Best Montessori and learning toys for 2-year-olds

Child using the Squeaky Clean Squeegee Set from The Enthusiast Play Kit by Lovevery

What are Montessori toys?

Any plaything can be a “Montessori toy” if it aligns with the Montessori learning philosophy of purposeful play. Montessori classrooms emphasize simple playthings made of natural materials that allow young children to practice one skill at a time. Uncomplicated in construction and purpose, these kinds of materials feel good to hold, don’t provide excess stimulation like bright lights and loud noises, and tap into your child’s natural inclination to learn.

Learn more about what makes something a “Montessori toy.” 

What are the best Montessori toys for 2-year-olds?

Two-year-olds are increasingly aware of themselves as separate from others, and they love to make sense of the world by categorizing and sorting. The best toys for this year support this emerging independence and sense of identity. They also give your child opportunities for fine and gross motor practice, problem-solving, practical life skills, and more.

Here are our picks for the best Montessori toys for 2-year-olds: 

Colorful matching toys

Child playing with the Drop & Match Dot Catcher from The Helper Play Kit by Lovevery
Look Inside The Helper Play Kit: Drop & Match Dot Catcher

The Drop & Match Dot Catcher from The Helper Play Kit helps 2-year-olds practice matching, a  classic Montessori activity that supports executive function and promotes deep concentration. Dropping colored dots into their corresponding slots and sliding the tab to release them builds fine motor skills and strengthens hand-eye coordination. As your child identifies a color, chooses the matching coin, and makes color-based patterns, they learn to plan ahead and categorize. 

Ideas for play:

  • Introduce the dots first, and group them into color stacks while identifying them: “These dots are all red.”
  • Before you suggest color matching, let your child drop the dots into the board however they want.
  • Color rings are arranged in rows on one side and columns on the other. Try creating a row of all red dots (left to right) to match the red-ringed slots, and see if your child wants to create the next colored row on top of yours.
  • Next, try making a column on the left side, counting as you drop each dot; ask your child to create the next column. 
  • Releasing the dots with the lever mechanism will probably be your child’s favorite part 😉

A child-sized scale for transporting and comparing

Child putting wood coins in the Every Which Weigh Scale & Pails from The Enthusiast Play Kit by Lovevery
Look Inside The Enthusiast Play Kit: Every Which Weigh Scale & Pails

The Every Which Weigh Scale & Pails from The Enthusiast Play Kit taps into your child’s emerging interest in using tools to solve problems. They may use one of the buckets to transport several items at once from room to room, for example. This is an important cognitive skill that demonstrates both foresight and an ability to invent new methods to reach a goal. Your child can also use the scale to notice the contrast between heavy and light, and learn concepts like balance and weight.    

Ideas for play:

  • Give your child a collection of small items (the dots from the Drop and Match Dot Catcher work great) and one of the pails. Encourage them to put all of the items into the bucket.
  • Fill the other pail with something different—like pebbles, small toys, or marbles—and wonder together which bucket will be heavier after placing the objects inside them.
  • Try weighing the full buckets on the scale: “Look, the heavy one sinks down low while the lighter one rises up.”
  • Play a guessing game: Calibrate the scale with the sliders to make the pails level, then pick two objects and guess which one will be heavier. Try them out and see if you were right.
  • You can do this as a sensory experience with rice, pasta, seeds, cornmeal, water, or ice cubes.

Reminder: Pick up all small objects after play, and don’t leave children unattended with small objects that may pose a choking hazard.

A hammer box for learning cause and effect

Child playing the Match & Tap Hammer Box from The Investigator Play Kit by Lovevery
Look Inside The Investigator Play Kit: Match & Tap Hammer Box

Cause and effect is a big theme in Montessori teaching and learning. It’s the idea that if you do one thing, another thing happens as a result. With the Match & Tap Hammer Box from The Investigator Play Kit, each time your child hammers, a peg goes down, and if they miss, the peg stays put 🙃 Hammering and pounding also improve hand-eye coordination, arm strength, concentration, and focus. Your child may also like to push the pegs through using their hands instead of the hammer. The color cards add a layer of color matching challenge.

