Best Montessori Cause and Effect Toys for Toddlers

Best Montessori Cause and Effect Toys for Toddlers

Young children love to see the effects of their actions. From a very young age, babies and toddlers explore their environment looking for the outcomes and effects of their movements and actions. We can offer them toys and materials that support this sensory exploration of cause and effect. I will share with you some reasons why cause-and-effect toys appeal to young children, some Montessori toy recommendations as well as other everyday objects and experiences that naturally show a cause-and-effect relationship.

5 Reasons Why Cause and Effect Toys and Experiences Are Interesting to Babies and Toddlers

  1. These experiences show that their actions create reactions. They like to see that they are affecting the world around them. Toys that show cause and effect will help provide feedback to the child on their actions. 
  2. Cause and effect support language development. They start to understand that they can impact their environment with their words, sounds, and gestures. As they start to understand the importance of language in having an effect on their environment and the people around them it will encourage more communication. 
  3. Often toys that show cause and effect require some action on the part of the child. Greater opportunities for connection and concentration with these types of toys and experiences.
  4. Developmentally appropriate for supporting fine and gross motor skills. 
  5. Develops natural curiosity. A child is determined to figure out how things work! Offering toys that allow for exploration and discovery of cause and effect will foster curiosity. 

Montessori Toy Recommendations 

Pop-up Toy

Pop-Up toys are perfect for older babies, while they are developing the palmer grasp as well as into toddlerhood while they are exploring with cause and effect. When you push down the pegs, they spring up and out of their wooden base. The harder the child pushes down, the higher the peg will spring up! This simple toy is the perfect toy to offer to a curious child.

Montessori Pop-up Toy


Another great material to offer is bells. Each bell will make different sounds. There is an important aspect of cause and effect that I like with toys like these musical bells. The harder and faster that you press down the louder the sound of the bell will be. Conversly, when you press softly, the sound of the bell will not be as loud. This will directly support the skill of force modulation; knowing how much force to use for the intended task or desired outcome. These high-quality musical bells from Fat Brain Toys would be the perfect birthday or Christmas gift.

Colorful bells

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The SpinAgain toy will support cause-and-effect play. This is a very appealing toy with its bright colors. As the child places the disk on the top of the corkscrew, it will spin down the dowel on its own.

SpinAgain toy of colorful rings on a corkscrew dowel.

Ball Drop

A ball drop is a classic toy to show cause and effect. This large Ball Drop will support both cause and effect play as well as gross motor skills as your toddler stands and squats to put the ball on the ball track. Having a ball drop during those toddler years will be a great toy in your home environment.

Ball drop

Poke-A-Dot books

As those little hands are busy exploring and making connections, we can offer books that support this need for exploring relationships. The Poke-A-Dot books are interactive books that make a loving “pop” sound when you push the dots in. My twins at 10 months old quickly caught on to the novelty of these Poke-A-Dot books. They are such an engaging toy and something that immediately draws them to their Montessori shelf to work with. These books can be a great introduction to cause and effect even before toddlerhood! 

Children's Poke-a-dot book with a finger poking one of the dots

Object Permanence Box

One of the classic Montessori baby toys is the object permanence box. During infancy and through toddlerhood a child is coming to understand object permanence. Object permanence is the idea that something exists even when we cannot see it. This material supports cognitive development as well as this important concept of cause and effect. They will see and learn that if I put the ball in the hole it comes out of the front door! What a perfect toy for early learning and exploration. If you order through My MonteHome use the coupon code “TWINS” for 10% off your order.

Montessori object permanence box with a wooden ball
Object permenance

Car Ramp

A race car ramp is another perfect example of cause and effect. This will likely be one of your child’s favorite toys as they see these little cars race down the ramp. 

Vertical Sliding Ring Return

This vertical sliding ring return is similar to the object permanence box, just more advanced. It will require more fine motor and hand-eye coordination to get the ring into the slot. However, this is another high-quality material that would support and encourage cause-and-effect relationships. 

Wooden ring return toy.
Photo Credit: WoodenToysforYou Etsy Shop

Wooden Drum

Probably one of the first ways a baby explores cause and effect is by hitting something against something else. They are wired to explore and see how things work. While a young child banging toys together is not intended to be destructive, we may want to redirect those actions to something that is truly intended to be hit. Having a wooden drum can be a great start to offering musical instruments. The repetitive movement of hitting the drum will support the need for hitting and banging. 

Wooden drum
Photo Credit from Amazon: PlanToys Solid Drum

Twist and Sort Puzzle

As a child progresses further into being a toddler they may be ready for a more challenging opportunity for exploring cause and effect. This twist-and-sort puzzle will provide an opportunity for problem-solving skills. 

Wooden shape puzzle

Ball Run

This ball run is an elaborate toy that will give flexibility and creative opportunities for exploring cause and effect. There are additional elements you can add to the track such as a windmill, bell or arch. A ball run would make a great birthday gift.

Pom Pom Push

A pom pom push is a Montessori toy that encourages fine motor skills as well as supports a deeper understanding of cause and effect. 

WoodenToysForYou Etsy Shop


Something as simple as a basket of balls will be a great way to continue to support gross motor development, movement as well and force modulation. Opportunities to throw the ball or roll it down a ramp will show cause and effect; the harder you throw the further it goes. 

cloth basket with various grasping balls
basket of balls

Rain Maker

Rainmaker toys are great during the first year of life as well as into toddlerhood. These are great for younger babies, especially when they start grasping and holding objects with two hands. 

Baby rain maker toy

Shape Sorter

A shape sorter helps develop spatial relationships. A child will get the opportunity to explore size and shape relationships. When they find the right shape, it will fit through the hole and be contained in the box. A characteristic of Montessori toys is that they are self-correcting. A shape sorter is a great example of a self-correcting material and will support cause-and-effect relationships.

Non-Toy Cause and Effect Opportunities

There are many opportunities for cause and effect that don’t involve toys. The Montessori philosphy supports the development of the whole child and offers an education as an aid to life. That means we will prepare our environment and moments in our day to offer opportunities for cause and effect through daily tasks of practical life. Here are some ideas of opportunities you may give to your child to explore cause and effect in their environment. 

  • Light switch
  • Remotes 
  • Spray bottles (could introduce washing windows) 
  • Rolling things down an incline
  • Opening and closing doors, closets, and cabinets
  • Dumping things out
  • Pouring
  • Pots and pans as drums with different utensils for different sound effects

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