The best educational toddler toys. This toddler gift guide contains must-have Waldorf and Montessori educational toys for toddlers that make learning fun. Toys made of wood and natural materials provide many benefits to the developing toddler. Perfect toddler gift ideas for birthdays or Christmas. Provide your growing child with the gift of a more sustainable future with the very best natural toddler toys!
Waldorf and Montessori Educational Toys for Toddlers: Best Natural Toddler Toys
My husband and I were determined to stay away from conventional plastic toys as much as possible and instead looked for organic and eco-friendly green toys to fill our home daycare.
We looked for eco-friendly toys that we both liked and also met the many developing needs of our daughter. Our family is particularly fond of natural Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia inspired toys, so you will find only the best wooden toddler toys below. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
For more awesome ideas pop over to have a look at the Rhythms of Play Store!
Related: Best Tools for Raising Helpers
How to Natural Toddler Toys Benefit Development?
Toddler toys made with wood and other natural materials benefit the developing toddler in several ways.
Playing with natural toddler toys made with natural materials such as wood, wool, silk, and other natural materials provide a rich sensory experience for the developing child. This is why they are used in both Waldorf and Montessori Education.
Natural toys also provide a more open-ended play experience for the developing toddler. This can help toddlers develop their creativity and imagination. More details can be found describing how each type of toddler toy benefits development in the toy descriptions below.
Click on the title of each toddler toy to learn more about it. If you click to purchase, this website will earn a small commission with no cost to you.
Educational Toddler Toys: Games and Puzzles for Toddlers
Games are a great way to play and learn while working with puzzles can help toddlers develop their hand-eye coordination, finger dexterity, concentration, spatial ability, and problem-solving skills.
The wooden toddler puzzle set listed above comes with 6 jigsaw puzzles. A few more wooden jigsaw puzzle sets for toddlers are listed below.
- Set of wooden toddler puzzles
- Wooden puzzles sets for toddlers
- Puzzles for toddlers made of wood
- Wooden Jigsaw puzzles for toddlers and preschoolers
Use the wand(with safe, breakaway cord) to guide each colored marble into the turtle’s matching section of the shell. This quiet and wonderful travel toy builds coordination and concentration while reinforcing color recognition.
We keep this in our car. It is fantastic for travel because the pieces are contained. I’m amazed at how deeply my daughter can focus while playing with this toy.
This game consists of 24 wooden pictures tiles with 12 different kinds of animals. Test children’s memory and find the most animal pair to successfully win the game. Great for 2-4 players.
Related: DIY Nature Memory Game
Pattern blocks help develop a toddler’s creativity, imagination, color recognition, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills. Great travel toy for toddlers!
Ready, set, race with the Roller Derby Track from Hape Toys! Colorful wooden balls, peek-a-boo holes, and fast tracks create this best-selling, dual-sided mountain of fun. Toddlers will love rolling the brightly colored balls down the tracks over and over again!
Musical Toys for Toddlers
Studies show that music is beneficial for critical cognitive development in children. Imagine a thick forest with no clear pathways through it – this is like the developing brain of a child.
Now visualize the pathway being forged, neurologically, every time you musically interact with your child. The “music channel” is similar to the “language channel” in that it needs to be stimulated every day in order to grow and be strong.
Introduce your toddler to the fun of music through playing their own instruments perfectly sized for little hands to grasp and shake. This musical instrument set for toddlers includes a triangle castanet, handle cage bell, and sparrow shaker toy.
The Melody Glockenspiel with two wooden mallets features a streamlined, child-friendly design with 8 precision tuned bars arranged in a C pentatonic scale to provide pleasing sounds no matter which notes are played.
Your toddlers will love this musical set for budding musicians. This 12 piece wooden musical percussion set contains a shaker egg, a triangle with a striker, finger castanet, sleigh bells, piccolo flute, wrist bells, tambourine, xylophone with wooden mallets and maracas. An ideal gift for a toddler who shows enthusiasm for music.
A set of four instruments nestled onto a beautiful base for your toddler. This beginner drum set is perfect to get your budding percussionist playing and creating rhythm; a wonderful introduction to music!
Related: DIY Rainstick Musical Sensory Bottle
Eco-Friendly Planes, Trains, and Automobiles for Toddlers
Just right for little hands, this set of three chunky hardwood vehicles with easy-rolling wheels is great for early pretend play.
This dump truck for toddlers may not be made of wood or other natural materials, but it is made in the USA from 100 percent recycled plastic milk containers–woot!
This award-winning, eco-designed toy truck has no metal axles and a workable dumper that encourages motor skill development. The recycled plastic is very sturdy and will last a very long time. I love that if it ever breaks beyond repair it can be placed in the recycling bin instead of the garbage can! You may also like the Green Toys Fire Truck!
An Eco-Friendly and handmade wooden toy airplane that is perfect for stimulating creative expression, fine motor, tactile, cognitive and hand or eye development. The easy-to-grasp design helps to improve the pincers grip of your child, for better-grasping abilities to prepare for writing.
