Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Montessori activities for infant

probably the most associated word with children, of all ages.
But toys is a topic that I have been revisiting for a while, and my idea of it has changed greatly over the years. Whether it is in the Waldorf philosophy, or the Montessori one, toys can have a different view then the mainstream one that we are used to: noisy and plastic toys in a quantity that exceed the needs of the child.

I have to admit, the topic of toys is one that has brought me to these new philosophy of education (Waldorf and Montessori). I felt uneasy with the quantity and quality of toys we owned and felt like there had to be another solution.
The rest is history.

Maria Montessori thought that when children are provided with an environment that was suited for them, and where they were able to do purposeful work, toys were not needed.
I have to admit that since my kids are born, they much rather doing then playing. Everytime, on any occasion.
But for the infants, well chosen toys is the material needed to work. So we did purchase a few toys for DS2

You don't need many toys. Only a few that you rotate every few weeks. Since the development will continue in the meantime, when they get the old toys again, they have a new view of this toys with their newfound skills, and explore it in a totally different way then before.

In the first few weeks, we didn't use toys. We used mobiles, sung songs, talked to him, and left him to explore his floor bed. That was more then plenty. When we saw him try to grab the mobile, we knew it was time to add something to give him material to practice holding. So in came the first toy:

the wooden ring.
I had to use this one to illustrate as the other one is currently in use ;). THis one has been retired from the toy rotation, since after bagning it on the floor, it broke...

Good toy. Many uses possible ( I hung it on the plant hook, he loved it) a classic

After a few days of practicing with this, we started to introduce other toys:

The wooden rattle

from little Alouette on Etsy:
Good quality, lovely sound, good size for little hand. That really help him while he was teething.

The ball:

from a store on etsy, but I cannot remember who...
Interesting item. I can see him practicing grasping with this.

A triangular rattle
bought at a local store

He loves this. He loves to handle it, to make sound with it, and the colors fascinate him

The bells, a mobile to grab
yes, this is what it looks like after being really played with...

Bought at Micheal Olaf
His favorite toy up to now I think.

The missing items:

-there is a cloth book that is not pictured as I am not able to find right now... It is a book with different fabric in it, so it gives different tactile sensation to the baby.
-the wooden disks, as invented by Maria Montessori

And finally, the next toy that will be entering the rotation is this:
found at a local store

That is all
Otherwise, we let him explore whatever is in his room (the mirror is a big thing!), things around the house, we sing and read really short stories or rhymes.

All these toys have never been presented to him all at the same time. Usually he has 2 or 3 that are available. But while I was doing the picture, he managed to pull himself to the whole stack. Turns out he almost had a hard time deciding what toy to choose... well, not that much of a hard time really...


And a good read about toys and simplification:
it is a book that was written with the Waldorf philosophy in mind, but there are so many lovely ideas about simplifiying, toys notably, that I love to recommend this book.


  1. Have you heard about the Pink House Montessori toys? http://www.etsy.com/listing/64259172/montessori-baby-toys-5-sweet-toys-in-one

    I would also add the Skwish - our daughter loves it at least as much as our son did. http://www.amazon.com/Manhattan-Toy-200980-Skwish-Classic/dp/B000GI0S4E/ref=sr_1_1?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1296499689&sr=1-1

    Although I blog in Hebrew, I have all the activities (toys and games) we use with our children categorized in English. You are welcome to have a look...

  2. thank you for your great insight! I absolutely agree..
    My son is 4 now and unfortunately he did have loads of plastic toys that I, now that I look at them, can't quite make sense of myself... :(
    Your article makes me want to have another one and get it right this time ;)