As a Malaysian mama, I understand just how hard it can be to find quality toys at a reasonable price, so many have resorted to marketplaces like Taobao or Shopee.
When given the chance, children are more than capable of learning age-appropriate tasks such as putting away their toys, prepping food, and cleaning up. Montessori is a way of helping kids learn by incorporating them into our daily lives, which is why you will see miniature furniture and child-sized tableware in a Montessori household.
It is beneficial to introduce certain motor developing skills from a young age to help your child gain the coordination needed to help themselves with practicing self-care. Here are ten of my favorite toys that facilitate learning in toddlers under two!
For the babies – mobility, tactile, and visual stimulation
It’s never too early to start playing with your babies! Babies that are given proper exposure develop faster. I learnt this the hard way, because I thought that the world was stimulating enough for newborns so I didn’t really start playing with my boys till they were much older. They were quite unresponsive but caught up quickly once we started to offer them challenging and interesting toys.
Rolling rattler – Honestly, anything that rolls away from your baby will encourage him or her to chase after it. I know that you’ll be super tempted to move that toy closer to your bubs when you see them struggling, but please don’t. Give them the chance to experience frustration and help them grow their determination.
Cloth books – I highly regret not getting cloth books for my boys and starting them off with board books. They developed a taste for paper and destruction so many of their books are bitten and I’ve had to throw one away. Oh, the heartbreak! Opt for books with sensory stimulation to interest them in tactile perception.
Sensory taggy blanket – A sensory taggy blanket should crinkle! Babies love the sound and it stimulates their hearing. Also called a busy blanket, your baby can play with the tags around the blanket, crinkle it, and use it as a teether or a shaker.
Tactile balls – My boys loved these balls! They don’t squeak, but they provide sensory awareness with all the different textures. These balls also encouraged them to crawl and were also a great teething toy.
For the toddlers – motor function and cognitive thinking
At one, your toddler should be exploring the world around them and figuring out how to manipulate their environment. Develop your child’s natural curiosity and their skills will follow.
Balance board – If you can only get one thing from this list, I’d recommend this! I cannot stress enough the importance of balance. My children have wonderful balance and understand their center of gravity, which means that they fall less and can navigate themselves carefully in high places. For mamas in Kuching, you can get your board from Whee Toys so you don’t have to worry about exorbitant shipping!
Rainbow stacker – A well-loved classic! I don’t know any mom who doesn’t have one of these lying around. Unfortunately, these stackers are usually painted in garish colors. I know that bold colors are more attractive to children, but man, I can’t have that intensity messing with my aesthetic, so I’m glad I found this pastel alternative!
Threading column – A versatile toy that can help your children identify sizes, color, and number awareness. A great introduction to beading, a popular Montessori activity which helps with motor skills development and cognitive thinking. Unfortunately, it’s exactly the colors I hate so I went for a cuter alternative instead: farm animal beads!
Assorted building stones – While angular blocks are easier for young children to stack, building stones are much more versatile and can offer a better understanding of balance. Also, aren’t they just the prettiest? You can get them in macaron colors or basic natural wood.
A functional household cleaning set – My favorite find has got to be this child-size cleaning set, inclusive of a map, dustpan, duster, broom, and holder. Your child can clean alongside you or engage in play that can prepare them for chores. I believe that introducing chores from a young age can prevent your child from resenting them when they grow older.
Oversized bolts and nuts – Improve dexterity with these oversized bolts and nuts. I prefer the plastic ones because the wooden ones may have some defects, which makes it harder to twist. You can also give your baby an old breast milk bottle or pretty much anything that screws, as long as it’s oversized so there are no small bits to swallow or choke on!
Toys should always serve a purpose
According to Montessori philosophy, play is a child’s equivalent of work. Instead of offering electronics that serve to entertain, give them toys that encourage creativity and focus.
Feel free to share toys that your toddlers responded positively to, would love to hear from you and discover more fun and educational toys 🙂