Montessori is a wonderful approach to learning that can be applied at home with babies. One of the key principles of Montessori is to follow the child’s lead and provide them with opportunities to explore and learn at their own pace. This can be done by creating a safe and stimulating environment for the baby to play and explore in, with toys and activities that are developmentally appropriate and encourage the baby’s natural curiosity and creativity.
Some ideas for Montessori-inspired activities at home with a baby include providing a low shelf with baskets of toys and objects that the baby can explore independently, setting up a simple obstacle course or crawling track for the baby to navigate, and introducing sensory materials such as water, sand, or playdough for the baby to explore with their hands and senses.
By following Montessori principles at home with a baby, parents can help promote their child’s natural love of learning and create a nurturing and supportive environment for their growth and development.
Montessori is a great approach to help your 7-month-old baby develop their skills and explore the world around them. At this age, your baby is starting to become more mobile and curious about their surroundings.
You can create a Montessori-inspired environment at home by providing them with age-appropriate toys and activities that encourage exploration, movement, and sensory experiences. Some Montessori activities for 7-month-olds include:
1. Tummy time: Encourage your baby to spend time on their tummy to strengthen their neck, back, and arm muscles. You can make it more interesting by placing toys or objects within reach.
2. Sensory play: Provide your baby with safe objects to touch, taste, smell, and hear. You can use items such as soft fabrics, rattles, textured balls, and musical toys.
3. Mirror play: Babies love looking at themselves in the mirror. You can place a small, unbreakable mirror on the floor or wall and let them explore their reflection.
4. Object permanence box: This is a Montessori classic that helps babies understand that objects continue to exist even when they can’t see them. You can use a small box with a hole and a ball or toy inside. Encourage your baby to reach in and find the object.
Remember to always supervise your baby during playtime and choose age-appropriate toys that are safe and non-toxic. With a little creativity and patience, you can create a Montessori-inspired environment that will help your baby thrive and develop their full potential.
“Giving children the opportunity to stir up life and leave it free to discover.” Maria Montessori
stir up life
Let these words just sink in for a few moments as you think of your beautiful child. May I just remind you that you and the world you create for your child is all they are going to know at this stage in their life? I have some ideas to share with you in regard to implementing Montessori ideas at home with your seven to nine-month-old baby.
Every smell, every touch, and every word has the potential to forever be engraved on their mind and soul. At the age of seven to nine months, the baby gains a whole new perspective of the world by becoming more mobile and being able to cover and discover areas that were far from their reach before.
We need to be respectful of their fascinations and new discoveries. It most certainly will be something simple from their environment – something they can safely bang, throw, and bite.
Clothing needs to be comfortable and enable a child with the ability to move around without obstructions.
At this age, the baby enjoys making music with simple real musical instruments. This little xylophone was the most popular choice. So great for their developing hand-eye coordination.
A child’s day can be divided into segments, like story, music, outdoor time, time for independent play, and time for sensory discoveries. Schedule that organically fits into your daily routine. Softballs and balls that are easy to grasp are usually the baby’s favorite toys.
There is no need to stress about giving lessons.
Sometimes I have a feeling that when people think of implementing Montessori at home they imagine a spacious room with low shelves and cute wooden and cloth toys, babies happily playing there all on their own. Well, the prepared environment is what truly helps the Montessori method to stand out from the rest. However, let’s be real for a second. How long does a baby actually like to spend in their room aka prepared environment?!
If your little one is anything like mine, I can confidently say that a very small percentage of the day is dedicated to “activities” and Montessori work from the shelf. I honestly sometimes feel like a baby at this age is going through a sensitive period of destroying your very carefully prepared environment.
Every. single. object. ends up on the floor after 15 minutes of the child being in the room. And here is the thing. Montessori is not about it. It is about following the child. The world is so much bigger than a single room even at this age. The kitchen, for example, can be just as much fun.
Sensory Baby Play
The other day my now 13-month-old found a box of Q-tips in the bathroom. All the content was on the floor in no time. Well, I just got out a metal cup for drying cutlery and sat next to him watching as he was using his little fingers to push Q-tips through the holes.
A couple of hours later here he was smudging his little hands into the cream and giving a massage to his big sister. This is what Montessori is about for me. It is about introducing your little one to the real world of meaningful activities that are natural and engaging. It is about being with and for the baby and knowing when to step in, step back, observe, and guide. This is why I am in love with it.
I found the best teacher for a child to be nature. The baby uses so much concentration, every single sense in their body to absorb smells, sounds, and textures out there. One of our favorite outdoor times was when we took a picnic blanket outside and laid down under the trees watching the wind and playing with the branches and leaves.
Also, babies get a great deal of motivation to start moving forward and learning to crawl when lying on the edge of the blanket and trying to reach grass, dirt, or sand.
