Keeping toddlers occupied can be a full-time job. Helping them discover new things and providing developmentally appropriate activities is such an important part of our role as parents.
The following Montessori activities for toddlers are easy and inexpensive to do, and check all of the other boxes as well!
Found this page looking for ideas things to do with toddlers and are new to Montessori? Find out what Montessori education is and the thought behind activities here.
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Say “Montessori” to people and the vast majority of them will instantly think “expensive” but that is simply not true. While there are lots of great things that can be brought into the home to foster curiosity and a love of learning that might cost a lot of money, it’s not the case for everything.
Montessori does not have to involve expensive materials and supplies. You can build a great environment for your toddler with activities that don’t cost any more than normal.
If you are looking for some inspiration on bringing Montessori into your home I would highly recommend the book “The Montessori Toddler” by Simone Davies (found here on Amazon) which has some wonderful, easy to implement ideas.
You should also check out our guide to Doing Montessori at Home for Babies and Infants for easy ways to get started right from the start. There are some great tips in there that are applicable for toddlers too!
Setting up Montessori Activities for Toddlers
In Montessori, how you present the activity is just as important as the actual activity itself. You can do these Montessori activities for 1-year-olds and older, just by starting with exposure and encouragement.
Materials should be presented attractively and make sure it is easy for your toddler to see all the parts. When they show interest in an activity, demonstrate to them how to use it then leave them to try themselves. They may ask for help or they may not but resist the urge to jump in if they don’t get it right the first time.
Your toddler is working hard to figure it out themselves and they will learn vital problem-solving skills in the process.
Practical Life Activities
Practical life activities are one of the cornerstones of Montessori for toddlers. Your toddler will love activities that have real-world applications.
Get them to practice skills by themselves so they can join in with household chores and family life. Young children love to feel like they are being helpful and have an important role within their family unit.
These activities also help your toddler to become independent. Offering them the opportunity to do things like pour their own drink or prepare their own snack will give them a huge confidence boost.
Here are some great ideas to get your toddler started:
- Cleaning up after themselves is a great way to teach toddlers to be responsible. You will be surprised how much your little one enjoys it. This small, easy to hold dustpan and brush and this full mop and brush set are perfect for little hands!
- Food preparation is an easy activity your toddler can get involved with. This toddler knife set will help build your toddlers confidence.
Don’t be intimidated by the word “knife” – first get them to spread things on crackers and bread then move to using a blunt knife to cut soft things life banana and work your way up.
- Dressing themselves will be a source of great pride for your toddler and these dress boards are the perfect first step to teach them how to handle tricky zips and buttons.
Montessori Language Activities for Toddlers
Toddlers are constantly trying to improve their language skills. Your little one will be soaking up everything you say like a sponge. There are plenty of language activities you can do with your toddler when they show interest in developing this skill.
- Matching activities with nomenclature cards or picture cards will help expand your toddler’s vocabulary. Make sure to only have 4 or 5 cards at a time so they are not overwhelmed and once they master those introduce new ones. Show them the card, repeat the word to them and let them hold the card themselves and study the picture.
- Nature baskets are a great sensory activity and repeating the name of an item to your toddler as they feel it helps retain that word in their brain.
Montessori Inspired Fine Motor Activities
These activities will help your toddler refine that important “pincer grip” and grasping in readiness for learning to write.
- Water pouring is a fun and engaging activity that will keep your toddler entertained. Make sure to get a variety of different size and shape jugs with handles for your toddler to grasp.
- Using small tongs to transfer small items like beads between containers is also a great way to develop your toddlers pincer grip. Try using an ice cube tray with the compartments color coded to also teach color sorting.
Of course there are lots of great Montessori toys for toddlers too that are perfect for creating new activities as well.
Having a variety of materials and toys for individual exploration in a creatively designed playroom or around the home will keep toddlers entertained for hours!
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This post first appeared on The Mom Friend.