Our experience of Montessori at home with a 7 month old baby. Toys we used with our 7 month old, practical life activities we introduced, outdoor play, and general life.
Budget friendly Montessori tips from a family with a small home, living on one income.
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Our journey of Montessori at home was slow and steady. I didn’t jump into buying many toys at first, as we didn’t have the budget and I wasn’t sure where to find suitable options where we lived.
So, we used what we already had at home, which is what Montessori is really all about.
You don’t “NEED” any particular toys. It’s about following your child and letting them have the opportunity to learn what they find interest in.
This is how we utilized Montessori at home with our 7 month old.
Montessori Shelf of Toys at 7 Months
[I’ve Added UPDATED Shelf for 2nd born at 7 months further down]
This was our eldest boy’s shelf at 7 months old.
We found a single level cube shelf to suit us the best, and was the most budget friendly Montessori shelf we could find.
I used to break the train apart (a gift from Auntie) so that he could use back shape sorter portion on it’s own. Then, as a different activity I would use middle car that acted like a “coin” slot activity. I never introduced the whole train at once, as that was a bit too much for him at this stage.
The puzzle he is using was also given to us. I let him practice taking them “out” of the puzzle, but he was not yet up to putting them back in the right place. Just taking them out gave him the understanding of “pieces” and them missing.
I was going to put colors behind them or photo’s like some awesome DIY folks do, but never ended up getting to it. It’s still a cool idea if anyone is interested. [VIDEO BELOW HAS SOME DIY IDEAS]
I would only put one fabric book down at his level at a time to go get if he wanted. Though, he was able to pull himself to standing at this age, so he could reach things on top of shelf if he really wanted.
What’s on our Shelf?
Wooden Rainbow Stacker
The rainbow can be a great long term material with various uses as your child grows (i.e. to stack, as car track, and more).
The more realistic the pictures the better.
This can be hard with fabric books to find, though if you are willing to sew your own you can find more Montessori aligned book options.
Again, the more realistic looking the more Montessori aligned it can be.
Montessori doesn’t mean they have to be wooden either. I just find wooden toys are easier to find with less choking hazard parts..
What Would I Change?
I would have bought a single shape wooden puzzle at this stage for him to use.
I would have introduced an object permanence box. He would have really loved to use these at this stage, instead of later when I finally did get one.
Screw the Rainbow. Yeah, EVERY Montessori photo has that wooden rainbow and I found one for budget friendly price at Kmart and got it. Nearly 2 years later and he still has NO interest in the bloody rainbow.
I would have found LOVEVERY sooner, as it would have made getting all the suitable toys at once easier and more affordable.
At 7 months their Inspector Play Kit is filled with great wooden puzzles, board book, felt balls, and more. Would have saved me in the shipping of individual items alone.
This ends up being more affordable than buying each material individually.
Here is a Lovery review from a fellow mom who introduced me to Lovery:
“Lovevery has honestly been the best purchase for developmental toys for my son. I have purchased the subscription, the play gym, the tunnel and have intentions to buy the rest of the collections. It is so well made, it will definitely last for years, and I love that it grows with him. The play gym has been my favorite purchase. We used it everyday all day. As he has gotten older the subscription boxes are like little Christmas presents every 2 months. He uses everything and loves it all. I truly cannot recommend lovevery enough.”– Diamond C.
She has bragged to me so many times of how much she loved receiving the boxes and getting to explore the materials with her baby. Wish I would have found them earlier instead of trying to hunt out materials individually.
Check them out and explore their options.
If in Australia check out Monti&Me, a VERY similar option to LOVEVERY but is Australian based. (use code THRIVEINFAMILYLIFE for $10 off).
If you are after Montessori specific materials with education and support along the way, check out Montikids. They have a great program for those who are interested, but it’s quite a bit more costly.
Montessori Shelf at 7 Months [updated]
This is how our Montessori shelf for 7 month old looks for our second born.
I learned from my first what worked and what didn’t for presentation and spaces, as well as each child has their own interests to follow.
This is in our living room, which now works easier with 2 kiddos.
It also goes to show, that you can use your current furniture as “Montessori shelves”.
You don’t have to buy special shelves to do Montessori at home.
What’s On Our Shelves?
- Object Permanence Box
- Stacking Toy
- Sensory Balls
- Wooden Blocks
Books with realistic images are more Montessori aligned than cartoons.
We want to teach our kids about the real world, which means real images.
Object Permanence Box
An object permanence box is great for hand-eye coordination.
Very fun material for baby, the amount of smiles I get while this material is used is so cute!
Also is a long loved material, 2 yr old loved taking turns with it still. Baby is not 13 months and still enjoys mastering this skill.
A wooden stacking toy is another great material for hand-eye coordination, as well as learning different sizes.
I acquired different textured balls from around the house and put them in a Montessori treasure basket for baby to explore.
This type of material allows for experiencing different textures with hands and mouth.
These 4 cubes blocks are to allow baby the opportunity to stack.
For some baby’s this interest comes earlier than others.
Always remember to follow the child, if they have different interests than swap out materials on your baby’s shelf.
As times goes on blocks are used in different ways at different stages, it can be worth investing in a good block set for years of play.
