16 Best Montessori-Inspired Educational Toys of 2012

Posted by

16 Best Montessori-Inspired Educational Toys of 2012

MontessoriToys.com now features reviews of over 500 Montessori-inspired activities and educational toys! While we’re thrilled to share so many great educational ideas, we also realize that it’s starting to be difficult for people to find the very best educational toys and reviews. With Christmas right around the corner, we know many parents are hoping to give Christmas gifts that support their child’s learning and development

To remedy this issue, Montessori Matt has prepared a list of all award-winning educational toys of 2012 for parents looking to support their child’s learning and development according to Maria Montessori’s inspired philosophy of hands-on independent learning. Please let us know if you find this list helpful, and we’ll consider making awards for the best Montessori Toys to be a regular thing!

Crystal Mining Kit

Recommended Age: 5-11 years

Sometimes the Montessori approach to hands-on real-world activities needs to be fudged a little bit. Do you really want to send your kids to a mine? Try this Crystal Mining Kit instead: eight real crystals (quartz, agate, dolomite, amethyst, and rose quartz) are embedded in a “cliff” of plaster, and your budding miner will need to go to work with the included tool to get them out. Such a fun way to get kids interested in rocks and geology!



Hape Alphabet Abacus

Recommended Age: 3 – 5 years

Hape is another excellent toy company which can be counted upon to provide products that are high-quality, non-toxic, and environmentally-friendly, though some of their products are manufactured in China to keep costs low. This is a large and very colorful alphabet abacus to teach your children letters and numbers (1- 10) in an interactive Montessori style. Made of solid Baltic Birch, Maple, and Rubberwood with a non-toxic finish.



Weather Station Kit

Recommended Age: 8 – 15 years

What could be more timely than learning about climate science? If you happen to have your own anemometer, rain gauge, wind vane, and terrarium, you can do some of these experiments on your own. But buying the kit will give you everything in one convenient package, along with instructions on simulating and understanding the greenhouse effect.

For the science loving kids, also check out the Magic Science Kit for Wizards



FP Brilliant Basics Stack & Roll Cups

Recommended Age: 6 months – 4 years

Though we generally prefer to avoid plastic toys (Montessori emphasizes quality natural materials), you can’t deny that this set offers a lot of toy for the buck. The varying shapes and textures combine in endless ways to create a lot more fun than it might seem at first glance. Helps develop motor skills, colors, and sorting.




Shape Sorting Clock

Recommended Age: 3-5 years

Leave it to Melissa and Doug to combine two great learning activities, making learning time so much more fun by engaging the tactile senses, turning an abstract concept like time into something concrete (shapes).




Melissa & Doug Shape Sequence Sorting Set

Recommended Age: 3 – 7 years

Sorting objects into groups provides the foundation for learning mathematical concepts in the Montessori style. Boldly colored wooden blocks and a great price make this one a no-brainer.




Melissa & Doug Architectural Unit Wooden Blocks

Recommended Age: 3 years and up

You just can’t beat high-quality wooden blocks for a toy that will provide years of fun while teaching children of all ages spatial reasoning, structural engineering, and architecture. This set includes 44 smooth-sanded hardwood blocks in a natural finish, along with a wooden storage crate. Sure, you could get some plastic piece of junk for cheaper, but these blocks will last forever. When your kids are done with them, you can pass them on to your grandkids.



Kaplan Montessori Sorting Box

Recommended Age: 3 – 7 years

This Montessori Sorting Box from Kaplan is the same as what you’ll find in every great Montessori classroom from Alabama to Zimbabwe. Helps kids learn numbers, colors, and shapes, and includes over 70 tiles.




Base Ten Number Concepts Set

Recommended Age: 5 – 10 years

Though we’d love to find an equivalent set made of wood (this one is plastic), this one is a great value and includes everything you need to teach more advanced mathematical concepts like place value, equivalent value, or rounding. Includes 100 cubes, 20 rods, 10 flats, one block, and an activity sheet.




Kids in the Kitchen Book

Recommended Age: 4-9 years

Montessori moms understand very well that children love to get involved in the world of “adult work”, including helping out in the kitchen. This new book includes everything you need to help turn time in the kitchen into a safe, kid-friendly, and educational quality time: an overview of the benefits of cooking with children, the details of making your kitchen kid-friendly, sequenced beginner skills to prepare your young child for cooking, and ten tried-and-true pictorial recipes.



Natural Skwish Rattle

Recommended Age: 3 months – 2 years

Sure, you could buy a bunch of plastic rattles that are made in China and likely to fall apart within a few months… Or, you could buy one high-quality non-toxic natural wood rattle, with an ingenious shape that will develop baby’s motor skills and keep her entertained for hours!




Haba Play Tent Caro-Lini

Recommended Age: 1 – 10 years

Haba is a German company that makes many high-quality environmentally-friendly products. This play tent looks like something a medieval princess might inhabit, and makes a great home base for storytelling and other activities!




Haba Ball Track Construction Set

Recommended Age: 3 – 9 years

What could be more fun than a set of quality wooden building blocks? How about a set that includes a marble run?! What I love about these blocks is that they can combined with your existing wooden building blocks, as well as a number of fun accessories like a sound staircase, tilting bucket, and even a ski jump! We’ve had a great time building ever more elaborate tracks all around the house.



Magica Rattle

Recommended Age: 6 months – 4 years

Colorful balls are attached by slightly elastic cords that allow them to be rearranged into endless shapes. As it’s made in Germany by Haba, you can feel comfortable that it is high-quality and non-toxic, crucial for something that babies love to put in their mouths.




Elenco Snap Circuits Jr.

Recommended Age: 8 years and up

Maria Montessori may not have envisioned children needing to learn about electronics, but if she lived today, we’re certain she would approve of this hands-on approach to learning what is fast becoming an essential skill in today’s technology-driven society. This kit lets kids create real electronics by snapping together the various pieces. It’s a modern version of the old breadboard system which required messing around with dozens of tiny wires that quickly got messy. One of the most decorated new educational toys of the year, winning numerous awards including the National Parenting Center-Seal of Approval, Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products, and Dr. Toy Best Educational Products.


Teaching Cash Register

Recommended Age: 3 – 9 years

Encourage your budding entrepreneur with this talking cash register, which teaches basic math and money skills through four featured games. Another award-winning toy, accolades include a Gold Award from National Parenting Publications and an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award.




Montessori Matt

About Montessori Matt

I'm convinced the Montessori Method is the best way to support learning and development in children. So I started MontessoriToys.com to help parents find fun, creative Montessori activities they can do with their children right at home, using Montessori toys and other Montessori materials you can buy online for a fraction of the cost of Montessori school tuition.


Leave a Comment