Ideas for play:

  • First, show your child just the box without the cards and hammer. Invite them to press the pegs into the holes and take them out with their hands.
  • Next, introduce the hammer: Encourage your child to try pounding and tapping with different amounts of force. This is a good exercise in self-control.
  • Select a pattern card and lay it down on top of the holes. Show your child how to take a peg and match it to the color on the card, then either push or hammer it in. Invite your child to try the next one—it’s okay if they aren’t able to match.
  • Demonstrate how to hammer the pegs in order. Start with the top left hole, continue to the right, then jump back down when you reach the end of a row. This is naturally how we read and write in English, and a good way to train your child’s eyes. Note that your child’s readiness for this ordered approach may come later.
  • For an extra spatial challenge, take the same card and prop it up into the groove, helping your child match the colors by moving their eyes back and forth.

A visual timer for tracking the passage of time

Child setting the Countdown Color Timer from The Investigator Play Kit by Lovevery
Look Inside The Investigator Play Kit: Countdown Color Timer

Transitions are often difficult for a 2-year-old, because the end or beginning of something can take them by surprise. A visual timer tool like the Countdown Color Timer can help them learn to anticipate when something’s going to end or begin. Though your child doesn’t yet understand time, seeing the minutes pass by in a bright and colorful way can be soothing as they learn.

Ideas for play:

  • Introduce the timer to your child when they’re calm and let them play with it, encouraging them to be gentle.
  • If your child is upset, see if holding and watching the timer relaxes them. It may be interesting (and calming) for them to watch the dial move.
  • Though your child is still years away from truly understanding how time passes, you can introduce the concept now. Set the timer for five minutes and say, “the timer will beep in five minutes and then we are going to put on our shoes.” They won’t know what five minutes means, but hearing the phrase and waiting helps them understand how time passes.
  • Even if you’re not timing something, you can watch the timer together to help your child calm down. Talk about how they’re feeling: “It looks like you’re upset and angry; let’s watch the timer and breathe together—now I see you’re feeling a little calmer”

Peg toys that teach basic math concepts

Child playing with the Wooden Counting Box from The Free Spirit Play Kit by Lovevery
Look Inside The Free Spirit Play Kit: Wooden Counting Box

At this age, your child may be able to recognize and name some numbers. Saying the word “two” while showing them the numeral 2 next to a physical representation—2 pegs, for example—helps create an association between the word, the symbol, and the amount. The Wooden Counting Box from The Free Spirit Play Kit introduces numeracy concepts through numerals, words, and peg patterns. Early exposure to numeracy helps pave the way for stronger number sense later on.

Ideas for play:

  • Your child will probably have the most fun inserting the pegs and making them fall—the pegs make a satisfying clattering sound when they’re released.
  • When they’re interested, start with the “1” card and ask how many pegs there are. Continue in ascending order.
  • As the numbers get higher, count the pegs with your child. They’re learning the order of numbers as well as what they mean.
  • Invite them to trace each number with their finger and say it aloud. 
  • Set up all 10 pegs on a flat surface and invite your child to roll a ball and knock them over 🙃

Instruments for exploring music

Child playing with The Music Set by Lovevery
Look Inside The Music Set: Pentatonic Pat Bells, Animal Metronome, and Simple Concertina

To really make the most of musical play, look for playthings that mimic real instruments. Young children typically play with real musical instruments in an exploratory way. From identifying patterns through color and sound to decoding sounds that help process words, our Music Set unlocks academic benefits while building a love for music.

Ideas for play:

  • Develop a rhythm. Tap two shakers together, then invite your child to try. For a challenge, create a simple rhythm for your child to imitate, like slow, fast, fast, slow, fast, fast.
  • Introduce a music scale. Encourage your child to play the Pentatonic Pat Bells in order, using words like “lower” and “higher.” Preschoolers may be up for the challenge of rearranging the bells. For example, they may be able to put a set that is out of order back in order from highest to lowest.
  • Sing a favorite song to different tempos. How fast can you sing “The Wheels on the Bus?” 🙃 Choose a speed, set the Animal Metronome, and tap your knees to the beat. Try singing your child’s favorite song to that tempo. Repeat with different metronome settings. 

Child-safe versions of household tools

Child using the Squeaky Clean Squeegee Set from The Enthusiast Play Kit by Lovevery
Look Inside The Enthusiast Play Kit: Squeaky Clean Squeegee Set

The Montessori philosophy encourages children to start cleaning up after themselves as soon as they are able. Real tools sized for their bodies help children participate in household tasks like washing windows and mirrors—even if the glass is still a little streaky when they’re done 🙃 Using the Squeaky Clean Squeegee Set requires both concentration and two-handed coordination, while squatting down low or reaching up high will strengthen and stretch important muscle groups. 