Around this period of a child’s development is when many parents include a weaning table and a chair in the child’s environment. It usually all starts with a small shot glass with a teeny-weeny bit of water. The child learns to hold the glass and drink from it. The reason it is suggested to use glass is so the child could learn real-life lessons – when glass cups fall – they usually break. I personally find that the risk of a child stepping on broken glass is far higher than the consequence of using a plastic cup. My baby did learn to drink from a cup from a very early age but we used a plastic lid from a baby bottle that resembled the shape and size of a shot glass. It was easy to hold it with his little fingers and didn’t break when he used to launch it in the air every time after drinking before I could jump in and interfere.
Art and sensory experiences are very exciting for little ones at this age. We loved making goop with water left from boiling beetroot and cornflour – safe and fun.
It is also a great idea to reuse tissue boxes. 9-month-old enjoys placing something like small sensory bags you can make yourself which are filled with various fillers and provide all sorts of touch experiences. You can use different types of fabric and fill them in with something small, large, spiky, heavy, and light. Baby can place them one at a time inside the box and take them out.
Different color scarfs provide a wide range of opportunities to engage in one-on-one interaction time and pick-a-boo games when you cover the baby’s or your face and slowly slide the scarf down.
Usually, around 8 – 9 months is when the baby likes to pull themselves up. A pull-up bar next to the mirror is a perfect solution for that. My babies loved using their low-sitting shelves to strengthen their arm muscles. (It is essential to make sure that all the pieces of loose furniture children can grub on and try to climb, are safely attached to the wall.)
The baby may enjoy using Montessori Palmer Grasp Cylinder or another very simple shape puzzle.
Around this time, the baby was going through a sensitive period for throwing things, like balls, and learning to use both hands to do so. A soft handmade ball presents the child with opportunities also to roll, and kick the ball with their feet when sitting up. A cloth ball is great for babies at the age of 7-9 months because it normally doesn’t roll very far, and that encourages little ones to attempt crawling if they want to get them after throwing. They also have little loops for you to tie colorful short ribbons that are safe for little ones and turn them into a fun sensory toy.
how parents can help nurture baby’s LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
The Montessori way of talking to babies involves using simple and clear language, speaking directly to them, and giving them time to respond. It is important to speak in a calm and gentle tone, using words to describe what you are doing or what the baby is experiencing. Avoid using baby talk or a high-pitched voice, as this can be confusing for the baby. Instead, use real words and sentences to build the baby’s vocabulary and understanding of language. Finally, give the baby time to process what you have said, as they may need a moment to respond or react.
Great ways to introduce books to babies
- Start early: Babies as young as six months can begin to enjoy books. Introduce board books with simple, high-contrast pictures.
- Create a cozy reading nook: Choose a comfortable spot where you and your baby can sit together and read. Make sure the lighting is good and there is no distraction.
- Use different voices and facial expressions: Make reading fun by using different voices for different characters and using facial expressions to show emotions.
- Point and name: Point to the pictures and name them. This will help your baby start to recognize words and develop language skills.
- Let babies hold and explore the books: Let your baby hold and explore the books on their own. This helps them learn to handle books and turn pages too.
Overall, the Montessori approach to reading with babies emphasizes independence and exploration. Introduce books early, create a cozy reading nook, and encourage your baby to explore the books on their own.
Books and flashcards with simple words that reflect their environment are a wonderful way to interact with the baby:
To sum it up
- Respect the child’s independence – Allow your child to explore and learn at his/her own pace. Let your child play with toys and objects without interfering too much. This will help your baby to develop his/her coordination and strengthen his/her muscles.
- Create a safe and stimulating environment – Ensure that your house is baby-proofed and provides a safe environment for your baby to explore. Provide sensory toys and materials such as balls, rattles, and cloth books that are safe and age-appropriate.
- Encourage self-feeding – Allow your baby to explore different textures and tastes of food by offering small pieces of soft and easy-to-chew food. Encourage self-feeding by providing finger foods and utensils. This will help your baby to develop his/her fine motor skills and self-confidence.
- Develop language skills – Talk to your baby and encourage him/her to communicate through sounds and gestures. Respond to your baby’s vocalizations and provide words to describe what he/she is experiencing. This will help your baby to develop his/her language skills and build his/her vocabulary.
- Provide opportunities for movement – Allow your baby to crawl, roll, and explore his/her surroundings. Provide a variety of opportunities for movement such as play mats, soft obstacles, and climbing frames. This will help your baby to develop his/her gross motor skills and coordination.
- Create a consistent routine – Set a daily routine that includes feeding, playtime, and sleeping. This will help your baby to develop a sense of security, predictability, and trust.
- Follow the child’s lead – Observe your baby’s interests and follow his/her lead. Provide activities and experiences that support your baby’s natural curiosity and exploration. This will help your baby to develop his/her creativity, problem-solving skills, and independence.
Remember, every child is unique and has his/her own pace of development. Therefore, it’s important to observe, listen, and respond to your baby’s needs and interests.
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