When I first decided to do Montessori from the start with Baby J I was impressed but also a bit intimidated by the simplicity of it all and also the lack of stuff! When I was pregnant and explaining to my friends that the only thing the baby would have to entertain himself was a series of mobiles and a string with a ring or bell on it they raised an eyebrow or two and even I was slightly concerned. Would this be enough for the baby? I decided to trust the Montessori method since it hasn't failed us yet and really it's just based on common sense. I also thought if it didn't work we could always make a trip to BabysRUs!
I needn't have worried. As I have documented in previous posts Baby J couldn't have been happier and more perfectly stimulated. He LOVED his mobiles and also the ring and Takame ball for kicking. These things were perfect for each stage of his early development. He didn't need anything else! No bouncy chair, no swing, no entertainment saucer, no jolly jumper or flashing buzzing things......you get my point.
Now as Baby J has moved onto another stage of development and has been sitting up on his own I have enjoyed introducing Treasure Baskets or Baskets of Known Objects to him. Once again soooo simple and inexpensive. They are just made up of objects that you already have around your house. This enables the infant from the very earliest stage to become familiar with his real environment.
Our first basket contained an egg timer, metal braclet, wooden spoon(the ultimate favourite and now has to be included in all baskets!) and a toy elephant which L wanted to contribute from her collection. Baby J explored this basket for about two weeks and then I made him another one with a small shampoo bottle, loufa sponge, teething beads and something else I can't remember at the moment . At first he was not impressed at all! He emptied the basket and then started crying. I quickly brought him the wooden spoon and he was happy once again. He then explored the rest of the basket.
This is our latest basket with a kind of Christmasy theme. It contains a Christmas hand towel, wooden nail scrub brush, a red wooden piece from a stacker and a bean bag. Of course he also has the spoon which isn't shown here. When I am considering items to add to a basket I really have to think if there is anything that may be dangerous for Baby J as of course he instantly puts everything in his mouth.
These baskets are awesome. He doesn't need toys and can entertain himself for sometimes half an hour exploring all of the items.
Since he has such a love affair with the wooden spoon, I brought out one of our large pots for him. I demonstrated how to hit the pot with the spoon to make a noise and then gave him the spoon. He caught on right away and now this is his all time favourite activity. He can also turn the pot over and we will put some of his objects inside it for him to take out. With the new basket L also loves to show Baby J how to scrub the bottom of the pot with the brush and then wipe it with the towel. Baby J follows suit! Too funny!
Ahh the beauty and simplicity of Montessori!