If you intend to raise your child using the Montessori method, you may be wondering how you can start using the Montessori method in the newborn days. Your newborn isn’t very mobile, but they can still gain hugely from quiet time in their movement area. From creating a Montessori-style nursery to using Montessori mobiles in the movement area, you can keep your baby occupied and help jumpstart their learning.
Let’s take a look at the series of mobiles and learn about each type of mobile and its benefits.
How Does a Montessori Mobile Differ From a Regular Infant Mobile or Crib Mobile?
There are a few reasons why Montessori mobiles are unique, owing to how they differ from regular infant mobiles or crib mobiles:
- Montessori mobiles use simple, graceful lines and have a calming effect. This makes them aesthetically pleasing, a bonus!
- They don’t have more than five elements to avoid overstimulating the baby’s vision.
- With no sounds or lights, they stimulate a single sense of the baby – their sight. This is especially true for the first four mobiles.
- Most Montessori or Montessori-inspired mobiles provide concrete, real-life experiences by depicting geometrical shapes or animals.
- These mobiles are lightweight and move slowly and gracefully, even with the softest breeze in the room.
Types of Montessori Mobiles
The first set is visual mobiles, and the next set is the follow-up mobiles for when your baby moves from visual to physical movements.
First Four Mobiles
The first four Montessori mobiles help your newborn develop their ability to focus, track objects and develop depth perception. They are designed to be used in order as your baby grows.
Ideal for 3 – 6 weeks old babies
The first in the series is the Munari mobile. This high-contrast, black and white mobile features counter-balanced geometric shapes designed to sway and move slowly, responding to air movement. Remember that your baby has limited visual sense at this age, so hang this mobile about 12 inches from your baby’s face.
The Munari mobile gently introduces your baby to the foundations of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), as the mobile’s elements are placed precisely based on their mathematical relationship with shapes, rods, and spheres. In addition, a glass ball is included to reflect light and capture a baby’s attention, encouraging their focus, concentration, and cognitive development.
Ideal for 5 – 8 weeks old babies
With three octahedrons made from highly reflective material, this mobile introduces the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) to your baby.
By presenting three-dimensional images, this mobile lets your baby use the coordinated movement of both their eyes simultaneously while introducing the concept of geometry. Like the Munari mobile, its lightweight nature allows it to move effortlessly, even with gentle air circulation in the room.
Ideal for 2 – 4-month-old babies
Helping tune your baby’s chromatic sense and get them to differentiate between multiple shades of the same color palate, the Gobbi mobile typically consists of five colored orbs. Made with embroidery thread, the five spheres are hung on a diagonal at 45 degrees, with the darkest shade being close to the baby’s face and the lightest one being farthest away.
The Gobbi mobile helps with visual skills and depth perception.
Ideal for 3 – 4-month-old babies
The Dancer mobile is the final mobile in the Montessori visual set. Made with holographic paper, it shines, shimmers in the light, and spins more than the previous mobiles.
With their color vision almost fully developed, it teaches your baby that the color and shape of objects don’t change, even when objects move. The contrasting colors, the reflection of light, and the graceful, elegant movement of the fluttering dancers catch and hold your baby’s attention while developing their depth perception and object tracking abilities.
The follow-on mobiles are designed to develop your baby’s hand-eye coordination. Unlike the first mobiles, these mobiles should be suspended at a height your baby can easily reach. The follow-on mobiles can be introduced in any order. Observe your baby and provide a suitable mobile based on the motor skills they are currently developing.
Babies are more interested in motor functions once they reach three months. This is the right time to provide them with tactile mobiles.
Designed to help your baby grab, hit, and pull, it might encourage them to sit up. Once you notice your baby is ready, you could start with:
- The Bell on a Ribbon – teaches the relationship between their movements and sounds.
- Ring on a Ribbon (or elastic) mobile – teaches them to reach and grasp. If on elastic, they can also practice pulling the ring towards their mouth if on elastic.
Once your baby has mastered these, you can follow up with the Grasping Beads, Montessori Bell Rattle, and Montessori Puzzle Ball.
Although not part of the Montessori mobile set, Animal mobiles offer an alternative you could introduce to your baby. With realistic images, the intricate animal mobiles emulate the movement of animals in the air or water. They typically include whales, butterflies, or swallows.
A delight to look at, the lightweight images move around slowly and gracefully, allowing your baby to track objects, have depth perception, and observe size and color differences.
Using the Mobiles
To help babies with optimal visual tracking and concentration, these mobiles must be hung in the proper motion and at the right level, with the correct details.
The Sequence of Montessori Mobiles
There is a determined sequence to the use of Montessori mobiles. You can start by using the Munari mobile, followed by the Octahedron mobile, the Gobbi, and the Dancers mobile.
Each baby has different developmental needs, so you can change from one mobile to the next by observing your child and deciding the approximate time frame to move on to the next. As a guide, look to change them every two weeks.
If you find your baby is losing interest with the first four mobiles, you could alternate with the follow-up Animal mobiles. The Montessori Tactile mobiles can be used when your baby’s interest shifts from visual to physical, usually at three to four months old.
How to Hang Your Mobiles?
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you use a Montessori mobile:
- First, ensure you supervise your baby when using a mobile.
- Hang it in your baby’s working space (known as the movement area) where s/he remains active and not in the sleeping area. The purpose is to stimulate the baby’s senses, not get them to relax.
- Place your fully awake baby under the mobile, allowing them to observe and focus on the mobile. Avoid placing a sleepy or cranky baby under a mobile.
- Hang the mobiles using threads at about 12″ (30 cm) above your baby’s chest. This ensures a good position and safe distance for your baby to observe but not grasp.
Since newborns can’t control their head movements, you could place a mirror next to their movement area so they can view the mobile without turning their heads. Once your baby has developed the muscles to hold their head straight and directly look at the mobile, you could remove the mirror.
If you’d like to learn more about how to set up a Montessori-friendly nursery for your baby, please check out our article Creating a Montessori Nursery here.
Where to Buy Montessori Mobiles?
Reading about all the mobiles probably got you excited and eager to introduce these to your baby. If you’re wondering where you can buy these mobiles, here’s some helpful information:
Amazon: For a reasonable price, you can buy a set of Montessori baby mobiles that even includes the grasping ring (for when bub is ready to move to the tactile mobile).
Etsy: There are so many shops on Etsy that sell these mobiles. Some shops will send you all the needed supplies if you’d like to make your mobile. We’ve put together a list of top-rated mobiles on Etsy.
Monti Kids Program: To support your little one’s developing vision and grasping strength, the Monti Kids Program: Level 1 supplies are an excellent choice.
How to Make Mobiles (DIY)?
If you’d like to build your mobiles for your little ones using your creativity and craft skills, here are some tutorial videos to help you out:
Your child is never too young to start experiencing the Montessori way at home. Babies are constantly processing information from the world around them. Using Montessori mobiles helps them with vision processing and concentration development. I’d love to hear more about your experience using the mobiles – drop a comment below!