Did you know that you can make perfectly serviceable Montessori toys at home? It’s true! Many Montessori toys can be easily made at home using everyday materials such as cardboard, paper, and string. Keep reading to learn how you can make these 10 different DIY Montessori toys at home!

What are Montessori Toys?

Montessori toys are designed to help children learn and develop important skills such as dexterity, concentration, and problem-solving. However, many of these toys can be quite expensive. But guess what? It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money on them. Many Montessori toys can be easily made at home using everyday materials such as cardboard, paper, and string. For example, a simple puzzle can be made by cutting out different shapes from cardboard. A bead-stringing activity can be created by threading beads onto a piece of string. Not only will making your own Montessori toys save you money, but it can also be a fun and engaging activity for both you and your child. The DIY process of creating the materials can be a great opportunity for parent-child bonding and learning. Herewith are 10 examples of Montessori-inspired toys that can be made at home.

Sensory Bottles

Fill clear plastic bottles with different fluids such as water, oil, and food coloring. This creates a visually stimulating toy that encourages exploration and experimentation. When possible repurpose empty bottles. Spice bottles are a good choice. They are the perfect size for little hands. Be certain that lids are tightened securely to circumvent accidents.

Center frame: a clear glass or plastic bottle with a black plastic top is filled with water and small rubber bands. The rubber bands are green yellow blue red purple and pink. They are all uniform in size. They are small, they type of rubber bands used to create hairstyles with very many braids. The bottle is on a piece of wood. The background is gradient blue.
sensory bottles are visually stimulating toys that encourage exploration and experimentation.

©Albert Aumatell/Shutterstock.com

Wooden Beads

String beads of different sizes and colors onto a piece of string or wire. Create a stair-like shape that can be used for counting, sorting, and pattern recognition. Craft stores carry a variety of wooden beads. A package with graduated sizes allows for all sorts of activities. From yarn to leather, options are available for your stringing pleasure. Threading beads of different sizes and shapes onto a piece of string or yarn encourages fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Full frame of natural colored wooden beads. Some of the beads are round some of them are square and some of them are semi circle shaped. The frame consists of about 15 beads of which three are strong on a seafoam green cord. There is also blue cord and pink cord visible in the frame but they do not have anything strung on them. The background consists of cardboard interlocking pieces that are white and gold checked.
Threading beads of different sizes and shapes onto a piece of string or yarn encourages fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

©SylwiaMoz/Shutterstock.com

Wooden Blocks

Cut wooden blocks of different sizes and shapes to create a building set that can be used for stacking, building, and problem-solving. It is even possible to create your own pink tower at home. The pink tower is a, if not the iconic Montessori toy. The tower consists of 10 graduated wooden cubes. The largest cube is 10 cubic cm ( 3.93 cubic inches) and the smallest of which is 1 cubic cm (.39 cubic inches). All of the cubes are painted pink because Maria Montessori observed that most children gravitated towards the color pink. They are all painted the same color so that children will not rely on color cues for the placement of the blocks.

A photograph of the Montessori pink tower. The pink tower consists of 10 graduated blocks that are all painted pink. In the photograph the tower is set up with the largest block on the bottom and the smallest block on the top. It is in the center of the frame. The background is white isolate.
It is even possible to create your own pink tower at home.

©Svetlana Shapiro/Shutterstock.com

Wooden Boards

Create a pegboard with holes of different sizes and shapes and provide wooden pegs or other small objects that can be inserted into the holes. A piece of cardboard with holes punched in it becomes a lacing card. Take a field trip to the neighborhood hardware store and purchase a chain lock, a surface bolt lock, a hook and eye bolt, and a hasp that is secured by a pin. Attach them to a 12”x 12” piece of 1/2 inch plywood. This busy board will keep your child occupied, teaching them practical life skills and honing fine motor skills.

Full frame photograph a “busy board,” consisting of a clasp, a latch a surface bolt, and a chain lock. The board itself is natural color pieces of wood attached to the board are red and most of the hardware is silver.
Take a field trip to the neighborhood hardware store to purchase materials to make a homemade busy board.

©SunnyToys/Shutterstock.com

Sandpaper Letters

Cut out letters from sandpaper and provide them to children for tracing, which can help with letter recognition and fine motor skills development. Learning with sandpaper letters is a tactile method of teaching children the alphabet. The letters are cut out of sandpaper and children can trace the letters with their fingers, feeling the ridges and grooves of the letter. This helps to reinforce the shape and formation of the letter in their mind. Additionally, the tactile sensation of tracing the letters can be beneficial for children with sensory processing disorder. Sandpaper letters can be used in conjunction with other teaching methods, such as flashcards or worksheets, to reinforce the child's understanding of the alphabet.

Photograph of sandpaper letters. The focus of the frame is three rectangular bright blue cards on which there is (L-R) a lowercase E a lowercase RINO lowercase O. These three cards are at an angle in the center of the frame. They are on a wooden table. Behind them are three larger cards on which there are(L-R) a lowercase and a lowercase L and an obscured letter. The litters appear to be yellow but they are made out of sandpaper.
Learning with sandpaper letters is a tactile method of teaching children the alphabet.

