Monti Kids Level 2 Review: Worth It for 4 to 6 month old

Wondering if Monti Kids Level 2 subscription toy box is worth it? In short, yes!

Thanks to Monti Kids 2022 changes, including reduced pricing, I wholeheartedly think this is one box worth getting as some of the items in it have been our absolute favorites.

Below you'll discover our personal experience, which items have been discontinued, as well as dupes and alternatives if you choose to self curate!

If you're new to Monti Kids, you can read my FAQs and full Monti Kids Review + FAQs here!!

When to start + introduce the items

Monti Kids suggests ordering Level 2 if your baby is reaching their hands out to explore, is working on a more intentional and stronger grip, as well as moving their arms/body towards items.

As far as introducing the items, they have a toy timeline suggestion which we loosely followed.

For all of the wooden grasping toys/teethers I kind of just introduced them all around 2.5 months and let my baby guide his play. I wasn't very strict about it and each week, I'd just pull the bag of all the items out and offer him them one at a time and rotate things accordingly.

What's inside Monti Kids Level 2 Program?

Wooden Board Book

Wooden book featuring 8 real life animals.

I'm a huge fan of wooden books for babies this age as everything goes in their mouth and they tend to start teething.

These books are perfect for little hands to get used to holding books, mouth without destroying, and the simplicity helps develop concentration. “Read” to your baby by holding it and only turning the page after they've look away.

My baby and toddler love this book. She reads it to him and tell him what the animals are, their colors, and what sounds they make.

Dupes:

The Colors Around Me Wooden board book is a GREAT alternative! It features paintings of real life natural objects (banan, bird, flower, etc.) and a color label for each at the bottom.

Another option is the Lovevery wooden board book, which features water color imagery of animals.

Square Rattle

Square rattle with rounded edges and a little wooden ball that slides back and forth.

Provides tactile, auditory, and visual input.

I LOVE this rattle. My son enjoys grasping and mouthing it. I keep it in our stroller bag and actually use it when we are on a walk and if he starts getting fussy by shaking it. The sound shifts his focus back the present and it works really well.

Dupes

I could not find a wooden square, but I did find a round version here that offers a similar/same experience overall.

Teether Ball

A food-grade silicone ball with little prongs for teething and no hole for trapping drool!

One of my baby's FAVORITE teethers! The nubs remind me of a nipple so I think that plays a role. He also can stabilize it while doing tummy time and practice teething their, or while on his back by holding it and working different grips too. If self curating I 10/10 recommend this!

Dupes

The Lovevery Montessori Sensory Ball is probably the best dupe in my opinion. IT's made from a rubber latex, and like Monti Kids doesn't have any holes for baby drool to get in and create a mold issue.

Since that one tends ot be sold out my other picks are:

  • Haakaa silicone flower teether – while not a ball it does offer a somewhat similar prong style with lots of opportunities for unique grips and I like that it comes with a clip for when you're out and about.
  • Plastic sensory ball set: This is a set of balls which are made from PVC plastic so I personally wouldn't use them. They also have holes in them which baby drool can/will get in and lead to mold. Some reviewers used hot glue to seal off the hole.

Cube Rattle

A small cube (about the size of baby's hand) with a hole on each side (to fit their finger) and a little ball inside.

I introduced all the wooden grasper toys around 2.5 months and this was one of his favorites from the start, possibly tied with the square rattle! He definitely worked on refining and using his hands intentionally with it!

Dupes

This is a rarer dupe in the US but a few places do sell/ship it:

Interlocking Rings

Two wooden rings connected by a crochet ring encourages exploration and sensory feedback.

We are big fans of this one! The mix of textures really intrigued my son, it was easy for him to grasp as early as 2.5 months. He enjoys using it for teething as well. Personally I like clacking the wooden rings together to make a sound for an additional sensory input, and I'll also hang it from the mobile in Level 1 for him to try and grab which he likes.

Dupes

Nothing exactly like Monti Kids with the two wooden rings and crochet ring center piece but I did find a few similar alternatives:

  • Cloud sensory teether ring: A mix of a wooden cloud and bracelet style piece comprised of crochet and rainbow balls provides a unique sensory experience and similar feel/effect to Monti Kids
  • DIY Teething Kit: Allows you to fully customize your wooden and crochet teether! So you can make a 3 ring set or another style that suits you.
  • 3 Ring Mixed texture teether: This offers to wooden rings on the outside like Monti Kids, but the middle ring only has one small crochet piece, the rest is a mix of various wood and silicone shapes.

Cylinder Rattle

Wooden rattle with three colorful sides and a jingle bell in the middle.

One of my sons favorites from the beginning! The spaces between the outer colored panels are big enough for him to grip and shake. He also likes using it during tummy time to support his crawl. It certainly has encouraged movement as he spins around looking for it and scooches towards it when it rolls away.

It's a great compact size too compared to some of the other larger rolling drums. If self curating this is something I'd 10/10 recommend as well!

