10 Montessori Stacking Toys for Toddlers

Shot of an adorable little boy playing with wooden blocks at hom

Babies take a lot of time and effort to feed, care for, and play with, but toddlers take "keep them alive so they can thrive" to a whole new level! Toddlers soak up everything there is to know constantly, so finding toys they can play with in multiple ways for hours is crucial for their development (and safety).

Montessori stacking toys help your toddler develop their cognitive and motor skills. Designed to stimulate your child's brain and encourage them to think and problem-solve, Montessori stacking toys provide endless puzzles and imaginary settings for toddlers to work out.

Even better, Montessori stacking toys are fun for kids well beyond toddlerhood! So, investing in a solid array of stacking toys is investing in years of entertainment and learning.

Why Are Stacking Toys a Thing?

Stacking toys are a staple in any toddler's toy collection because they have existed for thousands of years. Stacking toys intrigue toddlers. The secret to the popularity of stacking toys is their simplicity. They are fun challenges that help toddlers build real-world skills cognitively and physically.

One of the most significant benefits of stacking toys is that they require toddlers to use hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, and problem-solving skills to stack and balance the pieces.

Linguistically, stacking toys are outstanding for helping your little one understand prepositions and learn how to describe things in proximity to something else. This alone is a difficult skill for anyone learning a new language!

In addition to cognitive development, stacking toys also help with a child's physical development, particularly fine motor skills, which are essential for writing, drawing, and using utensils later in life.

Fine motor skills involve using small muscles in the hands, fingers, and wrists, and stacking toys require children to use these muscles. You can find a list of toys designed specifically for developing fine motor skills in this article: 5 Clever Baby Toys for Building Fine Motor Skills.

Stacking toys also challenge a child's creativity and imagination. Given a set of stacking toys and a blank canvas, toddlers have to think outside the box and create their own designs. This type of open-ended play lays crucial groundwork for critical thinking later on.

Are Stacking Toys a Good Option for Multiple Ages to Play Together?

Yes, stacking toys are a solid choice for entertaining multiple ages. However, any babies or toddlers who haven't started speaking yet will likely struggle to connect with the other kids, which may lead to snatching, yelling, crying, or crashing through stacked toys.

Playing with stacking toys with peers encourages children to take turns and share, which are crucial social skills they will use throughout their lives. By playing with others, children also learn how to communicate and cooperate.

Choosing the Best Stacking Toys

You're not likely to go wrong in selecting stacking toys for toddlers; the main thing is ensuring your kiddo can't break it easily! Cleanliness and ensuring the pieces are not small enough for a baby's mouth are paramount if you've got another baby around.

Look for toys made from high-quality materials and free from harmful chemicals. Also, choosing toys appropriate to your little one's age will prevent frustration. If your baby is not quite at the toddler stage yet, check out these classic baby toys: Are Classic Baby Toys Good for Babies?

What Makes a Stacking Toy Montessori?

A stacking toy is Montessori if it is a passive toy made of natural materials and designed for open play--no batteries included. If a baby, toddler, or young child can play with a toy or toy set freely in a prepared environment and circle back to it as desired, then the activity as a whole is even closer to Montessori education.

Happy little boy at home playing with wooden blocks and making a toy train

Some toys are not entirely Montessori in that they are designed to engage a child's natural curiosity while helping them develop foundational skills but are made of an unnatural material, such as high-quality food-grade silicone. These toys are Montessori-inspired.

Montessori-inspired toys take a bit more discretion before purchase. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself before purchase:

  • What are your child's interests?

  • What skills is he working on developing right now?

  • Does she have plenty of opportunities to handle authentic materials?

  • Will she become overwhelmed or frustrated with this activity?

  • Is it challenging enough for his skill level?

Whether a pure Montessori toy or Montessori-inspired, here are 10 Montessori stacking toys toddlers love! These are in no particular order.

1. Hape Stacking Blocks

Hape Stacking Blocks are perfect for toddlers who are just beginning to grasp the concept of stacking. These blocks are made from maple wood and designed to help your child develop their hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, and problem-solving skills.

Hape Stacking Blocks

Each block is painted with vibrant colors and patterns that will keep your child engaged and interested or feed that insatiable imagination. These blocks also come in assorted shapes and sizes, which provides an opportunity for you to describe and name shapes (and make houses that would never pass inspection!).

Age: 1+

2. Melissa & Doug Stack & Sort Board

The Melissa & Doug Stack & Sort Board is an organized way to help your child develop her sorting and matching skills. This toy comes with sixteen different pieces to stack and sort, which makes it a simple and focused activity.

Melissa & Doug Stack & Sort Board

The pieces are brightly colored and come in various shapes, so your little one can learn to recognize and match by either color or shape. This toy is nifty for developing your child's hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, but don't be surprised if he comes up with novel ways to play with it!

Age: 2+

3. PlanToys Stacking Tree

The PlanToys Stacking Tree is a unique take on the traditional stacking toy. It's made from sustainable rubberwood and is designed to help your child learn about balance and gravity.

PlanToys Stacking Tree

The tree is made up of different pieces that your child can stack and balance on top of each other. Fantastic for developing your child's color variation patterning skills and hand-eye coordination, this toy is an excellent addition to your toddler's toy collection!

Age: 2+

4. Grimm's Wooden Stacking Rainbow

The Grimm's Wooden Stacking Rainbow is a beautiful and colorful toy that will capture your child's attention with irresistible arches. Made from sustainably harvested wood and designed to help your child learn about colors, shapes, and sizes, you can bet on this toy being a solid investment.

