Montessori educational toys provide practice in all sorts of developmental skills and are very beneficial for small children. Montessori toys are very specifically designed to target specific skills for a child to work on.
In this list of our favorite Montessori toys for 1 year old, we’ve included 15 different educational toys that are helpful for your child’s development.
Our favorite in this list is the Lovevery Thinker Box. At a convenient subscription, you get a curated set of eight toys, which is a good option if you don’t know where to start.
- The Montessori Method
- How do Montessori Toys benefit my 1-year-old?
- Best Montessori Toys for 1 Year Olds
- 1. Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stacker
- 2. Stoie’s International Wooden Music Set
- 3. Lovevery Thinker Box Kit
- 4. Boley 12 Piece Safari Animal Set
- 5. MAGIFIRE Wooden Toddler Puzzles
- 6. Melissa & Doug Primary Lacing Beads
- 7. Walk-A-Long Puppy Wooden Pull Toy
- 8. Elite Montessori Coin Box
- 9. Pebble Pixie Rattle
- 10. Manhattan Toy Skwish Natural Rattle
- 11. Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set
- 12. ECR4Kids Soft Foam Climb and Slide
- 13. Tender Leaf Toys Stacking Garden Friends
- 14. Quiet Book for Kids – Interactive Felt Busy Book
- 15. Carrots Harvest Wooden Toy
- How to Choose the right Montessori toy for 1 year old
The Montessori Method
Montessori toys are inspired by the materials used in the Montessori method. Maria Montessori was a doctor and educator in the early 1900s who developed a method of teaching special needs children using their senses and hands-on materials.
Related: Montessori Toys for Babies – 12 Beneficial Toys for Babies’ Development Skills
The method has been used worldwide since then for educating not only special needs children but every child.
The Montessori method is based on the senses and self-directed activity. The method closely follows the developmental stages of the child and takes its cues from where the child is in his or her development.
Everything is age-appropriate and designed to allow the child to make creative and self-directed choices. Nearly everything in the Montessori method is hands-on and involves all of the senses in one way or another, since that is how small children learn.
Montessori-themed playrooms are arranged very specifically. Only 8-10 toys are put out at a time to avoid clutter and over-stimulation. The toys are placed on low shelves within the child’s reach so that the child can use them independently.
Further reading: Best Montessori Shelves
Each toy is carefully chosen to help with a specific developmental skill.
How do Montessori Toys benefit my 1-year-old?
Montessori learning toys for a 1 year old benefit your child in many ways. Studies have shown that certain household items and Montessori activities for 1 year olds are designed to develop the child’s motor skills.  The toys have features that exercise specific muscles in the child’s body.
Montessori toys are designed to be open-ended. That means the child can use the toys in a variety of different ways, not just for entertainment.
A set of blocks can be used to build towers, or create patterns, or build a city. There are endless options for open-ended toys.
Best Montessori Toys for 1 Year Olds
Note: Materials used in a Montessori classroom and “Montessori toys” are two different things. What we will be referring to in this article are Montessori-inspired toys rather than actual Montessori materials.
1. Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stacker
The Rainbow Stacker from Melissa and Doug encourages hours of unrestrained play. It’s made out of non-toxic wood and paint, and the bright colors are appealing to babies.
By playing with the rainbow stacker, babies can learn about colors as well as size relation. The rings can be stacked on the stand or separate from the stand.
- Sturdy design
- Non-toxic finish with zero harmful chemicals
- Fun, bright colors
- Best toys suitable for a variety of ages, a true Montessori home staple
- Good for color and size recognition
- Babies may be tempted to throw the wooden ball
- Paint may come off when cleaned
- EDUCATIONAL CLASSIC STACKER TODDLER TOY: The Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stacker Classic Toy features 8 smooth, easy-to-grasp wooden pieces to stack on a solid-wood rocking base.
- HIGH-QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: This wooden stacker toy is made from durable and child-safe materials, delivering exceptional quality and value—which makes it a top seller, as well as a childhood favorite.
- BRIGHTLY COLORED PIECES: This Melissa & Doug ring stacker features brightly colored and smoothly sanded pieces that help children build early shape, color, and size-differentiation skills.
2. Stoie’s International Wooden Music Set
Playing music has tons of great benefits for children of any age. Start your baby out early with musical instruments like this International Wooden Music Set.
The musical instruments set contains a tambourine, a castanet, a hand drum, hand bells, a maraca, a flute, a wooden block with a stick, a wood sounder with a stick, and chime bar.
