A Montessori Holiday Gift Guide: Toddlers–Middle School

With so many toys out there, it can be hard to find gifts that are both fun and meaningful for children. In keeping with the Montessori philosophy, look for gifts that nurture your child’s curiosity and allow them to follow their interests.

Items that spark creativity and imagination, value process over product, and keep bodies and minds active are great choices. 

Toddler House (ages 18m–3)

The Pikler’s triangle, with or without climbing ramps, will help your child with balance control, creativity and motor skill development. 
  1. Movement Pikler’s triangle supports a toddler’s urge to use and strengthen their whole body. This particular item is great for indoor movement and can be enjoyed in different ways by older children as well.
  2. Open-ended play A wooden rainbow stacking toy is wonderful for inspiring imagination without rules or instructions. This type of play teaches kids about sequencing (small to large, light to heavy, etc.), math, counting, and more all while enjoying the beautiful colors and shapes made of real wood.
  3. Sensorial Sensory play engages fine motor skills (the smaller muscles of the hands that help with feeding, dressing, handwriting, etc.). It also supports your child’s imagination and emotional resilience. While engaging in sensory play the 5 senses are engaged, which helps to regulate their emotions (of all kinds!). You can fill a sensory table with a variety of items including: pompoms, water, sand, leaves, grass, dried rice, snow, fabric, seasonal items, and anything else you want your little to explore! Check your local Dollar Tree for seasonal wooden items that are perfect for your bin.
  4. Practical Life Can’t stand the mess? Kids love to use real tools to help out. Give your little helper their own real tools to help you with clean-up.
  5. Music Music is great for language, mathematical conceptualization (yes!), and sensory development. A collection of musical instruments will let your little toddler create, mimic, and explore the sounds and rhythms of their world.
  6. Monti Kids Subscription Program You’ll receive Montessori toys and materials delivered every 3 months, plus short videos and articles for parents on how to introduce and use the materials with your child. This is the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year.

Children’s House (ages 3–6)

This wooden tea set has everything your little one needs to host the perfect pretend tea party.
  1. Creative Play These Colorful Butterfly Wings allow a child to morph into a beautiful creature as they dance, run, jump, and fly. From thinking about science and movement to nature play and pretend play, this gift is sure to appeal to any child.
  2. Pretend Play Not only are toys made from natural materials better for the environment, but according to a 2017 study from the National Institutes of Health, “contact with wood induces physiological relaxation.” Set aside your plastic tea cups and give your child this beautiful Wooden Steep & Serve Tea Set so they can truly relax over a cup of tea.
  3. Critical Thinking Upbounders makes a fun Camping Themed Memory Game that is perfect for your preschooler’s developing brain. Finding matches is not only exciting, but practicing a healthy bit of competition promotes resilience and patience, and this game will surely build their concentration skills. Upbounders is a company that promotes belonging by celebrating cultural and ethnic differences accurately in ways that are relatable, inspiring and transformative.
  4. Pattern Recognition (Math!) This Super Sorting Pie is a fun way for preschoolers to use their fine motor muscles to sort, recognize patterns, and practice their numbers.
  5. Open Ended Play Don’t underestimate the importance of a simple set of Wooden Blocks. The natural wood and unfinished “color” keep the child focused on fine motor skills, creativity, hand-eye coordination, and language when incorporated with characters and pretend play. Add a collection of Magna-Tiles alongside the blocks to extend your child’s creative play.
  6. Maker Kit For your child who likes to use their hands to build things, check out this Lakeshore Learning Build-It-Yourself Woodworking Kit. With over 80 pieces and a storage box, this kit also includes a lightweight hammer, nails, glue and more. Use the instruction booklet or create your own invention!

