Top 3 Montessori Tracing Boards for Toddlers

Montessori tracing boards for toddlers are an excellent way to help your young learners start developing the basic skills they will need for their intellectual growth and educational journey!

If you are here reading this post, it probably means that you either have a toddler of your own or are looking to get one for a toddler that you know. You also probably have a general idea of what a Montessori tracing board is why it would be good for them.

Ndlovu Learning - Feature Photo - Top 3 Montessori Tracing Boards for Toddlers

If you already know a bit about them, you can skip the next section. For those of you that aren’t super familiar with them, we are going to take a little time to give a brief description of what Montessori tracing boards are and how they help toddlers learn.

Introduction to Montessori Tracing Boards

What are Montessori Tracing Boards?

Here are some Upper Case Alphabet Tracing Boards just after they were engraved on our CNC machine.

Montessori style tracing boards are a piece of material such as wood or plastic that has grooves in it designed to guide a child in a specific task such as tracing a line, writing a number or letter, or spelling words such as their own name.

The tracing boards that we make here at Ndlovu Learning are all made from solid pieces of wood. We use a CNC machine to carve out the etching and a router to round off the edges but we sand everything by hand to make sure each board is nice and smooth and safe for your toddlers.

We then finish each board with a food-grade mineral oil that is primarily made for wooden cutting boards. This oil helps to protect the boards from damage, preserve the wood, and keep them clean.

How do They Help Toddlers Learn?

Tracing boards, especially when used within the Montessori philosophy of education, can help toddlers learn in a bunch of ways. We actually have a post that walks through all the steps of learning to write letters in detail and how you can use a tracing board for each of them here:

Learning How to Write Letters with Tracing Boards

We won’t go into that much detail here but, in short, here are the primary skills tracing boards can help toddlers to develop:

  • Hand-Eye Coordination: by tracing the letters with their finger, toddlers learn how to make their hand do what they want.
  • Fine-Motor Skills: first, toddlers learn how to control their fingers to trace the shapes and, second, they learn how to use their fingers to hold a writing utensil.
  • Shape/Letter/Number Recognition: depending on the board you have, toddlers will learn to recognize the shapes, letters, or numbers that are on them.
  • Concentration/Focus: toddlers will learn to focus on a single task as they trace the shapes on their boards
  • Listening & Following Instructions: you can do fun activities with the toddlers that require the students to listen closely and follow instructions regarding their tracing board.
  • Pattern recognition: toddlers can do activities around creating and recognizing patterns on their boards.

As you can see, there are a ton of ways tracing boards can help toddlers learn and we didn’t even cover all of them in that list.

Now that we’ve covered what tracing boards are and how they can be used for toddlers, we can get to the good part and start recommending which ones would be best for your toddlers.

Our Top 3 Tracing Boards for Toddlers Recommendation + BONUS

There are a ton of options to choose from when it comes to deciding which tracing board would be best for toddlers and there are a lot of factors to consider.

First and foremost, you need to think about the skills and abilities your toddler already has or doesn’t have. For example, if your toddler still needs to develop their basic hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, you will want to go with the pre-writing tracing board so they can learn those skills before moving up to actual numbers and letters.

So, let’s get to it. Here are our top three recommendations for Montessori tracing boards for toddlers:

1. Pre-Writing Tracing Boards

Our pre-writing tracing board is the best option for toddlers who still need to develop their fundamental skills like hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. The pre-writing boards are more focused on learning the actual skill of tracing instead of actually learning numbers or letters.

Our pre-writing boards typically have various lines, squiggles, and shapes on them. We also make sure to engrave grooves that are extra wide so it is easier for the kids to trace with their actual fingers. This is great because most toddlers at this stage may not know how to hold a writing object or pencil yet.

Pre-writing boards help toddlers gain confidence and build their basic skills so they can successfully move on to learning their letters and number.

2. 0-9 Number Tracing Board

If your toddler has those basic skills conquered, then it is time to start learning numbers! We recommend this tracing board next because it seems like young learners tend to be more interested in learning numbers before letters. It is a natural fit to tap into their own curiosity. Also, this tracing board only has ten numbers on it which makes it less intimidating than an alphabet board with 26 letters.

With the 0-9 tracing board, toddlers can begin to learn the basic movements of writing, start to recognize the numbers, learn how to count, and properly say each number in order.

The act of saying a number, seeing a number, and writing/tracing a number all at the same time does wonders in terms of helping a child to learn their numbers. This overlap of simultaneous skills is easily achieved with tracing boards.

3. Lowercase Alphabet Tracing Board

The third and final tracing board we would recommend for toddlers is the lowercase alphabet tracing board. This board is the natural progression after the number tracing board. You could definitely use these two simultaneously if you want and if your toddler is able to manage all the new information without being overwhelmed.

This board is a good initial introduction to the alphabet and can help them learn to recognize the letters and write them properly with the correct strokes. By this point, they should be starting to be able to use actual writing utensils to trace rather than their fingers. We include Wooden Tracing Pencils with every tracing board we sell.

BONUS: Letter Building Pieces

We also wanted to include these letter building blocks because they will help reinforce everything mentioned previously but aren’t technically a tracing board, so, we just added a bonus section!

We won’t go into great detail here but our letter building pieces offer a fourth mode of interaction with numbers and letters: actually physically building the letters. With the boards and the letter building pieces there are so many ways kids can engage in fun, physical, hands-on ways with the numbers and letters they are learning that they are all but guaranteed to grow in their basic literary skills!


To wrap this up, Montessori tracing boards are an excellent way to help toddlers learn their fundamental skills of hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as well as all the literacy skills needed to learn how to write numbers and letters.

We believe the three boards mentioned in this post are a great way to help your toddler. If you choose to purchase a board for the toddler in your life, we would be honored to be able to play a part in their development!

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments or shoot us a message if there is a special board you’re looking for but don’t see in our shop. We are able to create completely customized boards if you’re looking for something completely unique.

Thank you!

Hezel & Dustin


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