- Durable wood construction
- Made from kid-friendly wood
- Handy storage bag
- 9 different instruments
- Introduces children to a variety of sounds
- May need supervision to avoid choking hazards
- Not suitable for chewing on
You may be interested in: Best Musical Toy for Baby
- Inspire Budding Musicians: Featuring 1 tambourine, 1 castanet, 1 hand drum, 2 hand bells, 1 maracas, 1 flute, 1 wooden block with stick, 1 wood sounder with stick and 1 chime bar with stick, our baby musical toys are a way to introduce kids to music!
- Explore Different Cultures: With 10 international wooden percussion instruments, our kids musical instruments set for toddler 3 and kids ages 3-5,5-9 takes on a trip around the world! By experiencing cultures, they become open-minded thinkers.
- Family Bonding Time: Our baby drum set fill your home with the sound of family fun! By playing with our musical instruments for kids ages 5-9, your kids develop collaborative skills. Our set of musical instruments for kids keeps family together.
3. Lovevery Thinker Box Kit
Lovevery has play kits for all sorts of ages, and the Thinker Box is designed for months 11-12. The kits are subscription-based and come every 2 months.
All of the Lovevery’s beautiful toys are made from sustainably-sourced wood, organic cotton fabric, and are completely safe for your baby.
If you find that your baby is ready to move on to the next level of play, check out The Block Set.
PS. Some of our personal favorite Montessori toys come from them too!
- Convenient subscription
- Each kit contains eight toys
- Each toy is carefully vetted for age-appropriateness
- Toddlers love the beautiful and well-made toys
- No need to frequently go shopping for toys
- You don’t get to choose which toys you get
- High quality, but slightly costly products
Lovevery Thinker Box Kit
- Enter your child’s birth date to find just the right Play Kit to start with
- Subscribe to The Play Kits starting at the right stage
- Receive a subscription box every 2-3 months
4. Boley 12 Piece Safari Animal Set
Vocabulary is an important skill, and toy animals as good developmental toys for one year olds, are one of the many ways to help expand your toddler’s vocabulary. 
This 12 piece Safari Animal Set has many different animals in adult and baby form so Monti kids can practice learning their names.
The animals are all very realistic, and include giraffes, rhinos, lions, tigers, zebras, and elephants.
- Good for language development
- Meets child safety standards
- Realistic figures
- Contains parent and baby animals
- May need adult supervision to avoid choking hazards
- Some legs of the figures may be uneven
- WHAT'S INSIDE: Boley's 12 Piece Safari Animal Set includes a diverse variety of safari animal figures, including giraffes, zebras, elephants, tigers, lions, rhinos, zebras, and more! This safari toy set is made of high-quality, durable plastic, so guarantee your child endless imaginative fun with this set that is built to withstand repeated rough play!
- PERFECT EDUCATIONAL TOY: Boley's 12 Piece Safari Animal Set is perfect for immersing your child into the diverse jungle safari world! Give your child a head start on vocabulary development by having them learn all the names and facts of the animals of the safari kingdom with the included pamphlet! This set makes an ideal birthday gift, party favor, or educational toy set!
- FUN SCIENCE LEARNING: This realistic safari animals set includes a colorful booklet with all kinds of information about all 12 animals, so your child can learn fun facts while having a great time!
5. MAGIFIRE Wooden Toddler Puzzles
Puzzles allow older children to develop concentration, spatial reasoning, shape recognition, hand-eye regulation, and much more. A set of easy puzzles like these Wooden Toddler Puzzles are a great start.
They’re simple, but will give your 1-year-old’s brain a challenging workout.
- Durable, safe wood construction
- Fun, bright colors
- Perfect size for baby’s hands
- Set of 6 multi shape puzzles that are great for language development
- Handy storage bag
- Slightly unrealistic images
- Pieces may be small
- Learning through play: This perfect toddler toy offering 6 eye-catching, colorful creatures for toddlers’ educational playtime. Ladybug, tortoise, teddy bear, butterfly, car and bee. Puzzle play helps wee ones begin to learn to concentrate
- Designed for enrichment: This set of puzzles offers vibrant colors and cute animals. Putting together the puzzles gives kiddos a chance to learn to identify colors, recognize shapes, and develop hand-eye coordination
- Sized right for toddlers: Each of the 6 puzzles in this set measures 5.7” wide x 5.7” tall. The colors are bright, and the pieces are chunky enough for little hands to manipulate. Every piece is too big for children to swallow
6. Melissa & Doug Primary Lacing Beads
Stringing beads is a good hand-eye harmonization activity for a small child. Melissa and Doug’s Primary Lacy Beads are bright and chunky, just right for little hands.
