Around six or seven months, our baby discovers more of the world around him. He takes the toys in his hands, tries to move around and lets himself be attracted by textures and tastes. He will start to touch and taste everything he sees. As a parent, I feel like this is a more tempting time to switch to battery toys. Our baby can sometimes get tanned faster than before and demonstrate a greater need for interaction (depending on his personality of course).
So now is a good time to offer him elements that will stimulate each of his senses. One of the key ideas proposed in modern Montessori pedagogy is the basket of treasures. Choose a small basket that the child can grab with his hands and in which he can search easily. I try to take a wicker or fabric basket, because they are soft, safe and more pleasant to touch than plastic.
In this container, we put some objects from the house in addition to the toys that the baby can explore. We choose safe items because babies tend to put everything in their mouths, and you need a variety of textures. The kitchen is often a good source of ideas, it is not for nothing that allowing free access to the dish cabinet seems to cross the generations.
Children, and babies especially, love the opportunity to touch what they regularly see us touch. These are objects that are naturally attractive to them. What is commonplace for us represents a treasure trove of discoveries for our little ones. Giving them the opportunity to access it on their own by raising the basket to their height encourages their autonomy and freedom of choice. Besides, the container is part of the game. This afternoon, I watched Laurent spend several minutes pulling the basket to knock it on the floor.
Baby's awakening space
I have done a lot of research on the best way to organize the waking space around 6 and 12 months. It was the Montessori, highscope, Waldorf and Reggio pedagogies that inspired me most for this stage. Here are two other aspects to which I pay more attention between 6 and 8 months: softness and the mirror as well as light.
The importance of gentleness
You might think the number one reason I put fur on the floor for my babies is to explore its texture. This is obviously an advantage of it, but it is mainly in order to envelop it in softness. In Waldorf-Steiner pedagogy, we consider the baby's environment with a very specific approach and we try to protect him from too extreme sensations. He will wear a hat, soft clothes and we will even take care to choose pastel colors, to use silk to filter the light when it is too bright. This desire to make everyday life a little sweeter, more pleasant is something that strikes me.
In the first six months, my babies are often carried or in my arms and I like to transition to a very soft wake-up space before moving to the floor. This brand new little body is just discovering the sensations of heat, cold, hardness, the rough and I pay special attention to it. This is also one of the reasons I continue to not offer light and sound battery toys.
A mirror and light
In Reggio pedagogy, mirrors and light are two key elements. So I try to place the baby's space near a window they can grab hold of when they start to get up. He will thus have a natural source of motivation: the lively life of the neighborhood. The mirror allows him to become aware of his reflection little by little. It is also a great motivation for him: happy to see another baby, he will work hard to turn around, look up in the direction of the mirror, etc.
The contact of the young child with nature
It is quite common to take baby in a stroller or baby carrier outside, but I want to invite you to vary the experiences a little by daring to put him on the floor. Take the time to let your little one handle a branch, a casserole, touch the grass. It takes close monitoring, but it is something of great benefit to him. Even within a few months of life, the exterior is full of interesting opportunities for its development. He will be able to observe, hear, feel, smell. You can place it under a tree whose leaves have various colors. When it rains, use a stroller rain shelter to experience the sight and sound of raindrops without getting wet.
For more ideas and activities for baby,this book presents multiple ways to enrich the life of our baby by drawing inspiration from Montessori pedagogy.
Signed Five minutes to play - Zoé L. Sirois