The Best Way to Set Up Your Montessori Shelves [PLUS FREE INFOGRAPHIC]

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Montessori storage shelves are an inspiring and inviting way for children to play. They are specifically designed to help you optimize your little one’s play space to get the very best out of your Montessori play efforts.
wooden shelf with materials for Montessori studies. study of chickens, mathematics.

Table of Contents

Today, we are going to take an in-depth look at Montessori shelves and Montessori toy storage ideas. Montessori toy shelves can aid you in properly setting up your toy storage and also working out your method for toy rotation.

Keep reading to learn more about the best Montessori shelves and how they can enhance your Montessori toy storage.

What is a Montessori Shelf?

The Montessori approach is all about promoting independent play for your little one with a child-centred approach. When built at a proper height for your child, the shelving will allow them to enjoy free play on their own terms. As an example, 1-2 feet is a great height for the Montessori shelf unit.

Though, this will vary based on the age and height of your child. When installing a Montessori shelf, you need to ensure that the front is entirely open so that all of your child’s toys are openly displayed. This means that no doors should be attached to the unit.

This will help to engage your child with the activities you have presented them in the Montessori toy set-up. There are many companies out there that have specific Montessori units such as a Montessori toy shelf from Ikea. Though, many normal shelving units tend to fit the criteria.

Toddler Girl Playing and Exploring with Montessori Toy Shelf

What is the Best Way to Set Up My Child’s Montessori Shelf?

When setting up a Montessori toy shelf, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. After all, Montessori toy organization is about much more than just putting toys on a shelf. Here are some of the things you must keep in mind to get the best out of your Montessori toy storage set-up:

  • Activities often need to be on trays for your little ones to easily pick up.
  • Activities should be at a suitable height for your child to reach.
  • Activities shouldn’t be too cluttered, consider fewer options.
  • Activities need to be on display for the children to see them.

When creating a Montessori room, all of the things above truly matter.

Example of a Montessori Shelf: before

Harley Wilson, a fellow Montessorian, kindly has allowed us to share her before and after shelfies. First of all, let’s take a look at the photo below:


In this photo, you can see Harley has used many Montessori principles. However, there is room for improvement.  The shelf feels overwhelmed with activities. You can also see that the items aren’t placed on trays or in baskets to allow them to easily be moved back and forth. Some toys are displayed in their completed state. Some of these toys are hidden/out of reach. 

Great Example of a Montessori Shelf: after

Now, let’s take a close look at the photo below, taken after Harley made some changes using suggestions offered by her Montessori community:


In this photo, you can see that Harley has left the activities undone. It is also an excellent idea to leave the activities undone so they present as more interesting to your child.

If your child sees their activities unassembled, it will prompt them to put it back together. It will also allow them to problem solve by themselves.

You will also notice that most things are on trays or in baskets so her child can move the activity back and forth without any hassle.

It also makes it easier for littles one to clean up. It is crucial to keep these tips in mind when creating a space for your Montessori toy storage in your Montessori children’s room.

For Harley’s next rotation, she could try limiting the number of toys. Fewer toys can help to boost your child’s focus and allow them to master different skill sets. 

Infographic: How to set up your Montessori Toy Shelf

Where Can I Find the best Montessori Toy Shelves?

As said above, there are many Montessori toy shelves available. However, there are many other shelving options that will work the same way. You may be able to find these types of shelving units and many big furniture stores that sell wooden children’s furniture.

Most recently, there is a Montessori toy shelf from Ikea that has proven to be a favourite amongst parents and carers, and is very similar to the example used above. It is a simple bookshelf, but when turned on its side, it makes the perfect Montessori shelving addition to your Montessori room.

Montessori Tip’s Best Montessori Toy Shelf

Our pick and the pick of many parents is the Lovevery Play Shelf.

Not only is it a really great space-saving option, but it also promotes a calm and clutter-free space for your little one to play. It’s hidden compartment allows you to store toys and assists with toy rotation to enhance your little one’s important play time. If you love this option, Montessori Tips has partnered with Lovevery to offer you free shipping on USA orders over $75. However, there are a lot of other options out there for you to consider.

Montessori Toy Shelf and Toy Storage by Lovevery promotes Toy Rotation

It all comes down to your individual wants and needs as a parent or carer. Montessori units are completely open which is why they are such an excellent solution to your Montessori toy storage needs. The cubby holes are great for toddlers as they can easily recognize where each activity is supposed to live.

You can also easily utilize trays in order to separate the activities and make it easier for your little ones to move the items around.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the Montessori shelf option allows your child to enjoy order in a designated space. They will learn things far better knowing that the area surrounding them is in an orderly manner. Better yet, if they are able to find something easier, they will make more of a conscious effort to use it more.

Montessori shelving options can also help to build both confidence and self-esteem in children. This is because they have been specifically designed in order to allow children to access their toys as soon as they are on the move. It can act as motivation for children to move toward it easier.

If you are looking into setting up a designated Montessori shelf option for your little one, now you have all of the tools to do so in an efficient manner. Good luck!

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