Here are our favorite Montessori Melissa & Doug toys for 1 year olds (12-24+ months).
The Melissa and Doug Airplane Play Set has been our daughter’s absolute favorite hands-down! She is drawn to the people and enjoys taking them in and out, as well as lining them up on the shelf. The Melissa and Doug Airplane is Montessori-friendly, as the people are very realistic. It’s also great for working on fine motor skills – getting all the people and suitcases in the airplane is quite the challenge at this age. It’s also great for color recognition and once they’re older, color matching.
The Melissa and Doug School Bus Set is another winner in our house. Similar to the Airplane Set, our daughter is just drawn to the realistic looking people! Not to mention, she loves buses – especially singing wheels on the bus!
We don’t necessarily love the loud colors of this Melissa and Doug piano, but our daughter LOVES it. We exposed her to this toy before she turned a year old (we found it second-hand), but it’s been one of her favorites ever since! Music is such an integral part of Montessori learning. If you’re looking for a Montessori toy for a one year old, you can’t go wrong with musical instruments (non-battery operated ones)!
The Melissa and Doug Catch and Count Fishing Game is Montessori-friendly, as it can help teach colors, numbers, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. This toy also lets children explore with magnets. Children as young as 1 can have fun deciphering what is and isn’t magnetic. Our daughter also enjoys “transferring” the fish to and from different containers (including the bag it came with). We don’t play with this using the spinner, as we bought it second hand and the spinner was missing.
We have the “Safari” Chunky Puzzle from Melissa and Doug and it’s been one of our daughter’s FAVORITE toys. Though she does play with it like a puzzle sometimes, she mostly just plays with the animals. This toy has been great for animal recognition. Animal figurines are a wonderful open-ended toy at this age. Many Montessori families opt for plastic animals due to their realistic features. However, we stick to wooden animals since we have yet to find plastic toy animals that aren’t made of PVC- a highly toxic substance.
Although we don’t have them, we also like “Farm” & “Pets” version of this puzzle, and actually find the animals to be more realistic (and thus, more Montessori-friendly).
We exposed our daughter to a large-knobbed shapes puzzle around 12 months of age. She slowly began to master it. We like this one compared to other large-knobbed puzzles from Melissa and Doug because it’s less “busy” and focuses soley on shapes.
Closer to 18 months of age, we exposed our daughter to a peg puzzle from Melissa and Doug. We bought a safari-themed one second hand, similar to the one found in this set. Peg puzzles are great for once children have mastered the large-knobbed puzzles. Melissa and Doug has tons of peg puzzle to choose from, but if you’re looking for ones that are Montessori-friendly, opt for puzzles that have realistic images. Also, avoid the “battery-operated” puzzles that make sounds.
We love these “water coloring books”. They are called Water Wow! Water Reveal Activity Books. It’s a mess-free way for children to color and paint. This is an especially great activity if you’re traveling, but also good to pull out at home! To keep it Montessori-friendly, choose ones with realistic images (or letters/numbers).
This Melissa and Doug “Let’s Play House! Dust, Sweep & Mop Set” can be given to your child once they are confidently walking. This is a very popular Montessori toddler toy, as it is a child-sized version of adult cleaning tools. Children even as young as one can participate in practical life activities such as sweeping.
That concludes our roundup of our favorite Montessori Melissa and Doug toys for 1 year olds (12-24 months). There are plenty more Melissa and Doug toys that would be appropriate for a 1 year old that are Montessori-friendly – these are just the toys we have and can personally recommend! Of course, each child is different and will be drawn to different toys (or not) at different ages. We bought most of our Melissa and Doug toys second hand, which we definitely recommend if you can!
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