The wonderful thing about the Montessori approach to learning is that it is grounded in reality. The physical world is inherently a rich learning environment and we don’t need to buy complicated electronic toys to bring educational experiences to our little ones.
Here are ten things you can share with your baby or toddler from your home.
Water – For a baby who can sit up and use two hands together, a heavy bowl of water on the floor in front of her provides a lot of entertainment. Water is an intriguing sensory experience. Give her a spoon or ladle and demonstrate scooping water and pouring or dripping it out. A toddler can scoop and pour on a bigger scale. Yes, it will get everywhere, but wiping it up is easy and children can participate in that part of the activity, too!
A Mirror – There’s a reason Montessori nurseries have mirrors. Bring your child to a mirror anywhere in your home and show them their reflection. Practice moving and naming body parts. What happens when you get very close to the mirror?
Clothing – Putting on clothes is a big part of the Montessori curriculum. Using downtime when you’re not in a rush to practice with your toddler, giving them as much independence as possible, will pay off when you do need to do a quick change before heading out the door. Take time to review names of clothing and where we keep them. See our printable clothing labels for ideas.
Containers of All Sizes – Small containers you may use for food storage in your home can also be used for exploring object permanence. Place a small item in front of your child and then flip a container over on top of it. Move it to reveal the item. Let your child try it. Larger bins can cover larger items. See-through jars allow us to explore the concept of an object being inside another one.
Photographs – Real people and their environments are powerful learning tools for a child. Look for the books in your home that have photographs in them. Tell your little one what is in the picture. This builds language skills.
Food – Working with food develops practical life skills and sensory experiences. Take something out of the refrigerator to reflect on what cold feels like. Include your child in food preparation and invite them to touch and smell a variety of foods from your house.
Bags – We include a set of Mystery Bags in Monti Kids Level 8, and you can do your own version with all types of bags, big or small. Pulling things in and out of bags challenges little ones to coordinate their hands, plus they can exert maximum effort when they carry (or drag) them around. During different sessions of play, try different bags: grocery totes, duffel bags, and small gift bags.