Montessori Kids Holiday Gift Guide 2023

 Montessori Holiday Gift Guide 2023 for kids ages 0 to 7 years old.

Give your child the gift of independence this Holiday season with these practical life-inspired Montessori activities! Each item in our Holiday guide will help your children grow in their focus and confidence by enhancing their sensory, motor, and cognitive skills while at home. These gifts are curated for children of all ages, from Infants, Preschoolers, Kindergarteners, and Elementary students, to find gifts for every age group and skill set. For those looking to go gift-free this year, each item includes an adaptable “at home” option to fit every budget and individual setup.

Disclaimer: These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; We are not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the below organizations and do not receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Additionally, parents should be reminded that children mature at different times, and should use their best judgment when it comes to age-appropriate activities for their child(ren).



Busy Board

Give babies more credit, they know a lot more than we think!  More than just a hands-on toy, a “Busy Board” aids in developing a child’s pincer grip, fine motor skills, and allows them to explore common objects in their environment, in a controlled and safe way.  As you baby independently engages with these hands-on activities, they learn to focus their attention and build the ability to complete tasks on their own, fostering a sense of patience and accomplishment. Another benefit is that this toy is amazing for long car rides during the holiday season!

At Home Busy Board Activity

Grab an old book or piece of sturdy cardboard as the base for a busy board.  Consider its size based on available space and the child’s age.  Select a variety of components to engage different senses and promote fine motor skills!  You can use a zipper from a broken pair of pants, string or a bow leftover from a package, velcro, door stoppers, small mirrors, fabric squares, switches, buttons- the list goes on! Attach the components securely to the board and follow the instructions above for use. This activity can even be updated and adapted as your infant grows and masters new skills.

How To Use A Busy Board With Your Infant

      • Start by demonstrating each closure or object on the board; for instance, show them how to flip a switch, button a button, or unzip a zipper, pointing out each element and explaining what it does.
      • Encourage them to touch and feel each part!  Use simple and clear language, and be patient, allowing them to observe before trying it themselves! Encourage them to explore the board on their own, reminding them that they can choose which activities to engage with and for how long.
      • Discuss how each action has an effect, promoting cause-and-effect understanding (flipping a switch might turn on a light or make a noise).  This all helps reinforce the idea that they have an active part to play in their learning!



Wooden Bead Threading

Introducing counting and hand-eye coordination to your toddler can easily be incorporated into daily activities using common items. A simple method such as threading wooden beads onto a string can aid in introducing the concept of counting and discerning between colors or objects pictured on the beads.  This activity develops fine motor skills as it requires precise hand-eye coordination and helps strengthen the small muscles in the hands and fingers (which is important for future writing).  It also encourages your toddler to concentrate on the task at hand, fostering a sense of focus and attention, and by navigating the beads through the string, their understanding of spatial relationships is also developed.  As with other independent activities, giving your toddler the opportunity to thread beads on their own allows them to preserve and learn to complete tasks autonomously, seeing the results of their efforts!

At Home Threading Activity

By using macaroni or penne pasta and leftover string, yarn, or twine, you can adapt this bead stringing activity to what you have at home!  Larger materials with larger holds and thicker strings are typically appropriate for toddler-age children, while older children can handle smaller sizes and more intricate threading.  Physically demonstrate how to thread the pasta onto a string using clear, slow movements and encourage them to take their time and enjoy the process rather than rushing to finish!  Use the same process as listed above, but instead of identifying the object on the bead, identify the pasta shape and explain how the pasta is hard before cooking it.  Once finished, boil the pasta and enjoy!

How To Do A Threading Activity With Your Toddler

      • Physically demonstrate how to thread beads onto a string.  Start by laying out all the beads and string on the floor or table and demonstrate how you pick up a bead, identify the color and/or object on the bead, and add it to the string.
      • Once a row of beads is completed, you can count along with the toddler and show them how to unthread the beads.  Acknowledge that threading beads requires patience, and it’s okay for them to take their time.  Explain that the process is just as important as the end result. 
      • Integrate this activity as a quiet, focused activity that can be done during designated times or offer it as a creative outlet, allowing your toddler to create their own patterns and designs!

Pre-Primary | Ages 2-3.5


Play Sink and Dishes

The Holiday season is the perfect time of year to get your children involved in the kitchen!  Perfect for preschool ages, your child will be able to mimic the real-world task of cleaning dishes alongside you and learn a practical life activity using materials such as soap, sponges, and scouring tools to clean. Not only will this teach your child about chores, responsibilities, and cleaning, but this will also aid in hand-eye coordination as well as fine motor skills. The sink features running water, so the dishes can get cleaned!  You can also incorporate the science experiment: “Sink or Float,” by engaging children in scientific principles of buoyancy.

At Home Dish Washing Station Activity

You can easily do this activity without a specific play sink by setting up a basin of water, sponge, soap, and reusable towel next to the kitchen sink with a step stool to be at the same height level.  While washing your dishes, show children in steps how to apply soap to the sponge, wash the dishes, rinse them off, dry, and put away.  The “Sink or Float” activity can also be introduced to your child during bath time or while doing the dishes!

