Your baby is already halfway towards that one-year mark and seems almost unrecognizable from that little, sleepy newborn you just met!
At 6 months old, they are raring to go and have most likely outgrown their favorite Montessori baby toys and Montessori mobiles. They want to move, taste, investigate, watch, chat with, and explore everything around them - including themselves!
If not already, they will soon begin to roll over, sit up with support and move their bodies around on the floor. To support their development, make sure to engage all of your baby's senses, allow opportunities for unrestricted movement, and encourage social interactions. Providing a small number of carefully chosen, high-quality, developmentally appropriate toys can help too.
The 6 toys we recommend here are Montessori friendly, cover all areas of development, and, most importantly, are baby-powered rather than battery-powered to ensure your little one is actively engaging and learning as they play.
Learning how to grasp objects is a crucial developmental task. By offering a variety of rattles, your baby can practice reaching, grasping, shaking, and transferring from hand to hand. The sound and movement of the rattle hold your baby's attention, stimulates their senses, and introduces them to cause and effect.
There are endless choices when it comes to rattles, and it is worth having a few for your baby to explore. We recommend opting for natural, taste-safe materials and rattles that allow your baby to see what is making the sound.
Rattles are also super easy to make at home - simply fill small bottles or cardboard tubes with objects such as rice, dried beans, or pebbles. However, ensuring your container is completely sealed is essential so that the objects inside do not pose a choking hazard!
Textured or Soft Balls
Balls provide an immediate response to your baby's touch, making them highly motivating and encouraging that all-important early movement. They come in many different sizes, textures, and colors, providing sensory stimulation and promoting cognitive development. Additionally, playing with balls can be a fun social activity that encourages interaction and communication.
At six months old, soft or spiky balls will be easier for your baby to grasp and roll more slowly, keeping your baby engaged and motivated for extended periods. If your baby is sitting independently, placing a plastic hoop around them while they play with balls will stop them from rolling too far from your baby's reach.
Pulling items from a container is an excellent way for your baby to practice grasping while developing hand, arm, and core strength. Tissue box toys typically use cloth or silk squares inside a wooden or soft material box and can be used while baby is on their tummy or once they are sitting.
Another simple toy you can make yourself is using play silks or small squares of fabric and a tissue box or cardboard box with a cut-out at the top. You can also use actual tissues, but they are not great for babies who love to put things in their mouths!
Wobble toys are fantastic for tummy time play. At first, they will enjoy watching them rock and move when you wobble them, and gradually they will learn to reach, bat, and capture them themselves. Not only does this help build up their back, shoulder, and neck strength, but it develops their executive function skills as they track the moving object, plan how to get it, and anticipate when to reach for it.
A classic Montessori toy, the drum is made of wood, has colored strips around each side (sometimes a mirror strip), and makes a gentle knocking sound as it spins. It is incredibly appealing to babies’ sense of touch, sight, and sound and encourages them to practice those gross and fine motor skills when sitting up and lying down. We also love this one because it can be used in lots more ways as your child gets older - for example, introducing color vocabulary and as a color wheel for games or art activities.
With separation anxiety usually beginning around 7 or 8 months, now is a good time to introduce a cuddly toy that can provide familiarity and comfort when you need to leave them.
Although not typically considered 'Montessori’ stuffed animals or dolls can have many benefits and make an excellent choice for your increasingly friendly six-month-old, supporting language skills, social skills, and empathy. However, it is very easy to accumulate an extensive collection quickly, so we recommend limiting it to just one or two favorites.
To keep Montessori aligned, opt for real-life animals, avoid flashing lights or sounds, and be mindful of the materials from which the stuffed toys are made, choosing natural materials where possible. Alternatively, go with the #1 Montessori baby item, the Topponcino!
With these six toys, your child can work on vital skills developing at six months. And most importantly, have fun together! Try to remember that less is more when it comes to quantity. Instead, look for quality and open-mindedness and make sure your child is doing the work, not the toy.