Some may call them the terrible twos, but this age is a very important time in your child’s development. Most 2-year-olds can walk independently, have developed communication skills, and have an overall better understanding of their existence and surroundings. All of this makes two the perfect time to start your child’s learning with the Montessori philosophy.
Whether you just decided to introduce your 2-year-old to Montessori or you want to continue the education that you started in infancy, using the right toys will enhance your child’s Montessori learning and benefit their overall development.
Keep reading to learn the benefits of introducing Montessori philosophy to your 2-year-old, and find out what the best Montessori toys for 2-year-olds are to keep your child’s busy mind moving.
Why Introduce Montessori to 2 Year Olds?
Although it may seem early to some to start educating your child, two is the perfect age to start your child’s Montessori education. Many parents begin their children’s Montessori education at age 2 ½ when they enter pre-school. However, you don’t necessarily need to wait those extra six months. You can start your child’s education at home with a few simple toys.
At two years old, children usually have an increased awareness that they are separate from others. You want to choose toys that foster this learning and help your toddler further understand the concept of individuality.
Children also begin having a more thorough understanding of reality at this age. As a result, they show more interest in participating in real-life activities. You’ll notice them mimic you while you’re doing chores or on a phone call. This mimicry is great for their development and is what Montessori learning is all about.
If you started your child off with Montessori learning when they were an infant, make sure that their learning is evolving with their age. Keep updating their toys as they grow. This is important for several reasons:
- Children need continuous challenges. If they get bored with one of their toys, then they probably can’t learn anything else from them. This prevents your child from further developing their skills, and they may lose interest in learning altogether.
- At each age, a child enters a different stage in their life. In each stage, they develop different skills and learn more about real-world concepts. Although Montessori toys are simple, the toys you choose should evolve with your child.
What Kind of Montessori Toys Should 2-Year-Olds Use?
You must understand what a Montessori toy is if you’re going to pick the best one for your 2-year-old to use. That said, there are no specific Montessori toys, but toys that adhere to this learning philosophy all have a few characteristics in common.
Montessori toys should follow a few basic principles:
- They should be simple without distracting decorations and should promote independence.
- They should be functional and purpose-driven.
- They should focus on developing a single skill (at a time).
- They should preferably use natural materials (wood, metal, etc.) and not plastic.
Furthermore, under Montessori philosophy, your child should have limited choices when it comes to toys. Too many will overwhelm and dissatisfy them, causing them to jump from one toy to another without really understanding its purpose.
It may seem like these characteristics eliminate every standard children’s toy that you can think of at the toy store, but several toy options follow these rules and make great toys for your 2-year-old’s learning.
Here are the best kinds of Montessori toys for 2-year-olds.
Two-year-olds love playing games that involve matching, sorting, and categorizing. These types of toys keep your busy toddler’s hands engaged.
You can have your toddler categorize objects by color, sort them by size, and even match shapes. All of these activities get your child’s brain working and keep them occupied with their hands.
These types of toys include:
- Visual cards.
- Sorting blocks.
Cause and Effect Toys
Cause and effect are some of the main themes of Montessori teaching and an important one for your toddler to learn. The concept of one action causing another to happen that your child will be able to apply to further teachings as they continue to learn.
Toys that require your child to push or pull are a great example of cause and effect Montessori toys.
Toys That Reflect Real-Life Activities
As mentioned, 2-year-olds have more of an interest in participating in real-life activities. You’ll often see your 2-year-old mimic some of the activities that you do, such as:
- Cleaning around the house.
- Cooking dinner.
- Pouring a glass of water.
- Yard work outside.
Luckily, you’ll find a type of educational toy that helps your 2-year-old mimic almost any activity that you do. Not only will they be given a mini set of tools that look like yours, but they’ll also be able to learn how they work alongside you.
Now that you know the different types of toys you can use for Montessori learning, let’s look at the top Montessori toys for your 2-year-old to play with.
Top 5 Montessori Toys for 2 Year Olds
Choosing the right Montessori playroom toys that fit your 2-year-old’s way of learning is what will either make or break their education. You want to choose toys that inspire their curiosity without frustrating them.
