Troy’s room is Montessori inspired, especially in our toy selection. It’s been a year-long process to figure out the best items for his space but below are our tried and true favorites!
In this post I’ll also give a summary of the basics of how to set up a Montessori nursery. If you’re new to Montessori, this is a great place to start.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- The best Montessori toys we’ve loved & used
- The basics of how to set up a Montessori nursery
- Furniture hacks that have made our space functional
- Resources to get started with Montessori
Curious what the term ‘Montessori’ means? Here’s a link to see the official explanation from the American Montessori Society. This is written for classrooms, but the same concepts apply at home.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through one of these links I may make a commission.
1. Montessori Toys We Love
Troy is just over 1 year old, so most of these toy recommendations fall broadly in this range, from about 6 months – 24 months.
Here’s several items that keep Troy occupied and are Montessori inspired:
A fun, classic Montessori toy that involves putting wooden coins into a slot. Once the coins are in, you can pull out the drawer, take out the coins, and start over again. Great for fine motor skills.
Endlessly entertaining ‘busy board’ that has three different latch systems on doors that open & close. The top has holes in different shapes that correspond to different coin pieces that also come with the board.
One of our favorites – a simple board with fish that have magnets in them. With a small fishing pole, you can ‘fish’ for each one. It’s been fun to watch Troy master this the more he does it.
2. How to Set Up a Montessori Nursery
Montessori nurseries are usually set up with the baby’s developmental needs in mind. Their nursery is a space to learn, explore, and experience the skills that they are currently working on.
Montessori toys are overall focused on one task. For example, the below coin box has one purpose: to put the coin in the slot, pull it out and start over again. Babies are drawn to mastering tasks and the singular repetition of toys like this.
Another focus of Montessori nurseries is on incorporating natural elements. For example, wood or natural fibers. These materials are often more durable than plastic or synthetic materials and nicer from a sensory perspective.
Because Montessori nurseries are set up as an environment for baby to learn and explore, the less clutter the better. Without extra clutter, babies can more freely focus on the task at hand and move from one area to another with meaningful purpose.
Montessori nurseries also prefer baby-sized furniture. For example, furniture that stores toys within baby’s reach (like the shelf in the image below). This allows the child to play with and put back their own toys.
Other examples of Montessori decor include pictures on the walls at baby’s eye level, a mirror at their height, or (for younger babies) mobiles that they can play with from the floor.
3. Furniture Hacks
Because Montessori furniture is often made of wood and high-quality it can be expensive. Here’s a few hacks to save money as you set up your nursery.
Use What You Already Have
A Montessori nursery doesn’t have to be expensive. Babies love playing with household items that can double as toys: boxes, keys, pinecones, spatulas, etc. These are all entertaining and will engage different parts of the baby’s brain. Use what you have first — don’t feel like you need to stock up on toys!
Find Furniture Deals
Some of the best places to look for Montessori furniture are IKEA and Etsy. IKEA is great for simple, minimal furniture. And Etsy has lots of beautiful Montessori toys & furniture. Here’s a simple search for ‘Montessori’ on Etsy that turns up some GREAT finds: See Montessori on Etsy.
One of our favorite Montessori inspired finds was the below bookshelf, which we turned sideways and used as toy storage. It’s sturdy and the perfect size!
Getting Started with Montessori
We love the Montessori approach to setting up a nursery. Especially as Troy is now toddler aged, the Montessori approach has worked well for us around the house. It’s something that we’re learning more & more about and trying to practice more of. If you’re curious about it as well, here’s a couple book to get started:
- Montessori from The Start: From Birth to Age 3: in-depth guide to Montessori from newborn to age 3. If you are brand new to Montessori, start here! This book does a great job of explaining the ideas behind the Montessori method too.
- The Montessori Toddler: a beautiful & practical resources for all things Montessori. Great for toddlers but if you have a younger baby still a good read with takeaways to prepare for toddler age!
Collection of All Our Favorite Nursery Items
Here’s a photo of Troy’s complete nursery set up! For links to specific items, see below for the full link list.
- Walker with Clacking Alligators from Melissa & Doug
- Rainbow Peg Board Set from Skoolzy
- Wooden Mallet & Pounding Bench from Melissa & Doug
- Alphabet in Wooden Art by Melissa & Doug
- Classic Wooden ABC Blocks from Melissa & Doug
- Walk-A-Long Snail Wooden Pull Toy from Hape
- Infant Coin Box
- Busy Board with Latches & Sorting
- Fat Brain Toys Rainbow Tobbles Balls
- Also the rug is from Wayfair (see it here) — super soft & under $50!
Looking for toys for younger babies? Check out this list of our Top 10 Rainbow Wooden Toys for Baby’s First Year.