The holes are big enough to easily push the string through. The beads are five different shapes that are easy to hold and provide shape recognition.
- Low price
- Bright colors and shapes
- Comes with a storage box
- Sturdy wood construction
- Large enough not to be a choking hazard
- Little fingers can get stuck in the holes
- Insides of the holes can be rough
- BRIGHTLY COLORED WOODEN BEADS: The Melissa and Doug Primary Lacing Beads set is composed of 30 brightly colored wooden beads in a variety of shapes, 2 colorful laces, and a wooden storage case.
- EASY TO ASSEMBLE: Our wooden bead play set includes beads in five distinct shapes that are easy for little hands to grasp. The laces are thin enough to allow the beads to fit seamlessly.
- HELPS DEVELOP STRONG SKILLS: This Melissa and Doug kids beading set helps children develop strong fine motor, cognitive, and visual perception skills, while promoting hand-eye coordination.
7. Walk-A-Long Puppy Wooden Pull Toy
Similar to a baby push walker, pull toys can help with developing fine motor skills such as dexterity and hand-eye coordinating. A cute and fun pull toy can be this wooden dog from Hape.
Children can pull it along from the pull string or push it from behind. It has fun but simple colors that will be attractive to a one-year-old, and its tail wiggles when you pull it.
- No batteries needed
- Sturdy wooden design
- Imported from Germany
- Long, sturdy string
- Non-toxic paint finish
- Not the best toys in the durability department as the back wheels can be crooked
- TEACH YOUR PUPPY NEW TRICKS: This push toy is almost as loving as a real pup, your toddler will be able to make it sit, stand, roll and take it for walks
- DEVELOP FINE MOTOR SKILLS: Wooden pull toy promotes dexterity, hand eye coordination and manipulation
- ENCOURAGING ACTIVE PLAY: Sparks your little one’s imagination and creativity
8. Elite Montessori Coin Box
Object permanence boxes are used in Montessori classrooms to show children that dropped objects don’t disappear forever, and they help with hand-eye adaptation.
The coin bin is an extension of the first object permanence box, and it is slightly harder. Children drop the wooden coins into the slot at the top of the box, and then can find them in the drawer.
- Real Montessori material
- Sturdy design
- Simple design
- Made of all wood
- Helps with hand-eye synchronization
- Small coins can pose a choking hazard
- Only comes in one color
- 🌱By playing with this box babies and toddlers will not only learn about object permanence but will also develop and imrpove fine motor skills and hand-to-eye coordination.
- 🌱Development of refined movements (hand wrist and finger control).
- 🌱Size: Box - 5.8 x 5.8 x 4.25 inches; Coin - 1.75 inches diameter and 0.38" thick
9. Pebble Pixie Rattle
Pebble Pixie Rattles are based on the Waldorf method, which has some similarities to Montessori. These knitted cotton dolls are made with fun colors and have a rattle inside.
The dolls don’t have any expressions on their faces so that, in the style of Waldorf, children can project their own emotions onto the dolls, which creates more opportunities for open-ended play. 
- Made of 100% cotton yarn
- Soft and cuddly
- Fun colors
- Good for flexible and pretend play
- Come in a variety of skin colors
- Hand wash only
- Not strictly Montessori
Pebble Pixie Rattle
- Hand made, fair trade, naturally. Babies, young toddlers and children smile with wonder at the cute designs and quirky expressions
10. Manhattan Toy Skwish Natural Rattle
Manhattan Toy Company’s Skwish Natural is a great toy for teething as well as tactile, sensory play and development of fine motor skills.
The rattle is made out of rubberwood and elastic cords, and little children can bite, pull, squish, and rattle it, and will always return to its original shape.
- Multi-use toy
- Can be used for teething
- Covered with non-toxic finish
- Sturdy design
- Can be hard to clean
- Paint can come off if chewed
- MULTI-SENSORY WOODEN BABY RATTLE: Classic, multi-sensory wooden rattle encourages reaching and holding activity which are important for gross motor skill development; the lightweight wooden dowels, smooth finish, and elastic ties make it easy for little hands to grab and hold. Safety-rated for newborns and up, the Natural Skwish is carefully constructed of sustainable wood and features a smooth, un-dyed exterior surface.
