I wanted to start documenting how I set up Althea’s Montessori inspired play space each week. In order to keep the space simple and focused I only place a small selection of toys/activities (otherwise referred to as ‘work’) on her low shelves and rotate them on a weekly basis.
Sometimes I find that there is still too much available to her and she becomes overwhelmed, unfocused and frustrated. When I have put too much out for her I notice that she doesn’t attend to anything for more than 30 seconds and stuff flies around everywhere. When this happens I reduce the number available to her. I also consider whether the activities actually tap into her current interests and stage of development. It might be the case that she has already mastered an activity and is now simply bored of it. Or it might be the opposite, she may not be quite ready and therefore she does not find it engaging or is becoming frustrated with it. When we hit on the right number of activities and those which tap into her observed interests and current stage of development she will become engrossed in an object or activity for a much lengthier period of time.
Some of the skills Althea has been working on include grasping, exploring cause and effect in relation to movement (shaking and bashing) and getting up onto all fours (pre-crawling). She loves anything that makes a noise in response to movement and has become extremely interested in small, often minute details like screws in furniture, buttons on clothes and erm, specks of dirt on the floor.
With all this in mind, below are the activities I chose for her and placed on her low shelves at the beginning of this week (Sunday). This seems to be just the right amount for her in week 33. Some of these activities will stay for a little while, others I will swap some out after a week or so.
1. A selection of balls: Althea began to show a real interest in balls around week 31, this was around the time that she really began to master passing objects from one hand to another. I choose balls that are made from different materials and therefore provide her with different weights, sizes and textures to explore. I tried to include as many natural materials as I could.
2. Nesting dolls: Althea shows an interest in taking things out but has not yet started putting things back in. I took the tops of these nesting dolls and put the three biggest on her shelf. So far she has enjoyed separating them, putting the in her mouth and watching them roll. I expect on the next rotation she will be attempting to put one inside the other, but we’re not quite there yet.
3. Ribbons in a basket: She can take the lid off herself and removes the ribbons one by one. I tied knots in the ribbons to add texture, she enjoys studying the knots and watching the movement of the ribbon when she shakes them. The nesting baskets are from IKEA, these are similar.
4. Sophie Teether: She is not currently putting things in her mouth quite as frequently as she has done in the past. I expect this is because she is working on crawling at the moment. I have noticed that when she is trying to master a new skill, other skills take a back seat.
5. Bell Brick: This has been a favourite since she mastered grasping and began to experiement with movement by shaking objects. She seems to love the sound it makes when she shakes it or drops it. The brick came out of this set of ELC Wooden Activity Blocks
6. Feely Board Book: When I first gave her this book at around 6 months she picked up the idea very quickly, she seemed to remember that bits of the book felt different. Now whatever book we read she searches the page for different textures.
7. Silk Scarves: At 4 months she loved the sensation of these silk scarves brushing past her face, she then began to explore them with her hands and mouth and seemed to have a preference for this type of silky fabric. At the same time she became really interested in labels. Now her favourite activity is peek a boo. She now holds the scarf up to her face whilst we say “where has Althea gone?”, she then pulls it away herself, anticipating “peek-a-boo! There she is!”.
I would love to know what you guys are up to at 7 months! Please let me know in the comments below.