My personal taste focuses more montessori and eco-friendly toys. Growing up I went to montessori school and loved it. The focus is on the child developing a natural interest for learning and developing skills instead of having formal learning forced onto them. The toys in this gift guide for newborns to 2-year-olds focus on just that. They encourage a imagination, creativity, and are designed for children to develop a variety of skills.
While not all of the options in this gift guide will be 100% montessori or eco-friendly, most will. Trust me, parents who care about this will appreciate it and those who don't care about it, won't know the difference. There is a bigger and bigger movement among millennial parents to get sustainably sourced, organic, and skill based toys for their kids instead of heaps of loud, gawdy plastic options that don't hold kids attention for very long. Remember, babies under two are mastering loads of skills. A container with a ball and lid may not seem fun to you and me, but to a baby, they are learning the concept of “full and empty” “in and out” and so much more. There's a reason why most babies just love everyday household items and it's because they are learning skills with them!
I also tried to break these down by price point as best I can. I skipped an “under $50” category and lumped those into “under $75” because SO many of these are on sale. So I had some that were regularly $60 but on sale for $40 as I wrote this and didn't want to throw you for a loop. So if it's in a category, like “under $25,” some of those are as cost effective as only $7! So click around and don't be afraid of moving up a price point with all the holiday sales happening! This post contains affiliate links.
P.s. Check out all of my other Gift Guides here:
Best Montessori Friendly Gifts For Newborns to 2-Year Olds: Under $25
Most of these are actually under $15, there was only one item in that $15-$25 range so I just lumped it all here!
An absolute favorite among montessori toys. The Rainbow Stacker grows with the child once again and encourages creativity. Many babies will start using it as a teether, then stacking and nesting with it, and eventually seeing what shapes they can make with the pieces like a snake or a flower!
>>> Buy it here! <<<
We have this musical instrument sound puzzle (comes in other sounds too like various animal noise puzzles and tools). Our daughter loves it and we hated it after a while, but now don't mind it. So here's the disclaimer to tell the parent: The noises aren't over the top annoying at all actually.
The problem is, the puzzle is light sensitive. Meaning if the puzzle piece is removed and it's light in the room, it will keep making the sound go after a fixed time period that the sensor is exposed to light. So it doesn't just make a sound when the puzzle piece comes off, but will keep making a sound if it's exposed to light. We just flip it over so it isn't exposed to light if we can find the puzzle piece or put something over it. But nothing will drive a parent crazier than putting their baby down to bed and constantly hearing a trumpet horn if they don't know that information!
>>> Buy it here! <<<
This is perfect for toddlers who are closer to two and standing on their own. It's a fun little felt Christmas tree with 30 “ornaments” that kids can use to decorate their very own tree! Mom & dad will thank you as the kid can go after this one instead of the real tree! It also comes in a snowman version too!
>>> Shop felt Christmas tree! <<<
We got a variation of this in one of our Lovevery Play Kits which we LOVE and is way better than this one IMO since it has a dual race track!
But if you don't want to get the Lovevery play kit, this one looks like a great alternative and is suggested for 1-year olds and up and will last for a while. It's set up to work on a variety of skills from color matching, to sequencing, and more.
This price has varied and dropped as low as $7 the other day, so definitely check it out! Basically it's a bunch of big wooden beads that are all connected. It acts as a rattle, teether, and clutch toy. But what makes it fun, is that it still encouraged open play. R like to pull it open and put it on her head like a hat. I've seen some kids use it as a bracelet. It's definitely more fun for little babies than older toddlers, but it's a fantastic developmental toy.
With so many hard wooden items on the list, let's make sure we are switching up textures and materials too! The Dimpl is a favorite. It comes with 5 silicone bubbles in a tray that babies and toddlers can teeth on, push and poke, learn sequences, and practice fine motor skills. It can also double as a toy and food tray if you're traveling!
R plays with this in her baby and me class and all of the kids seem to love it. It's a fun geometric shape that lets them practice grasping, squishing, and it can also be used as a teether. R likes to shake it and hear the beads click like a rattle which makes it loud enough to entertain her and quite enough that I don't want to throw it away. It's water-based with a non-toxic finish and made from sustainable rubberwood.
This is one of R's favorites! Seriously, it keeps her entertained for SO long! We got it in our Lovevery playkit which was awesome because it came with 3 wooden and 3 wool balls. The wool balls are harder to push through, so R loved learning the difference between dropping and pushing with it. Regardless, it's a favorite. She puts puzzle pieces in, the ball, and so much more. She's constantly looking inside of the box to see if a new treasure appeared or to hide her goodies from her brother (our dog).
ORRRR Check out the Lovevery Play Kit's here! (muchhh better deal!)