Grimm's Wooden Stacking Rainbow

The many arches can be stacked and arranged in different ways to allow your child to use her imagination and creativity. One day, she will make a tunnel; another day, she may make a wacky tower; and another day, she may make a ridiculously hilly racetrack. Who knows?

It's easy to add little people, cars, or blocks to this activity to feed your child's imagination even more. She will have plenty of practice stacking and balancing with this toy!

Age: 3+

5. Moonkie Stacking Cups

Moonkie's Stacking Cups are made of high-quality food-grade silicone, so they are easy to clean, durable, and safe for babies and toddlers to bite, throw, or stomp on (because that's what happens at these ages!).

Moonkie Stacking Cups

Each cup is colored and sized differently from the rest to give your little one practice in condensing the cups to one or stacking them in various ways. Moonkie's designers also added a raised pattern on the bottom of each cup to give your little one something to trace and talk about.

These stacking cups are superb for engaging your little one's senses of touch and sight, as well as skills in spatial recognition, fine motor skills, and patterning. Once they get dirty, just run them through the dishwasher. Easy peasy!

Age: 6 months+

6. Janod Kubix 60 Blocks + Cardboard City Puzzle

Do you have a little builder on your hands? The Janod Kubix 60 Blocks + Cardboard City Puzzle is the perfect activity for toddler city planners who love playing with a plan. The blocks themselves are various wooden shapes and painted with multiple patterns.

Once the twenty-piece cardboard puzzle mat is put together, your little one can arrange the blocks as he wishes and drive the cars around the city. This set is simple and easy to add other toys to for more imaginative play.

Age: 3+

7. Guidecraft Rainbow Block Set

Do you like stained-glass windows? The beauty of the light shining through those gorgeous patterns and colors is iconic. The Guidecraft Rainbow Block Set is a toddler-safe version of stained glass windows.

Guidecraft Rainbow Block Set

This set is made with solid wood frames and inset acrylic windows of various colors that intrigue toddlers who love looking at lights and colors. Let your little one play with this set in a large patch of sunlight and show them the colored patterns that show up on the ground at the bottom of the stack.

These blocks will not stand up to stomping or chucking like solid wooden blocks do, but they are a lot of fun for studious toddlers who enjoy light, colors, and stacking blocks.

Age: 2+

8. KidKraft Wooden Block Set

No list of Montessori stacking toys for toddlers would be complete without a classic wooden block set. The KidKraft Wooden Block Set is a simple sixty-piece set made up of many different shapes and sizes to stack and arrange for any imaginative setting.

These blocks are a bit larger than the other stacking toys on this list, which makes them easy to handle. Whether your toddler likes building walls to crash through or wonky towers as tall as she is, these wooden blocks are terrific toys.

Age: 18 months+

9. Magna-Tiles Classic 74-Piece Set

What could be more fun for a toddler than a colorful set of magnetized geometric shapes? The Magna-Tiles classic 74-Piece Set is a hoot for little builders because they snap into place. Your toddler can build towers, houses, roads, pyramids, and many other shapes.

Magna-Tiles Classic 74-Piece Set

Sunlight also shines through these to make your toddler's creation even more mesmerizing! Combining magnet tiles with some wooden blocks makes a power combination to build a track for a ball to roll through or a toy car to drive through.

Age: 3+

10. Eversmart 36-Piece Wooden Stacking Blocks

The Eversmart 36-Piece Wooden Stacking Blocks set is a clever challenge that keeps toddlers enthralled for a good while. These odd-shaped blocks resemble stacking stones and are a fun challenge for anyone.

Eversmart 36-Piece Wooden Stacking Blocks

Each toddler-palm-sized piece has multiple faces that make stacking in unusual ways possible. For instance, your toddler could build a tower, but she can also try making funny-looking animals, cars, and houses.

Age: 1+

What Are Montessori Toys?

Montessori toys are designed to help children learn through hands-on exploration and discovery at their own pace, which is one of the pillars of Montessori education. The Montessori Method emphasizes self-directed learning and the development of practical life skills.

Montessori toys are typically made from natural materials and are designed to be simple, open-ended, and age-appropriate. They inspire imagination, creativity, and a love of learning while exercising a child's cognitive, social, emotional, and physical skills.

If you want to get deeper into understanding the Montessori philosophy, then check out The Montessori Philosophy for Parents: Why It Works and How to Make It Work for You. We break it down for you there and provide actionable tips.

Why Make Montessori-Inspired Toys?

At Moonkie, we were inspired by Maria Montessori's education style because we believe that child-led learning is fun and memorable. Adults learn what they enjoy far better than what they despise--aren't kids the same way?

Moonkie toy set

If a child "figures out" how to play with an open-ended toy or activity, they are far more likely to enjoy the process, learn a memorable lesson, observe more closely, and connect with other children participating in the same activity.

We love how the mind of a child works, so when we create toys and baby products at Moonkie, we consider how babies and toddlers explore with their hands and soak up everything. Paying close attention to details, we ensure that everything we produce is safe, high-quality, and well-designed with little ones in mind.

In a Nutshell

Montessori stacking toys are a fabulous way to help your toddler develop cognitive and motor skills, particularly spatial awareness, problem-solving, balancing, hand-eye coordination, and planning. By providing your little genius with open-ended toys and activities like these, you're encouraging him to grow in a fun and engaging way.

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