Skip to main content

Sensorial Exploration for Babies and Toddlers

Babies and toddlers are surrounded by an enormous world filled with new experiences. They are natural explorers of that world -- seeking to understand everything around them. And, in Montessori we recognize that that happens through the development of the senses. As Maria Montessori said in the Absorbent Mind, "The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge." 

In Montessori classroom, a huge part of the materials are dedicated solely to the development of the senses. The sensorial materials are some of the first materials introduced to children and are meant to refine a variety of aspects of our physical world. This need for sensory exploration and development does not start when children enter a classroom. But, even babies and young toddlers can engage in sensory development work. Often, however, this work comes from natural experiences in the environment more than a specific set of learning tools.


This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

Preparing our environment for this exploration is therefore important. We need to make sure we have sensory rich opportunities available. And, I’m not talking sensory bins. I mean beautiful things to look at, interesting textures to touch, lovely sounds, a variety of tastes, and so on. As much as possible we want to isolate those sensory experiences so that a baby or young toddler can really absorb and learn from them. With too much going on, a baby won’t be able to. 



One of my favorite ways to do that is with these simple smelling jars. I simply cut some fresh herbs, citrus peels, cinnamon sticks, or even some child-safe essential oils on a cotton ball and place into a shaker jar. Then I simply place these on the shelf, or in a basket on the shelf. It's a great way to isolate scent without taste. But, of course babies and toddlers will come up with their own uses for them (like Gus stacking them!) I've used these with babies as young as 8 months, and at 19 months, Gus still enjoys them. 


These are just one example of sensory exploration for babies. Other common objects can also be used:
But, really children will find their sensory experiences all around them! We just need to recognize it's importance and allow for it to happen! 



What sorts of sensory experiences has your baby or toddler enjoyed?


12 Months of Montessori 

This post is brought to you as part of the 12 months to Montessori series. This month's theme is sensorial. Don't miss these Montessori and Montessori inspired sensorial themed posts:



---

Comments

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! 2021 UPDATE: Please be patient with links this year, with supply chain issues things are selling out faster and restocking slower. I anticipate some of the specialty toys will not restock once they are gone. 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 work

Montessori Toddler: Favorite Toys and Activities 18 to 20 months

I've been putting off this post for a little while because I felt a little disappointed that I didn't have more to share. See, Teddy just isn't that into materials, especially those on the shelf. He tends to return to a couple of favorites over and over again and ignore all other attempts at shelf work. But, really that's my own adult feelings getting in the way of Teddy's own interests, and developmental path.  It's also me subconsciously valuing fine motor skills and stillness as more important than gross motor play and movement. I working hard not to do that, and want to normalize that all toddlers are different. All children have different interests and that concentration doesn't have to mean sitting still for long stretches of time.  This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. With all that said, here are some of Teddy's favorites over the last couple of months. Favorite Montessori Toys 18 to 20 Months I'm listing the toys that have be

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