A Montessori toy is a toy that fits into the Montessori Method’s philosophies: Children have an innate desire to learn and they learn best through experiences in their environment. The Montessori Method believes that the materials and toys in a child’s environment are very important in this learning process.
Montessori toys are designed to:
- Foster play-based learning. This leads to a lifelong love of learning by making learning fun.
- Encourage independence. Montessori toys can be manipulated without adult help. This creates opportunity for independent discovery and builds a strong sense of self esteem.
- Be open-ended. Montessori toys can be used in many ways to encourage imagination, creativity, and experimentation.
At KiwiCo, our projects fit really well into the Montessori philosophy because we believe that children are born scientists, and playtime is their laboratory. It’s our goal to create opportunities for hands-on learning that is so fun it keeps you coming back for more. Check out our favorite Montessori-friendly KiwiCo toys for children ages 2-11.
Our Favorite Montessori toys for 2-4 year olds
Between the ages 0-3 a child’s brain develops to 80 percent of its adult size and by the time a child is 5, it’s 90 percent developed. These early years are so important because we’re not only building the foundations for future learning, but because children find learning satisfying and oh-so fun! Below are some of our favorite child-led projects that fuel a love of learning!
Get ready for some bubbly and colorful chemistry! Learn about the scientific method, put together a bubbly chemical reaction, perform color mixing experiments, make some colorful art, and see everyday chemical reactions in action.
Discover the important work that veterinarians do through hands-on play! Check up on a favorite stuffed animal with handy vet tools, explore animal organ and muscle systems, and play a “find the fracture” using an x-ray lightbox and a set of animal cards.
Blast off into STEM learning with this astronaut starter kit! Build and launch a pair of model orbiter spaceships using the power of pumps, paint a set of model planets, and then construct a miniature solar system that really spins. Plus, learn amazing facts about the ins-and-outs of space travel!
Discover pretend play for on-the-go fun! This pop-up felt play mat comes with pop-up buildings, signs, and a bridge, plus a boat, two cars, and little wooden people. Pop open the play mat for hours of open-ended fun, then when you’re all done, flatten the pieces, store them, and convert the mat to a tote to bring along for another day of open-ended, imaginative play!
Introduce your little one to the world of art with painting and sculpture projects! Create your own color block painting. Design an abstract sculpture with colorful beads and shapes, and personalize an art smock for all your future art projects.
Jump back into prehistoric times with dinosaurs! Make your own dinosaur costume to stomp around the house, create clay fossils, and challenge your friends to a dino-themed footprint matching game. It’ll be a roar-ing good time!
Our Favorite Montessori toys for 5-8 year olds
While the younger child seeks comfort, the older child is now eager to encounter challenges. But these challenges must have an aim. – Maria Montessori
Montessori toys are just as important for children as they get older, but their interests and needs change. Montessori toys for older children should challenge them as well as provide an invitation to experiment and ask questions about how things work in the world around them. Below are some of our favorite question-sparking projects!
How do you become a pro basketball star and catapult launcher? With practice —- and with physics! Engineer an adjustable catapult and play a spirited game of basketball. Learn about the science of sports, and experiment with different angles and arcs until you’re a hoop superstar.
Make a fluffy pom-pom pal! Wind up yarn to create hedgehog friends, then bring them to life with felt, stickers, and pipecleaners.
When one science project isn’t enough, get three!
Craft a colorful chemis-tree and garden. Then concoct a chemical solution that’ll make your garden grow fun and funky crystals over two days.
Build a pair of wrap rockets then watch them shoot through the air and snap around their targets. Then play a target practice game and learn about snap buckling and the science behind your snappy rockets.
‘Plant’ and decorate a tree with ornaments and ribbons. Then use science (and some everyday chemicals) to grow snowy crystals overnight!
Conduct a series of egg-themed experiments that show physics, chemistry, and biology in action. Color eggs using chemical reactions, create sparkly eggshells through crystallization, and more!
Design a pinball machine, launch, and play for hours, all while playing with angles and momentum to learn about pinball physics! Plus, try your hand at geometric artwork to decorate your game board.
Play pretend with a plush Froggie friend that you can “dissect”! Open Froggie up and explore the major internal organs that you and Froggie have in common — heart, lungs, stomach, and more. Then play a diagnosis game to figure out why Froggie isn’t feeling well.
Build a hungry, gear-powered anglerfish that really chomps, then play a game to fill up its belly. Plus, design a submarine seek-and-find art piece full of hidden creatures that you can only see when you shine a flashlight on them!
Discover butterfly metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly with this cuddly, transformative friend. Place your caterpillar in its chrysalis, then help it change into a beautiful butterfly!
Explore the lives of flying squirrels with a launchable plush toy! Practice launching your squirrel, play a flying for food game, and learn about predators and prey in the animal world.
Our Favorite Montessori toys for 9-11 year olds
As homework piles up, it’s easy to forget that hands-on fun is still most kids’ favorite way to learn. Hands-on experiences with real life learning is a great way to break up screen-time and homework with some seriously satisfying projects. Below are some of our favorite projects for older kids.
Where in the world are you? Build a real spinning globe and learn fun facts about this Earth we call home. Then explore your world map and master basic navigational skills.
Take a trip down under — to Australia! Build a hopping wooden kangaroo and craft a colorful coral reef art piece. Get inspired by the Tjanpi Desert Weavers and make your own fiber dog sculpture, play kolap, a strategy game from the tropical island of Mer, and whip up a yummy batch of Anzac biscuits.
Experience India! Use colored sand to make a festive rangoli, play Snakes & Ladders, mix up some homemade henna and try your hand at some mehndi designs, and learn about yoga. Wash it all down with a cool glass of mango lassi you made yourself!
Explore the ins-and-outs of Indonesia! Design and paint a canvas tote inspired by Batik bags, build a racing komodo dragon, learn to dance the Tari Piring, a traditional dance performed while balancing plates,and explore Indonesia’s rice agriculture. Then go bananas for a classic Indonesian dessert — ooey-gooey pisang bakar (grilled bananas) topped with chocolate sprinkles!
Travel to Italy —- from home! Build a spinning pizzeria automaton, inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, harness the calco process to make eye-catching art, play rota, an ancient Roman game that’s a little like tic-tac-toe, and visit vibrant Venice. Then whip up some healthy, homemade bruschetta.
Mix vegetable oil and liquid watercolor, then set up lights and engineer a bubble pump to build your very own bubble lamp. Plus, learn about the unique interaction between oil and water that makes lava lamps so lavable.
What’s even better than ooey-gooey slime? Slime that you can write on and slime that glows in the dark! Create chalkboard slime and doodle on it with chalkboard art markers. Then make a batch with glow powder to create glow-in-the-dark slime.
Make art with science! Engineer a spin art machine with a working motor. Then add some paint to make eye-catching art using centrifugal force!
Mix together chemical solutions to make your own fizzy, oozy slime that “erupts” like a volcano! A hands-on way to explore kid-friendly chemistry, acids and bases, and the science of polymers.