I like to update my Montessori toy and Montessori materials posts every year or so. It has been a while since I focused on Montessori infants! So, here we are…the latest and the great Montessori Infant Toys.
A beautiful aspect of Montessori is the application to life and not simply to education in the classroom alone. Babies are ripe to begin learning and living as Dr. Montessori emphasized in her work. To help you get started (because I know there are many young parents new to Montessori), I researched and vetted Montessori toys for infants. These materials are perfect for your home or even a daycare setting.
Dr. Montessori believed in the child’s ability to reach his potential on his own if given the freedom and the environment in which to develop naturally. She placed first priority on the child and his natural development at birth.
By believing in the child, she encourages and motivates teachers and parents to develop the whole self. Children not only develop academic intelligences but emotional, social and practical intelligences, too. While developing these skills, children will inevitably develop less tangible skills, such as self-esteem, security, and confidence, required for a successful life.
“It is necessary to begin the education of the senses in the formative period if we wish to perfect this sense development with the education which is to follow. The education of the senses should be begun methodically in infancy, and should continue during the entire period of instruction which is to prepare the individual for life in society.” ~ Dr. Montessori
She believed this process started at the moment of birth. She discusses this idea within the context of math. Dr. Montessori emphasized the fact that human beings are born with a propensity to naturally be driven to calculate, to reason, and to create. The key, however, is to have a guiding and nurturing adult within their environments, or the capacity to perform such thinking is eventually lost. Therefore, in order to develop and to function at greatest capacity, a child’s experiences must lend to the innate mathematical mind.
So, exposing a child to these concepts early in his life is vital to the later development of more complex math concepts. Without this exposure, his brain won’t be ripe for advanced learning and critical thinking. In a sense, the brain will reject this type of thinking because it is not prepared to accept more complex information.
The cool part about Montessori toys for babies is that often you can create on your own with your own materials already in your home.
Related Read: Toddler Inspired Practical Life
A cardboard box is a great tool for making a tugging box for babies. Check out this example from Laughing Kids Learn. By threading ribbon through holes in a box you can make simple and endless fun for your little one!
So simple. A recycled can and a bowl of buttons to work fine motor skills, vocabulary (describing the colors and sounds), and color identification. You can even begin early math with counting and patterns.
This brilliant idea comes from Asia Citro at Fun at Home with Kids. Take a trip to Home Depot or your local hardware store and gather your materials. You don’t even have to be handy to create this gem.
It doesn’t get much easier than using paper as a toy. This activity might sound silly but there are huge benefits. The sound of the paper tearing and the fine motor work makes this simple activity perfect for babies. Offer different types of textured paper to explore sound.
This one is so much fun! Our basket is filled with a mix of “toy” instruments (like Melissa & Doug’s Band in a Box, which we love!) and real instruments I found at a local thrift store. Don’t ever underestimate consignment shops! Add a few books about music and your baby will be engaged and happy!
Weekly treasure basket of things around the house that your baby can explore.
There are endless easy & inexpensive opportunities for sensory bottles around your home. So easy to make, to create themes, and to work multiple senses all at once. Babies love this Montessori toy!
There are many different types of rattles that you can get for your little one. Rattles are an opportunity for your baby to explore sounds, texture, and motion.
Babies and toddlers do a lot of exploring with their mouths. A variety of teething friendly toys is the best way you can support this exploration. You can buy sets of teethers that have different textures or you can also buy a set of teethers like this one. Babies often enjoy playing with different textures on a teether.
Related Read: A Guide to Designing Your Montessori Playroom
A great way to add texture is to tie a cloth or baby rag to it. You can also wet the cloth and freeze it for a while. Babies like to suck on it and the cool temperature soothes their gums.;
Activity gyms promote large motor skill and muscle development. This gives your baby an opportunity to practice reaching something which encourages full-body movement. This promotes learning to crawl.
Babies will love if you periodically switch them out, so they can explore something new.
Babies like books that are simple and realistic. Look for books with realistic images. They will enjoy looking at these pictures while they play. Perfect for tummy time! You can also read it and tell them about what each picture is.
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