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October 14, 2019

Montessori Friendly Alternatives to Popular Baby Toys

It’s that time again! Time to find some Montessori alternatives to popular toys. This time I’m focusing on baby toys. This list was a fun one to make since one of my best friends, Amy from Midwest Montessori, was here this weekend and we did it together. There are some truly overwhelming options out there, but the good news is there are also lots of Montessori friendly alternatives for the same or similar price! 

Looking for others in this series:

We randomly picked 10 of the most popular baby items given as gifts on Amazon, Then, we found a Montessori friendly alternative! Here’s some that we found.
Montessori friendly alternatives to popular baby toys

The traditional option here isn't Montessori friendly because it is just too busy. It is trying to do too much, teaching concepts that aren't appropriate for a baby. It's also not realistic. A simple pull toy, on the other hand, is a great way to engage new movements. 

100 Words Book instead try the DK 100 Word Book

Again, the traditional set here is just way too busy. A baby's engagement with this is passive, where a baby is just hitting a button to "learn." The images are also unrealistic. The 100 words book includes real pictures, much less text, and is much less passive.

The traditional option here is trying to teach the alphabet, plus songs, plus visual tracking and the motion of spinning. It's again way too much for a small baby. Plus the concepts are just not something babies need, nor is it a concrete way to learn. A simple spinning toy is a great visual and movement option that many babies love. Typically Montessori environments would have a glitter drum, but it is much more expensive, this simple spinner, while a bit less sturdy seems like a great alternative at this price. 

Montessori friendly alternatives to popular baby toys
Squirting Bath Toys instead try the  Clown Fish 

The traditional option here is a set of squirting bath toys. While these aren't the worst things on this list, they aren't a very realistic option and promote commercialized/marketed products. A simple animal model (this is a bit larger for babies), is a fun way to engage in learning about fish and water play. 

This scooter literally does it all, I'm overstimulated looking at it. It is doing so so much. It doesn't isolate any one concept, it teaches inappropriate concepts, and is just so so busy. Instead, the simple design of the other scooter focuses on gross motor movement, while allowing for growth later on. 

Hedgehog Pegging Toy instead try the Pop Up Toy

This traditional toy is just unrealistic. The pegging skill is very attractive to babies and toddlers, but by keeping it simple the skill is isolated and more easily learned.

Montessori friendly alternatives to popular baby toys

Stuffed animals are a really nice toy for babies, they are cuddly and fun. But the traditional toy, is again just taking it one step too far. Teaching too much, "teaching" things that are inappropriate all while being unrealistic. A simple, realistic, stuffed animal is a great alternative.

This traditional option plays the sound of an instrument when a button is pushed. It doesn't help a baby learn how a real instrument sounds, looks, or feels. It's passive and meant simply to grab a baby's attention for a moment. Instead a real instrument allows a baby to connect movement to the sound and really hear beautiful sounds.

Wiggle and Crawl Ball instead try the Large O-Ball 

The traditional option is literally all about trying to entertain a child. Even in its description it says it is trying to "attract your baby's attention." In Montessori we know that a baby can deeply concentrate when given the opportunity, this has so much going on that concentration and attention are very short lived. A nice larger rolling ball is a great way to allow a baby to be an active participant in play and connect movement of their bodies to movement in objects.

Soft Cars instead try the Kid-O Car

The soft cars are a bit busy and unrealistic for a Montessori environment. They aren't the worst toys on this list, but there are good alternatives available. This plastic car is a good alternative because its design allows even young crawling babies to grab and push it along. If you want a natural materials option, this car is another great option for babies.

Montessori friendly alternatives to popular baby toys

Do you have any of these toys? 

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Anonymous said…
This is awesome! Thank you so much for this.