15 Best Montessori Toys for 2-Year-Olds

Two-year-olds are full of energy and curiosity, making it essential to find toys that aid skill-building and captivate their attention. Montessori toys are perfect for this age, as they are designed to stimulate young minds and support development. This article highlights the best Montessori toys for two-year-olds, emphasizing the differences from toys for one-year-olds, and providing a curated list of engaging, age-appropriate options that foster independence and creativity.

Two-year-olds are intense; they go 100% as soon as they wake up, run hard until they hit 0%, and recharge with sleep. Whatever toys and activities you choose must benefit skill building at this stage and hold a toddler's attention--do such toys exist?

Montessori toys and activities are brilliant for two-year-old minds seeking to soak up everything there is to know about the world around them and how it works. However, for a Montessori toy to be effective, it must be age-appropriate and stimulating to a two-year-old.

Every child has a unique personality and different interests, so I've narrowed down a list of Montessori toys and activities to those that two-year-olds just cannot resist. Let's dive in!

What's the Difference Between Montessori Toys for One-Year-Olds and Two-Year-Olds?

Due to teething, less dexterity, and less patience, one-year-old Montessori toys are simpler and safer than those for two-year-olds. However, by age two, many toddlers are ready to practice even finer motor skills with smaller pieces, communication, and more complex problem-solving.

You'll also find that Montessori toys for two-year-olds often encourage more independence and creative play combinations with other toys than toy sets for one-year-olds. This is simply because a two-year-old mind is already working to do this independently.

Moreover, though your two-year-old has probably not shaken off the hand-to-mouth habit entirely, his desire to figure things out and fascination with little things has likely grown tremendously.

So, the list I have for you today reflects this fascination and includes several fantastic toys with pieces meant to be played together with others under your supervision.

1. Wooden Montessori Rainbow Tree

A  wooden Montessori rainbow tree  looks and sounds enchanting to toddlers. Designed with wooden pedals set at an angle and affixed to a sturdy rod in the middle, a rainbow tree directs marbles down and around the center rod. The sound of marbles tumbling down the pedals is hypnotizing!

For those of you raising red flags, yes, marbles are involved with this toy, and you should absolutely be present when your toddler plays with it. If your toddler is still particularly stubborn about putting little things in her mouth, it may be best to avoid this toy for now.

However, suppose your two-year-old is more interested in playing with little pieces than swallowing them. In that case, a wooden rainbow tree is a mesmerizing option visually and aurally for parents and toddlers!

2. Surfer Balance Board

Active two-year-olds love to run around, climb, swing, and jump, so why not give them a toy for honing their balance skills, too? A  surfer balance board  is a curved piece of wood for little ones to wobble around on.

There are some obvious rules of engagement with this one:

  1. Place the balance board in the center of the floor, away from walls, furniture, and toys.

  2. Put the balance board on a carpet or rug to avoid scuffing the floor and to provide padding.

  3. Don't let your toddler grip the board while wobbling (it will hurt fingers).

  4. Though spinning is fun, don't let your toddler stand and spin on the board.

Our toddlers have had some bumps with balance boards, but they've also shared loads of fun and laughter while practicing their balance skills.

3. Wooden Musical Instruments

Toddlers LOVE making noise! Though they can be a bit rowdy and boisterous, making noise with  wooden musical instruments  is a beneficial sensory skill-builder activity for two-year-olds.

Toddlers playing with wooden instruments learn hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, and the ability to identify cause-and-effect relationships. They also practice rhythm and pairing sounds. You can join your toddler to make a lot of noise and giggles!

4. Silicone Beach Toy Set

Moonkie's silicone beach toy set  is super cute and lots of fun for two-year-olds at the beach or in a sandbox! Your little one will practice refining fine motor skills, shape recognition, positioning with the silicone shapes, and scooping skills with the shovel and bucket.

Though these beach toys are not traditional Montessori toys, they are passive toys that keep little ones active. And since they are silicone, they are easy to clean and tolerate hot summers and freezing winters.

5. Water and Sand Sensory Table

Okay, this one is pricey, but if you are handy, you can make a version for less at home. Toddlers LOVE this kind of open-ended, messy activity! A  water and sand sensory table  engages little ones' senses while satiating their desire to get their hands dirty.

Using a few tools and pieces on a table like this puts two-year-old minds to work on what is possible with gravity, water, and sand. They will practice their hand-eye coordination skills, spatial reasoning, prediction-making skills, problem-solving skills, and engage multiple senses.

6. Sensory Bin

Toddlers of all ages enjoy sensory bins, and these are easy to make at home! All you need is enough of something small to fill the bottom, a scoop, two or more small cups, and some other little toys. Typical fillers are water, dried beans, dry or cooked pasta, sand, dirt, pebbles, and cereal.

Just ensure your little one knows when he isn't supposed to eat the filler and stay nearby to keep an eye on him. Sensory bins work wonders for stimulating the senses and exercising foundational skills like scooping, spooning, and pouring.

I listed several types of sensory activities in 7 Unique Preschool Sensory Activities for Homeschool if you are interested in more ideas like this one!

7. Wooden Train Set

Montessori or not? A  wooden train set  captivates two-year-olds' attention at libraries, so it's a fantastic option for playing at home! Toddlers place the wooden tracks however they please and pull their trains along the tracks in imaginative play.

