The Best Montessori-Approved Silicone Sensory Toys for Your Baby's Development

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Montessori-Approved Silicone Sensory Toys

Finding solid, educational, yet genuinely entertaining baby toys is no joke. With so many baby product companies out there, how can you know you're getting quality, safe baby toys that live up to the fun, skill-building standards they claim to uphold?

We noticed that so many baby toys were far removed from their claims in quality, design, material, and safety standards. That's why we founded Moonkie! We create Montessori-inspired silicone sensory toys and baby products for your baby's development. No design compromises and no cutting corners!

This article will explore some fundamentals behind Moonkie toy designs, including Montessori education toys, silicone as a baby toy material, and our top five favorite Moonkie silicone baby toys.

What Are Montessori Education Toys?

Montessori education toys are materials and toys designed to promote hands-on learning and independent exploration. These toys are carefully curated to encourage children to learn through play and develop crucial skills, such as problem-solving, language, and cognitive development.

Montessori toys are typically made from genuine natural materials like wood, metal, and fabric. Moreover, they are designed to be simple and uncluttered. If you're sitting there wondering whether these toys are better for your baby than the typical baby toy collection, then check out Are Montessori Toys Better for My Baby?

Benefits of Montessori Education Toys

Montessori education toys function right in step with Montessori education principles of letting children learn at their own pace. They are passive toys that do nothing in and of themselves, which babies and young children simply cannot resist exploring!

Montessori education toys encourage hands-on learning and engage the senses. As your little one grabs, pulls on, chews on, and manipulates a Montessori education toy, he is learning how things work.

A Montessori education toy also has no power or batteries; they are passive toys that inspire your little one to play actively. Battery-powered toys dazzle and distract babies and toddlers, but passive toys encourage their activity.

Can Silicone Toys Be Used in Montessori Education?

Yes and no. Montessori education toys are typically made from natural materials, but silicone is not a natural material. Silicone is synthetic, but it isn't plastic. The sheer range of textures, patterns, shapes, and weights of silicone baby toys, coupled with their durability, put natural material toys to shame.

The whole point behind designing Montessori education toys with natural materials is to provide simple and distraction-free learning through hands-on play. Focused play with natural materials helps ground a young child to authentic materials they can find outside.

Though you cannot find silicone outside naturally, you can provide a wide range of shapes, patterns, textures, and weights to feel and explore. Having a few of these long-lasting silicone baby toys around for your baby to gnaw on and play with is a fantastic asset to her Montessori-style education.

5 of Our Best Montessori-Approved Silicone Sensory Toys for Baby Development

At Moonkie, we are excited about the flexibility, durability, and cleanliness of high-quality food-grade silicone for baby products! Investing tons of time and effort into creating the most thoughtful designs for little ones growing and learning worldwide, we've created some stellar silicone Montessori-inspired toys!

Here is a list of our favorites at Moonkie in no particular order:

1. UFO Silicone Pulling Toy

Perfect for babies and toddlers, our UFO silicone pulling toy checks all the boxes for Montessori-inspired toys! It catches and holds a little one's attention for long stretches of time because there's nothing else shaped like it around a typical home.

UFO Silicone Pulling Toy

Covered in several different textures and patterns, your little one will have a lot to do just by feeling the textures and chewing on this toy. But once your baby realizes he can pull the tabs to hear fascinating sounds, he'll get really excited!

Each silicone cord has a different pattern or shape that makes a unique sound when pulled through its slot. Don't worry; the cords cannot be pulled out of their slots. Our UFO toy engages sound, touch, and vision senses while also providing ample opportunities to practice grasping, pulling, and releasing skills.

2. Koala 2-in-1 Teether

Got a teething baby on your hands? Then consider investing in a teether that she will actually carry around and use! Our koala 2-in-1 teether is easy to grasp, gentle on sore gums, safe for chewing, and quick to clean.

We designed this teether with several textures on it for babies to explore with their mouths, but we also made it so that your baby will soon default to holding it like a toothbrush. There's nothing like practicing brushing your teeth before actually having teeth to do the job well once you've got them!

3. Stacking Teething Rings

Stacking rings are a classic baby toy that's been around for more than a minute. Wooden stacking rings were the standard until plastic became popular and affordable. Though wooden stacking rings were more durable than plastic ones, they succumbed to wear and tear easily, especially as babies teethed.

Stacking Teething Rings

That's why we chose to make our stacking ring set do double duty as teethers! Our stacking teething ring set challenges and delights babies with varied textures and sizes that are easy to grasp, chew on, and stack.

If you are a bit leery about silicone baby teethers, read our article Are Silicone Baby Teethers Safe? What You Need to Know to learn more.

4. Stacking Cups

Yet another timeless classic, stacking cups are must-haves for babies and toddlers. They exercise your little one's spatial awareness, stacking skills, and hand-eye coordination, among other skills.

Stacking Cups

Moonkie's silicone stacking cups are silicone for durability, softness, feel, color, sound, cleanliness, and variety. Molded with a variety of shapes to feel on the tops and around the bottom, our silicone stacking cups are sure to entertain for years to come!

5. Silicone Phone Press Toy

Have you seen those silicone press toys at the store? Some elementary kids become transfixed by these quiet popping toys, but we've designed ours specifically for tiny hands. Shaped like a little phone, your little one can play with this press toy instead of your phone!

Silicone Phone Press Toy

As your baby inevitably becomes a toddler, you can play number recognition games where you tell your toddler a few numbers and check to see if he pressed them. The whole thing is safe for teething chompers, and you can toss it into the dishwasher in the evenings for hassle-free cleaning.

