Montessori Activities For One-Year-Olds

Written by Dan

There’s a world of wonder waiting for your little one to explore, and no better way to start that journey than with Montessori activities.

One-year-olds are at a stage where their curiosity is at its peak, and their minds are ripe for learning through play and exploration.

Montessori activities offer an excellent platform for them to engage their senses, develop fine motor skills, and foster independence.

This guide will share a collection of Montessori-inspired activities designed explicitly for one-year-olds to spark their interest and aid their cognitive development.

Let’s dive into the fascinating world of Montessori and discover how it can enrich your child’s early years.

Understanding One-Year-Olds

At the age of one, toddlers are at a fascinating stage of development. They are rapidly growing physically and mentally and are starting to interact with the world around them in new and exciting ways.

According to UNICEF, one-year-olds start copying movements and gestures, begin to use objects correctly, such as drinking from a cup, and even bang objects together.

Their cognitive abilities also start to develop significantly. By about 18 months, they begin to understand symbols, the relationship between objects and their meanings.

One-year-olds are also passionate learners. They act, move, and communicate with their entire bodies.

This is also when they start making significant strides in vocabulary while learning about letters, shapes, colours, weather, animals, and seasons.

The Montessori approach aligns perfectly with these developmental needs. Montessori activities for one-year-olds are designed to cater to their physical, cognitive, and emotional development.

These activities encourage self-directed, hands-on learning and help children make sense of the world around them.

By engaging in these activities, one-year-olds can enhance their motor skills, language development, and understanding of real-world objects, all in a safe and nurturing environment.


Key Principles of Montessori for One-Year-Olds

The Montessori method is built on a few fundamental principles that are particularly beneficial for one-year-olds. These principles help to foster independence, curiosity, and love for learning in young children.

Principle of Child-Led Learning

In the Montessori method, children are seen as natural learners capable of directing their learning process.

This principle of child-led learning allows children to explore at their own pace and follow their interests. For one-year-olds, this could mean choosing which activity they want to engage in, whether stacking blocks, exploring textures, or simply observing their surroundings.

Principle of Sensory-Based Experiences

Montessori activities often involve sensory-based experiences, which are crucial for one-year-olds’ development.

These activities engage the five senses and provide children with concrete, hands-on experiences that help them understand abstract concepts.

For example, a sensory activity could involve feeling different textures, listening to various sounds, or exploring objects of different shapes and sizes.

Principle of Real-World Activities

The Montessori approach emphasizes the importance of real-world activities. These activities mimic adults’ daily tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, or gardening.

This principle helps one-year-olds develop practical life skills and understand how things work in the real world. For instance, a one-year-old might engage in activities such as pouring water from a pitcher into a cup, sorting objects by colour or size, or helping to wipe a table.

Montessori Activities for One-Year-Olds

Sensorial Activities

Sensory activities in the Montessori method are designed to help children explore and understand the world around them through their senses. These activities include texture boards, sound shakers, and color-matching games.

To guide your child, introduce one activity at a time and demonstrate how to use the materials. Allow your child to explore freely and encourage them to use their senses to discover new information.

Practical Life Activities

Practical life activities aim to teach children about daily tasks and responsibilities. These activities include sweeping, watering plants, or simple cooking tasks like washing fruits and vegetables.

When guiding your child through practical life activities, break down the task into simple steps and demonstrate each step slowly and clearly.

Please encourage your child to repeat the activity and assist them as needed, but let them try to accomplish the task independently as much as possible.

Language Development Activities

Language development activities in the Montessori method focus on expanding a child’s vocabulary and understanding of language. Activities can include reading books, singing songs, and naming objects in the environment.

To guide your child, engage in conversation with them regularly, read aloud to them daily, and name objects as you interact with them. Please encourage your child to repeat words and phrases and respond to their communication attempts.

Motor Skills Activities

Motor skills activities help children develop both their fine and gross motor skills. These activities include stacking blocks, threading large beads, and crawling through tunnels.

When guiding your child through motor skills activities, demonstrate the activity first and then allow your child to try it.

Assist if needed and allow your child to experiment and problem-solve independently. Praise your child’s efforts and encourage them to keep trying, even if they initially find an activity challenging.

Tips for Implementing Montessori Activities at Home

Creating a Montessori-friendly Environment

Creating a Montessori-friendly home environment involves setting up child-centred spaces that promote independence.

This includes having furniture that is the right size for your child, placing toys and materials on low shelves within their reach, and organizing spaces in a way that makes sense to them. Include various Montessori activities such as practical life tasks, sensory exploration, and motor skills activities.

Incorporating Montessori Principles in Daily Routines

Incorporate Montessori principles into your child’s daily routines by allowing them to participate in everyday tasks. This could involve letting your child help with cooking, cleaning, or gardening.

Also, please encourage your child to engage in activities that interest them and give them enough time to explore and learn at their own pace.

Encouraging Independence While Ensuring Safety

Please encourage your child’s independence by allowing them to try tasks independently, but always ensure their safety.

Set up safe spaces for them to explore and ensure all materials and activities are age-appropriate. Supervise your child during activities, tiny parts or potential hazards.

Benefits of Montessori Activities for One-Year-Olds

Cognitive Development

Montessori activities promote cognitive development by encouraging children to explore, experiment, and problem-solve.

Activities such as sorting and matching games, discovery bottles, and nature explorations can enhance a child’s understanding of different concepts and improve their problem-solving skills.

Physical Development

Physical development is also a key benefit of Montessori activities. Children can refine their gross and fine motor skills Through simple yoga poses, playdough manipulation, threading, and sensory bin play.

Emotional and Social Development

Emotionally, Montessori activities encourage children to become independent and confident learners.

Socially, these activities provide opportunities for children to learn about cooperation, sharing, and respect for others.

Implementing a quiet hour, for example, can help children understand the importance of calmness and respect for others’ need for quiet time.


Montessori activities for one-year-olds are an integral part of their growth and development. These activities promote independence, order, coordination, and concentration.

They support a child’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development, preparing them for future challenges.

Activities such as stacking toys, water play, matching lids to containers, sensory play, and exploring the house keep your child engaged and stimulate their curiosity and learning abilities.

Practical life tasks such as hand washing, self-feeding, dressing, brushing teeth, cleaning dishes, and caring for plants and animals foster a sense of responsibility and independence in children from a young age.

Moreover, incorporating Montessori principles into your child’s daily routines means respecting them, interacting with them gently and lovingly, and providing age-appropriate toys and activities that promote their overall development.

As parents, it’s crucial to create an indoor and outdoor environment that allows your child to explore, learn, and grow.

Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Keep observing, keep experimenting, and most importantly, keep encouraging.

Incorporating Montessori activities into your one-year-old’s daily routine can be a rewarding experience. It won’t just aid your child’s development but also strengthen your bond with them.

Remember, you’re their first teacher, and the lessons they learn now will stay with them for life. So, here’s to creating excellent, enriching, and fun-filled learning experiences for your little one!

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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