a few good quality toys that will grow with your child. If you’re unable to control the number of toys your child receives, toy rotation, or even storing some toys at their grand parents’ home, can help tame the toys.
Remember that the best Montessori toys for 2 year old toddlers are those that spark their creativity, stimulate their imagination, and ensure that they adopt a hands-on approach to playing and learning.