How To Do A Dishwashing Activity With Your Child

      • Set up the sink and provide children with either plastic or ceramic dishes and utensils, depending upon the child’s age.  Demonstrate how to add soap to a wet sponge and the motions required to clean dishes thoroughly. 
      • Once the dishes are cleaned and rinsed, show how to dry them using a reusable or microfiber cloth and if appropriate, show them how to properly place the dishes back where they belong.  You can also use the sink as a designated area for handwashing before meals or after messy activities. 
      • Remember to also show how to care for their environment by tidying up the play sink after use.  Celebrate the small achievements and progress made after each step!
      • If you want to integrate the “Sink or Float” activity using the sink, you child can help acquire a variety of objects with different shapes and sizes (some that float and some that sink).  Have children hypothesize which items will sink or float based on their observations.  This will promote critical thinking and verbal expression.  

Primary | Ages 3.5-5


Children’s Kitchen Knife Set

Montessori education consistently encourages the practical life skills that encompass daily tasks to help children of all ages develop independence, coordination, and responsibility!  A children’s kitchen knife set is a purposeful tool that is designed to promote safe and age-appropriate engagement in cooking and food preparation – great for all the meal preparation this holiday season!  By involving children in the kitchen, you can foster the progression of fine motor skills, size discrimination and spatial relation recognition, and set them up for future success in cooking their own meals.  Using a knife requires precision and control, contributing to the skills crucial for future tasks like writing and self-care!  These children’s knife sets are specifically designed with safety in mind, with rounded tips, ergonomic and non-slip handles, and age-appropriate materials that make them suitable for young learners.  Being part of the food preparation process also allows children to explore different textures, smells, and tastes of various foods, which will enhance sensory experiences and can lead to more adventurous eating habits.

At Home Cooking Activity

With guided supervision, gather a butter knife, cutting board, and a simple snack (such as a soft banana) for children to cut. Show them the setup process before starting to prep your snack or meal.  Follow the steps below to practice chopping skills, providing support to ensure safe and appropriate use of the tools.  Introduce any gadgets gradually and for short periods of time to ensure safe usage, which will help children build confidence and competence.  Children can help scoop ice cream, core an apple, and peel potatoes.  Involving children in food preparation promotes a positive attitude towards food and encourages healthy eating habits!

How To Do An At Home Cooking Activity With Your Child

      • While prepping vegetables or fruit for a recipe, set aside a food item like a carrot or strawberry for children to cut. This can be a helpful opening for a quick safety discussion about sharp objects, and only using kitchen tools with an adult’s assistance. 
      • You can then provide them with a cutting board and teach them the proper way to hold the child-safe knife and where to store them after use. 
      • Using the hand-over-hand method shows children how to cut the object by holding one end for support and using the other to make cuts.
      • When cutting is completed, demonstrate how to properly and carefully clean their knife.  

Elementary | Ages 5-7


Abstract Art Puzzle & LCD Drawing Board

Explore creativity with Kindergartener through their very own “Picasso” puzzle!  Each combination of features makes a new face and allows children to develop individuality, imagination, and critical thinking skills.  There are no “right” or “wrong” ways to solve this puzzle, allowing children to express themselves freely.  Manipulating the puzzle pieces will challenge children’s dexterity, while enhancing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. 

In addition to puzzles, an erasable drawing pad can serve as a canvas for children to unleash their creativity!  You can discuss the completed drawings together, which fosters dialogue about ideas and story telling.  Using the drawing board involves fine motor control as children manipulate either the stylus or their fingers: this provides a sensory experience as children feel the pressure-sensitive surface respond to their touch.  You can encourage them to freely create, erase, and recreate, promoting a sense of autonomy.  The reusable eco-friendly nature of these drawing boards allows you to eliminate the need for paper and reduces waste.

Abstract Cubist Face Activity

Make a cubist Picasso face at home by following this free tutorial.  Use plain computer paper or reuse some cardboard packaging, with colored markers, colored pencils, watercolors, and/or crayons by drawing (or cutting) an abstract face shape as your base. Bisect the face with a curvy line for the nose area and finish the face off with a mouth, eyes, eyebrows, and ears to add personality.  Encourage children to create abstract designs on each piece.  Emphasize that there are no specific guidelines, and they can use colors and shapes freely.  They can also cut-out shapes from colored paper and adhere the shapes to the puzzle base using child-friendly glue.  Consider incorporating natural elements into the abstract art piece too by collecting leaves, flowers, or other outdoor materials to create various patterns and textures.  This activity prepares your Kindergarten-aged child for critical thinking and abstraction as they progress through Elementary school and beyond. 

How To Use An Abstract Face Puzzle With Your Child

      • Consider introducing your children to art and its history by laying out the puzzle pieces and showing your child different famous artworks from Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, and more. 
      • Encourage children to demonstrate self expression and have them start by making a “self portrait.”  From there, you can introduce abstraction by showing how the different pieces can be used for different facial features. 
      • We encourage parents to appreciate the uniqueness of each creation, reinforcing the value of individuality and celebrating the process rather than seeking a particular end result. 
      • If age appropriate, have students write a brief description of their portrait on their LCD pad and have them read it back to you!

Thank you for joining us on this Montessori-inspired journey through thoughtful gift ideas.  We hope this guide has provided you with inspiration and insights into selecting active gifts that align with the principles of a Montessori education as well as ways to integrate these activities into your home and daily routines.  Remember, the essence of Montessori lies not in specific materials, but in the meaningful connections and experiences we create for our children.  Every gift represents an opportunity for shared discovery, exploration, and developing the joy of lifelong learning!   

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