Montessori education focuses on child-led learning, which means Montessori-inspired toys should put the child first in design, material, quality, and skill-building. Sensory toys are often lumped into Montessori education toy categories, but they are not always Montessori by nature.

Read Are Montessori and Sensory Toys the Same Thing? for a breakdown of the difference so you can purchase toys that make sense for your values and your little one's development.

What is Silicone?

Silicone is a synthetic rubber-like material made from silicon (made from sand), oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. Non-toxic, odorless, tasteless, durable, and safe, silicone is a favorite material choice for the medical and food industries.

Silicone is also heat-resistant, waterproof, and easy to clean, making it an ideal material for baby toys. However, not all silicones are created equal. When looking at a silicone baby toy, check for certifications of high-quality, food-grade silicone.

Silicone toys that don't meet this criteria may have some kind of filler added to cut corners. You can check the quality of a silicone baby product by pinching a piece of it. If the silicone turns white when pinched or stretched, it has a filler and should not be in your baby's mouth.

Why Are Silicone Baby Toys Safe for Babies?

Let's assume you are looking at baby toys made from high-quality, food-grade silicone. Why is silicone safe for babies? Because this grade of silicone is non-toxic, hypoallergenic, easy to clean, and durable!

Unlike other materials, such as plastic, silicone does not contain harmful and toxic chemicals that could harm your baby's health, such as the big bad three: BPA, phthalates, or PVC.

We go in-depth about exactly how food-grade silicone is non-toxic and safe compared to other sustainable material options in Pros and Cons of Silicone Baby Toys: A Comprehensive Guide for Parents. Check it out!

Another big plus of high-quality silicone baby toys is that they are hypoallergenic. If your little one was born reacting to all sorts of things, then silicone may be the way to go for a while as there are no paints, sealers, or resins on it.

Babies tend to put EVERYTHING in their mouths, so much that you wonder how they don't get sick more often! Toys that are difficult to clean heighten the risk that your baby will ingest something harmful or nasty.

Thankfully, silicone toys are easy to clean. Use soap and water, put them in the dishwasher, or boil them for five minutes in hot water. Nifty!

No other common baby toy material comes close to silicone's durability. Even if your jealous pet chews on a quality silicone baby toy, all you have to do is clean the toy well with soap and hot water!

Silicone vs. Wooden Baby Toys

We all know plastic is not the best material for a baby to chew on, yet baby toy shelves are full of plastic toys. What about wooden baby toys? Why are they not dominating baby toy shelves in stores? And if silicone is so fantastic, why are there not more silicone baby toys in stores?

As far as stores go, what you see on shelves is what sells with the highest margins. Plastic toys are cheaply made and break more easily than wooden or silicone toys, so they need to be replaced more often.

Wooden and high-quality food-grade silicone baby toys are expensive to make and ship (because they are heavier). So, retail stores often brandish a large selection of plastic toys but a small selection of wooden or quality silicone toys.

The Nitty Gritty of Wooden vs. Silicone Baby Toys

When choosing between silicone and wooden baby toys, however, there are several points to consider:


Wooden Toys

Silicone Toys


Sensory Experience

Developmental Benefits

Ease of Cleaning



Teething Tolerance

Sustainably Made


Both wooden and silicone baby toys come in a variety of shapes, sizes, weights, hardness, textures, and patterns, making these materials wonderfully versatile and an excellent sensory experience for little ones. Each material also provides developmental benefits in fine motor skills.

That's where the similarities end, though. Wooden toys just don't wash as easily or to the same temperatures as silicone does. You just cannot make wooden toys as squeaky clean as silicone baby toys.

A well-designed wooden toy is also more dangerous than a well-designed silicone baby toy because its pieces can splinter off, sore gums won't get any give, and the wood paint or finish can leach chemicals. In the teething stages, those little teeth will leave tiny dents in wooden toys that can harbor bacteria or start splinters later on.

High-quality food-grade silicone baby toys are more durable than wooden toys all around. Heat, freezing, boiling, dishwashers, dropping, throwing, driving over, pet attack---you name it. Wooden toys cannot hold up to toddler shenanigans as well as silicone.

One area in which silicone baby toys fail in comparison to wooden toys is being sustainably made. The process of making silicone is not an eco-friendly process, though it does result in a product that can be used for years by multiple babies and toddlers. Moreover, they can only be recycled in special silicone recycling centers.

Paying Attention to Safety

As parents, we are so over hearing about safety standards and tend to default to an attitude of "if-it's-in-the-store-then-it's-probably-safe-enough." But when you look at statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, you begin to realize how alert we need to be.

Child playing behind safety gates in front of stairs at home

In 2022, there were 11 toy-related deaths reported of children fourteen years old and younger in the U.S. Five were from balls, while other incidents were from a scooter crash with a vehicle, an electric riding toy, a stuffed animal, a balloon, a tricycle, and toy magnets (source).

In the same year, there were an "estimated" 209,500 toy-related injuries for the same age group. The biggest culprit was the classic scooter--go figure (source).

On the one hand, these numbers are remarkable for a 2022 population of 59 million kids aged zero to fourteen years old (source). But remember, these are numbers from toys we are meant to have in our homes for kids to play with.

So, regardless of what material you choose for your baby, ensure the design is thought out well. No loose pieces, no thin areas your baby or toddler can bite chunks off, and nothing that will pinch your wee one's little fingers.

In a Nutshell

Overall, silicone baby toys are a solid addition to your little one's toy collection if they are high-quality food-grade silicone designed with baby development and safety in mind. Quality-grade toys that don't help your little one practice honing his skills are not suitable choices.

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