Dupes

There are loads of cylinder rattles on the market starting for as little as $7, but the one I would recommend is this one from Plan Toys. Plan Toys offers high quality wooden infant and toddler toys that are non-toxic and well made. The shape, color, and quality of this one is also the most similar to Monti Kids in my opinion.

Level 2 Updated Items:

These items have been added to Monti Kids Level 2 since I received it; some are new and some I have experience with as they were originally in a different Level.

Tummy Time Set

A wooden holder for included pictures or a mirror during tummy time.

Tummy Time Set
Personal Experience:

This is a new item I haven't had personal experience with. I like the montessori aligned real imagery and am sure the wooden frame is nice.

Alternatives:

I haven't seen anything exactly like Monti Kids, but you can recreate a similar concept with a wooden photo display holder like this and flash cards.

Or you could opt for a wooden floor mirror like this. Or there are loads of tummy time fabric displays with high contrast images and mirrors to choose from.

High-Contrast Nature Cards

Rotate these high-contrast cards to support the development of your baby's eyes, appealing to their attraction to contrasting colors and repetitive patterns.

High-Contrast Nature Cards
Personal Experience:

These cards are new to Monti Kids and I've had no experience with them.

Alternatives:

I'm a huge fan of Lovevery's high contrast flash cards as they are made of some sort of baby proof material that stands up to all the drool/crinkling. With that said, there are loads of high contrast options on the market:

Wooden Wobbler

Motivate your little one to reach, grasp and move with a toy that wobbles over and back up again with each touch or push.

Wooden Wobbler
Personal Experience:

The wooden wobbler is a new item to Monti Kids that I do not have firsthand experience with, but we do have a wobbler from Lovevery which my son absolutely loved during this age range.

Alternatives:

Nothing exactly like Monti Kids, but wobble toys have been around forever. There are loads of dupes for this, but here are some of my favorite alternatives:

Spinning Drum

This toy helps develop hand-eye coordination, wrist and arm strength, and visual skills, making noise as it spins.

Spinning Drum
Personal Experience:

This item was originally in Level 3, but I did introduce it to my son during this range (4-6 months) so I think the move is very well matched. It's a huge help during tummy time and one of his favorite items.

Alternatives:

The spinning drum is a classic montessori item and you can find it at loads of retailers. The Amazon reviews are all pretty much the same (good at a glance with a mirror side, but reviews about exposed glue and splintering wood). So I included some Etsy picks, which tend to be higher quality in my experience. Here are a few dupes for you to check the price on:

Basket And Tactile Balls

Textured woven basket with two silicone balls, one crochet rattle ball, and a wooden ball with holes provides a variety of textures, sounds, and grips.

Basket With Balls
Personal Experience:

This item was originally in Level 3 so I do have experience with it and it's probably one of my favorite items of all time from Monti Kids. I did introduce it to my son during this age range, so I think the change is well matched and 10/10 recommend it!

Alternatives:

While you can find sensory ball packs on Amazon, they do not compare to Monti Kids and some have sketchy reviews about mold or low quality plastics being used (Monti kids is a mix of food grade silicone, wool, and wood). Here are a few higher quality options to consider:

DISCONTINUED ITEMS FROM LEVEL 2

Grasping Cylinders

This is a wiggly wooden toy that refines lots of their tiny hand muscles and encourages better coordination and body control.

My son didn't start to enjoy this wooden grasping toy until about 6 and a half months actually. I kept introducing and reintroducing it, but he'd never use it for more than 30 seconds until after 6.5 months.

Dupes

I couldn't find anything like this really and I don't think it's worth getting if self curating anyway.

Interlocking Discs

The interlocking discs are a classic montessori toy.

Baby can practice hand to hand transfer and work their hand-eye coordination in the process.

My son enjoyed this more than my daughter did at this age, but still wasn't one of his favorite wooden graspers/teethers, so if self curating, my recommendation is still to possibly skip it!

Dupes

LOTS of alternatives on the market from the classic montessori interlocking discs ranging from $9 to $25. Personally, I'd avoid Amazon sellers for this, just because they tend to be lower quality overall. With that said, this pick on Amazon is affordable and includes the cylinder rattle dupe mentioned later in this post.

Personally, I'd order from this Etsy shop which offers a wide array of montessori toys, including a play kit for this age range, the wooden board book mentioned earlier. Their items are made in the US from American cherry, walnut, ash, maple, and birch wood and they offer a lifetime guarantee for US shoppers.

Hex With Balls

The outer ring moves around the middle rod encouraging baby to adjust their grip and strengthen their fine motor skills.

My baby definitely like this one a lot! I think he liked all the little spots for him to grab onto and mouth.

Dupes

Nothing exactly like this. Instead I'd say the Manhattan Toy Skish Teether is a good alternative. It offers several beads at the end and has a unique and intriguing movement style reminiscent of the hex with ball rattle from Monti Kids. My kids LOVE this rattle too!

