I wanted to see in person the baby car seat we had chosen, normally I'm happy ordering online avoiding such places. I was totally overwhelmed. The store was so bright and overstimulating, I wanted to leave immediately. It made me appreciate the Montessori knowledge and materials that we have accumulated over the years. It also made me understand how confused and overwhelmed many new parents must be, thinking they need all of these things, possibly not knowing there is another way.
Most of the Montessori materials are not more expensive than the toy store materials but in many cases they are harder to find, especially if you are outside of Europe or the US. I'm showing the above graphic not to depict the specific toys, but the aesthetic, the look of the Montessori materials. Imagine these in your home, how would they make you feel? Montessori infant home environments are not devoid of colour, the colour just comes from fabrics, plants and artwork on the walls, not from overstimulating, bright toys.
Where possible in the Montessori home infant materials are: Montessori, Global Wisdom for Birth to Three. If you are interested I've listed the sources for the Montessori materials: Please also note that we are not perfectionists, there are items that don't meet this criteria that make their way into our and many other Montessori homes and play areas.
I have used the terms toys and materials interchangeably, these are not materials designed by Maria Montessori but rather toys that are more in line with the Montessori philosophy in the home environment. If you are looking for toys or materials for older children this is an excellent resource - A Montessori-Inspired Checklist for Choosing Toys at Vibrant Wanderings.
Inexpensive Montessori Mobile Alternatives. I've written extensively about the Montessori mobiles , but what if they just aren't for you, what if you are looking for inexpensive alternatives using materials from around the home? Here are a few ideas. Otto has a smaller plant in his room that he will often focus on, it's well positioned next to his movement mat. The area pictured above is under a window so this monstera plant's large leaves will move gently in the breeze, providing just enough movement to engage Otto.
This plant also provides interesting shadows which I can see him observing later in the day. The fringe on a blanket, scarf or shawl. Otto is only a week or so younger than the child in the video, so it was worth a try.
Toys hanging from a hook in the ceiling or from a baby playgym provide similar opportunities as the tactile mobiles like the bell or ring on a ribbon.
Above he is using the Skwish which is nice and large easier to connect with and makes a soft rattling noise when he bats at it. Round rattles or teethers provide a nice grasping opportunity but many like this also make a nice sound. Almost any rattle will do - use what you already have at home. Above is his favourite rattle, it has a bell inside that makes a sweet sound. This provides a similar opportunity to the bell on a ribbon.
It has a bell inside which is nice and clear. The size of the ball also makes it easier to hit. I know I don't need to cover the benefits of using such mobiles visual tracking, coordination, concentration, learning cause and effect but it's just wonderful to watch the joy and excitement the child gets from using them.
Concentration in the very young child. Is the young child capable of concentration? How about a child of one month? How long can they concentrate for?
I know that a young child, from birth, is capable of concentration. Sometimes we need to see it ourselves before we can believe it. A young child needs to be given the opportunity to concentrate. They need time and space. They need for us, the adult, to be patient, not to interrupt. We need to provide a home environment that is just right, not too much stimulus and not too little. I didn't have a post written for you tonight but I wanted to share these pictures I took of Otto at seven weeks, concentrating and getting so much joy from his Octahedron mobile.
The concentration, the visual tracking is real. Otto is at first very still, then he gets a little excited and starts kicking his legs and waving his arms, he starts babbling talking but never takes his eyes off his mobile!
This response is different from when he used his black and white mobiles, the engagement is so much more obvious.
Have you or did you use the Montessori mobiles, did you find it helped the child develop concentration or even independent play? You know I'm hanging his ball and perhaps a bell on a ribbon, ring on a ribbon and a few other interesting toys.
I've been looking around for some inspiration! Instead of just being cared for and acted upon by others, the infant has reached out and intentionally acted upon his environment. He has literally "changed the world. Each rattle, toy, puzzle and other piece of material has been chosen for a specific purpose. Best is when the toys, such as a wooden ring or a large bell, can be hung from the ceiling, or from a natural wood toy hanger. Hanging toys will need to be rotated to keep the child interested and happy, or you may want to arrange to have hanging toys in more than one place in the house.
