Last week I shared 7 Activities I had placed on Althea’s low Montessori inspired shelving unit, you can find the post HERE.
This week I have noticed that Althea is A LOT more focused in her play space. Prior to setting up her shelving unit she did not seem overly engaged by her environment. I believe this was in part due to there being too much choice and a lack of order and familiarity.
The use of treasure baskets worked pretty well, especially as an unsteady sitter, however, now that she is shuffling around a bit more (still a pre-crawler) she seems to prefer to choose her own toys and activities, which the low shelving allows. I think she gets a massive sense of achievement from independently manipulating the environment around her.
This week I observed a few new behaviours or ‘skills’ that she appears to be working on. Whilst she’s still very keen to give everything a good shake I have noticed that she enjoys banging on objects with other objects in order to make (lots of) noise. This started with banging just about anything (usually bell brick) on large surfaces like her shelving unit or the floor. Over the course of the week she seems to have developed a little more control and she can now hit her bowl with her wooden spoon with great accuracy.
The second behaviour, which I observed yesterday, is sliding objects. Early in the week there was a lot of flinging going on. This has developed into sliding objects backwards and forwards across the floor.
The third is that she is intensely interested in very small details. Her favourites so far include; strands of my hair, either attached or not, she’s not fussy, screws in furniture, detailed illustrations and specks of dried on pasta sauce she found on the floor.
So with those observations in mind here are 4 toys I placed on the shelves for her this week:
1. SKWISH Rattle & Teether (by The Manhatten Toy Company): This is something I wish I had found earlier, It would definitely have made it onto my Newborn Shelf. It is made from renewable wood with a water-based finish so it’s a safe, eco-friendly option. The colourful beads slide and rattle around and its design makes it ideal for early grasping. You can squish it and it will return to its original shape, which is great for developing strong little hands and arms. This ticks a number of boxes for Althea right now, she can shake it and create sound and visible movement, she can explore it safely with her mouth and the sophisticated design grabs her attention.
2. Liebe Wooden Car – We bought this car from the Toy Museum in Tokyo. She hasn’t shown much interest in it before now despite the fact it is great for grasping, shaking and teething. Last night I added it to her shelves whilst she was sliding a box backwards and forwards. I copied this movement with the toy car and then left it with her. She picked it up and moved it backwards and forwards as I had done. The design of the wheels mean that it makes a great sound on the hard wood floor. I haven’t managed to find this brand anywhere else so if you know of it do let me know! THIS Montessori Car on amazon is similar.
3. Soft Toy Ball -She is still obsessed with balls but they keep rolling away from her and the wooden ball and squashy ball in her collection roll quite far. As a Pre-crawler this was getting frustrating for her as it presented too much of a challenge. So this week I swapped them out for this one soft ball from the dollar store. It’s a great size for her to grasp easily and because it is light and not perfectly sphereical it doesn’t roll as far meaning that when she pitches forward on to all fours and stretches she can reach it, building her strength for crawling. The LEKA Soft toy ball from IKEA would work well.
4. Child-sized Xylophone- I didn’t think this would be of interest for a little while. I was wrong. Which goes to show how important observing your child in their environment and rotating toys is. When I noticed Althea was interested in hitting things to create a sound I introduced it to her shelf. The first day she just put the stick in her mouth and I thought maybe she wasn’t quite ready. The next time she picked up the stick and waved it around accidentally hitting the bars on a few occassions.Yesterday Daddy played it for her. When left to her own devices she deliberately and repeatedly hit the bars, turning the stick around and trying both ends. THIS ONE on Amazon is similar
There are a few activities from last week that have stayed. I don’t like to change everything because I think there has to be an element of familiarity and an opportunity to return to toys and resources for repetition and further exploration. As demonstrated with the Xylophone, Althea used it in a few different ways before discovering it’s purpose and really enjoying it.
The ribbons have stayed as she still becomes deeply engrossed in pulling them out and studying the knots. Bell Brick is still a firm favourite and she initiates peepbo with the silk scarves and will use them independently in front of her mirror.
What activities is your little one enjoying this week?