Ideas for practice:

  • Invite your child to help you with household chores whenever they’re interested. To encourage them, you can ask if they would like to help with a specific task: “would you like to clean a spot on this window?”
  • If you have a glass door, low windows, or a full-length mirror, encourage your child to use their spray bottle to wet the glass. Narrate what they are doing by using action words like spray, mist, and squirt.
  • Show your child how to use the squeegee to wipe the water. They will love helping you wash the windows and feel so proud when they’re done ❤️
  • Your child can use the spray bottle to water plants or spray other easy-to-clean surfaces.

Everything in its place with a Montessori placemat and utensils

Child setting their Montessori Placemat & Utensils by Lovevery
In photo: Montessori Placemat & Utensils

In Montessori, “sensitive periods” are stretches of time when your child is interested and ready to learn certain skills. Right now, your child’s sensitive period for “order” is still at its peak—they want everything to be in its proper place. A Montessori Placemat with child-sized forks and spoons will show them where to put their plate, cup, and utensils for mealtime. A napkin with visible, oversized stitching helps them learn how to properly fold.


  • Introduce the placemat and show your child where everything goes. Using the same kinds of tools adults use (like the steel utensils provided with the placemat) is a foundational Montessori principle. This allows your child to learn what different materials feel like and how they behave.
  • Invite your child to set their own place at the table. Consider using the same cups and plates you use, and store everything your toddler needs where they can reach it.
  • The napkin includes visible stitching along the folding lines. Lay it out flat, and show your toddler how to make two folds so the napkin fits on its outline on the placemat.

Cards for introducing and choosing routines

Mom and child playing with the Let's Map It Out Routine Cards from The Helper Play Kit by Lovevery
Look Inside The Helper Play Kit: Let’s Map It Out Routine Cards

2-year-olds like to know what’s going to happen, so routines are particularly helpful right now. The Let’s Map It Out Routine Cards from The Helper Play Kit offer simple images showing your child what they’re expected to do every day. The cards attach a visual prompt to the routine, which supports anticipation and sequencing skills. This can help make daily tasks like bedtime and getting ready to leave your home a little smoother. In addition to helping ease transitions, routine cards also teach your child that symbols have meaning and order—a part of early literacy.

Ideas for practice:

  • Select the cards that apply to your daily routines and review them with your child. Consider lining up three or four in a row to start, adding more as your child becomes familiar with a visual schedule.
  • Ask questions so they know what each card represents: “what is that child doing? That’s right, they’re brushing their teeth, just like you do every night before bed.”
  • To help your child learn how to anticipate events, consider using language that describes the future: “after you put on your shoes, we will get into the car.”
  • Once they start to get the hang of it, try pointing to the cards when it’s time to do a routine and say “it’s time for you to do this one.”
  • Try writing your own routines on the blank cards provided. 

A comfortable spot to nap on the go

Child carrying the Organic Nap Mat by Lovevery
In photo: Organic Nap Mat

A Montessori floor bed allows your child to get in and out without the constraints of a crib, giving them more freedom and independence when they wake up. The Organic Nap Mat lets you take this concept with you wherever you go.

Ideas for use:

  • Consider introducing the Nap Mat to your child at home before using it on the road. This will let your child become familiar with it in the comfort of their own space.
  • The Nap Mat was designed so that your child can help roll and unroll it. This teaches them independence and gives them something to be in charge of.
  • The Nap Mat works great in daycares and preschools.

Water playthings for lessons in liquid conservation

Little boy playing with the Liquid Lab from The Investigator Play Kit by Lovevery
Look Inside The Investigator Play Kit: Liquid Lab

Conservation is the idea that things stay the same when they change shape. This is a concept your child is not likely to master for years, but it’s likely to delight your child and it’s good problem-solving practice. By 30 months, your child may be able to start pouring water from the Liquid Lab pitcher to the glass and then back again, which requires concentration, motor planning, and self-regulation. 

Ideas for play:

  • Start with a small amount of water in the pitcher and show your child how to pour from the spout (over the tray).
  • Set the pitcher on the tray with the handle facing out. Then, show your child how to grasp it with their thumb on top and one or two fingers through the handle.
  • Pouring practice isn’t just for liquids. Rice, lentils, orzo, sand, and other very small objects are also fun to pour.
  • The sink or bathtub are great places to let your child experiment with pouring on their own.


Team Lovevery Avatar

Team Lovevery

Visit site

Posted in: 22 - 24 Months, 25 - 27 Months, 28 - 30 Months, 31 - 33 Months, 34 - 36 Months, Montessori, Gifts, Playthings, Play & Activities, Child Development

Keep reading