Today I want to share with you how your baby’s grasping skills develop the first year and what toys to choose to enhance those skills.
A new-born baby doesn’t really need toys yet. He will mostly sleep and feed. A warm place to rest, a sling to stay close and you!
The first 2 months, grasping is a reflex. Babies keep their hands into tight fist and grasp your finger automatically.
Toward 2 months of age, your baby may attempt to grasp. If you give a grasping toy with a thinner part directly to your baby, she might hold it tightly and release it only through a reflex.
Around 3 months, hand-eye coordination starts developing. Your child will enjoy gazing at baby mobiles. Within the Montessori community, we like to introduce babies to specific Mobiles that can be handmade easily. Check this article for more information .
Babies will also start to notice things and attempt to reach for them. It’s the time to provide an easy to grasp toy within reach. Help your child only if she is starting to be frustrated by her attempts.
At 4 months, babies are able to grasp and hold large objects such as blocks, but they are still not able to grasp small things. A big beads grasper would be ideal.
From 4 to 8 months, it’s the mouthing period. Babies start picking up things and put them in their mouth. Any teething toy is great for this period.
They will also move objects between their hands so something like this, a double part grasping toy will encourage this skill.
Around 6 months of age, when they start to sit up by themselves, you can provide a treasure basket: a mixture of interesting toys and everyday objects. Start collecting!
From 9 to 12 months, babies will be able to pick up objects. The pincer grasp also develops by this age and your baby will start picking up small objects between her forefingers and thumb. The coordination is also increasing. You can now provide more intriguing baby toys such as the discovery balls
I hope you have found this article about babies interesting. To find more about what I offer to parents, read about me on my blog www.themontessorifamily.com
I’m Carine, a Montessori teacher and psychologist, my mission is to help families to embrace the principles of the Montessori education to help their children to grow and fulfil their own potential.
I run a parents and toddler groups based on the Montessori principles and I support parents through workshops, locally and online.
At Montessori-family, we believe that it’s truly possible to implement the Montessori ideas at home to make your house and family life welcoming to your child, his/her needs and his thrive for independence.
I will be the official Montessori expert at Yes Bébé consulting on the website, blog and facebook group.
First, What is Montessori Education?
The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Dr. Montessori’s Method has been used for over 100 years in many parts of the world.
It is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.
The principles, or foundations, of that method are:
Observe your child and follow his interests, offer activities and an environment that support his/her needs
Encourage your child to be independent in every day life and provide child size tools, real objects and breakable material when suitable.
Provide an orderly environment, your home is your child’s first “classroom”
Less is more regarding toys and rotate what you offer to your child
Prioritising natural material to refine the 5 senses
Allow freedom within limits: freedom to move, freedom to choose, freedom to say no within the limits of safety and the limits of the society you live in.
No rewards and no punishment as it’s proven at being non effective.
Specifically, when choosing toys, you can also follow those guidelines:
Maria Montessori didn’t design toys. However, you can follow the Montessori principles while choosing toys.
1. Real material and tools
Children want to be included in our daily tasks and need real tools to help toward their independence. Toys cleaning set or toys gardening tools are not as useful as the realistic with real material ones. So avoid the fake pretend stuff and give them child size tools that works instead.
2. Reality based toys and books
While choosing a book, a puzzle or any other kind of toys, choose those that are realistic, maybe with real pictures. Avoid the cartoonish animals, the character based toys and such. Especially if your child is under 3 and even until he reaches 6 or 7 years old (when imagination based on fantasy appears naturally)
3 Natural material
For the sensory aspect, privilege natural material. For babies and toddler who still mouth everything, it’s important to choose safe material and you can be reassured that everything on Yesbebe is safe!
4 Open ended material
For discovery, exploration and making play scenarios (children do this spontaneously with anything), provide open ended material such as blocks, natural items, boxes, balls…
Pretend playWhile it’s always best to offer the real experience (Cooking with your child instead of pretend kitchen), a bit of pretend play is great too (also because children like to play scenarios, like to replay what they have experienced already and like to repeat again and again). Children can pretend play without any specific toys but if you offer pretend play toys, privilege reality based ones (farm set, doll house, train tracks, …)
A doll house:
If you choose a toy to “teach” a skill, it’s best if it does only one thing at a time. For example, a shape jigsaw with 3 different shapes of the same size and the same colour. It’s difficult to find these kind of toys outside the specific Montessori material shops so best advice is to find the simplest ones or to simplify them. They should be self-correcting so the child can check his work without asking you (Like in a matching puzzle game, the pieces that go together are the only ones that fit together)
In this Grimms sorting game, children will sort by colour:
In this one, the child will sort by colour at first, and can understand that they are more of one colour.
The natural Grimm rainbow will allow the toddler to stack by size. However, it’s also an open ended material and many children will use this activity in various ways.
A simple shape sorter, with only 3 shapes, perfect to start with
This 2 pieces puzzles from Orchard are self-correcting, only the pieces that go together fit together
I hope you have enjoyed those recommendations and I will be back soon with more information about the Montessori education.
Please check out my site to find out more about Montessori!