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Let’s face it. A lot of toys these days are all flash and no substance. That’s why I use the Montessori method as my guidepost for selecting toys for every age and stage. Today we’re scoping out the best Montessori toys for 2 year old toddlers.
We’ll use the Montessori perspective on early child development to select toys that are both educational and engaging for your 2 year old’s busy body and brain. Let’s dive in!
How Montessori Toys and Activities Support a Toddler’s Growing Desire for Autonomy
To put it kindly, two year olds have an unfair reputation for being a handful.
Children still require lots of hands-on care and attention at this age, but now, in addition to all that, you have to gain their buy-in. Cooperation is no longer guaranteed nor given readily.
It’s the start of a lifelong journey to self-discovery, and as a mom, it gives me all the feels.
Montessori acknowledges these unique learning trajectories. The Montessori method helps children grow emotionally, socially, and physically at their own pace.
Montessori toys are designed to be picked up and played with independently, allowing children to decide when and how they are used. They teach the skills required for independence and for contributing to a team.
How Are Montessori Toys Different From Regular Toys?
Instead of “toys” in the modern sense, Dr. Montessori designed special activities using child-sized tools as well as the natural materials (wood, cloth, metal, etc.) available to her. The activities taught practical skills from sewing to mathematics.
Modern Montessori toys are in the spirit of these special activities.
Unlike the heavily branded toys in most toy stores today, Montessori toys are simple and practical.
Many are functional, child-sized versions of everyday objects while others focus on isolating a very specific skill.
Montessori Toys For 2 Year Old Toddlers: Language Learning
Children show rapid mastery of basic grammar, everyday vocabulary, and even begin to “ad lib” rather than simply repeat phrases. It’s so much fun!
In this pre-writing and pre-reading phase of language absorption, it’s all about having fun with sounds, learning new words, and maybe a tiny bit of exposure to the alphabet.
Decorate your child’s wall with a giant alphabet using these affordable, printable coloring pages.
Offer these pages to your little one to color and personalize. Remember, in Montessori, the sounds of the letters are more important at this age than the name of each letter.
Introduce your child to the richness of sounds in the English language with this versatile phonics matching game. We love the sweet, storybook style illustrations!
This set is available in print and cursive and includes 129 color vibrant images carefully chosen to help kids practice phonetic sounds.
Bob Books are some of the most beloved phonics books for early readers. They’re used up to age five or whenever your child starts independent reading.
With simple and repetitive stories, these books are perfect for emphasizing sounds in different words.
4. HABA Orchard Game (And Other Board Games!)
Action words play a major role in language mastery, but they are far more abstract for toddlers to learn than the names of objects or people. It’s best if they see the action while naming it.
Board games like these provide opportunities for using action words in conjunction with the action they’re describing. Draw a card. Take a token. Pass the dice. Skip a turn.
Another great way to learn new action words is family charades! This set is no words, all pictures so even your smallest player can join in.
Be prepared for hilarious toddler acting!
Montessori Toys For 2 Year Old Toddlers: Fine Motor Skills
We already know two year olds are world-class sprinters. I’ve full-body tackled my breakaway son many times. (Once in a fancy restaurant wearing a dress!)
It might surprise you that children this age are equally interested in refined and delicate movements.
Whether it’s lining up a row of miniature cars or pouring water to the very top of a glass, practical fine motor skills (and toys they can use to practice them) are their latest obsession.
My son loves this puzzle set. With sturdy, easy to hold pieces and vivid colors, he spends hours getting each piece aligned just right.
Once your child has mastered this simple matching puzzle, try a 3-piece puzzle. Keep building from there!
This fully functional, plastic beaker and cylinder chemistry set is ideal for little hands who wish to practice pouring liquids.
Equip your kiddo with the tools they need to truly assist you in the kitchen. Two year olds love to help and are way more invested in the process than the final product at this age.
Invite them to stir, whisk, roll, pour, and dump ingredients for cookies, cake pops, and all sorts of tasty treats.
It’s routine in Montessori circles to start using scissors at a young age (with supervision), but toddlers often struggle to open scissors once they’re closed.
Enter spring-assisted scissors! They spring open after each cut so your little one can happily snip away.
This beautiful box set combines the whimsy of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar with the classic Montessori activity of lacing.
If your child is just starting out with this activity, check out the threading set from our article Montessori Toys for 1 Year Olds!
This toy ticks so many boxes for your developing toddler. Children need to line up these multi-post blocks just right to stack them.
It builds spatial awareness, dexterity, and hand-eye coordination.
Montessori Toys For 2 Year Old Toddlers: Music
At age two, children begin to sing along to lyrics, and they can reproduce simple rhythms.
When they hear a beat they like, it doesn’t matter if it’s in church or the grocery store, they WILL start dancing.
