Skip to main content

Discovering the Hand -- Montessori Baby Week 12

There are several "firsts" that, I think, parents eagerly await with their babies. The first time the baby rolls, the first word, the first time they sleep all night, and their first step. But, I think there is one that should be placed above them all -- the first time a baby reaches for another object! 


This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

The hand is so incredibly important to human existence. It's with their hands that children discover their full potential. It's how humans have created tools and technology. It's allowed for written language and art. It truly is amazing. For the infant, it's through discovery of the hand that a child can change and manipulate his or her environment. It's truly a spectacular moment. Therefore, in the words of Maria Montessori: 

"The first movements of his small hand toward external objects should thus be eagerly awaited." 

The exact moment that this discovery occurs will be different for every baby, of course! And once, it happens it opens a whole new world of exploration. Suddenly, we need to provide new experiences for our babies to exercise their new found tools. For Montessori babies, this comes in a couple of different forms -- tactile mobiles and toys. 


There is a whole series of tactile mobiles that can be introduced to a Montessori baby. The first is generally a bell on a ribbon. This beautifully simple mobile allows even small infants to make a sound as they hit the bell. Then, they can track its movements and try again.


I introduced the bell to Augustus at 11 weeks after I noticed him starting to stretch toward his Octahedron mobile. I chose to wait until his movements were intentional, others choose to introduce earlier when more unintentional movement starts. Gus absolutely loves this mobile and flails wildly and smiles hugely when he sees it. He quickly has become adept at hitting the bell. I think it's even passed the beloved Octahedron as his favorite.


Next, have been some simple toys. Right now, I'm focused on toys that are simple to grab and not too overstimulating. Things that interest him enough to really work to grab. So far this has meant rotating through 4 small objects -- a wooden ring, metal interlocking rings, heavy fabric, and a gnome lovey {not pictured due to an unfortunate incident involving our puppy, thankfully a replacement was quickly procured}.


With these, we have done a combination of leaving them in Augustus' play area near him and placing them into his hands. Gus has torticollis (a neck/head issue) that has caused some weakness on one side. His PT has recommended placing in his hands. Otherwise I may have waited for him to completely grasp on his own.


The fabric is placed in a little "tent" shape for him to grab as he plays. It provides an interesting natural challenge. His favorite so far have been metal rings.

For me signs that he was ready for grasping and tactile materials included:
  • Batting at his visual mobiles
  • Grabbing my hair/clothes as he nursed
  • Grabbing the edge of the blanket he lays on
  • Opening his hand when objects come near

Remember these are just signs that I saw in my baby. Your baby may be different! Always observe and follow your own child!


Do you eagerly await the discovery of the hand? When did you introduce simple grasping toys and tactile mobiles?

Comments

I love reading your baby updates! It's so true, the gross motor developments often get all of the attention, but the fine motor ones are at least as amazing, and make just as much of a difference in the baby's life. Those metal interlocking rings look great.

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2020

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure! 2020 UPDATE: This list is updated for another year! Enjoy a variety of Montessori friendly finds from both major retailers and smaller shops!  So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created toys, but only works for classroom settings. While there are many works that I recommend for home school use, you won't find these

Sensitive Periods from Birth to 6 - A Chart and Guide

Dr. Maria Montessori spent her life observing, studying, and writing about children. During her lifetime of work she discovered that young children move through a series of special times when they are particularly attracted to specific developmental needs and interests. She called these times, sensitive periods. During the sensitive period, children learn skills related to the sensitive period with ease. They don't tire of that work, but seek it, crave it and need it. When the sensitive period passes, this intense desire is gone, never to return.  That doesn't mean the skill is lost forever once the sensitive period is over. Instead, it just means that it will take a more conscious effort to learn. As Dr. Montessori explains,  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. "A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables

Our Kids' Montessori Gift Lists 2020

With the holiday season upon us we've been making lists and gathering gifts for the Kavanaugh children. It's always a fun process of observing my children, seeing what they would really be interested in and making some decisions based on what I see. This year is different because I'm also making decisions knowing that we are looking at a very long and quiet winter ahead. So that's influencing the amount I will buy and the specific choices I will/have made.  Henry and Nora are also at the point, being into the second plane of development, where they heavily influence the items on the list and what is ultimately purchased. So, you'll see that while Montessori influences what I will purchase and what goes on their list, so does their own preferences and personality.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.  Theodore Teddy is 14-months-old right now and as the fourth baby, we have so many toddler things. But, there are a few things I've still found tha