More wooden airplanes for toddlers:
A favorite in our home childcare! Cars jump from track to track on the switchback racetrack as they zoom down the speedway to the finish line. Two cars can be sent down the track so toddlers and preschool children can race to their heart’s content. Included are two, three-inch-long cars with spiral spinning graphics on their wheels. Or try the wooden switchback racetrack by Hape.
Toddlers will love playing with this wooden vehicle set. It includes a red truck with a magnetic arm, car-carrier trailer, and 4 magnetic wooden cars. The unique colors and numbers on each car inspire counting, sorting, and sequencing. It has a detachable trailer that features stabilizing tracks to keep the cars in place while the truck is in motion.
Encourage your child’s imagination with a wooden train set. Playing with trains can help spur your child’s imagination as they develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Give yourself some free time while your child plays for hours!
You may also like this stacking train by Melissa and Doug. (pictured below)
The perfect toy for the creative toddler. Start you budding train engineer off on the right track with this cute railway wooden train set for toddlers. This set includes a cute train with a special rainbow bridge and ramps for on and off rail play. The track sections are so easy to put together and take apart your toddler can explore different track layouts as they create the railway of their dreams!
This sweet little car and train set can connect directly to Thomas, Brio, Leggo and other popular sets. It encourages group play, creative thought, manual dexterity, and sharing. The best thing about this track is the versatility. One piece of Tobo Track can do what several individual pieces of a conventional wood train track can do. Tobo Track can curve left, or curve right, straight or “T.” They are all made the same. This can really stimulate creation because you can make any kind of configuration.
Related: DIY Calm Down Sensory Bottles 101
Animal Toys for Toddlers
This handcrafted horse from Germany is carved from solid wood and moves easily on its 4 wooden wheels. Toddlers will delight in pushing along this wonderful little wooden horse while developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
- Older children will love to use this horse creatively for pretend play: On the farm, combined with other toys, or by itself
- Have your Horse pull a load by adding one of the compatible Wooden Wagons or Carriages from Grimm’s (sold separately)
This two-story wooden barn is stocked with seven realistic plastic farm animals (a horse, cow, pig, sheep, goat, dog, and turkey), so it is not 100% natural, but still wonderful for farm play. Inside, you’ll find everything you need to have dairy land fun! The folding corral can be moved around and adjusted to any number of shapes. Inside the barn, each animal can get cozy in its own separate stall until it’s time to play again. This wooden barn is great for imaginative play, storytelling, and fine motor skills.
Natural Waldorf Dolls for Toddlers
Waldorf dolls for toddlers are ideal for pretend play and social-emotional development, this is one of the reasons that they have minimal facial features and just a hint of an expression. This allows children to use their imaginations and inner picturing capacities.
A Waldorf doll can easily be imagined to be happy or sad, laughing or crying, unlike more conventional dolls with rigid plastic faces and fixed expressions. This lack of detail makes it possible for toddlers to role-play and act out events that are real or imagined, or project their feelings onto them. They are therefore perfect for both social-emotional development and imaginative play.
These Waldorf dolls for toddlers are available in several styles. They are 11″ tall and made from 100% natural materials of cotton & wool. Their clothing is removable so toddlers can dress them and undress them. The Waldorf doll below is the one my daughter has.
Each of these happy baby dolls for toddlers has unique colors and skin tones. Playing with these little cuties promotes creativity, role-playing, and finger dexterity. They come in a mixed assortment of 12 baby dolls that your toddler will LOVE!
A set filled with 12 adorable little wooden dolls, one for each month of the year! These natural wooden peg dolls are crafted as simple human forms without a lot of detail, so children are encouraged to use their imagination.
Toddlers love to use these wooden dolls for pretend play, counting, color recognition and more! If you are feeling crafty, you can make our DIY rainbow peg dolls!
This set includes 10 Little Dwarfs (without beards), each in a different vibrantly colored outfit. Each doll’s skin and clothing are 100% organic cotton, and each has quartz sand in the base to allow them to stand upright without support. Also available in a Set of Rainbow Dwarfs with beards.
Related: DIY Rainbow Peg Dolls
Best Wooden Building Blocks for Toddlers
Block play is an essential activity for all children to experience from an early age. Building blocks for toddlers can promote the development of motor skills, color and shape perception, problem-solving, creativity, color/shape perception, spatial awareness, and the beginnings of logical thought.
This set of wooden building blocks for toddlers are simple, unique, and beautiful. The chunky “tree” blocks are made from natural tree branches in a variety of widths and lengths that are perfectly sized for small hands. This set also includes a cotton mesh storage bag to make it an easy travel toy for toddlers.
Teach toddlers classic storytelling skills with this 28 block set. Each block comes embossed with two iconic images from classic Mother Goose stories. Read the playful text for each rhyme on the four other sides in our original, artful font.
Toddlers Love these blocks! These beautiful blocks made in the USA help toddlers learn the alphabet. Teach them their ABC’s while they sequence, stack; sort, build and match.
This wooden block set contains 60 natural finished, smooth-sanded hardwood blocks to inspire hands-on, imaginative play. It is packaged in a handsome, wooden tray for easy storage. Standard building blocks are ideal for introducing early pre-math concepts, including shapes, parts-to-whole, and sorting.
