The Montessori method of education has been in practice for well over 100 years, and Montessori toys have been a key component from the start. While they are called "toys", Montessori toys are often referred to as the tools of childhood, encouraging kids to learn as they play.
There are no specific definitions for what qualifies as a Montessori toy, but they generally possess four general qualities: Made from natural materials, simply designed, reinforces single skills, are purpose-driven. When thinking about Montessori-inspired toys, less is more. A simple, thoughtful design is always preferred to complicated, battery-powered, bells and whistles.