I must admit it’s getting harder and harder to choose my favourites as the scope of what the toddler is able to do increases. And on the other hand, these are such firm favourites you cannot go wrong with any of these.
There are many variations and DIY options for these available. The lock box in this list is an expensive item, great for our Montessori playgroup, but I would look for a more affordable option for home. Or if you are handy, head to the hardware store and make your own flaps with different locks on the outside. I personally like being able to hide something inside the box so maybe build a simple box with flaps with locks! Or put some padlocks of various sizes in a basket with the keys to match.
The toddler continues to refine their eye-hand coordination and their grasp. The vocabulary and language is often growing rapidly right now. They are in need of a lot of gross motor movement. The possibilities for self expression with music and art and craft are expanding too. And practical life activities can increase in the number of steps as their executive functioning and coordination continue to improve.
Let’s take a look at six of my favourite Montessori activities for 2 years to 2 years 3 months.
1. A variety of puzzles
I love this elephant puzzle which is great for grading sizes yet simple enough for them to be successful. It’s also super affordable. By Goki*. I still use a lot of peg puzzles for this age group too but like to offer some variety to offer increasing challenge.
2. Vocabulary baskets with matching cards
The number of children who have played with these vehicles over the 12+ years of my playgroup cannot be counted, in addition to the parents who have struggled to learn the difference between an excavator, a front-wheel loader and a bulldozer! The toddler’s absorbent mind eagerly learns all of the vocabulary we offer them and are only limited by our own knowledge.
You can take photos to make a set of identical cards. This set has similar cards where the child has to really abstract the essence of the vehicle to match a 3D object to a 2D representation of the vehicle. It’s a little more difficult but some 2 year olds are beginning to already match these.
This is our set up for learning to cut. We have a thin strip of card around 1cm by 10cm which is easier to snip than a large piece of paper. And, yes, they are real scissors. In Montessori we offer real scissors which are sharp and show the child how to use them in a safe way. I show them how we sit at the table to use them, how to hold the handles, and to point the sharp points away from us. The felt pouch is great for safety too as younger children are less attracted to them.
Most 2 year olds use two hands to hold the scissors and open and close. I hold the strip for them and we collect the small pieces in the bowl. I also have some small envelopes and a sticker they can use to collect their cutting pieces to take home.
4. Screwdriver set
For younger toddlers I leave the screws in the board as it can be hard to get it started. If they need help, I show them (without talking) how to slowly turn the screwdriver, stop, move my fingers and replace them on the screwdriver and turn again. It’s amazing how slowly we have to show them for them to see the movement clearly. This one was from Lindenmood Etsy store
5. Lock box
This lock box from TAG toys has been in our classroom for years. The children love to open and close the locks and I hide treasures to find inside and change them from time to time to add interest. As I mention above, I would look for a more affordable option for home like this or this*.
6. Wooden geoboard
Around two years old, some children are able to coordinate pulling the elastics over the pegs. I love watching how their skills refine and older children enjoy to make patterns with the elastics. I honestly don’t remember where I found this one. But you can pick up similar on Etsy.
As always, use these ages as a guideline only. Your child may be doing one or two steps or already have mastered these. Keep following your child, their timeline, and their interests.
Wanting more activities?
- 3 – 6 months
- 6 – 9 months
- 9 – 12 months
- 12-15 months
- 15 – 18 months
- 18 – 21 months
- 21-24 months
- 2 years – 2 years 3 months
Check back for more activities by age coming soon. You can also download a free 42-page pdf of Montessori activities by age (0 to 4 years) from my website.
* link to my Amazon store