Montessori Baby-Ed #3: Do You Need 8 Activities With The Arts For Your 3 Month Old?

IF YOU HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR ARTS AND MUSIC ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR MONTESSORI BABY, HERE ARE 8 ACTIVITIES TO EXPLORE WITH YOUR CHILD!

Montessori Baby-Ed: The Arts and Your Baby 
Nido Basket #3  and Lessons



Baby Yoga Art Cards from I Believe in Montessori Shop
CANDLE POSE: KICKING, COOING, AND GRASPING
YOUR LITTLE YOGINI IS DISCOVERING THE POWER OF THE LEG MUSCLES AND MOVING THEM ALL THE TIME!

You are probably very excited about getting started with Montessori activities for your infant… and I am too!

I’ve curated this Montessori Nido Basket for you and your baby to enjoy learning through the art of play.

The Lessons have an underlying theme of exploring The Arts while enhancing the cognitive development of your baby and creating that strong family bond that is so important for Baby’s well-being.
Photo and Mobile from Goose Designs Etsy Shop
Time for mobiles that Baby can kick! 

To read more about the Montessori method, you can refer to the Lesson Plans in Montessori Baby-Ed Nido Basket #1 and #2.  Click HERE.

There’s also more Montessori info at this web site, American Montessori Society: Introduction to Montessori Method.

SOME HELPFUL HINTS
·      Engaging Baby with face to face “conversation” will eventually bring out some smiles, coos and even laughter!
Photo from Adobe Stock
·      In the third month, Baby is social, and actually wants to engage with others. Family members and caregivers often discover that Baby’s cries are a request for human interaction!

·    The carefully prepared environment will result in a built in “control of error” (another term coined by Montessori) When preparing the baby’s space, think about what will allow the child what s/he needs for natural development thus eliminating the unnecessary. Make it child-sized and low to the ground! Classic Montessori Nido environments look something like this picture.
Photo and Tripod with Mobiles from Clover and Birch Etsy Shop
·      Providing a Montessori style “floor bed/ playmat” where Baby can lie on back (or tummy) and move freely offers a way to set up mobiles and art pictures at Baby’s eye level. 

·     Some families use Japanese style futons with fitted sheets. This can also be a place where you can lie comfortably next to Baby and sing or read to her.

·      Baby now enjoys mobiles that are within reach. We call these “tactile mobiles” in the Montessori method of education.  Tactile mobiles that make a gentle sound when touched by baby’s hands or feet give Baby sensory stimulation and aid in the development of the muscles of the hand.
Photo from Adobe Stock
Month 3.
Developmental Stage: Beginning of Intentional Movement

By three months of age, you will probably be noticing that Baby has learned to turn her head and face towards sounds, especially sounds made by family members. There is purpose to Baby’s moves!

Baby will respond to the rhythms of her day, the routines that happen on a regular basis and even begin to show signs of anticipation. (ex: when siblings are about to arrive home from school, or when it’s time for a bath)

Life’s rhythms are a simple part of Baby’s love of musical sounds, especially if they reflect a strong steady beat. 

The way that Baby has begun to grasp for objects within reach, shows that s/he has developed a sense of purpose to the movement of her body, especially the hands.

Photo and Mobile from Essential Montessori Etsy Shop
What you can do to nurture your baby’s natural cognitive development in the third month:
Provide securely attached mobiles within reach of Baby’s grasping or kicking range  (Aids in Baby’s developing visual sense and small muscles of the hand.)

Sing to Baby! Singing familiar songs over and over will appeal to Baby’s need for predictability and will encourage language development. (Aids in Baby’s developing aural sense and language skills.)

~ Smile and coo with Baby often…copying his/her vocalizations whenever possible. (Contributes to Baby’s developing language skills.)

Read books and/or tell stories to Baby. Reality based picture books are best and your own stories are a wonderful way to recount your family’s history. You can always tell the story of the day Baby was born!

~ Carry out daily routines in as predictable fashion as possible, so that Baby experiences the sensation of the rhythm of her day (Recognizing patterns and making predictions are important components of developing Pre-language and Pre-math skills in the young child)

~ Play live music for Baby by gently plucking a thumb piano, dulcimer, melody harp,  guitar or even a flute or recorder (Gives experiences that exercise all the senses and this is how Baby learns.)

What you can do to nurture natural motor development:
~ Tactile Mobiles encourage Baby’s development of the arm and leg muscles. (Baby is able to intentionally grasp or kick the objects and exercise the large and small muscles)

Provide a floor bed for Baby’s supervised free movement during the daytime when s/he is awake. (Gives Baby unrestrained access to her hands and feet to develop the coordination of the muscles for grasping and crawling…the next stages of development)

~Give Baby plenty of tummy time in which you are down at her level and making eye contact. (Encourages Baby to lift her head to see you.)

