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Movement Area Essentials - Montessori Baby Week 5

Play and exploration is so important for babies. It is through play that babies will learn and grow. As Maria Montessori made very clear, "play is the work of the child." In Montessori we call a baby's first play space a "movement area." I absolutely love that it's called a movement area because it highlights the most important aspect of a baby's play - movement.

When we get in to the habit of thinking of movement as play (and subsequently work) then, I think, it's easier to appreciate all the little and big work that babies (and toddlers!) are doing all of the time.  For Theodore at 5 weeks old, this work right now is moving his head, moving his eyes, starting to control those hands and feet. It's big stuff! Even if it look so little to us. The movement area facilitates this work, giving a baby space and time to perfect those movements and those that come after.

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Also, having a place to play/work/move is also helpful for babies because it creates a point of reference for them. Creating a space for play helps to create connections between the space and the desired activity. But, this space doesn't have to be big or complicated! Here is a look at the essentials for a Montessori movement area: 

A look at our Montessori movement area and a discussion on movement area essentials.

Floor Space

The most important aspect of a Montessori movement are is floor space. A baby should be on the floor, free to move. This doesn't have to be a huge space. It helps to have somewhere cozy and safe. It's also nice if the space has views of the room so that a baby doesn't feel isolated.

For our movement area, we choose this soft rug. In Gus' movement area, we have used a small mat but that was back when our room had carpet. A mat would still work, but I felt a rug would be a better long term solution with Teddy.  I also like the rug because it super clearly marks the "baby space" from the rest of our playroom, which helps excited toddlers remember where they need to be extra careful. {In these pictures Gus is also using his topponcino.} 


A shelf is a great way to keep materials organized as your baby grows. We are using this Montessori infant shelf in Teddy's movement area. Right now, it's mostly just decoration since Teddy isn't using toys yet. But, it will become super important as he starts to move more and manipulate shelf work. I love this shelf because it is so low to the ground that Teddy will be able to access his materials very easily.

This shelf is just one example of one that will work. Any small open shelf can work to organize a baby's materials. This is also something can be added a few months in once a baby needs it.


A movement area also includes a mirror. The mirror is super attractive to little babies. It is definitely Teddy's favorite material right now. It helps them to get a better view of the room and to eventually start to connect the movements they are making with those that they are seeing. Plus, babies just love looking at babies and faces which this helps them do.

We have a new mirror situation in this movement area. We had our DIY pull-up bar still on the wall from Gus but it was hung too high for a newborn baby to see into it. I found the acrylic mirror (similar) at a thrift store a few years ago, but it was being used vertically. I took the legs off, flipped it around and it's working great in there. 


A movement area also has the materials that a baby can use. For Teddy, this is his mobiles and some black and white images. The exact materials in a movement area will change over time and vary from baby to baby. From birth to 3 months, I would expect mostly mobiles and maybe some small rattles.

Have you tried a movement area with your baby?


A look at our Montessori movement area and a discussion on movement area essentials.



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