Thirteen Engaging Montessori Things At 13 Months Old

Month 13 was all about creating connections through repeated exposure to tasks of daily life. Moments of saying “mama” and beginning to recognize when limits are being set. There was so much happening this month in our Montessori home with twins. Here are 13 engaging Montessori things we did in our Montessori home with twins at 13 months old.

Unloading Dishwasher

A new fan favorite for the boys and me at 13 months is unloading the dishwasher! It is something they get very excited to do and I love accomplishing something while they are awake. A win-win in my mind. Some ways to build connection throughout this task is by slowing down and allowing for collaboration. Show your child how to grab the silverware, put out your hand, and ask for them to hand it to you. I like to model using please and thank you in this time as well. I don’t expect by any means that they do all of this, I keep moving along in the task allowing them the opportunity to do all the parts they are capable of and then I do the rest. They aren’t walking at this point, but can still do this because they can hold onto the dishwasher.


Creating moments of connection in our day is important. One way I do this is by inviting my twins into the tasks that I need to accomplish. We regularly do laundry together, not all the time, but often. They can push the buttons, pull things out of the washer and dryer, and unfold my work. Sometimes it looks like me sitting on the floor in their bedroom with a basket of laundry and them “helping” me put it away. They may stay involved in the work for a long time or just a few seconds. I don’t worry too much about it but trust that when they are ready and want to help more, they will become more actively involved.

What Getting Dressed at 13 Months Looks Like

Getting dressed is a great opportunity for working together. I have noticed that it is easy to just do things for my children if I am not conscious. It is a quick transition from a young baby who is completely dependent on you for everything to an emerging toddler who is capable of more things. Here are a few parts of the dressing process I have seen my boys be capable of taking a more active role in this month.

  • Coming over and sitting in the dressing chair when it is time to get dressed
  • Choosing between two shirts or pant choices
  • They can pull their shirt over their head after I have put it onto their head and line it up for them.
  • Pushing their arm through the sleeve, while I help them get it positioned correctly.
  • Choosing a pair of socks from a basket
  • Having them stand up when I ask so I can pull up their pants

Snack at the Weaning Table

The weaning table with a more mobile baby has had its moments of success and others that end with a little more cleanup than I would have liked. When we are offering certain freedoms to our children, it will come at a cost to us, and we need to accept that reality. For example, me allowing them to direct their feeding expereince vs. me spoon-feeding them naturally comes with more clean-up. But one day it will be rewarded with them showing more independence.

I try to be as consistent as possible when it comes to having them sit in chairs. However, I am accepting that standing at the weaning table is also okay, as long as they keep the food at the table. I redirect them when they get up onto the chairs, but if they are turning around in their chairs, I also let that be. I redirect anytime I see them on top of the weaning table.

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Drinking From an Open Cup

Drinking from an open cup is a great way to foster independence and build skills, including force modulation. Meaning, how much force does it take to bring a glass of water to my mouth? Sometimes they modulate perfectly without spills and other days half of it spills into their bib. We then have an opportunity to clean up the spill. At this stage, especially when I offer a drink in a glass cup, I stay close by. Check out this blog post for all the details on using a Montessori weaning cup and my top 3 cup recommendations!

Toddler drinking from an open glass cup

Standing Diaper Change

I have yet to master the art of changing a diaper with my boys standing up, but I do try to do them. However, they do seem quite content getting their diaper changed on the ground as well. We have one area in our living room where we keep diaper-changing supplies as well as in their bedroom. They can help with pulling out the wipes and holding the diaper while I take off the dirty one. Having a shelf or pull-up bar near the changing area can help with standing diaper changes.

Pikler Triangle at 13 Months

This month the twins have started to climb up their Montessori climbing triangle (check out this blog post all about how to choose a climbing triangle!). This climbing triangle has been such a great thing for our boys to explore. Observing the way they navigate their body has been so much fun. They show such control and coordination on their own. I don’t set them up on higher bars on the climbing triangle in a position that they couldn’t get to on their own. We are allowing them to explore at their own pace.

Open Shelving with Self-Directed Toys

Especially at this point, having open shelving with toys that are readily available to the boys is key to our environment functioning well. We keep 4 to 6 toys or activities available and in rotation. We also keep a few differnet toys upstairs in their bedroom and another small play space. The open shelving allows them to see what is available, and grab it easily, and oftentimes they work directly on the shelf. Check out this blog post for some of the things that have been on our shelves this month.

Cube shelf storage with toys displayed

Entryway Getting Dressed to Go Outside

Our Montessori entryway is a great place to sit and help the boys get dressed for the colder weather. Having a small bench that is the perfect size invites them in. It creates a homey feel and is another part of the environment that they know is prepared just for them.

small bench with jacket hanging on a hook in a Montessori entryway

Activities at 13 Months: Coin Box

Offering toys and activities that focus on isolating a skill is a key element that makes something “Montessori”. The coin box does just this! It is a continuation of the object permanence box but with the added challenges of having a specific orientation that the coin needs to be in to get it into the slot.

I have seen this be an activity that the boys are interested in working out, they have had enough success with it to keep going, but it isn’t always the first thing they gravitate towards. At times, I will pull it off of the shelf and invite them to work with me on it.

A tray with a wooden box that has a drawer with a wooden knob. A slit in the top of the wooden box and a dish of wooden coins.

Giant Stacking Rings on a Wooden Dowel

Activities that use maximum effort are wonderful things to have available. I have seen this activity of large wooden rings on a chunky wooden dowel offer so much large motor work as well as strength! The first point of interest was removing the rings from the dowel. Modeling how to place the rings back onto the dowel was enough to spark their curiosity and interest. I love when I hear them doing this while I am in the other room. It requires all of their attention and focus as well as strength to move these pieces and they are so proud once they have accomplished it!

Using Silverware at 13 Months

In Montessori environments, we emphasize offering real objects to even our youngest children. One way we can support our babies on their feeding journey is by offering silverware. In my opinion, I waited even too long to introduce real silverware, and could have begun much sooner. I just hadn’t purchased any, but when I did they began to catch on.

At 13 months, they still play with their silverware at times. I will pre-load a spoon and set it into their bowl for them to pick up and self-feed. Similarly, with a fork, I will poke something onto the fork for them to self-feed. They still eat many foods with their hands but I hope with continued practice and exposure they will gain more and more control with their silverware.

Brushing teeth and hair

Basket with two baby hair brushes and 2 silicone tooth brushes

I had modeled how to use a hairbrush by saying “brush, brush, brush!”. When I introduced the toothbrush it also made sense to say “brush, brush, brush!” There was slight confusion and they started brushing their hair with their toothbrush, but we are getting back on track!

We can simply offer everyday objects like a hairbrush or toothbrush to our babies. We should model how to use it, give opportunities for using it, and don’t be too worried about the effectiveness of the task, they are just figuring it out and exploring.

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