Colorful cloth balls can be rolled for Baby (Helps Baby develop the tracking skills of the eyes and also encourages large muscles of leg and back to “scoot” after the ball)

                                           HERE IS THIS MONTH'S "NIDO BASKET":
Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company
MONTESSORI BABY-ED LESSONS FOR THE THIRD MONTH

LESSON #1. Play the Melody Harp for Baby

1.  This Child-size instrument (Melody Harp) is a very simplified hammered dulcimer which is a traditional stringed folk instrument from the mountains of Appalachia (US) that is played with two wooden “hammers” designed for the instrument.

2.   Place the melody harp across your lap and hold a stick (hammer) in each hand. (Gently show your older sibling how to do this, too) 

3.  Tap the sticks on the individual strings so that they bounce and create a sweet sound

4.  You can also play songs by using the sheets of music that are included in the packet by placing these under the strings and tap on the strings where the notes are marked to tap

5.  You may also sing or hum a tune while you tap a steady beat on the strings

6.   Observe Baby’s reaction and adjust

7.   Making music for Baby this way, not only stimulates Baby’s sensory learning, it also “models” for the baby that making music is important and fun!  

EXTENSIONS:
·      Play a simple song by strumming along the strings with the pick that comes with the harp 
·      Lay the melody harp on the floor next to Baby so that when you play it, Baby can feel the vibrations!


LESSON #2.  Musical Instrument Picture: Cello
Instrument Cards and Frame from Michael Olaf Company
1.  Change the picture in the frame from Nido Basket #1.  Slip the photo of the cello in the frame and hang the framed picture at Baby’s eye level to stimulate Baby’s developing sense of sight. (ex: changing table)

2.  While changing Baby, give her the vocabulary: “Cello” …”Strings” etc. (There’s a whole lot of useful information written on the back of the picture about the musical instrument, the cello.)

The cello is in the orchestral family of stringed instruments. That is why I included the dulcimer (or melody harp) in this basket. (see below) The dulcimer is a simple stringed folk instrument played in the mountains of Appalachia (U.S.) It is fairly easy to create soothing sounds with this instrument, without formal music training.

3.  If you happen to play cello, it would be nice for Baby to hear you play a little tune for her. If you don’t have a cello in the home, you can play recorded music for Baby that features a cello. Here’s a link to some nice music that features the cello: Cello on Amazon digital music.  

4. Observe Baby's reactions to these activities suggested above and adjust as you feel it is appropriate so that Baby is soothed rather than over-stimulated. (This respectful way of working with Baby instills in her a sense of self worth and trust in you. These are important to the social-emotional development in young children.)
A NOTE ABOUT The Michael Olaf wooden picture frame:
This frame will hold (or store) all ten musical instrument pictures in your packet and you can change the one you display each month. This month’s learning activities feature the cello.

Slip the whole pack of musical instrument pictures into the frame through the opening at the top of the frame, placing the picture of the Cello in the front.  Hang the frame using the wire on the back of the frame.

This picture frame will be used for displaying each musical instrument picture that will be featured during the first ten months of Montessori Baby-Ed Activities.  

LESSON #3.  Bell and Ring Tactile mobiles
Photo and Tactile Mobiles from Goose Designs Etsy Shop
1.   Hang the bell on its string from a sturdy hook so that it is within the reach of Baby when s/he is lying on her back (Visual stimulation)

2.   Baby will eventually kick the bell with her feet and then hear the bell sound.      (Aural stimulation and development of large and small motor)

3.   Hang the wooden ring from a sturdy hook so that it is within the reach of Baby when s/he is lying on her back

4.   Baby will likely begin to bat her hand at the ring and then eventually begin to grasp the ring and pull on it. 1.     (Aids in developing eye-hand coordination)

5.   You can hang these “Tactile Mobiles” one at a time or both for Baby to explore while lying on the floor bed. (Sensory stimulation)

6.   Observe Baby and adjust to what you feel is appropriate so that Baby is stimulated but not overwhelmed. (Develops trust and high self esteem)

LESSON #4.  Musical Chime Ball
1   1. Place the chime (or bell) ball on Baby’s floor mat during tummy time, so that Baby can see it and it   is within her reach. (Visual stimulation)

2   2. Gently roll the ball so that Baby hears the sound inside the ball.   (Aural stimulation)

3   3. Gently roll the ball over Baby’s arms, legs, etc and sing or name the body part (Gives Baby the vocabulary in a sensory way)

     4. Try rolling the ball a short way from Baby to entice her to begin to grasp and then eventually creep toward the ball.   (Encourages large and small muscle development)

5. When Baby is lying on her back, you can also gently shake the ball so that s/he hears the sound. Baby may even begin to grasp for the ball.

