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July 22, 2023

Montessori Baby - Toys and Activities 15 and 16-months-old

These last few months with Penelope have been so much fun. There is a transition that happens at this time where your child really just starts to lose all of the baby features and really becomes a full blown young toddler. I can't pin point exactly when that happens, but all of a sudden you just realize that they are more toddler than baby.

This is an age of so much exploration. Gross motor skills are practiced and practiced, practical life becomes this big part of their day, and language skills emerge. It's really a time when they start to shine as an individual and really show you who they are. With that individuality in mind, I wanted to show you some of Penelope's favorites over the last couple of months. 

Montessori toddler points to airplane in pajamas while on sidewalk

Montessori Favorite Activities for Young Toddlers

This is definitely not a complete list of everything she has done over the last couple months, but a good idea of the skills she has been working on and how we have supported her. Remember, observe your own baby when making decisions about what kinds of materials are best suited for them

Gross Motor 

This was a huge area of exploration for Penelope as she really started to really refine her movements. Movement is most of her day, and while it often feels like wandering, this work is so important as she learns to navigate the world. At 15 and 16-months, she has been working on:

  • Started solidly walking: no more crawling, walking everywhere on her own
  • Climbing: larger steps and up slides - supported by Pikler triangle, outdoor swing set, the couch
  • Pushing more freely: supported by shopping cart, push toy (similar)
  • Moving Objects: supported by getting in/out of low swing, getting on/off small push bike
  • Throwing: supported by all the balls

Fine Motor 

These were not months where Penelope spent a lot of time working with materials. While fine motor work was definitely being done, a lot of it came through practical life work and less with work at the shelf. Here's what she was working on:

Practical Life 

Practical life deserves its own section from now on because it really has become a large part of Penelope's day. I guess that over the next few months, this will continue to be an even more and more important part of her day. Here's some of the practical life work that Penelope has enjoyed these months: 

  • Self Dressing: putting on accessories - hats, sunglasses, shoes, helmet 
  • Kitchen Work: egg slicing, wavy chopper, stirring liquids 
  • Beginning Toilet Learning: starting to express interest catching pee/poop in toilet
  • Plant Care: watering with hose outside
  • Pouring: lots from can to cup, pitcher to cup, bowl to bowl

Social Emotional/Language 

So much chatting and language coming from this tiny human! After a couple of boys that spoke a lot later, it's been fun having a very chatty little toddler this time. Penelope has so many words, that I've lost count. Here's a bit about her language activity at 15 and 16-months: 

  • Needs Based Language: I'm thirsty, I want some, stop, potty, lots of pointing
  • Siblings: Saying some names - Gus, Ted, more cooperative play, bringing books to older kids to read
  • Opinions: making choices more consistently, stronger feelings about clothes 
  • Matching: object to object matching with animals, knobbed and chunky puzzle pieces to appropriate place (but not always placing correctly)
  • Sense of Order: growing stronger, placing work back to shelf, but wrong spot 
  • Reading: favorites are Dear Zoo, At The Beach


All learning is accompanied by sensorial impressions! And Penelope has had a lot of them these past few months! Way too many to list so I'll just hit the highlights - 

  • Tactile: supported by being barefoot outdoors, large chunks of play dough, all the water toys
  • Hearing: playing and listening to musical instruments 
  • Vestibular: supported by low swing
  • Proprioceptive: supported by pushing laundry basket full of clothes  

Again, I don't think this is every single thing she did over these couple of months, but it was definitely the highlights and favorites. Make sure to observe your child to get a better idea where they are and the types of activities that they are called to do. 

Here's your comprehensive guide to understanding and supporting your toddler's developmental needs at home  from 15-16 months oldwith Montessori-friendly activities. Find out how each activity sharpens a specific skill set- be it fine motor skills, social emotional/language, practical life, or sensory development. Engage in mindful parenting with Montessori methods.


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