Can the Montessori Method be Used with Babies?
Have you heard the term “Montessori” thrown around? You have probably heard it in connection with preschool or kindergarten aged children. This method is increasingly used in schools today as it allows a space full of developmentally appropriate toys and games. It encourages kids choose for themselves which ones they want to play with.
But, what about using Montessori for babies or toddlers? Like many other parents, you may have dismissed the idea until they were a bit older. Though this style of play can have great benefits to your baby!
What is Montessori Method?
One day you are in the hospital, giving birth, and the next your child is walking and talking. You hear it from your family and loved ones; “they grow up fast.” This is true! But, during the first 3 years of their life, your child develops more rapidly than at any other time. During this stage, your child absorbs so much information from the world around them simply through observation and experiences. These years lay the foundation for learning. If they have a strong foundation to grow on, the more the child will be able to build upon it.
The Montessori Method isn’t just an approach to academic learning for our children. It can help guide baby’s development right from birth. This method is a child-centered approach to education and development. It encompasses hands-on, multi-sensory activities that kids can engage in at their own pace. Sometimes people are surprised to hear a newborn can use the Montessori principles.
It is easy to apply the Montessori Method to your child’s life. You simply need to offer the suitable environments without obstacles. Place Montessori-style items within your little one’s reach, placed on low, open shelves. Then sit back and observe. Gently guide your child without directing their play. The goal is learning towards independence. This will lay the foundations to the way they explore and how they feel about themselves.
What Type of Toys Should I Look for?
Your child’s playroom is the perfect place to introduce the Montessori Method. But first you must know what to look for when stocking the shelves. To know what signifies a Montessori toy look for the following suggestions:
Toys made of natural materials. Toys made of wood, wool, cotton, metal, ceramic and even rock are Montessori toys. They connect children to nature and are usually safer to their mouth. The different textures, temperatures and weights are important to help children refine their senses.
Toys that do not make electronic sounds or movements. Montessori toys are designed to encourage children to explore and discover independently. Instead of going for flashy toys that move and make sounds on their own, get the ones that require your child to physically manipulate them on their own.
Toys that are realistic ideas. Montessori toys are rooted in reality, creating a great learning opportunity about the world around us. Babies and young children don’t yet know what’s real and what’s fake. Mermaids, unicorns, cartoon characters; these seem no less real than their pet dog. It can be confusing when we teach them about something and then says it’s not real. Choosing between a stuffed dragon or elephant? Choose the animal that your child can later see and learn about in the zoo.
Toys that hone one-task learning. Teaching toys that sharpen one skill at a time is a staple of the Montessori Method. These toys should help kids know if they’ve completed the task correctly.
Toys with a purpose. Montessori toys can also allow children to independently engage in chore-like activities, like raking leaves or sweeping. These make the child feel important and like they have a purpose.
The best Montessori toys for babies
We have done a bit of research and found some of the most popular Montessori toys on the market today. You can find many homemade toys and manufactured toys online or at your local baby boutique. Here are a few recommendations from us.
Montessori toys for newborns to around 3 months:
There is the most beautiful series of mobiles for Montessori babies available on Amazon. Mobiles are a great item for babies who are not yet crawling or walking. The proved developmental opportunities while in the crib. The Baby Wooden Play Gym Mobile is a unique hanging design that includes chewable features safe for your infant.
Since we are on the topic of crib toys, the Mamimami Toy Beech Wooden Sensory Kit is the ideal purchase for every baby. These one-task toys include rattles and other one-task toys that are safe to have in your baby’s crib. They are made of safe and durable wood and support brain development.
Some Montessori grasping toys for babies 3-8 months:
When your baby begins teething, purchase a natural wood rattle ring, made for safe chewing. This item is made from food grade silicone and can fit around your wrist or can be easily gripped by babies small hands. They come in many colors and contain a chic natural look. Purchase them on Amazon UK here: Nibbling Natural Wood Rattle Rings.
Your baby will also love to play with a Montessori fabric ball, tossing and rolling it about the house. The Ying Yang Puzzle Ball is made of washable material and safe for your baby’s mouth. They will love chasing this soft toy around after bouncing and swatting at it!
Some examples of Montessori materials for babies from 8 to 14 months
The classic Melissa & Doug Stacking Rings are an old and new educational toy babies have played with for decades! This stacking toy is made of wood and allows your baby to learn how to order items on their own. The product is durable and safe and sure to be your child’s favorite!
Another product sure to win your baby’s heart is the MojiDecor Shape Sorter toy. This two in one toy provides a fun way for your child to roll their toy around the room and learn to match wooden blocks with their rightful compartment. This wooden toy promotes hand eye coordination and motor skills of your child.
Let’s not forget the role playing aspect of Montessori! This Treasure Basket is full of learning resources for your child’s pretend play! This basket is filled with 21 wooden and natural items. The items encourage exploration and support creative play. It is sure to provide sensory stimulation essential to the brain development.
So What are You Waiting For?
Your baby has an absorbent mind, ready to take in all the world can offer. They are learning impressions of the world around them without any effort. And they absorb the good as easily as the bad. So start applying the Montessori Method at home with your little one today. It is easy and you will be happy you started early.