6. Observe Baby’s reaction and adjust

LESSON #5 Cloth Guitar Baby Rattle
Photo and rattle from Violette Bloom Etsy Shop
      1.  Bring the guitar rattle close to Baby and gently shake it so that Baby hear the sound (Aural stimulation)

     2. Gently rub the textured surface of the rattle on Baby’s arm or hand  (Tactile stimulation)

     3. Give Baby the vocabulary: “soft”, “rattle”, “velvety”, “guitar”, etc. ( Acquisition of Language )

     4. Place the rattle within Baby’s reach when s/he is having tummy time, to give Baby
         an incentive for grasping the rattle.  (Stimulates large motor movement and small muscle development of the hand)

     5. Observe and adjust to Baby’s preferences.

LESSON #6. Wooden Teething Beads 

Wooden Bead Teether from Keepsakes Etsy Shop

1. Baby will not only begin to grasp objects, s/he will eventually move the objects to the mouth for sensory exploration and soothing sore gums. (Sensory stimulation and large motor development)


  2. Bring the wooden bead “teether” within Baby’s reach

 3. You might want to lift it and shake it so that the beads make a sound that catches Baby’s attention.  (Aural and visual stimulation)

 4. Roll the beads across Baby’s skin and give the vocabulary: “beads”, “wooden”, etc. (Sensory Development and Language acquisition)

 5. Place the teether in Baby’s hand and gently encourage her to grasp it within her own hand.   (Development of small muscles in the hand)

 6. Observe and adjust to Baby’s preferences


LESSON #7. Fiber Basket with items from nature
Baby’s First Montessori “Treasure Basket”

"Forest" Treasure Basket by Carolyn

1. Place one, two, or 3 of objects from nature inside the crochet basket.  (Visual stimulation and development of appreciation of Nature)

2. Bring the basket to Baby and take out one of the objects

3. Hold the object nearby so that Baby can see it clearly, and then give the vocabulary. Ex: “Pine cone”, “wooden stick”, “rock”, etc. (Language acquisition)

4. Place Baby’s hand on the object so that s/he can feel its texture. (Sensory stimulation)

5. Allow Baby to grasp the object, if s/he is interested. (Development of small muscles in the hand)

6.  Return the object to the basket. (This establishes the beginning of the Montessori process called “care of environment” and aids in the child’s desire for order in the environment)

7. Allow Baby to explore the other objects in the Treasure Basket, if s/he is interested. (Encourages the development of independence)

8. As always, observe and adjust.

****If you haven’t done so already, I recommend setting up a sturdy child-size shelf in Baby’s daytime play area. This begins the process of keeping an organized environment for the child in which there is a place for everything and everything in its place.

You can place Baby’s rattles, ball, and block that you have assembled from Nido Basket #1 and #2 in little soft “treasure” baskets on the shelf.

Smaller baskets lined up on a low shelf work better for children (as opposed to a larger box or basket filled with an array of toys). Each basket has a purpose and is well-thought out by the adult.

You can bring this first treasure basket over to Baby during awake time. Then, take it back to its place on the shelf when done, so that the routine of keeping order in Baby’s environment is begun right form the start.

I suggest collecting small and medium sized baby-friendly baskets, boxes, and trays that are made of woods, cloths, and natural reeds. These can be filled with Baby-Ed  Activities and gradually added to Baby’s shelf during the next months.

In the beginning, place no more than 3 items in a basket. (2 is perfect for the Infant.) 

LESSON #8. Black and White Board Book

Photo by Amanda Vlastas

1. Place the Black and White board book on the floor mat during tummy time, where Baby can see and touch it. (Sensory stimulation)

2. Open the book and turn the pages as you show Baby and give the vocabulary, Ex: cat, leaf, etc. (Language development and small muscle development of the hand)

3. After a feeding, when Baby is cozy in your arms, show the book again and you can even sing the vocabulary words so that Baby is engaged in a sensory way. (I just make up the melody when I sing the words!)

4. Set up a small basket with 2 or 3 board books and then place this book basket on Baby’s shelf. (Contributes to Baby’s developing sense of order.)

5. Once again, observe and adjust to Baby’s cues. (Develops sense of trust and inner self worth.)

RECOMMENDED READING: How to Raise an Amazing Child The Montessori Way (Seldin)
1. Read this book whenever you have a moment. You can even read it aloud to Baby! This will give Baby another language experience as s/he hears the rhythmic cadence, the pitch sounds, and the accents of the words you are reading in a natural speaking voice.

2.  You can download this book, too. Then you can read it while waiting in the dentist office, or on the plane, etc.

3. Give this book to your friends and family, too! There is so much information and ideas for engaging with Baby in the first years of life


****A NOTE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MUSIC FOR YOUR BABY

“Children who experienced more frequent parent-child music activity at two to three years showed stronger vocabulary and numeracy skills, more prosocial skills and stronger abilities to regulate their own attention and emotion at four to five years old,” Professor Barrett said.
“The study highlights that informal music education in early childhood is a vital tool for supporting the cognitive and social development of children.”
From a study done at the Univesity of Queensland and headed by Professor Margaret Barrett, Head of the Department of Music.

You and your baby will have many hours of focused time together in Baby’s first months in the world. I hope that these lovingly prepared Montessori Baby-Ed Activities will make life even sweeter for you and your family.

This post is part of the Montessori Monday Link-up at the wonderful site: Living Montessori Now, where you'll find gazillions of resources for your Montessori family!

Advertising Disclosure: Magical Movement Company may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services. Thanks for your support!






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