©Abraham_stockero/Shutterstock.com

Sensory Bins

Fill a container with different textures and materials like rice, beans, or pasta that can be explored with hands or tools. Sensory bins help children develop their senses and explore the world around them. These bin encourage children can touch, feel, and manipulate their environment. The materials used in the bin are chosen to stimulate a specific sense, such as sight, touch, or sound. Sensory bins are used to develop a child's fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and concentration. They can also be used to introduce children to concepts such as measurement, sorting, and counting.

A photograph that shows three plastic bins of rice. In the lower Left corner of the photograph is a partial bin of red rice. Situated just above that bin in the photograph is a bin of blue rice. Directly to the left and above the blue rice in the frame is a tub of yellow rice. There is also one more tub of rice but only the corner of the tub is visible in the photograph. In the right upper frame is the torso of a child wearing a pink long sleeve shirt with an indiscriminate illustration on it. Her hands are visible in the center frame with blue rice on her left hand. Her right hand appears to be brushing The rice off her hand. The bins of rice are on a red table which makes up the majority of the background.
Sensory bins are used to develop a child's fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and concentration.

©Sergey Zaykov/Shutterstock.com

DIY Playdough

Make your own playdough using flour, water, and food coloring. Provide it with small tools like rolling pins, cookie cutters, and plastic knives to encourage creativity and fine motor skills development. Homemade playdough is easy to make and cheaper that the storebought variety. To make playdough at home you'll need:

  • flour
  • water
  • salt
  • cream of tartar
  • food coloring (optional)

In a large pot, mix together 2 cups flour, 2 cups water, 1 cup salt, and 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a smooth dough.
Remove the dough from the heat and let it cool slightly. Knead the dough until it is smooth and pliable. If desired, add food coloring to the dough and knead until the color is evenly distributed. Store the playdough in an airtight container when not in use to prevent drying out

A photograph of a person making play dough. Light skinned hands are visible in the frame. The right hand is holding a wooden spoon. The left hand is holding onto the rim of a glass bowl. The bowl is filled with a doughy looking mixture in which blue food coloring has been squirted but has not been mixed. The tube of blue food coloring is visible in front of the glass bowl it is lying in a black ceramic dish. In the left part of the frame A wooden and woven tray is visible on which flower oil and water are seen.
Make your own playdough using flour, water, and food coloring.

©Ilina Yuliia/Shutterstock.com

Make a Terrarium

Build a small garden or terrarium for observing plants and insects. Children can learn a lot about nature through observing a terrarium.

To make a simple terrarium, you will need:

  • a clear container with a lid or cover (such as a jar, vase, or fish tank)
  • small rocks or pebbles
  • activated charcoal (can be found at pet stores or garden centers)
  • potting soil or moss
  • small plants (such as succulents or air plants)
  • decorative elements (such as miniatures or shells) (optional)

Begin by adding a layer of small rocks or pebbles to the bottom of your container. This will serve as drainage for your terrarium. Next, add a layer of activated charcoal on top of the rocks or pebbles. This will help to filter the air and remove any impurities. Then add a layer of potting soil or moss on top of the charcoal. Carefully remove your plants from their pots and loosen any tangled roots. Place the plants in the soil or moss and arrange them to your liking. If desired, add decorative elements on top of the soil or moss. Finally, place the lid or cover on top of the container. Your terrarium is now complete! Keep your terrarium in a place where it will receive indirect sunlight, and avoid over-watering

Center frame a large round clear glass jar with a cork top is visible with plant life growing in it. In the bottom of the jar is sand and then dirt or peat moss and then there is some regular moss and some succulents. The terrarium is placed on a white table against a white wall. There appears to be a bright window out of frame on the right
Children can learn a lot about nature through observing a terrarium.

©qnula/Shutterstock.com

Sewing or Knitting Bag

A simple sewing or knitting project for developing fine motor skills. Even very young children can learn to knit and sew simple projects. imagine the feelings of accomplishment and pride to be had in knitting your own scarf! Knitting is a wonderful way to develop manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

Photograph of a child knitting. All that is visible of the child in the photograph is from the neck to the waist. Child is wearing a long sleeve blue and white striped T-shirt. The child has very long honey blonde hair that falls below their waist. The child is light skinned. The child is knitting with very thin knitting needles using lavender yarn. They have knitted about a 2 inch square which is visible in the Center of the frame between her hands.
Knitting is a wonderful way to develop manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

©Ksenia Shestakova/Shutterstock.com

Construct a Fulcrum

Older children will enjoy creating a fulcrum. See-saws, scissors, hinges, and cranes are some real world examples of fulcrums. Fulcrums can be found in many different types of machines and tools. To make a simple fulcrum requires a sturdy object such as a brick or a rock as the pivot point. Place the pivot point on the ground, or in the case of a smaller fulcrum, on a tabletop. Taking a long, straight object such as a plank of wood or a popsicle stick, attach it a its midway point to the pivot point. Depending on th size of the fulcrum being constructed and the materials employed a nail or screw may be used to secure the lever. In smaller constructions, tape or glue may be used. The plank or stick serves as the lever. Try lifting or moving objects by applying force to the other end of the lever.

Center frame of a photo is a triangle wedge of wood on top of which is a proportionate size plank of wood. The left side of the wood is down on the pink surface on which the fulcrum is placed. The right side is up in the air. On each end of the liver is a pink macaroon. The whole photo is shot against pink isolate.
Older children will enjoy creating a fulcrum.

©Ana Marjanovic/Shutterstock.com

Making your own Montessori toys can be fun and rewarding, while saving money and creating lasting memories for you and your child.