One part of Montessori that I love is preparing the environment with beautiful objects, toys, and materials for our twin boys to explore. Offering developmentally appropriate toys is important for their development. Each baby is different and will show interest in toys at various times, so in this article, I am going to share with you some beautiful Montessori shelf work ideas that I used with Silas and Augustine (our twins) from 5 to 7 months old.
What is Montessori shelf work?
In Montessori environments, we put out materials or toys on an open shelf for easy access for the child. We can offer 4 to 6 different toys or materials. We may have a few areas in the home with a few different toys. Initially, we may offer as many toys as months old of our baby. These toys are displayed in an uncluttered and orderly way. We will likely have more than 4 to 6 toys but we can rotate these out based on what we observe in our children.
When they are young the toys should be visible and ideally displayed on an open shelf. While they are playing on the ground they will be able to see these toys so that is why don’t keep everything in baskets that they can’t see into. Some beautiful baskets that they can access are nice to have. We also offer some space between the objects, this gives visual space when we look at the shelf. At this time the order of the materials on the shelf does not have significance but in Montessori classrooms it does.
Developmental Needs from 5 to 7 Months
From 5 to 7 months is when our twins began grasping, rolling, scooting, getting up on all fours (this seemed early compared to some), and sitting up with less and less support over the months. When they reached 7 months they were not yet sitting independently but could sit with support near them. They spent so much of their time on their tummy, rolling around and doing planks!
During this time it was fun to see how they were interacting their the toys in their environment. These are some of the things we offered through this time. Before 7 months our boys were scooting towards objects that they wanted, so by putting things on low shelves they could go get and play with the toys they wanted. Here is a list of Montessori shelf work at 5 to 7 months old.
- Basket of balls (Oball and textured balls)
- Spinning drum
- Silicone stacking cups
- Textured basket with objects inside (ring, wooden keys, bell)
- Manhattan Toy Skwish Rattle and Teether
- Ball cylinder
- Wooden ball teether
- Colored snake clutching toy
Great Montessori-Friendly Toys from 5 to 7 Months Old
Here are some of my favorite Montessori-friendly toys for the 5 to 7-month-old range!
Basket of Balls
They loved the Oball for quite some time. This is a great ball when they are first starting to grasp onto things because it is so easy for them to hold onto and they can squish it into their mouth which they love to do!
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The boys love to knock down towers we build with the stacking cups. They are easy for them to grab, pick up, and teeth on.
Textured Basket with Various Objects
To my surprise, this has been one of their favorite things on their shelf! I have kept this basket out for months and will swap out different objects. They love to grab the lid off and explore that. Most of the time I find they are more interested in the basket than they are with the toys within it!
I didn’t end up purchasing our spinning drum until closer to 7 months, when I put it on the shelf the day I got it I knew that this would have been a great thing to introduce sooner! Now I know for the next baby!
The Skwish is a fun one! It is very easy for them to grasp and when they shake it then it will rattle slightly. I chose the natural colors of this, but they have colorful ones too which seem fun. This seemed to be more interesting to them in the 6th month.
The ball cylinder encourages movement because it will roll when they touch it. This toy is a little heavier as well, so I found my boys were more interested in this around the 6 or 7-month mark.
Silas and Augustine loved and still enjoy playing with this bright wooden ball teether. The size of the balls on this teether seemed to be enjoyable for them to mouth.
5 to 7 months has been such a fun stage with the twins, they started to have a little more independence, could move a little bit more ,and interact with the environment around them in a more intentional way.
Different Shelf Layouts
It is so important to observe children so we can learn more about what things are meeting their needs, what things may be obstacles to their development or what things don’t interest them anymore. Here are some things you could observe:
- Observe their hands. How do they grasp objects?
- How are they moving? Do they use their feet? Hands? Knees? Do they push off or do they pull themselves forward? Do they slither?
- After grasping an object, what do they do with it?
- When we leave a room, how do we find them when we return? Have they moved?
Toys Suggestion in This Post
Here is my concise list of toys to rotate out for your baby between 5 and 7 months!