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My Favorite Montessori Toys for 1 Year Olds


One-year-olds are explorers. They are constantly discovering new things and figuring out how everything works. That’s why Montessori education is so perfect for them – it encourages their natural curiosity and exploration.

But even if you’re not homeschooling your one-year-old, you can still bring some Montessori learning into your home with fun and educational toys. Here are my top picks for the best Montessori toys for 1-year-olds!

Montessori is a lifestyle that begins before a child is even born. A family can set up a Montessori home early and start living the Montessori ideals easily and organically. Montessori toys for a one-year-old are a real thing, alive & well. This post includes the best Montessori toys for 1-year-old boys and girls. 

The Best Montessori Toys for a One-Year-Old

Best Montessori Toys for 1-Year-Olds

According to the CDC, a typically developing one-year-old should meet the following criteria:

Social and Emotional

  • Is shy or nervous with strangers
  • Cries when mom or dad leaves
  • Has favorite things and people
  • Shows fear in some situations
  • Hands you a book when he wants to hear a story
  • Repeats sounds or actions to get attention
  • Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing
  • Plays games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”


  • Responds to simple spoken requests
  • Uses simple gestures, like shaking head “no” or waving “bye-bye”
  • Makes sounds with changes in tone (sounds more like speech)
  • Says “mama” and “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh!”
  • Tries to say words you say

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Explores things in different ways, like shaking, banging, throwing
  • Finds hidden things easily
  • Looks at the right picture or thing when it’s named
  • Copies gestures
  • Starts to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup & brushes hair
  • Bangs two things together
  • Puts things in a container, takes things out of a container
  • Lets things go without help
  • Pokes with index (pointer) finger
  • Follows simple directions like “pick up the toy”

Movement/Physical Development

  • Gets to a sitting position without help
  • Pulls up to stand, walks holding on to furniture (“cruising”)
  • May take a few steps without holding on
  • May stand alone

Read more about the milestones of a one-year-old

If you have any concerns with these milestones, definitely consult your pediatrician.  These guidelines are – guidelines – and it is likely that a child falls a bit short or exceeds several of these milestones. Honor that uniqueness in his development.

one year old boy playing with a rock

Educational Montessori Toys for 1-Year-Olds

I love this list of toys for one-year-olds because I curated it with love and experiential learning with my boys. I hope you get great ideas for your family! A great part about this list of toys is that many lend to solitary play, a natural part of a child’s development. Self-directed play is a big milestone and an exciting one to observe!

DIY Montessori Activities for One-Year-Olds

Montessori Outdoor Activities

Montessori Infant Activities in Nature

There is no better way for a child to learn than in the outdoors. This post outlines a variety of outdoor activities & toys for infants & 1-year-olds.

Montessori Toys - Sound Boxes

DIY Sound Boxes – Infant & Toddler Sensory

Super easy multi-sensory DIY toy for infants using materials from around the home.

DIY Montessori Toys for Babies - Unique Sensory Bottle Ideas

Sensory Activities for Babies: Sensory Bottles

These sensory bottles are the gift that keeps on giving. You might need to purchase a few plastic bottles but the other materials for these toys for your 1 year old should be readily available.

Montessori Toys for Babies

Building Toys for One-Year-Olds

Foam Stacking Blocks for Babies

Soft Foam Building Blocks

1-year-olds find all sorts of way to use these soft building blocks. My favorite part of these blocks, honestly, is the color tone.

Montessori Toys - Sensory Balls

Sensory Balls

This product comes in handy for years and years beginning with sensory development & play. Later in development, there is a chance these sensory balls will help your child with any emotional dysregulation such as anxiety.

Montessori Toys - Rainbow Stackers

Rainbow Stackers

I love this product because not only is it an amazing and effective learning material, it is also beautiful. Thus, this material adds vibrancy to any learning space.

Books for One-Year-Olds

Montessori Toys - My Big Animal Book

My Big Animal Book

All three of my boys adored this book. My favorite part of this children’s book is that the images are of real objects. There are no confusing cartoons or illustrations.

Large Motor Toys for One-Year-Olds

Play Slide & Climb for Home and the Classroom

Play Climb & Slide

These slides are ideal because one-year-olds are movers and shakers, exploring and developing their proprioceptive sense.

Wooden Playhouse

Wooden Playhouse

This cube works wonders for children needing a bit of alone time. Perfect for a cozy read or to explore with gross motor skills.

Small Motor Toys for One-Year-Olds

Multiple Shape Puzzle

Multiple Shape Puzzle

Work fine motor skills with this puzzle perfect for sensorial.

Cylinder Socket Blocks

Cylinder Socket Blocks

Get your one-year-old ready for Knobbed Cylinders in the primary classroom setting.

Imaginative Toys for One-Year-Olds

Animal Figurines for Learning

Figurines of any kind are essential in learning environments from baby on up to elementary aged kids. I prefer this brand!

Wooden Food for Pretend Play

Magnetic Wooden Food

Pretend play is somewhat of a controversial topic in Montessori land. However, I believe it belongs in a Montessori learning space, especially at home. Kids mimic real-life activities, work on vocabulary, and work on developing fine motor skills.

Human Figurines

Human Figurines of Diverse Abilities

This set of figurines is perfect to introduce to children at a very young age. Later on, Montessori anti-bias lessons include these figurines as a way to teach children about community and varying abilities within that community.

Outdoor Toys for One-Year-Olds

Gardening Tools for Kids

Gardening Tools for Kids

You guys know that I am obsessed with gardening with kids (heck, I wrote a book about the topic!). This set of gardening tools is our preferred set!

Galvanized Buckets

Galvanized Buckets

Ideal for storage, organization, gathering, and playing, these buckets will satisfy pretty much your every need! Super sturdy, too!

Baby Doll for Learning

Baby Doll

How adorable is this baby doll? Kids can work on practical life skills with bathing and caring for a baby.

DIY Quiet Activity Book

Quiet Activity Book

Quiet books were always a huge hit for my boys, especially on car and plane rides. There are many easy DIY quiet activity books out there. So, be sure to do a bit of research before spending the money.

I hope you enjoyed these ideas for toys for the one-year-old in your life! You might also want to check out:

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