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For the uninitiated, Montessori is a hands-on, multi-sensory teaching technique that encourages children to explore and discover independently. And while you might have come across the term while researching preschools, you can actually employ Montessori principles before putting your mini on the schoolbus—starting with their toys. Here, nine Montessori teaching tools that will basically make your kid a genius (or at least teach them a thing or two). 

RELATED: 7 Things That Might Happen If You Send Your Kid to Montessori School

Skoolzy Peg Board Set Montessori Toy

Peg Board Set

As your toddler plays with this set, she’ll become familiar with color recognition, sorting and counting while developing her fine motor skills. Not too shabby. 

Skoolzy ($30)

Montessori Wooden Number Cards and Counting Rods Toy

Wooden Number Cards and Counting Rods

This colorful game helps teach older toddlers (ages three and up) math skills and color recognition. The wooden design is a standard feature in Montessori toys, which embrace eco-friendly and natural materials.

Evinis ($10)

Wooden Animals Stacking Blocks Balancing Game

Wooden Animals Stacking Blocks Balancing Game

As your mini tries to balance the boat and keep all those adorable creatures on board, she’ll use her critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Fun and educational.

Lewo ($17)

Rainbow Colored Counting Bears with Cups

Rainbow Colored Counting Bears with Cups

For older toddlers, this colorful set will help teach counting, matching and hand-eye coordination. (Meanwhile, parents will learn how to zigzag across the living room to avoid stepping on these cute little bears.)

California Basics ($20)

Montessori Star Flex Creative Connecting Construction Kit for Kids

Star Flex Creative Connecting Construction Kit for Kids

Just because Montessori toys tend to be low-tech doesn’t mean they can’t support STEM learning. This brainy kit will help older toddlers’ fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and creativity (aka getting them one step closer to that engineering degree).

Skoolzy ($30)

The Original Montessori Phonetic Reading Blocks

The Original Montessori Phonetic Reading Blocks

Created by a Montessori teacher, these twistable blocks will help your beginner reader familiarize himself with all five vowel sounds plus 13 consonants, creating a total of 80 words. (He’ll be tearing through Harry Potter before you know it.)

Quality Montessori ($28)

RELATED: How to Raise a Kid Who Loves to Read

Montessori Object Permanence Box with Tray and Ball

Montessori Object Permanence Box with Tray and Ball

Like many toys on this list, this one works on motor skills and hand-eye coordination, but it’s also a fun way for toddlers to learn about cause and effect.

D&D Distributor ($23)

Fold and Go Wooden Barn With 7 Animal Play Figures Montessori Toy

Fold and Go Wooden Barn With 7 Animal Play Figures

Montessori toys are life-like (no unicorns or fairies here), which gives kids the opportunity to learn about the world around them. Give them this fun set first, then take them to the petting zoo to see the real thing. 

Melissa & Doug ($50)

Kids Cleaning Set Montessori Skills

Kids Cleaning Set

This isn’t just a way for you to get a clean living room (but that’s an added bonus). Montessori strives to teach independence and responsibility, and this child-size cleaning set is the perfect tool to do exactly that. The key is to make sure that the cleaning supplies are the right size, so that the tasks aren’t too hard to complete.

Play22 ($23)

RELATED: Montessori, Waldorf or Reggio Emilia: What’s the Actual Difference Between Preschools?

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