Baby N is already over eight months old! This really blows my mind, but it’s happening – she’s getting bigger! With Y, we didn’t start implementing Montessori until he was just about a year old. This time, I’m really excited to see how N reacts and uses Montessori toys and materials from birth. It’s just so beautiful to be able to witness her development and growth at her own pace.

One of the materials we recently started using often is the object permanence box. The object permanence box is a wonderful toy for babies to use. They help to develop so many important skills, but also, this is just a fun and engaging toy for baby to use! N loves, loves, loves it! We have a wooden ball. N laughs every time one of us drops it into the hole. It clanks and rolls to her. She looks absolutely thrilled and is always eager to try herself!Montessori toys for babies: object permanence box #montessoribabies #montessoritoys #montessorifrombirth

Montessori Toys for Babies: Object Permanence Box

Age

The object permanence box is typically introduced to babies between 8 and 12 months old. Usually, baby should be able to sit unassisted before using this material.

What Is It and Why?

Object permanence is the ability to know that something exists even if you do not see them. Babies need to learn that even if caregivers leave the room, or are not seen, that they will return.

Montessori toys for babies: object permanence box #montessoribabies #montessoritoys #montessorifrombirthbabies: object permanence box

Aside from this, the object permanence box teaches babies about cause and effect. By placing the ball into the hole, a child sees that the ball ends up directly in front of him or her. If the child misses, the ball does not return to him and must be retrieved.

Not only that, but this is a great way to develop hand eye coordination and strengthen those adorable baby fingers!

How?

Do not tell them how to do it. Show them how to do it and do not say a word. If you tell them they will watch your lips move. If you show them, they will want to do it themselves. – Maria Montessori.

Really the key to introducing new materials to your baby is just to show them how to use it. Here are a few simple steps to follow when showing how to use this material

  • Sit down with your baby. Place the object permanence box directly in front of you.
  • You may consider introducing some simple vocabulary, such as “box”, “ball”, “hole”.  Say the word slowly and point to the object you are referring to.
  • Slowly, pick up the ball, and place it in the opening.
  • Wait for the ball to stop rolling before picking it up.
  • Repeat.
  • Give the ball to your child.

That’s pretty simple really. Simply move slowly and speak minimally.

Montessori toys for babies: object permanence box #montessoribabies #montessoritoys #montessorifrombirth

Repetition when introducing Montessori toys or materials

With baby N, I have shown her how to use the object permanence box every single time we have used it. The first time I gave her the ball, she immediately tried to place it in her mouth. Whether this is per se the Montessori approach to such a situation or not, this is what I do when she tries to place the ball in her mouth.

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I stop her. First and foremost because this mama has an internal panic attack about such objects being put in the mouth. So, I react quickly, but calmly. I say to Natasha, “This is not how to use this material. The ball goes in the hole.” Basically, I explain calmly and respectfully to her that she may not misuse Montessori toys or materials the same way I would to an older child.

After the first time, I demonstrate again how to use the box, and try again. If N continues to try to get the ball to her mouth, I put the box away.

Montessori toys for babies: object permanence box #montessoribabies #montessoritoys #montessorifrombirth

We store the box on her shelves at times – I rotate out her toys daily because she only gets 3-4 out at a time. The ball, however, I keep separately because she mouths things so often that I am scared of her getting injured.

Realistic Expectations

I feel a disclaimer is necessary here. I don’t want you to think that babies will get this instantly. It will likely take multiple times of showing them how to use the object permanence box, each time maybe leading to five minutes of attention or fun. Maybe. At least that’s how it went for us at first. It takes time and patience.

But N loves this work. She smiles and laughs when we do it, and always gets excited when she sees it. So we work on learning where to place the ball. Really at eight months old, I am very happy that she has the coordination to pick up the ball and bang it on the box. And yes, that has happened. And I may or may not have let her do it for quite some time because those baby giggles are just worth it.

She’s only managed to get the ball into the opening a few times, but we’re getting there. Eventually, baby will get it and it will be wonderful! Just don’t be surprised if it takes a little while to get there.

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Montessori Inspiration at Home

Learn how to support your toddler at home with these Montessori Inspiration at Home guides! I often get asked where to start with Montessori at home for toddlers or preschoolers, and my answer is almost always practical life! The Montessori Inspiration at Home team has the perfect answer for where to start with these two detailed guides. They explain where to begin, how to set up activities, provide photos with detailed instructions, as well as printables. This is the starting point!

Montessori Language Activities for Toddlers: Montessori Inspiration at Home: Toddler Series - Language #montessori, #montessoriactivities

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I hope you have a fabulous day!

Yuliya