Music in a Montessori classroom is a group activity, and participating in these musical activities with your toddler can bring calm and connection to your busy family.
With an enormous variety of instruments in bright, festive colors, this portable set is sure to inspire your little musician now and for many years to come.
At age two, our son is actually creating his own songs with the drums and maracas. We can’t wait to see what he’ll do next with this versatile toy set!
Don’t let the ridiculous cover art and 1980’s font fool you. This record will have your child movin’ and groovin’ like you’ve never seen.
I discovered this hidden gem of an album through my son’s school. Preschool teachers swear by it!
3. Yoto Player
A family favorite! If you’re looking for a screen-free music player for your child, I can’t recommend this enough.
With clear instructions and lively illustrations, you’ll return over and over to this fun and interactive book that takes readers on a journey through movement and dance.
This book is so engaging, don’t be surprised if the aunts, the cousins, and even the grandparents join in!
Did you know that there is a window of time before age six where you can actually teach your child perfect pitch?
According to music perception experts, all you need is a simple keyboard and some fun stickers to get started. Read more about the method here.
Montessori Toys For 2 Year Old Toddlers: Grace and Courtesy
A little known but essential part of any Montessori preschool curriculum are lessons on grace and courtesy. It’s the Montessori way of teaching manners, helpfulness, and good citizenship.
These toys can be used in various ways to assist your child in learning how to treat others respectfully and how to make real contributions to the family.
Even if your toddler can’t really sweep the floor or mop the bathroom effectively, let them try!
Toddlers love to help, and they’ll be delighted to have their own cleaning supplies like the ones in this set.
Routine cards are wonderful visual reminders of what comes next in their daily routine. Is it time for toothbrushing, story time, or snack? I don’t know, but let’s check the cards!
This set can be displayed all together for a complete morning or evening routine, but we love to place them throughout the house as a reminder of what we do in each room.
Our son, at just two years old, is in charge of distributing bread and pouring everyone water at the dinner table. He loves it, and it’s adorable to see him act so grown-up.
These child-sized serving tools make the task easy for his tiny hands.
Teaching a toddler to be patient when you’re on the phone is a struggle, but role playing these scenarios with your child and modeling patience can really help.
Get your child extra pumped for these cell phone “games” with this gorgeous hand-painted play phone.
5. Real Tea Set
Grab this beautiful tin tea set from the cupboard and try not to laugh when you hear your child say, “Ok Teddy, no toots at the table!”
Setting up a real tea party with your toddler is not only fun, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to model table etiquette, grace, and polite conversation.
Montessori Toys For 2 Year Old Toddlers: Small Objects
According to Montessori, children between one and three have a heightened interest for small objects and their minute characteristics.
Look for toys and games with small pieces, delicate patterns, or opportunities for focusing a child’s gaze up close.
Fairy gardens are tiny, carefully arranged versions of a real garden. They are sort of like an outdoor dollhouse, and toddlers can’t get enough of them.
Grab this fairy garden kit, find a spot at the base of a tree in your yard or neighborhood, and invite your toddler to help create a tiny whimsical scene.
Toddlers will literally put their nose on a fire ant hill attempting to observe the ants. They can’t help their curiosity!
This magnifying glass helps your toddler keep their distance while still getting a look at all those juicy up-close details.
We couldn’t talk about small objects without mentioning the quintessential miniatures toy. A dollhouse!
This stunning all-wood dollhouse is handcrafted, built with non-toxic materials, and affordable.
Bring the beauty of nature into your home with these double-acrylic sided window boxes. These boxes are durable and impossible to open without a parent’s help.
It’s our favorite way to display and study dead insects, feathers, dried snake eggs, and other interesting but potentially dangerous items from our nature walks.
These jumbo water droppers have extra large bulbs perfect for toddlers who are still learning to control their pinching grasp.
Little ones love to watch the tiny drops of water fall down, especially if the water is tinted with food coloring!
Unlock Your Child’s Potential With Montessori Toys for 2 Year Old Toddlers
Dr. Montessori believed whole-heartedly in empowering children to direct the course of their education. She understood that, like adults, toddlers desire autonomy over their lives.
That’s why we’ve assembled this extensive list of Montessori toys for 2 year old toddlers designed to help your mini grown-up gain the confidence and independence they crave. Play on, little big kids!
Montessori toys for 2 year old toddlers are all about meeting toddlers where they are in their development. What milestone or skill is your toddler working on right now?
Brittany Cantrell is an Epidemiologist at her local health department who oversees a team of beautiful, talented women. Though she specializes in infectious disease prevention, she is a strong advocate for all public health professionals. She is the owner and author of the mindful travel blog, The World Enough, where readers are empowered to live with presence and without fear. She was born and raised in the rolling foothills of the north Georgia mountains. In her spare time, you can find her helplessly pinned to the couch by one of her two cats, heading to a yoga class, or planning her next adventure.