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I never cease to be amazed by the wonderful world of crochet and its endless possibilities!

One of the things that most excite me about handicrafts in general, and crochet in particular, is the role they can play in pedagogy and child development and just how good for us they can be, regardless of our age.

Our hands are learning tools, too!

Montessori and Waldorf schools are among the best-known cases of educational approaches that put a special focus on handicrafts. They’re used as a tool to help develop fine motor skills, among many other benefits, both physical and mental, relating to creativity, problem-solving, and even emotional well-being.

I’ll try getting back to this subject sooner or later. It’s something I want to take more time to research and write about. Here, I’ll focus on the making of crochet educational toys for early childhood development, inspired by the Montessori method, which are easy to find patterns for.

Just a side note: Not all toys that fit the Montessori principles are referred to as such. Educational toys are not exclusive to any given philosophy, and some principles are just plain common sense, like being engaging and interactive, stimulating the senses like touch, or taking the child’s age into consideration. Here’s a lineup of suggested toys for babies and toddlers from a Montessori perspective.

Crochet educational toy patterns for early childhood development activities

Now, let’s check out some crochet projects that are probably as fun to make as they are fun for the kids in your life to play and learn with. After all, as lovers of fiber arts like knitting, crochet, spinning, or weaving, we, of all people, can relate to the idea of mixing work and pleasure. And why should kids have all the fun?

Stacking toys

Stacking toys have many benefits for babies and toddlers, including developing hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and problem-solving skills. Here are three suggestions of crochet stacking toys you can make: Sunflower by Ludasamigurumi, Fruit by PinkyPinkyBlueAU, and Tiger and Lion by ZenKnit.

three different stacking toys
From left to right: Sunflower by Ludasamigurumi, Fruit by PinkyPinkyBlueAU, Tiger and Lion by ZenKnit.

Brain teasers and fidget toys

Toys like infinity cubes are among the most popular Montessori activities. There’s no lack of recommendations online for children who are more fidgety and need something to help them focus, relax, and relieve stress. Don’t we all? Puzzles with geometric shapes are also brain teasers that offer sensory stimulation.

If you want to try your hand at making any of these, we recommend you browse Svetlana Artyukhova’s crochet patterns, but good luck trying to pick just one!

three different types of fidget toys
From left to right: Infinity Cube, Fidget Spinner, Geometric Puzzle (all by SvetlaArtCrochet).

Quiet books

Quiet books for kids who can’t read yet are very special, even magical objects. Made in crochet or other fiber crafts like sewing, they have an added textured quality to them, and you can easily create your own or adapt an existing pattern, letting your imagination loose, and your child’s too.

Before deciding to make one yourself, read more about the benefits of quiet books and get your hands ready! Here are three suggestions for you: Dino by ZenKnit, Sweet by PinkyPinkyBlueAU, and Count My Pets by TheAlmondSnug.

three types of quiet books
From left to right: Dino by ZenKnit, Sweet by PinkyPinkyBlueAU, Count My Pets by TheAlmondSnug.

Ready to start playing?

Making toys for kids is a joy. Knowing they can be as fun to play with as they are educational just makes the process even more enjoyable.

From amigurumi figurines to puzzles and soft balls, the sky’s the limit! There’s no lack of projects online and pattern books to set your creativity loose and make an extra special gift that the children and adults in your life will appreciate and treasure for years to come.

And if you’re looking for some non-educational toys to make, why not try your hand at the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda?


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