- CAUSE AND EFFECT WOODEN TOY: The Skwish is surprisingly lightweight, allowing little ones the ease of sliding the wooden pieces back and forth on dowels, producing a very pleasing rattle sound and allowing baby to explore sound and learn cause and effect from activity.
- DEVELOPMENTAL BABY TOY: Skwish may not turn every baby into a mathematical genius, but every baby can joyfully benefit from its unique developmental features. The highly-regarded design of wood construction and elastic ties allow the unique rattle to flatten, or "squish", and always return to its original shape.
11. Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set
Every baby loves to play with sensory balls, and Infantino’s set of six textured multi balls can not only be fun for your little one, but they can give your baby a sensory experience.
Babies need and love to explore different textures (texture is a big part of baby Montessori), and it stimulates their sense of touch and helps them differentiate.
- Durable design
- Affordable price
- BPA-free plastic
- Good for teething
- Good for sensory play
- Moisture can get into the hole in the ball and cause mold
- Design: Easy-to-grab, bright and textured design for babies to develop tactile senses while having fun
- Developmental benefits: Soft and textured material featuring 6 varied sizes and shapes which encourages baby to reach, bat, grab and enjoy sensory play
- Great for gifting: This set is packaged in easy-to-wrap packaging and is a suitable gift for any occasion including baby showers, birthdays, Christmas, Easter and more
12. ECR4Kids Soft Foam Climb and Slide
Infant/toddler Montessori classrooms always have a ramp/stairs combo for children to practice their gross motor skills on. You can get the same effect with large soft foam shapes.
The 5-piece set comes with a variety of shapes that children can climb and crawl on as well as stack and carry. The shapes are lightweight and can easily be cleaned with soap and water.
- Fosters gross motor development
- Safe and lightweight
- Easily washable
- Non-slip bottoms
- Toddlers love the variety of different shapes available
- Take up a lot of room
- FUN FOAM ACTIVITY PLAY SET: Open-ended play set is designed to let infants and toddlers climb, crawl, and slide on a collection of five foam shapes
- MOTOR DEVELOPMENT: Allow little ones to develop important fine and gross motor skills such as lifting, stacking, and carrying as they move and play at home, at daycare, or in the classroom
- QUALITY MATERIALS: Constructed with CertiPUR-US Certified foams that are safe for your little ones, covered in a soft vegan leather and features a non-slip base for added stability
13. Tender Leaf Toys Stacking Garden Friends
Stacking objects helps children learn about balance and gravity as well as developing their fine motor skills. They can also learn logical thinking skills and have tons of imaginative play.
The Stacking Garden Friends features a simple wooden tree on which children can carefully stack the cute wooden animals and plants without knocking down the tree.
Gather some stickers, markers, and other art supplies then it’s a fun evening of artistic pretend play with new garden friends!
- Solid wood design with gentle colors
- Great ideas for pretend play
- Non-toxic paint
- Handy storage bag
- Fun for many ages
- Small pieces can pose a choking hazard
- Less realistic with no real life objects
Tender Leaf Toys Stacking Garden Friends
- Tender Leaf Toys was created by craftsmen and designers with the development of children’s skills and the replenishment of rubberwood forests at its heart.
- Awarded the ICTI seal of approval, Tender Leaf strives to maintain ethically high standards throughout our organization.
14. Quiet Book for Kids – Interactive Felt Busy Book
A quiet book like this interactive one can be a great practical life activity for your little Monti kids. The ten pages are full of important activities like shoe tying, zipping, number, shapes, and more.
The book is full of different textures and colors to stimulate children’s senses. It can be helpful to keep your little one occupied at home or on the road.
- Quiet fabric pages
- Lots of different activities
- Durable design
- Fine motor skills and practical life skills practice
- Perfect as one of the many Montessori inspired gifts during a holiday season
- Less realistic images with no real life mirroring
- Practical life items are images rather than real items
- ✓ DEVELOP LIFE SKILLS: Our Montessori quiet book, kids’ busy will help your children learn how to brush their teeth, tie shoelaces, fasten zippers, and remember numbers, shapes and much more!
- ✓ KIDS PLAY, PARENTS RELAX: Featuring 10 pages of vivid touch-and-feel details, this toddler quiet book, felt activity book can keep kids fully engaged for hours of quiet play and give you some quiet time, too!
- ✓ IDEAL FOR TRAVELING and FOR OUTDOORS: This carry-on fabric quiet book for toddlers will entertain your child on a long car journey or a plane ride, at a restaurant, in a doctor’s waiting room, in church or at an office.
