Skip to main content

Montessori First Puzzles

Puzzles are a great toy option for young children for a variety of reasons. Not only do many children find them interesting, they speak to a young child's need for order, are self-correcting, and promote logical thinking skills. Puzzles help children learn to concentrate and teach language. But, there are a lot of different puzzles on the market. It can be difficult to know what will work for your child and where to start.

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

In Montessori we always want to isolate concepts as much as possible when introducing things to our children. We want to start as simple as possible and then add additional information or skills. This includes puzzles. First we need to introduce what a puzzle is and how it is completed. But, we need to do it in a way that allows a child to be successful. So, with babies and young toddlers we start with simple single-shape puzzles. With just a single piece, babies can learn the object of in and out without needing to also sort between multiple shapes. 

Single Shape Puzzles: Option 1 | Option 2 | Option 3

In our house, single shape puzzles are introduced around 10 months. I start with the simplest piece to take in and out - the circle. Then, once that was mastered, I introduced a square and then the triangle. These were all done in isolation - so one at a time - so that Teddy could get used to each shape. 

The second type of puzzle is the kind that Teddy has in these pictures - a simple 3 shape puzzle. Ours happens to be a vintage one I found at a thrift sale, but there are lots of similar Montessori options on the market. I move to this one next for three reasons. One, it's the same shapes as the single shape puzzles. Two, the color matching aspect helps to make this puzzle just a bit easier as a young toddler is sorting shapes. Three, it's easier to sort when all the shapes are right next to each other on the same board.

3-piece Shape Puzzle: Option 1 | Option 2 | Option 3

However, many of the more traditional Montessori options will not have the additional "help" of the color matching. For those puzzles, though, the pieces stay the same color as the single shape option. The other benefits remain the same. 

At 14-months, Teddy is just starting to really understand and enjoy this puzzle. He can get the shapes some of the time, isn't too frustrated with it, and returns to it often. I anticipate that he will use this puzzle for a little while longer before I take out the single shape puzzles again. 

Thats, right! The third puzzle I will introduce for him will be the single shapes, but this time mixed together. So he will have to lay the bases out, and sort through the shapes. It will be just that one more little added step in his puzzle journey. I bet that will happen sometime in the next few weeks. I'll start with two shapes and work up to 4 as he shows interest and readiness. 

And, that's it! Those two puzzles will take Teddy up to 15-16 months, depending on his interest. Beyond that, I have additional chunky knobbed puzzles with 3 or 5 pieces that we will rotate in once he has figured these simple shapes out. 

A look at the first puzzles to introduce to Montessori babies and toddlers. These simple, fun options are perfect to support a child's development.

Does your baby or toddler enjoy puzzles? Which do you start with?


Dee said…
Thank you for the post, I have been really confused about how to introduce puzzles. Please do share when you move on the chunky knobbed puzzles.

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2020

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2020 UPDATE: This list is updated for another year! Enjoy a variety of Montessori friendly finds from both major retailers and smaller shops!  So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, but only works for classroom settings. While there are many works that I recommend for home school use, you won't find these

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return.  That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains,  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. "A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables

Our Kids' Montessori Gift Lists 2020

With the holiday season upon us we've been making lists and gathering gifts for the Kavanaugh children. It's always a fun process of observing my children, seeing what they would really be interested in and making some decisions based on what I see. This year is different because I'm also making decisions knowing that we are looking at a very long and quiet winter ahead. So that's influencing the amount I will buy and the specific choices I will/have made.  Henry and Nora are also at the point, being into the second plane of development, where they heavily influence the items on the list and what is ultimately purchased. So, you'll see that while Montessori influences what I will purchase and what goes on their list, so does their own preferences and personality.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore Teddy is 14-months-old right now and as the fourth baby, we have so many toddler things. But, there are a few things I've still found tha