Ring on a ribbon. Note the elastic so the child can pull on the ring and it has a little give. This shows nicely how this family has incorporated the infant into the home living areas! Gorgeous ribbons and a bell for auditory stimulus! Nice to see how this playgym fits into this parent-infant class.
This one isn't strictly Montessori. This is also a reminder that tactile mobiles and the playgym can be used for tummy time too. Love this little tripod playgym with the bells!
This space is a little cluttered and I'm sure would be simplified before introducing a baby, however you can see some interesting items on the playgym, some textured ribbon, some wooden rings and a bell. So many ideas here. I hope you've enjoyed these as much as I have! If you are reading this in an RSS feed email or cannot see the images, please click through here to read the full post. Tips for Using Montessori Mobiles Mobiles are considered to be the child's first work but have you ever wondered what are the benefits of the mobiles, why go to all the effort, what's the big deal?
There are physiological and psychological benefits to using the Montessori mobiles with your infant. The child learns to control them in one month allowing him to follow what is happening in the environment much better. This is already an important step, since it implies a freedom to observe.
We know that the Montessori series of mobiles promotes visual tracking and visual discrimination, develops concentration and strengthens muscles in the eyes, neck, arms and even core muscles. Some mobiles are suitable to use during tummy time which can also promote the child slithering or creeping towards the mobile. It lays the whole foundation for his character and social behavior. He must find out how to concentrate, and for this he needs things to concentrate upon.
This is already an important step, since it implies a freedom to observe. Exclusions will be confirmed at the point of order.
The child is also learning about independence, the young infant is working on their own for extended periods of time. The child will increase their concentration while tracking the mobile. I've observed my children kicking and waving their arms in excitement at the mobile and I've also observed them completely still in deep concentration. There is also a psychological purpose to the mobiles. When the young infant is visually tracking and then physically moving toward the mobile they are developing coordinated movement in order to reach, touch or bat at their tactile mobiles like the ring or bell, the child achieves a sense of accomplishment, fulfilment, they develop a sense of trust within their environment and themselves.
The child begins to learn they have freedom of movement, they can see an object, reach for it, bat it or grasp it and explore it, knowing that if they want something they can go and get it. There is a developing relationship between movement and knowledge, the child begins to understand they can work towards a goal or object and develop their movement towards that goal or object. Perhaps above a mat in the living room or playroom.
While we have put most of our mobiles in the children's bedrooms, we've also at the same time had tactile mobiles mainly the bell on a ribbon in our lounge room over a soft lambswool rug.
The Joyful Child recommends not putting the mobile above the change area where the conversation with the parent or caregiver is more important than the visual distraction. It's also not recommended to hang the mobile about the child's bed, as the bed is for sleeping and rest and the mobile is for work. I would place the mobiles above the infant, initially around 30cm above which is approximately the distance a newborn can see. The mobiles should be in front of the child, above their chest so they can look forward at the mobile, not directly above their face, this is so the child can choose to look at or use the mobile or not, it is easy for the child to look away and focus on something else if they are not interested.
We've used hooks on the side wall I've also used a piece of washi tape to be able to hook the mobile to the side, out of the infant's line of sight, so they can also use the space without using the mobile. By observing the child you can determine when the child has finished with the mobile and you can then play or move onto something else. You will need to rotate mobiles to keep the child's interest.
If the child is bored with the mobile or doesn't engage with it at all, it's possibly time to put it away and try another mobile. We try to keep the mobiles developmentally appropriate which is why we start with the Munari or other black and while mobile and then move to other colours and shapes and then onto tactile mobiles.
I try to only put my children under a mobile when they are well rested, fed and able to concentrate. I don't have any expectations, sometimes my newborn will spend five minutes under the mobile and other times he has stayed there happy for up to forty minutes.
It's also nice to have the mobile moving so I usually open a window so the mobiles can move gently in the breeze. There are many stores that sell Montessori mobiles and there are also tutorials online. I would look for a seller that is Montessori trained, they should be able to help with any specific questions you have.
A few good sources for Montessori mobiles include;.
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