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March 04, 2022

Simple Sensory Play for Montessori Newborns

Somehow Penelope is already 4-weeks-old. It's incredible how quickly time passes when you have a newborn baby. At this point, Penelope pretty much still just eats and sleeps. But, her awake times have started to become a little longer and a little more alert. She's typically a pretty chill baby and so it's been really fun to have a few simple, sensory rich ways for her to explore the world. 

Right now, these sensory experiences can really be very simple. Her little brain is soaking in everything around her while also doing tremendous work to grow rapidly. When you really think about it, newborns are incredible beings. They are literally adapting to an entirely new world while doubling their size over and over again. It's a feat no other human can undertake. 

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I like to keep these words from Maria Montessori in mind when thinking about the needs of newborns: "Mental development at this stage is a process of awakening. The child needs to be aroused by outside stimuli. Light and sound, smell and taste and touch, form and figure and landscape, appear to call and invite the child. We may almost say a social relation must exist between the child and his environment so as to produce the necessary development. It is at the early age of one month that the child begins to need these calls and invitations from the outer world...repetitions are needed to awaken his interest." (What You Should Know About Your Child, p. 22)

Simple Sensory Play for Newborns

But, when you're sleep deprived and learning to take care of a new person it can be hard to think about adding another thing to your to-do list, like creating these sensory invitations for your baby. Dr. Montessori, in that same passage suggests the ultimate sensory experience - a garden or park. But, in March in Minnesota that's not exactly a super regular option. So, a couple indoor sensory opportunities it is. 

Play Silks

First up is a play silk. Here I just folded a lovely silk in half and placed Penelope on top of it. Her head, hands, and feet were free to feel this new texture. As she moved, so did the play silk creating a new sensation with that movement. She has been so calm and peaceful when she explores this, like she's really thinking about the way she is feeling. Eventually, I might try without pants or a shirt to add even more sensory experiences. (Use code NICOK10 for 10% off at Sarah's Silks)

Reflective Ball

Another super easy way to provide some sensory play is with a reflective ball. I simply placed this large ball next to Penelope to look at as she chooses. It provides an interesting play on the light and sights in the room and holds her attention for some time. It's a fun and easy way to engage her sense of sight without a whole lot of effort. 

In both of these situations, I am keeping the rest of Penelope's environment very simple and consistent. We aren't playing on the play silk and using one of her Montessori mobiles. We aren't listening to music and looking at the ball and and and... I try to isolate the experiences so that it doesn't become overwhelming and she can focus just on the new sensory experience. If you want to add some simple play to your newborn's day, remember that its for a couple minutes at a time. It's an opportunity to connect and be creative.

Two super simple sensory play ideas for newborns and some reasons why it's important for Montessori babies to have experiences in their homes.

How do you provide sensory rich opportunities for your children? 

This post is week 4 of my weekly Montessori Baby series focusing on Penelope! 

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DaynaC said…

Love your newborn posts, right on time for me (due in May). If you don't mind sharing, where did you get the pad she's laying on?

Thank you,