Though wooden train sets are not traditional Montessori toys, they engage the senses, allow freedom within boundaries, and target foundational skills like hand-eye coordination, spatial reasoning, problem-solving, and orderliness. Moreover, a group of kids can have fun with a wooden train set together!

8. Rainbow Stacking Arches Set

No Montessori toy list would be complete without a stacking toy! Two-year-olds who have grown up so far playing with wooden blocks and stacking cups are likely ready for a challenge:  stacking arches.

The curves will certainly throw a two-year-old off at first, but you will be surprised at how quickly your little one will grasp the concept and enjoy making unique towers and patterns. Balancing, bordering, problem-solving, matching, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills will all get exercised as your little one plays with a wooden arch set.

This particular set comes with flat wooden shapes and simple wooden people to give your little one's imagination more to work with. How neat!

9. Knobbed Cylinder Block Set

Two-year-olds are fascinated with little things, especially with putting little things into spaces where they might fit. Interestingly, this fascination exercises all kinds of skills for a toddler. Take a look at this  knobbed cylinder block set; you can see so many ways a toddler will problem-solve, organize, and stack with these!

To add a twist, you can roll out play dough, bread, or cookie dough on the table for your two-year-old to play with and stamp with these cylindrical blocks. This is a fun toy set!

10. Art Easel

Bring out the little artist in your toddler by providing a  standing easel. This particular easel is awesome because it has a marker board as well as a paper roll, so your little one can practice with pencils, pens, paint brushes, and markers at the same station. Nifty!

Coloring is an excellent way to engage your little one's visual sense while exercising their fine motor skills, color identification, and imagination. Littles exploring colors and lines as they color, scribble, and brush practice creative focus, which is helpful in school and beyond!

11. Cleaning Set

Whether you purchase a  toy cleaning set  or just smaller versions of what you already use around the house, giving your two-year-old their own cleaning set is superb for fostering independence and getting some chores done!

Little ones often want to be your helper because they want to belong. Teaching and equipping your two-year-old to clean the house alongside you is a brilliant way to help your little one see that she can contribute her effort to the family's wellbeing and give her something important to do.

The same idea for cleaning the house can be applied to anything else little ones see their parents doing: working, gardening, lawn care, renovating, caring for animals, farm chores, baking, selling handmade items at a market---literally anything!

12. Wooden People and Little Stacking Ring Set

Here's another toy set with many little pieces to keep two-year-olds busy! With a wooden people and little stacking ring set , your little one may practice sorting colors, play imaginatively with the people, stack lots of little things, or put the little rings on a string.

Since the pieces are small, you should be nearby as your toddler plays with this fun little toy set. My littles spent hours playing with these and seamlessly incorporated boxes, other toys, and blocks for more creative and open-ended play. This toy set is a great way to get your two-year-old thinking!

13. 3-in-1 Montessori Climbing Set

Bring the playground inside on rainy days with this 3-in-1 Montessori climbing set! The Montessori Method advocates for movement between activities and educating the whole child, including exercise. Toddlers playing on this set practice climbing, balancing, sliding, and other gross motor skills.

Though the creators designed this climbing set to be close to the ground, creative toddlers can still find ways to hurt themselves with it. So, stay nearby! It also wouldn't hurt to put a soft rug or some pillows around it until your two-year-old gets the hang of climbing the set. Regardless, this is another item that has consumed my littles for hours!

14. Wooden Puzzles

Wooden puzzles  are a classic toy for two-year-olds. You can find some with geometric shapes, numbers, letters, or odd shapes. The sheer variety of wooden puzzles available on the market attests to how effective these are for cognitive growth and fine motor development.

If your toddler was rather studious as a one-year-old, she might be ready for more complicated wooden puzzles or wooden geometric shapes to arrange on a tray. Otherwise, start simple with wooden puzzles and praise your wee one for patiently working it out. It is a joy to see your toddler celebrate finishing a puzzle!

15. Wooden Marble Run

A  wooden marble run  is a super fun Montessori activity for older two-year-olds! My littles passed hours on a set like this as two-year-olds and still play with it years later. Marble runs are like 3D puzzles that kids put together to get a marble from Point A to Point B--a tantalizing challenge for littles!

Marble runs are also fun for older siblings and adults, which makes playing with them even more worthwhile for your little one's enjoyment and development. Practice everything from problem-solving and communication skills to fine motor development and planning. How cool is that?

Do Two-Year-Old Montessori Toys Have to Be Sets With Lots of Pieces?

No, not at all! You could stick with bigger Montessori toy sets that don't have lots of pieces that can be swallowed (balance board, climbing set, wooden instruments, etc.), but your little one will probably seek tiny things out to explore for better or for worse.

Little pieces are mesmerizing for toddlers because they are typically forbidden, easy to handle, and dazzling when spread everywhere. However, playing with little pieces is excellent for fine motor skill development, sorting skills, and cognitive development.

One thing you can do is have a toy set or two with little pieces stored in a box that only comes down when you can be nearby for supervision. I certainly would avoid putting a set like that out for play anytime because pieces will get lost or swallowed.

Two-year-olds throw several curveballs that are natural in their development. If you're looking for some answers for handling them well, read 25 Questions First-time Parents Ask About Their Toddler's Development.

In a Nutshell

Though several of these require your supervision, all of them involve loads of fun and learning. Before long, you'll see that the two-year-old stage is intense, but the nonstop learning and desire for more is unlike any other stage of development--cherish it!

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