Toy Tuesday: Creating a Montessori Environment for Baby

Since having my youngest daughter, I have attempted to create a Montessori-like home environment for her to explore and learn. Creating this type of an environment for your little one allows her to develop  confidence and strong decision making skills from the start. Your baby will play and learn in surroundings that will foster her development in a natural way.

Find below a few basic suggestions for creating a Montessori environment for your baby at home (feel free to to add your additional suggestions in the comments section):

-Allow your child to move freely in an open and safe environment. Limit use of swings, bouncy chairs, and play-gyms and instead put out a large blanket on the floor for baby to roll and play on. As baby grows older, add objects that encourage her to pull herself up and cruise/walk. If she is not mobile yet, place her in a boppy (or “nest” like environment) with a few toys around her that she can pick and choose from and explore.

-Keep all toys at baby’s level with easy access for playing.  Additionally, try not to confine her to just one area in your home.

-Let baby be a part of your everyday activities as this is offers her a great learning and discovery experience. For example, if you are cooking dinner, give baby a pot and wooden spoon to play with alongside of you in the kitchen.

-Foster independence in your little one by allowing her the opportunity to do certain things such as feeding herself when introducing solids. Whenever possible, I try to give my daughter finger foods that we are also having for dinner. I allow her to attempt to feed herself with her spoon so she can become familiar and learn (even though it can get very messy!).

-Talk with your baby in a clear way. This will help develop vocabulary and listening skills as well as teaching her how to communicate properly.

-Feed baby with the same type of utensils/plates/bowls that you use. I found a baby spoon that is just like our adult spoons and feed my baby out of the same dinnerware.

-Purchase toys that are hands-on and of natural materials. When baby is just an infant, a simple cloth lovie is perfect. As baby grows older and seeks more stimulation form her toys, try wooden blocks, rattles or musical/sound cause and effect toys. You will be surprised how much a simple wooden rattle will keep baby amused. Also choose toys where baby can accomplish a task through hand manipulation such as dropping/fitting a block in a shape sorter or stacking rings.

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