Mobiles for infants are popular nursery decorations, but did you know they provide more than aesthetically pleasing adornments for a baby’s room? A Montessori approach to nurturing a newborn’s development recommends mobiles for specific reasons! Read on to learn more about Montessori mobiles.
Here’s an introduction to four mobiles that enable parents to provide developmentally appropriate stimulation to infants. Note that all four of these are included in the Monti Kids Newborn Toolkit, along with an activity gym from which to hang them.
4 types of infant mobiles, aligned with Montessori philosophy
Baby’s eyesight develops gradually over the first six months. A mobile hanging at the right level, with the right amount of motion and level of detail, will support the practice of visual tracking. Each of these mobiles promotes developing a practice of concentration (something we can all use in these short-attention-span days of technology!) All of these mobiles are lightweight by design so that the natural movement of the air in the room will move them at slow speeds and allow a baby to focus with an appropriate level of challenge.
The Munari Mobile
This high-contrast geometric mobile is the ideal first mobile for your baby. Since a baby’s visual sense is limited, hang mobiles low (10-12″) in order for a baby to get the most out of them. The elements are designed with specific proportions that ignite a child’s inherent mathematical sense. The sphere, rod, strings, and shapes have mathematical relationships to one another, and researchers say that exposure to number-oriented concepts in infancy translates to math abilities in preschool.
The Octahedron Mobile
This mobile introduces primary colors just as your baby is developmentally ready to perceive them. Primary colors have enough contrast between them that a young baby can see the difference (unlike a design that combines blue and purple). The geometric shapes of this mobile, octahedrons made up of equilateral triangles, encourage baby to coordinate use of their two eyes together, while also continuing exposure to mathematical concepts.
These mobiles are made of lightweight materials that move gently with the circulation of air in the room. This supports the Montessori value of teaching cause and effect through natural materials and observation, rather than battery-powered, noise-making devices.
The Gobbi Mobile
Around three months old, babies can see the full color spectrum. This is a good time to introduce the Gobbi mobile. Made with embroidery thread, this mobile introduces color gradations that refine your baby’s chromatic sense as they are challenged to differentiate between shades of the same color.
The Dancers Mobile
This iconic Montessori mobile features dynamic human forms with moving parts. The arms, legs, and heads of the figure bob separately, presenting a new challenge as your baby’s visual tracking improves dramatically. Adults take some things that our eyes tell us for granted: we know that even when things move, or the light hits them differently, their colors and shapes stay the same. Your baby is just learning which attributes of objects are constant and which can change.
Mobiles are baby’s work
Infants need uninterrupted time to look at the mobiles. It might not happen immediately, so exercise patience and try to resist interfering. Baby may look away from the mobile if it is too stimulating or she needs a break.
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Monti Kids founder and mom of two Zahra Kassam suggests setting your baby up with a spot to spend time with a mobile near your own task area. This will allow you to do your work while your baby does his or her work!
One mom told Zahra, “It was just amazing to see this tiny little person lock her eyes on that first mobile and focus so intently. At just three or four weeks she was able to have little bits of independent playtime, staring at the mobiles slowly twirling and swaying above her. I was skeptical of the whole “system” at first. I mean, baby toys are baby toys, right? But then she started waving her hands at the mobiles, and lo and behold, the next toy was for her to bat around! Then she starting really moving her feet, and the next toy was a ball to kick. It’s just really clear that the Monti Kids system is intentional and designed for babies exactly where they’re at. I’m a convert.”