15. Carrots Harvest Wooden Toy
Montessori classrooms always have an activity that teaches children about sizes. This carrots harvest toy is a fun way to learn about sizes in a similar way.
The wooden block has seven different-sized holes, and carrots that correspond in size. Since all of the carrots look the same except for their size, it can be a challenging activity to match them all up to their holes.
- Sturdy wood design
- Toddlers love the simple, attractive colors
- Good for fine motor skills
- Provides matching and sorting skills similar to that of a shape sorter
- Different textures for sensory stimulation
- Paint can come off when wet
- Smallest carrot can pose a choking hazard
- Safe Material: Made of New Zealand natural pine wood with water based paint. Non-toxic, smoothly surface. 100% safe for your baby. NOTICE： Please wipe clean the toy with mild detergent and damp cloth. Do not put it into water as the water may soak into the wood and make the paint peel. Avoid sun exposure.
- Sorting Game: Your baby will need to recognize the size of carrots to put them back to the slot.
- Developmental Benefits: While playing with this wooden toy, your little one is also developing fine motor skill, hand-eye coordination, shape recognition and dexterity.
How to Choose the right Montessori toy for 1 year old
Whether you’re buying Montessori gifts for a 1 year old you know, or homeschooling activities for your child, the right Montessori toys for a 1 year old can enrich your child’s experience as they mature.
While something might be hard for your 1-year-old to use at first, they will gradually get better at it and they will feel very fulfilled when they master a skill. 
When you’re choosing a Montessori toy for your 1-year-old, look for the following criteria:
Natural Materials. Toys should be made out of safe, natural, and non-toxic materials.
Engaging. Toys should provide open-ended creative play rather than just entertaining.
Stimulating. Choose motor skills toys for 1-year-olds that stimulate their senses and their fine motor skills.
Practical learning. Practical learning is a big part of Montessori. Choose toys that allow children to learn to take care of themselves and do everyday things in their environment.
Good thing is that Montessori 12 months onwards or Montessori school at around 16 months, focuses a lot more on practical skills!
Color, Texture, Shape. Toys should have colors, textures, and shapes that engage a child’s senses. Follow your child’s interests and let the child learn plus discover through playing!
Here’s some great ideas on what a Montessori Playroom looks like (toys included!):
Do Montessori toys have to be wooden?
Fine motor toys for 1 year old babies don’t always have to be made out of wood, but they should be as natural-looking as possible and not use a lot of plastic and garish colors.
This is especially important if it’s your first year of trying out Montessori with your year old baby!
Can I introduce Montessori toys to children younger than 12 months?
Montessori toys can be introduced to children from birth! It’s never too early to start working on fine motor skills and practical life skills. Montessori classrooms start at infant/ young toddlers stage.
Further reading: Best Montessori Toys for Toddlers
Are Montessori toys safe for 1-year-old children?
It depends on the toy. If it is designed to be used by a 1-year-old child, it most likely will be safe for them to use.
If there are small parts that can pose a choking hazard, just make sure to supervise when your child is using the toy.
Are Montessori toys worth it?
A common question about Montessori toys is whether they are worth it.
Some people believe that the cost of the toys makes them not worth it while others believe that they are worth it.
We are going to discuss some of the pros and cons to see if these toys are worth it.
The pros are that kids learn more with Montessori toys as they will be able to explore for a longer period of time. Children can spend more time focusing on physical and mental growth (language development for example) and less time playing video games.
It’s also been suggested that the reason why so many children enjoy Montessori toys is because they are able to explore them at their own pace. This means that they don’t get frustrated and throw tantrums (hitting head with hand for example), when they can’t figure out how to play with them.
The cons are that some kids might not be interested to play with them. These toys, (say Lovevery The Block Set), usually also come with a higher price tag, and you have to buy all the right materials for it to work properly.
Ultimately, if you want your child’s learning process to be more hands on or if you don’t want your child to become a passive learner, a Montessori school or toys may be a good option.
This list of toys is just a starting point – there are hundreds of amazing favorite Montessori toys available. But if you’re new to Montessori toys, hopefully this list helps you begin.
If even this list is a lot, a great choice is the Lovevery Thinker Box, since it comes with a variety of age-appropriate toys. Not only that, each toy is carefully created to fulfill Montessori ideals.
What are some great ideas of toys that you love for your Montessori one-year-old? Feel free to tell us in the comments below.
Last update on 2023-03-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API