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February 06, 2020

Montessori Baby: Supporting Hand to Hand Transfers

As human beings our hands are the most amazing tools we have. Yet, at birth, we don't even know that they exist. Slowly over time our brain and body start to become more and more interconnected and we realize not only that we have hands (amazing!) but that they can do some really fantastic things. However, as far as baby milestones go, I think the discovery and use of the hands is particularly underrated in the parenting world. Maria Montessori was very aware of the importance of the hand, and of babies she said, "The first movements of his small hand toward external objects should thus be eagerly awaited."

Observing hand-to-hand transfers and 4 months old, and some toys that can be used to support that new baby milestone

No matter how many kids I have seeing these new movements of the hand are always so exciting for me! Recently, I've observed some exciting milestones in Theodore's hand movement. Recently, I was watching him with a toy and slowly and purposefully, he moved it from one hand to the other! It's really such an amazing discovery. He is discovering that his hands are useful, that he can control them, and that they can be used to do what he wants (which is to mouth all the things!)

Montessori Toys to Support Hand to Hand Transfers 

Here you can see Teddy move his ring mobile from one hand to the other!

While this is a big moment for Teddy, for me it's a small observation that has an impact on the types of things that I offer Teddy in our environment. While before I was offering a small selection of toys that helped him with the grasping motion. I wanted simple things that he could pick up and have success with.

Now, I want the same to be true. I want him to feel success but I also want things that will challenge him as he explores his hands in new ways. There have been 4 materials that I have introduced specifically to work with these grasping motions. They are (in order I introduced them): 

Grasping Beads: these are great for full hand grasping. They are the perfect size to be grasped by 2 hands at once!

Protrusion Ball {part of this set}: this takes a much finer grasp, closer to a pincer. It works different muscles while still encouraging that two hand grip to keep the protrusion in their mouth.

Rubber Ball: I love this for hand to hand transfer because there are so many easy great places to grasp on to.

Interlocking Disks: a traditional Montessori material designed from transferring from one hand to the next. The angle encourages wrist motion which adds just a bit extra challenge.

The fantastic thing about Montessori is that we get to prepare our environments based on our own observations. Small moments like this can make such a huge impact on whether or not the material we present is something that will be engaging and interesting to our children.

This isn't the only order or materials that you could consider if you notice hand to hand transferring.  But, it has been what worked for Theodore. And, I'm excited to continue to observe his new interests and meet his needs within our home.

Observing hand-to-hand transfers and 4 months old, and some toys that can be used to support that new baby milestone

What small milestone has excited you?! How have you adapted your environment to prepare for it?

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