To get you started, here are the top 5 Montessori toys for 2-year-olds.
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Pound-A-Peg Toy With Hammer
Hammer toys are one of the best Montessori toys for toddlers because they often are in the hitting stage at this age.
If you find that your child is hitting other toys, objects, or even people, redirect their swing with this Wooden Pound-A-Peg Toy with Hammer. Your child will be swinging either way, but having a hammering activity provides them with a healthy outlet for this urge.
This cause-and-effect activity will help your toddler develop multiple skills, such as motor skills, object permanence, and color recognition. Your child will enjoy watching the pegs go up and down while having all of the control.
Big Shape Sorter Toys
If you think your 2-year-old is up for a challenge, get them started on this big shape sorter box toy from QZMTOY. It’s a simple activity but will test your child’s memory and perseverance with the number of shapes that it includes.
This sorting toy is a classic Montessori activity that will get your little one’s mind working. This solid wood toy comes with 19 different geometric shapes for your toddler to sort. This encourages the development of:
- Problem-solving skills.
- Shape and color recognition.
- Fine motor skills.
You may find that some of the shapes are tough for your 2-year-old at first, but have patience as they will eventually figure them all out.
To make the shape sorter simpler, you can consider removing some of the more complicated shapes until they’ve mastered them, and taping over some of the openings.
Wooden Balance Board
Although Montessori toys should help your child work on one skill at a time, some of the best toys are versatile and could have multiple uses for your child to discover. The wooden balance board from The Little Dove is one of those toys.
The wooden balance board is not only versatile, but it’s also functional. It will teach your child movements and uses that apply to everyday life. Other than being a balance board, it has a large list of applications, including:
- Stepping stone
- Lounge chair
The benefits of this board don’t just stop at its versatility. It also stimulates your child’s vestibular system, which means it helps them control balance and eye movements. It also supports the muscles that are responsible for correct posture. Related: Best Montessori Balance Boards for Toddlers
With so many uses, this wooden balance board will keep your child’s mind working for years, and the age of 2 is the perfect time to introduce it to their lives.
Learning Resources Farmer’s Market Color Sorting Set
This toy lets your child participate in a sorting game that reflects real life. This Farmer’s Market sorting set will help your child with:
- Color recognition.
- Sorting shapes.
- Recognizing fruits.
This toy included 25 fruits in five different colors, five different baskets, and stickers for labeling. This toy features bushels of realistic-looking fruit and respective baskets to place them in.
Although your young toddler most likely can’t read yet, the color of the labels on the baskets matches the color of the fruit, giving your child an additional challenge. When they feel comfortable with the colors and sorting, you can also work with your child by teaching them the names of the different fruits. They can even use the fruit to live out their own pretend play scenarios. The learning opportunities with this toy fruit collection are virtually endless.
Toddler Musical Instruments
As with other learning activities, when it comes to music, Montessori’s philosophy is that a child’s musical development should also be self-directed with guidance and support from a teacher.
Presenting your child with musical instruments early not only aids in their auditory development, but also lets them develop their own understanding of music. These natural wooden instruments are the perfect way to start your child’s musical education.
This instrument set includes:
- A xylophone.
These instruments will foster your child’s musical sensitivity, creativity, and hand-eye coordination. So as not to overwhelm your 2-year-old, you may want to only give them a couple of instruments at a time so that they can focus and take advantage of all the lessons that instrument has to offer. As they grow older, encourage them to further explore these instruments in collaboration.
Choosing Montessori Toys for 2-Year-Olds
Two-year-olds are curious and excited by the world, causing them to develop their own perspective of it and become individuals. 2-year-olds also love toys, so giving them the right toys to play with is a great way to focus their learning and encourage their creativity. Montessori toys should encourage your child to continue to develop their own concept of the world.
Whether you’re looking to introduce more real-world concepts to your child or want them to work on certain skills, there’s a Montessori toy out there to help foster your 2-year-old’s learning and help them gain confidence in themselves.