Dolio

A little wooden rattle with two moving parts at the top.

This was the rattle I personally was most intrigued with but my son didn't start getting into until around 6 months. It's SO cool how the little nubs at the top slide back and forth. He's enjoyed teething those now that his hand eye coordination and movements are a little better.

Dupes

The only other dolio rattle I could find was this one from Naef which is a really nice German brand (check here if that last one was out of stock!)

A more affordable alternative would be the Manhattan Toy Skish Teether – which I already mentioned as a dupe earlier but honestly don't think kids need THIS many rattles/teethers anyway! While it's definitely not the same as the Dolio there are some overlapping features and my kids LOVE this rattle. It has little ball nubs at the end like the Dolio, it moves in a unique way like the Dolio, and you can clack it too.

First Blocks

Set of 24 wooden blocks in different shapes.

The 6 colored blocks have been moved to Level 3 with a woven basket.

The natural blocks come with a wooden carrying box has been moved to Level 7

These are great, high quality, big enough for infants, and blocks are a fantastic tool for spatial and math skills and coordination during the first year. I love that this item will continue to last for years and years. The colored ones are great for early color recognition and language development as well. And while baby will not stack any towers at this stage, these are great for them to explore!

Dupes

There are loads of wooden block sets on the market ranging from as little as $11 to as much as $250 and vary by size, shape, style, color, number of pieces and versatility. Some of the popular ones:

Dining Set

Baby's first dining set has been moved to Level 3! It still includes a placemat, fork, spoon, food-grade silicone bowl, and 2 metal cups to foster independent eating and work on fine motor skills.

My son didn't start sitting independently until 6 months so this is something we haven't really introduced him to yet. My daughter does use the cups, and the flatware is great. We are doing solids a little different this time around so I don't think we'll really start using this until about 7 or 8 months.

Dupes

There are obviously tons of feeding sets out there. Very few offer the complete metal flatware (most are all silicone or a hybrid of metal and silicone or plastic) or they are missing the cup, etc.

With that said the 2 sets we own are the Lovevery dining set which we love. It comes with a placemat that shows how to set a table, napkin, and great metal cutlery including a knife, which Monti kids doesn't have. Monti Kids cutlery is also smaller, definitely meant for baby, whereas Lovevery works for toddler or baby. You do need your own cup and plate beyond Lovevery's though.

I suggest this spoon and little tin espresso cups for this age which cost around $15 for a set of 2. You can get them with or without handles.

We also have the EZPZ first foods set which includes two spoons, a bowl with built in suctionable place mat, and cup that I highly recommend.

Included for parents:

Monti Kids subscription toy program includes a lot of parent education with each box which I'd guess is valued at least $300 based on other digital products, but probably higher if they sold it individually. Not all parents will want/use this level of support so whether or not it's worth it is definitely subjective as you do pay a little premium on their montessori toys because of it.

3 Month Learning Program

Weekly emails with articles and videos from certified Montessori educators.

On-Demand Video Library

9 online lessons for parents, including video instruction on how to set your environment, how to introduce the materials and the research behind the items and things they are currently working on.

Personal Coaching

Access to personal coaching from a certified Montessori teacher.

Private Membership

Ability to join the Monti Kids private facebook group

Baby's favorites:

The square rattle, cube rattle, teether ball, interlocking rings, and cylinder rattle were definitely his favorites.

I wouldn't say he disliked anything per se, but we got less use out of the Dolio and grasping cylinders until the end and he was probably least interested in the interlocking discs.

Is Monti Kids Level 2 Worth it?

Financially if you were to get the CHEAPEST dupes I mentioned (and keep in mind that does not include the parent learning resources) you're looking at spending $152. Which is cheaper than purchasing this montessori toy subscription box, but not by much and at a quality deficit.

If you purchase the most expensive dupes you're looking at spending $240 (and again, that doesn't include the parent support). Which ultimately costs more than the box from Monti Kids directly.

Personal Recommendation:

The 2022 changes they made to this box have made it worth getting in my opinion.

Originally here were my thoughts: Personally I'd skip it. The stand alone items I'd personally buy to recreate this come out to around $70. Then I'd get the Lovevery block set ($90) and a feeding kit to start ($35). So all in $195. IMO, the Lovevery block set is more versatile and will get longer use out of, and even though the meal kit in this is great, the cutlery is small and you'll need a second set of each eventually anyway so I like the EZPZ set for that reason (2 spoons) with espresso cups or the Lovevery set as it really grows with the child into practical life skills and comes with a knife and larger flatware for the longer lasting toddler years.

As you can see, the items I primarily focused on are no longer in this level, but are now in Level 3. The items they moved from Level 3 to Level 2 are some of my favorites and the major reason I think this box is worth getting, and instead, I'd skip Level 3 now for the above reasoning.

Quick shop my top self curating picks:

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