Are you looking for Montessori-style activities for your six to twelve-month-old? One of the fundamentals of Montessori for this age is freedom of movement. So what you don't see here is just as important as what do you do see.
To support freedom of movement we don't use baby walkers, baby jumpers, or baby swings. We don't prop the child up in a seated position. We allow the child to play on their movement area (playmat) with just a few toys and allow for natural development as much as possible. With these activities I've included the age of the child in the photograph for context. I hope you find these ideas useful!
Above the child is on a soft rug with a few grasping toys within reach including a ball, interlocking discs, grasping beads, bell grasper. (6 months)
Explore nature and play outdoors as much as possible. (6 months)
Begin to drink water from a weaning glass. The child's grip is really tight here and he will spill as he tips it up. Offer just a little water and you can support them a little to tip the water up. (6 months)
Read lots of books and allow the child to explore board books. This is the Touch and Feel Baby Animals Board book. (6 months)
Set up some low shelves to store the child's toys and materials. Here we also have some low nature artwork, the child will be able to get to standing using the shelves and to see the artwork. (6 months)
Look at their reflection in a small handheld mirror. (7 months)
Use finger paint on a tray. (7 months)
Sit up independently and use a drum. (7 months)
Crawl through a play tunnel or under a Pikler arch. (7 months)
Sit confidently at a weaning table. We still use a high chair at the dining table for main meals. Our children use the weaning table for snacks, morning tea, and later for doing a few activities. (8 months)
Look in their reflection using a low mirror. (9 months)
Use stacking rings on a dowel. (9 months)
Use a simple circle puzzle (similar). (9 months)
Use a ball drop object permanence box (similar). (9 months)
Use the pincer grasp to pick up small pieces of fruit and wheat puffs. (9 months)
Once the child is sitting comfortably and independently they can start exploring discovery baskets and loose parts with both hands. Some of the baskets we used at ten months include:
- Stacking Cups
- Wooden Cars - including the Natural Wooden Car and Hape Red Bus.
- Rings - wooden rings, egg rings, metal ring and baby link rings.
- Sensory Blocks
- Metal Cups - ours are 2.5 oz condiment cups.
- Metal Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons
- Stacking/Coloured Boxes
- Playsilks - we have the mini and full size.
- Wooden Brushes
- Wooden Stacking Pebbles
- Rainbow Geo Blocks
- Wooden Blocks
- Nature Items
- Musical Instruments
Explore a nature basket. Check the baskets regularly for broken parts and small pieces. Use these under supervision. (10 months)
Drink from a mug and other real cups, use a Montessori-style placemat. (10 months)
Low shelves with materials. (10 months)
In the child's bedroom, we can use low furniture and low hanging artwork. A soft rug adds warmth and comfort.
We use a floor bed that allows the young child to independently get in and out of bed. (10 months)
An example of simple shelves and toys in a shared living space. (10 months)
We use simple board books, stacking and sorting toys, shape puzzles, an object permanence box, and a coin box.
A ball tracker (similar) is a larger toy but is interesting to the young child. (10 months)
Involve the child as much as possible in everyday family life. (10 months)
Use a Walker Wagon. (11 months)
Finger painting and mark making. (11 months)
Use a Coin Box (similar). (11 months)
If your child is 12 months old please also have a look at the previous article Montessori Activities to Try 12-18 months.
If you are new to Montessori I recommend reading:
- Joyful Child: Montessori, Global Wisdom for Birth to Three.
- Babies Build Toddlers: A Montessori Guide to Parenting the First 18 Months.
- The Montessori Baby.
- Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three.
If you are looking for more ideas I recommend the Lovevery Play Kits, they are very much in line with the activities we use at the same ages:
- The Senser Play Kit - 5-6 months
- The Inspector Play Kit - 7-8 months
- The Explorer Play Kit - 9-10 months
- The Thinker Play Kit - 11-12 months
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