Best Montessori Friendly Gifts For Newborns to 2-Year Olds: Under $75
There are tons of walker options out there, and once baby starts to stand, they will probably want to start moving pretty soon. R is obsessed with getting around on her own and this is the perfect addition! I love this wooden walker because it has loads of activities on it too. Again, there are cheaper walkers like this one, but I don't want lots of plastic or loud toys in our house (trust me, get a quiet toy, the parent will thank you!!). Another reason I'd recommend this one over the cheaper plastic one, it's not just about pushing a button. It's about twisting, turning, pulling, sliding, and more. It's made from non-toxic materials and has options for SO many skills, making it a toy that will last for the long haul.
This is awesome!! It's technically for toddlers 2 and up, but I think you can give it to a baby whenever really since there aren't choking hazards (though it does have a clasp if your nervous about them nipping their fingers!). I always get asked a lot about how R started drinking from a cup at 7 months and stuff, and it's simple, I just gave her things that allowed her to practice the skill, even if she was below the recommended age for it.
Meaning, you can give this to you 10 month old, and they can start to touch and explore it. Will they be tying the shoelace anytime soon? No, but they will probably do it sooner than if they weren't playing with this. When I give toys like this to R earlier than the recommended age, sometimes she has no interest in it for a month or so. That's okay, you want to constantly be rotating out toys anyway so they don't get bored. That's sort of the key with toys and kids: only offer them a handful at a time, then swap them out every few days. This way you don't need to buy a million toys; and something old becomes new again!
Best Montessori Friendly Gifts For Newborns to 2-Year Olds: Under $100
This is fantastic and will grow with the baby! It encourages open ended play and opens the baby up to use their imagination. It can be used as a seesaw when they are little, and a balanced board as they get older. You can pretend it's a boat, or a bed for their dolls. The possibilities are endless and it's easy on the eyes too!
We've had these R's entire first year and they are fabulous!! Basically you can sign up for one playkit, or multiple by clicking here. They go from 0 months up to two years old too!
Each Lovevery playkit comes with a set of developmentally appropriate toys that are all organic and sustainably sourced for your little one. The first play kit is for 0-12 weeks, and the rest are by two month increments (so The Charmer for 3-4 months, The Sensor for 5-6 months). These are basically the ONLY toys our daughter has had her entire first year (plus books and puzzles) and they have kept her completely entertained and engaged. A lot of the lower price point gifts on this list, are actually from our play kits!
Okay, I know you might think I'm crazy for such an expensive block set but hear me out: It's the best block set and only one your baby will ever need!
First let's talk safety when it comes to block sets: you want to make sure you are choosing ones with water based and non toxic paints. Blocks go into kids mouths and we don't want that toxicity. Plus this block set is made from sustainably harvest wood.
Now let's talk about why it's the best/only block set your child will need: it comes with 70 pieces and a guide for over 20 activities you can do with the set. For instance, you can actually convert the box it comes in into a pull car using the materials in the set! It has a board that can be used to sort the blocks, a ramp for rolling them, a string to create pull toys, even little “people” looking pieces that are very reminist of the game of Life characters. It's fabulous. Our daughter has had a small set of these blocks from one of her play kits I just mentioned, and she NEVER gets bored of them. She's constantly finding new ways to engage with the pieces, whether it's stacking, putting them in a bag, matching the colors, whatever.
Best Montessori Friendly Gifts For Newborns to 2-Year Olds: Under $200
We've had this play gym since the day R was born and it's been so fun to watch her relationship grow with it! It's designed with child development in mind and hits on a ton of the senses. It comes with a few toys, black and white cards, and other goodies to meet baby where they are at developmentally. I searched HIGH and LOW through every play gym on the market, and this came out the winner time and time again!
The learning tower is great for when baby gets mobile. It's technically not a toy, but still a gift babies and parents will love. It's definitely for kids on the older end of this spectrum (18+ months). They can learn to climb it, use it as a stool to help at the kitchen counter, and there are easel and playhouse attachments too.
We ended up getting this one at 12 months and it's been a LIFE saver for our daughter! I can cook/clean with her at the counter or sink and she LOVES it! Our's folds up, and doesn't have as much of the same “fun” aspects of the traditional learning tower, but it was the perfect option for us!
Multiple Price Points for 6 months – 4+ years!
This is the ultimate gift! It comes at loads of price points with different accessory options. This is the exact one we got for our daughter. We started with the ladderboard and will give her the other ramp options as she gets older.
And there you have it! Some of my favorite montessori friendly toys for newborns, infants, and toddlers up to 2-years old! I'd love to hear what other toys your little one loves in the comments!