Lower Elementary (ages 6–9)

Building brain power plank by plank. Playing with planks gives builders first-hand experience with balance, leverage, geometry and principles of physics.
  1. Movement Outdoor play is appropriate and important year-round. This one of a kind designed basketball is sold by Trickster Company, a company that weaves Native American culture and art into everyday objects. For every Sunrise basketball purchased, $5 in cash value will go towards supporting youth basketball.
  2. Classic Games The elementary years are a very social time for kids. Give your child the gift of game sense with Yahtzee, Uno, or Dragonwood! Not only are these games fun for friends and family to play together but they support number sense, mathematical thinking, critical thinking, emotion regulation, and communication skills.
  3. Literature Whether your child is reading independently, or being read to, Brian Selznic is an author/illustrator of children’s novels who you don’t want to miss. His novels are told in a unique format – part text, part illustration. He has a brand new book coming out titled “Big Tree” that is a must-read. For every book purchased on this website, a book is donated to someone in need. For a wild mystery, check out his book titled “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.” 
  4. Open Ended Play Not to be confused with thick, heavy wooden building blocks, this KEVA Structures 200 Plank Set is a great gift for kids who are ready for a challenge. Focus, resilience, patience, and fine motor skills are all put to test in this fun and open-ended material for your elementary child.
  5. Cultural Is your child ready to take on the world? ​​Kiwi Co has a new subscription for 6-11 yr olds called the Atlas Crate. It is designed to help your child develop an appreciation for other world cultures through immersive, hands-on STEAM activities. The goal of the projects are to connect kids, creatively and intellectually, with communities and customs beyond their own experience.
  6. Artistic Elementary-aged kids will enjoy this Weaving Loom as they focus hard on weaving a wooden needle to create a colorful tapestry. Not only is the result beautiful, but the process of weaving also requires focus and mindfulness. In this day and age of highly-stimulated and screen-consumed elementary kids, an activity that requires hands-on work and creativity is sure to bring calm and confidence to your child. 

Upper Elementary (ages 9–11)

Children want to be contributing members of their families, and they build confidence by mimicking adult tasks. Give them the tools and knowledge to help prepare meals, bake, and even clean up.
  1. Literacy Word play is a fun activity for elementary kids to do on their own or with friends. Magnetic Poetry Tiles support language development, creativity, and are fun to combine with tiles of different themes and languages. Attach a magnetic board to the back of your child’s bedroom door so they can create in their own space.
  2. Artistic Crank up your child’s creative juices with these decorative Mandala Sidewalk Stencils. Or use the stencils for part of their own imaginative design to spice up a local sidewalk, your driveway, or even an indoor chalkboard. Another artistic and creative outlet can be found through an experience — classes offered at The Makery in Scituate, where your child will learn how to sew with friends.
  3. Maker in the Making Step it up from a hammer and nails to your child’s very own 4-in-1 Carpentry Woodshop Tool. With safety at the forefront, your child can learn how to use this jigsaw, lathe, drill press, and sander all while enhancing their math and engineering skills.
  4. Practical Life Children want to be valued and contributing members of their family and community. One way they can do this is by helping to prepare meals. The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs is a great place to start, as well as the ever popular Mix It Up Kitchen Classes in Duxbury.

Middle School and older (ages 11+)

This kit contains everything your child needs to turn a great story idea into an animated movie.
  1. Experiences The teen years are when your child is looking to figure out who they are to themselves and in the world. Learning from and about diverse cultures, practices, and people allows your teen to better value others’ perspectives, behaviors, and needs. Museum, concert, show, or exhibition tickets with friends supports a social environment fit for a teen. Yoga and fitness studios often offer class packages that are fun and get your teen moving. Gift your pre-teen/teen a 10-pack of yoga classes or workouts at a favorite studio like Studio 143 or Juniko. Both studios offer kids/teens aerial yoga. A night out with friends for paint night, sign making or bowling will get your middle schooler out and about in fun and age-appropriate ways.
  2. STEM This stop motion animation kit is sure to engage your middle schooler’s creative and tech minds.
  3. Board Games Some adolescents still love board games even as much as their video games. Azul is a strategy game on the market that requires strategic thinking but doesn’t take hours to play.
  4. School Apparel The Inly School Store has increased their inventory to include full zip-up hooded sweatshirts, fleece joggers, heathered fleece vests, sherpa pullovers, canvas totes, lunch bag coolers, and knit beanies. Most items come in youth XS – adult XXL. Orders can be placed online and items will be shipped directly to your home.

For more ideas, check out our other Montessori Gift Guides from 2018 and 2019.

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