Six to Twelve Months

By six months, babies can start to move around their space by crawling, scooting, pulling up, and creeping.  Materials for this age group are focused on encouraging movement, and creating a space where a child can explore without adult interference.

Avoid any sort of containers that restrict movement like bouncy seats, jumpers, activity chairs, and walkers.  These items directly oppose a child's natural inclination to strengthen her muscles and practice movement.  Car seats, strollers, and high chairs can be useful devices, but time spent in them should be limited as much as possible.

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Pull up Bar

A wall-mounted pull-up bar is a fantastic material for a newly mobile child.  It helps a child enter and maintain a standing position without restricting movement like a walker or bouncy seat would.  For maximum fun, install the pull-up bar in front of a child-height unbreakable mirror.

 

Wall Mirror

A wall mirror is a recommended Montessori material for a child's space from infancy onward.  It's typically hung horizontally at the child's level on the wall next to the play mat.  An unbreakable acrylic mirror sheet is the best choice for this, since it's impossible to shatter or chip.

 

Two-Handed Puzzles

The egg and cup is a classic Montessori material for this age group.  It's a very simple puzzle that practices hand-eye coordination and concentration.  An adult might not find this puzzle very interesting, but to a child at the right developmental stage (around nine months), it's a fascinating and challenging puzzle.

 

Palmar and Pincer Grasp Blocks

Another simple but fascinating puzzle for children around eight or nine months are palmar and pincer blocks.  These puzzles practice two distinct fine motor skills—the palmar (whole hand) grip, and the pincer (two finger) grip.  And the concentration required to complete the puzzle is fantastic practice for a developing child.

 

Walker Wagon

The only Montessori approved walking aid is a walker wagon.  A push wagon offers a child a stable surface to assist in balance without negatively affecting her gait.  And since the wagon doesn't restrict her movements, she can choose to start and stop using it on her own terms.  The walker wagon stays interesting even after a child learns to walk, since she can use it to carry toys and other objects.

 

Soft Ball

A soft ball is a fantastic toy for newly mobile babies.  It will roll away, but slowly enough to encourage a child to crawl after it.

 

Onesies

A onesie is the go-to base layer for babies.  The simple shirt with a snapped bottom allows for comfortable, free movement.  Avoid any clothing with functional buttons (more difficult to put and take off) or potentially scratchy materials.

 

Stretchy Pants

A great choice for mobile babies to give them opportunities to practice using their feet.  These are easy pull-on/pull off pants—the buttons are just for show.

 

Leg Warmers

Leg warmers are incredibly convenient for frequent diaper changes, since they're one less thing to take off.  A onesie with leg warmers is a great outfit for mobile a mobile baby, since it protects her knees without covering her feet.

 

Sun Hat

Babies need protection from the sun, and a hat is far more convenient than constantly applying sunscreen.  This sun hat has a nice wide brim, and is adjustable through a wide range of sizes.

 

PORTABLE PLAY YARD

A play yard is more of a RIE material than a Montessori material, but it offers a practical solution for creating a clean, safe space for a child to move around and explore.  This collapsible play hard with a bottom is a great option for parents to take to an outdoor space.

 

PICNIC BLANKET

A portable water-resistant blanket is handy for creating a clean, comfortable space on the floor or on the grass.