child’s nursery featuring a shelf with toys

Montessori Toy Shelf

Setting Up A Montessori Toy Shelf

child’s nursery featuring a shelf with toys


A Montessori toy shelf is a great way to store toys that encourages accessibility and freedom. A Montessori toy storage shelf or rack can help kids develop a feeling of order and ownership over their possessions while enhancing their independence and focus. You can even get a Montessori shelf with hidden storage to help you store excess toys.


Montessori toys themselves are great because they encourage creativity and independence. They also help children develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.


However, most parents need help finding attractive storage solutions for their child's toys as well as the best way to put together a Montessori-styled toy layout.


If you've tried everything else, then maybe it's time to try something new. In this article, we'll share our secret weapon for creating a beautiful toy shelf that looks great and will hold the attention of your little one.


What Is A Montessori Toy Shelf?


A Montessori shelf is designed to be easily accessible to your child. Your child should be able to reach anything stored on the shelf without help from an adult.


A Montessori shelf is built from natural materials, has an open design, and is kept at a low height. They are intended to encourage children's independence by enabling them to play with their toys and access things without adult assistance.


One should always attempt to promote independence when teaching a child using the Montessori method. This means that Montessori shelving should be built at a height appropriate for the child, allowing them to access every item on the wooden toy shelf.


Take a look at some of these for inspiration.


What is the Ideal Height for a Montessori Toy Shelf?


The goal is for the child to reach every item on the shelf easily. Note that this refers to height only because the width will not pose an issue when it comes to being easily accessible for children.


Recommended Shelf Height by Age:

  • 0-12 months - 13"
  • 18 months - 3 years - 24"
  • 2-5 years - 30"
  • 3-6 years - 36"


an open toy shelf displaying various wooden toys


How To Organize Your Montessori Toy Shelf


Select a Range of Toys and Educational Resources


Choose the right toys for your child's Montessori shelf so that they can practice various skills. For instance, if you are leaving out grasping balls, wooden block puzzles, board books, and a basket full of natural things, you should also put up a few grabber boards.


Choose a variety of toys and materials for your child's Montessori shelf so they can practice various skills. Consider including educational resources such as books, puzzles, art supplies, etc.


Keep It Simple


It is important to keep the shelves simple. There is no need to clutter up the shelf with too many items.


Organize based on Difficulty


Montessori shelves that feature toys arranged from left to right by difficulty make it easy for the children to choose which level they would like to "work" at.


Use Storage Baskets


Large or autonomous items such as balls, blocks, or natural products should be placed directly on shelves. Smaller items, such as toys or books, should be stored in baskets or trays.


Store Toys Disassembled


A puzzle already put together may interest a child less than one they get to assemble themselves. Leaving toys like puzzles disassembled and out for them to see encourages engagement.



Limit The Number Of Toys Available


Storing too many toys on one shelf can be overwhelming for children. By only keeping a few toys on the shelf at once, your child will be able to concentrate more than if the shelf was cluttered with toys.

Make Sure to Include Puzzles


Puzzles and other "unfinished" games are favorites among children.


Why puzzles?


The benefits are the same whether the puzzle has two pieces or a hundred. Also, they don't have to be made of wood; they can be brightly colored and still be Montessori-style.


Fine Motor Skills: Puzzles come in all different sizes. Most puzzles for young children have knobs that the child can hold on to. Even as kids get older, puzzles help them develop fine motor skills. For example, putting puzzle pieces together trains the small muscles for typing and writing.


They help with the following:

  • Spatial awareness
  • Confidence
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Improved memory
  • Attention span
  • Goal setting


They have something to finish with these activities, which gives them a sense of accomplishment and discovery.  

Shelf Contents Should Be Limited


Children with too many things can become overwhelmed, so you can store some toys while they go through others. This is called toy rotation. This is better for your youngster than stuffing the shelves full of things.


Choose Montessori-Inspired Activities


While your preschooler will be better suited to fine motor exercises and learning about letters, your toddler will concentrate on grasping and gross motor movement.


Five main categories can be used to group Montessori activities:

  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Rhythm
  • Motion Or Movement
  • Language
  • Practical Life Arts and Crafts


Motor Skills Activities


Threading exercises, object persistence games, pattern assemblers, coin boxes, opening and shutting wallets, stacking rings, puzzles, and other activities are all related to hand-eye coordination.


Music & Movement Activities


A fantastic approach to combining movement and language learning is through music-making. A set of wooden musical instruments is a wonderful addition to the toy shelf.


Practical Life Activities

 a young child standing on top of a white wooden tower in the kitchen


Children enjoy having responsibilities because they want to contribute. Try to include them in tasks like cooking, arranging the dinner table, cleaning, taking care of animals and plants, getting dressed and combing your hair (self-care), or doing the laundry.


One of our favorite tools to assist children in participating in practical life activities is RocketBaby's learning tower. 


Creativity & Arts Activities


Crayons, waterproof paints (or watercolors), play dough, and scissors are some of the most often used and loved by children for creative activities.


Language Development Activities


Montessori puppetry, word baskets, and bookcase are at the core of language development. The most crucial tactic is reading aloud.


Rotating The Montessori Toys


It is time for your child to explore new things once you have finalized your Montessori shelf setup!

Following the child's interests is encouraged by Montessori concepts. This means that you are keeping an eye out for indicators of interest in an activity. It is too simple if a child appears to complete it without difficulty. If it frustrates your youngster, it can be overly complex.


Once you have established the spectrum the toys fall on, you can remove the most difficult ones. Then, divide the remaining toys into easy to difficult categories.


Keep one set of toys in a basket or box and the other on the shelf. Keep an eye on your child's interest in the toy and how well they can play with it to know which ones to bring and which to put away.


Frequently Asked Questions


Can I make my own Montessori shelf?


Yes, you can use wooden dowels, cardboard tubes, and plastic containers. You can also buy pre-made ones online.


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Alt-text: video showcasing how to make a DIY Montessori toy shelf


Can I put a baby gate up in front of the shelf?


No, the point of a Montessori shelf is that it is easily accessible to your child without the help of an adult.



What kind of toys should I put on the shelf?


Toys that meet the Montessori guidelines are best to put on your Montessori shelf. These are toys that are made from natural materials such as wood. Montessori toys stimulate learning by encouraging kids to experiment and engage.


How do I know what age group my child belongs to?


There are three different age groups: infant, toddler, and preschool. Infants are under two years old, toddlers are between two and four years old, and preschoolers are between four and six years old.

Final Thoughts


Consider adding a Montessori toy shelf to their room if you have children. They're designed to encourage creativity and independence, which will benefit you and your child.

This will give them a place to store toys and books without taking up too much space. Plus, it gives parents peace of mind knowing that their child's toys won't end up scattered around the house.

You can find a wide range of Montessori toys and accessories here.  


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