Montessori baby mobiles are beautiful, purposeful, and engaging for a newborn baby. They can be used starting within the first few days or weeks of an infant’s life. The Montessori visual mobiles are, traditionally, 4 hanging mobiles that help support the visual developmental needs of a newborn baby.
These four visual mobiles span over the first 3, possibly 4 months of age. The mobiles are suspended in air and naturally will move with the airflow in a room. It creates a wonderful experience for the infant while they develop those visual tracking skills. In this post, I will share with you the sequence and timeline of each mobile, how to use, hang, and store them as well as what you may introduce to your baby after these mobiles.
Timeline of the Montessori Mobiles
There are four classic Montessori mobiles. I will dive into each one and highlight when they can be used and some of the features. The mobiles can be hung above a movement area, if you want to know how to set up a movement area check out this blog post!
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The first mobile is the Munari mobile. This mobile is constructed with high-contrast black-and-white shapes. There is either a glass or plastic ball as part of the mobile. If using a glass ball, it will reflect light more beautifully but you would need to ensure that it isn’t at risk of breaking. The black and white shapes are suspended at different lengths along painted wooden dowels. The mobile should float about 12 inches above your baby’s face, allowing for your baby’s eyes to begin to focus on those high-contrast shapes. The Montessori mobiles support the development of concentration and tracking as well as stimulates focus.
The first baby visual mobile can be used as quickly after birth as you would like, typically from 2-6 weeks of age. We had the Munari mobile set up in our movement area for when we came home from the hospital. However, around week two or three, we began using this first Montessori mobile.
If you notice your little one starts to become discontent while working with their mobile or it isn’t keeping their interest you can always transition to the next mobile in the series. It is a good idea to swap out the mobiles while your baby is awake and can see this change happen in their environment. This can help them to create points of reference in their environment.
Octahedron Mobile (5-8 Weeks Old)
The second visual mobile in the mobile progression is the octahedron mobile which consists of three octahedrons constructed in the primary colors. The octahedron mobile has these three-dimensional shapes suspended from a clear string and constructed out of reflective paper. The Montessori octahedron mobile introduces the idea of basic colors. By offering three distinctly different colors, we are furthering the development of the baby’s visual skills. The use of shiny paper helps to reflect light off of the octahedrons.
This second mobile was my twin’s favorite mobile in the Montessori visual mobile series. The way it floated through the space above them and all the different angles of the octahedrons was so captivating to them, not to mention the bright colors!
An octahedron is formed by folding six equilateral triangles into a three-dimensional shape. If you are looking to create your own octahedron mobile, check out this blog post or my YouTube video tutorial to get started and have me walk you through the process!
Gobbi Mobile (6-10 Weeks Old)
The main Montessori mobile that you may recognize is the Gobbi Mobile. This mobile is a beautiful creation of 5 spheres hanging from one dowel in descending order at a 45-degree angle. The spheres are wrapped with embroidery thread of differnet shades. The color itself is not of significance, however, the fact that the mobile shows the color gradation of one color is of importance. I remember the day that I put this mobile in our movement area, as I watched one of my sons. I could see his eyes follow and go down and up the sequence of spheres. Truly, these Montessori mobiles are building focus!
Dancers Mobile (8+ Weeks Old)
The Montessori dancer mobile is the fourth traditional Montessori baby mobile. Initially, I thought this mobile was a little weird looking and I thought I wouldn’t make it, but I pushed through and made it anyway and I’m so glad I did! This mobile reflects light in such an amazing way. Even my husband was captivated by it when we finished assembling it. By using shiny, iridescent paper it captures the baby’s attention so beautifully. There are also so many little moving parts that make it a great mobile to support a baby’s development and tracking abilities.
How to Use a Montessori Baby Mobile
When we commonly think of baby mobiles we envision them above a crib or changing table for viewing while drifting off to sleep or during diaper changes. Montessori baby mobiles are intended to be used a little differently. These mobiles work to build concentration and support visual development in a baby. Here are a few things to keep in mind when using Montessori baby mobiles.
Set The Mobiles up in a non-sleeping area
You can set up a movement area where your baby can be when they are awake. Early on in their life, this area may contain a mirror, a mobile and/or mobile hanger, a rug or soft blanket on the floor, and possibly a small shelf with a few grasping objects.
Observe Your Baby
While your baby is working with their Montessori mobiles, they are taking in a lot of visual information. You can observe them to see what you notice them doing while they are working with their mobile. Watch for the length of concentration, movements of limbs, tracking of eyes, and overall contentment, or discontentment. You can always rotate back to previous mobiles that your baby has seen. As your baby continues to develop, they may enjoy seeing a former mobile!
Use While Baby is Awake
For a baby, laying under a mobile is part of their work. We want to lay them under their mobile while they are awake. Also, preferably fed and freshly changed, this will give a greater chance of a successful time with their mobile.
How to Hang a Baby Mobile
There are a few options when it comes to hanging a baby mobile. You can suspend it from a hook in the ceiling, use a mobile hanger, or use a wall-hanging plant bracket. You want the mobile to hang about 12 to 15 inches away from your baby’s face.
How to Store the Montessori Baby Mobiles
I store my baby’s mobile in a clear storage container. I used layers of tissue paper between each mobile so the dowels and strings don’t get tangled up. This was a way that I could easily store them and not have them damaged. Alternatively, I have seen people use them as wall decor in either the nursery or play area. You can hang hooks on the wall and hang them flat against the wall. I do not recommend disassembling the mobiles at any point, as that will create a lot more work for you the next time you want to use them.
Transition from Visual to Tactile Mobiles
Around three months of age, a baby will begin to move their hands and reach for things. When we observe this transition we may start by making the transition to the Montessori tactile mobiles. Here are a few of the tactile mobiles that will support continued hand-eye coordination as well as cognitive development.
This wooden bell ring chime was my twin’s all-time favorite mobile. Hands down, the best one out there in my opinion. It was so engaging and kept their attention like nothing else!
Your baby will begin grasping onto objects, we can offer a wooden ring tied to a beautiful ribbon. When securing it to either a mobile hanger or our hook in the ceiling we can attach some elastic, even a simple hair binder will work. This will allow the baby the pull the ring towards their mouth.
One way we can support a baby becoming aware of their hand is by giving them materials that provide them with feedback. A bell when hit, even softly, by their hand their hand will make a sound. Over time your baby will likely recognize that they are causing that change in their environment and do more of those movements.
You could choose a variety of objects or toys and suspend them above a movement area. I used a ball like this and hung it from the mobile hanger. At one point I laid my baby on the floor in their movement area so that their feet were close to the ball. When they kicked their legs the ball would move, this was a very exciting realization!
Where to Get Montessori Baby Mobiles
When it comes to sourcing Montessori baby mobiles there are a lot of options. You can get an assembled version or a DIY Kit to make your own Montessori mobiles from My MonteHome (Use the coupon code ‘TWINS’ for 10% off your order). There are also many Etsy sellers that sell the Montessori baby mobiles. Another option, if you enjoy a good project, would be to make your own mobiles.