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Montessori-Inspired Toddler Play

montessori-inspired toddler activity

21-month-old Anna really enjoys Montessori-style toddler play activities! I often find her creating pouring and transferring activities on her own, and so when we had an empty gum container I handed them to her along with our pom poms to play with. She really enjoyed pushing the little pom poms through the small opening – until she discovered that there is a second, larger opening:

Montessori-inspired fine motor activity for toddlers

I could see Anna growing up to be an efficiency expert, because she always finds the most efficient way of doing things, and doesn’t like to work harder than she has to. Ever since she discovered the larger opening, the pom poms go in there.

Toddler activities can double as soothing de-stressing activities for older children

Montessori activities are very popular for toddlers and preschoolers, but a lot of these early-age activities can be very fun de-stressing activities for older kids! Eight-year-old Emma likes to play this game, and so do six-year-old Johnny and four-year-old Lily. The key difference is that they might do it once in a week, at the most, while toddlers can easily enjoy this type of game every day, and sometimes more often.

Here are a few other activities that Anna is enjoying at 21 months:

  • Finger plays – especially “The Wheels on the Bus” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”.
  • Pretend play with small dolls – especially babies and little animals. We adore the little Circo dolls you can buy at Target.
  • Driving cars and trucks – on tracks and around the house.
  • Dressing and undressing dolls, wrapping them in blankets, carrying them around, and pushing them in strollers.
  • Playing with our play kitchen (affiliate link). She particularly enjoys stirring things together in the kitchen sink, as if it were a cooking pot!
  • Books, books, and more books! Yoo-Hoo, Ladybug! is Anna’s absolute favorite, and one we discovered while exploring books by Mem Fox last month.

What activities is your toddler enjoying? Or, if your kids are older, what activities do you remember them enjoying as toddlers?

a book full of baby play ideas that will help you enjoy parenting a baby and bond with your baby.

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

13 thoughts on “Montessori-Inspired Toddler Play”

  1. I love the Montessori model. Our eldest goes to a Montessori preschool. He really liked doing water stuff, like sponges and eyedroppers and pouring. And of course all the open-ended toys like building blocks.

  2. These are great memories from the time Anna is still under 2. I am now trying to remember, since I started my blog when my Anna was a little over 2. Dolls were never high on her list except magnetic Melissa and Doug dolls, but she loved balls and playing with real kitchen containers. We had one drawer available to her where we rotated different non-breakable kitchen utensils and bowls, and she always loved playing with them and putting things in them just like your Anna does.

  3. Those photos of her pushing the pom poms through are so cute! It’s funny how the simplest thing can really keep a toddler entertained.

  4. My kids enjoyed things like that too when they were little. I remember seeing a very expensive game at a teacher supply store that was essentially a spooning activity, and I was able to make a similar one for pennies with what I had in the house and the kids loved doing it over and over and over again.

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