Related: DIY Rainbow Colored Wooden Blocks
Nesting Blocks for Toddlers
Learn your ABCs and numbers with these nesting and stacking blocks for toddlers that measure almost 3 feet tall. Toddlers love to stack these nesting blocks up and knock them down over and over again!
Related: DIY Tetris Inspired Puzzle Cube
Wooden Push and Pull Toys for Toddlers
Once your toddler begins to walk push and pull toys are a must-have. Developmentally, using a pull toy is more complicated than using a push toy. Instead of just looking and moving forward, your child has to hold her arm back and look back to make sure her toy is still there. Meanwhile, she’ll also be moving forward and looking for a clear route.
This is why we recommend starting with push toys and moving on to pull toys and ride on toys. Our favorite push and pull toys for toddlers are listed below. We have also included a few of these in our natural baby toy roundup.
While the wheel turns, the wooden ball inside hits the panels and creates a lovely sound not nearly as annoying as the popper I used as a child!
Do you remember those popping push toys with the colored balls in the clear plastic dome? Pop, pop, pop, pop! Drove my mother crazy, that’s why we never had one for long–lol!
I actually enjoy listening to the children in my home daycare push and pull this one around because its soft melody lets me know where they are. You know how those toddlers can wander off!
I also love that this toy can be anything your child imagines it to be as they grow and develop. We’ve seen the kids vacuum the house, mows the lawn, and even ride a song horse–haha!
This toddler pull toy, like most of the others I have provided here, has the potential for many years of use unlike much of the competition. Toddlers will not only enjoy taking this friendly puppy for walks–it will also eventually encourage imitative and imaginary play, and promote fantasy storytelling, role-playing, and creativity.
This set of 28 wooden blocks features carved letters with fancy scroll borders and simple non-toxic ink drawings. Each individual block features four sides with different colored letters. One side has a number, one side has a picture and spelling of the object below it, such as an owl or duck.
Children love to stack these, build with them, combine them with other blocks, and find ways to use them in all sorts of other creative ways. In our home childcare, they have been food, money, phones, you name it!
Your new little walker will discover many ways to build confidence and stability with this multi-purpose wooden wagon. It’s a push toy for toddlers, a pull toy for toddlers, AND a ride-on toy for toddlers! A few more wooden ride on toys for toddlers can be found below!
Best Eco-Friendly Ride on Toys for Toddlers
The perfect scooter for a 1-3-year-old toddler girl or boy. A four-wheel drive takes on a whole new meaning with this best-selling, foot-powered ride. The good news is that this scooter’s rubber wheels won’t leave marks on the floors when your youngster goes for a spin in the house.
This ride-on scooter for toddlers is great for developing muscle strength and balance. Encourage lots of short rides so your child can develop muscle strength and balance, and increase the wheel time and distance as your child gains more power and confidence.
A natural toddler toy that is perfect for older babies and toddlers that are beginning to test their mobility and develop active motor skills. We found it to be an easy transport toy for trips to the park, around the home, and more.
Wishbone 3 in 1 Original Bike (12 months +)
Unlike any other running bikes, the Wishbone bike evolves with a child’s different stages of development. It starts at age 1 as a trike and converts to a running bike as the child grows. With its environmentally sustainable design and innovative 3-bikes-in-1 feature, it is the ultimate pre-bike for toddlers.
Toddler Table and Chair
This kid-sized wooden table and stool create a perfect place for playing, working or snacking. Keep art supplies in the seat so everything is close at hand when you need it. Shelving on each side is great for storing coloring books, pads of paper or works of art!
Kitchen Helper Stool for Toddlers
If you like your toddler near you when you work in the kitchen, or your toddler must be near you at all times, you will love this kitchen helper stool for Toddlers. Young children learn by watching us work. Learn more about raising helpers in How to Raise a Helper!
Best Natural Art Supplies for Toddlers
Head over to have a look at our list of the best art supplies for kids and why a young artist should use them. Most of the art materials make excellent stocking stuffers for Christmas.
If I was to purchase only one art supply for my toddler, it would be these amazing beeswax block crayons. Once you experience the smooth consistency and vibrant colors of these 100% beeswax crayons you will never turn back!
Related: Tools for Raising Helpers
Toddler Gift Guide: Natural Toddler Toys Children LOVE
Natural toddler toys provide a rich sensory experience for the developing child and can promote imaginative play. This toddler gift guide contains natural toddler toys recommended by Waldorf and Montessori educators.
Provide your growing child with the gift of a more sustainable future with natural toys for toddlers! Don’t forget to have a look at the Rhythms of Play Store and our family gift guide with readymade and homemade gift ideas for the whole family!
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
If You Liked These Educational Toys for Toddlers, You may also like:
- Eco-Friendly Baby Toys that Boost Development Naturally
- Best Natural Eco-Friendly Preschool Toys and How They Benefit Development
- 15 Open-Ended Toys for Pretend Play
- The Ultimate Eco-Friendly Gift Guide for Kids
- The Best Art Supplies for Kids
- Something to Read: Children’s Book Gift Ideas
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the wonder of childhood, the power of the imagination, learning through play, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…