First Baby Montessori Rattles and grasping toys

“The hands are the Instruments of the man’s intelligence”

Those children who have been able to work with their hands make headway in their development, and reach a strength of character which is conspicuous.’ – Maria Montessori. The Absorbent Mind.  

“In every culture and throughout time, adults have noticed the attraction infants have to objects to grasp and play with. With these favourite toys, hung within his reach, or placed just within reach on his bed or mattress, the child becomes fully aware of his ability to reach out and touch or grasp, to create sound with rattles, to practice the important work he was meant to do. Provide a wide variety and change them often to keep the child happily busy.
Our role in creating the environment in which the child can fulfil his potential is very, very important”. (from Michael Olaf’s website).

Babies naturally will reach for their toys. The first 2 months, grasping is a reflex. Babies don’t have the neural development to reach yet. There is a genetic awakening of the motor abilities at specific times. But there is also an influence from the environment. First,  babies keep their hands into a tight fist and grasp your finger automatically. Then, toward 2 months of age, your baby may attempt to grasp. It’s when it becomes important to provide suitable material for the hand. By grasping and manipulating, your baby will create connections in his or her brain. The more we allow our baby to move the more we are supporting optimum development.

Here are the grasping toys we have. 

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I present them one by one to the baby. Each of them refines a specific skill. 

Here is a rattle that we received in a Kinder Musik class. It is simple and easy to grasp. 

Here another simple one, the baby can shake this rattle or when he has developed a finer grasp, he can grasp the smaller rings too.

Here are 2 grasping toys I made myself. Just find some natural chunky wooden beads and tie them together with a leather lace. Check on a regular basis for wear and tear as your baby will put this toy into his mouth. Tie the beads with a double knot in between for added safety.

Clutching toy from Haba. Similar here. Your baby will grasp this with both hands and as a toddler, it becomes even more interesting as they stretch it open to make a bracelet.

Another Haba toy with a bell securely enclosed. It’s perfect to shake and explore cause and effect. It is also similar to the interlocking disks as the child can pass the rattle from one hand to the other. A similar here.

These bangles are a great addition to your rattle collection. Your baby can pass them from one hand to the other, pull them away from each other, pass them on his arms and so on. Any bangles, curtains rings, napkin rings will do! (check for size and safety of the material)

My son really enjoyed his puzzle ball. You can hang it over your baby’s head first. He will kick it then attempt to grasp it. When your child starts to crawl, it’s an easy to grasp ball. 

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About the Author Carine Robin

Carine Robin has a Master’s Degree in Psychology, specialising in child psychology. She worked for various social services in her home country of Belgium, before moving to Ireland in 2006. It was there that she started working in a nursery and discovered Montessori education. After having her first child, her passion for the philosophy grew and she qualified as a Montessori teacher and managed a preschool. Carine has been running a Montessori based parents and toddler group and coaching families for 9 years. She now also runs an online group for over 14000 parents, sharing her knowledge and passion with people from around the world. In 2018, Carine realised families needed more support and launched her popular online parenting courses and monthly subscription boxes, full of personally designed Montessori materials.