I will also add, we now use these baskets with handles for many of our materials. Initially I could not find what I was looking for and used the wicker shallow baskets, but as toys have gotten bigger we have needed bigger baskets that actually have handles.
Practical Life with 7 Month Old
Things We Did
- Folding Laundry
- Hand Me Plastic Dishes
Wherever I went, little fella went. Which meant I allowed him to explore and “help” with whatever I was doing in some form of fashion.
If I harvested any veggies from the garden I let him hold them either outside, or in the kitchen so he could see, feel, and smell what they were.
Within reason, but most winter veggies are pretty durable to baby touch (zucchini, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, etc.)
When folding cloth nappies I would give him 1 clean one to play with and sometimes “attempt” to fold or velcro himself.
This allowed him to observe me doing tasks around the house, while also having the ability to touch and explore a portion of the practical life skill himself.
When I was emptying clean dishes I would leave some safe options for him to hand me from bottom rack.
He very much liked exploring the dishwasher, as it was perfect height for him to stand up next to.
While in the kitchen one of his favorite activities was to stand and push his weaning table chair around the kitchen while I cooked/cleaned.
He was very motivated on gross motor skills at this stage.
Follow the child, see what they are interested in. Then provide opportunities with what you normally do in day-today life.
How to Keep 7 Month Old Entertained?
Let them do whatever you are doing. That’s really the easiest way to engage them.
They want to do what you are doing, so find a safe portion of the activity you are doing and let them explore it.
Folding Laundry? Give them one item to “fold” and touch.
Cleaning Dishes? Give them a bowl or kitchen utensil to explore.
Prepping Food? Give them a item of food to hold & explore.
Wiping up? Give them a moist cloth to “wipe” with.
You don’t need to get special toys or activities. Use what you have and you can entertain and engage your baby in play.
Aubrey of Child of the Redwoods explains this well in “Stop Buying More “Montessori” Toys and Do This Instead“.
Meal times with 7 Month Old
We still use our weaning table which we introduced at 6 months old. He thrives at meal times having the independence to use a table his size.
I serve him a portion of everything we are eating for dinner in safe portions for him on a small plate, and give him a glass of milk in his child sized glass.
He is still breastfed on demand, but at meal times I offer him a cup of milk to offer different flavors.
During the day, when I am only one home, I will sit down and eat breakfast, lunch, and snacks with him at his table.
It is a very bonding experience and he certainly watches what I do when eating and will replicate trying to use his utensils.
If you’re after a full dining set that will last through all the early childhood years, this stainless steel set is great. Designed by a pediatrician to help with child sized portions.
✻ Related Post : All About Using Montessori Weaning Table
Around this time your baby might be starting to stand, and this opens up the opportunity for standing diaper changes.
If you are struggling with an alligator wrestle to do diaper changes or are just curious, I have a written a separate article on our experience with Montessori standing diaper changes and how I set-up a standing diaper change area, so feel free to check it out it is something that interests you.
Outdoor Play with 7 Month Old
Things We Do
- Crawl on Grass
- Play with leaves
- Play with Ball
- Look at Veggie Garden
This is nearly always little fella’s favorite part of the day, going outside. He LOVES nature and being able to go outside on the grass.
He will crawl across the yard and go explore the sprinkler (turned off) and then crawl across the yard to see what our dog is sniffing.
Take your baby outside! Let them get dirty and explore the grass, leaves, dirt, and dog hair.
The New York Times even wrote an article interviewing doctors on why dirt is good for you and baby.
You don’t need to get toys for outdoors, as nature will usually be interesting enough.
If you really want to though, you can’t go wrong getting a ball so show them that things roll and you can try to roll it back and forth
Baby Wearing with 7 Month Old
While bub number two was 7 months old we did a bit of baby-wearing inside while I spent time with our toddler.
We also did a bit of baby wearing outside on walks so I could easily keep up with our toddler and engage with him in his findings along the path.
Our Boba carrier was a great resource when out shopping (toddler in cart and baby in carrier), around the house, and out on our many walks or hikes.
Using a carrier to get some more outside activities in with your partner and kids is a great option for outdoor families like us.
General Life with 7 Month Old
That was pretty much day to day life with our 7 month old. Often I went on walks once a day and would point things out along the way.
You can always sprinkle different adventures throughout a day, but don’t feel you need to do any excessive prep for a baby to learn.
Everything is new to them, so they enjoy exploring what’s around the house. Montessori is budget friendly, you don’t need to buy expensive toys or stress yourself out making “shelf work”.
Just follow your child’s interests and incorporate that in day-to-day tasks.
I hope sharing our experience has helped you get any inspiration you need, I know it helped me heaps when I was first grasping how to incorporate it into our small little home.
Let me know if you have any questions about what we used or have experiences you’d like to share in the comments below!
- If you are interested learn about our experience of Montessori at 6 months old check out our story.
- Planned for Christmas yet? Here is a Montessori Baby Christmas Gift Guide for you are to show family for ideas!
- Worried about if you are good enough at “Parenting”? Check out these 4 Ted Talks on parenting from realistic perspectives. They certainly made me feel confident as a new parent starting this journey.