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.
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” the fancy toys. It’s about respecting your child and letting them have the opportunity to learn. This is how we utilized Montessori at home with our 7 month old.
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Montessori Shelf of Toys at 7 Months
This was our little fella’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.
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?
SO, I learned a lot over time and there are things I would have done different. Mostly because I am aware now of more options out there.
I would have bought a single shape wooden puzzle at this stage for hims to use.
I would have introduced a 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 1 year later and he still has NO interest in the bloody rainbow. Never has. Just ends up across the floor, but never used. It is probably more for kids 2 and older I feel, they seem to use it more I’ve seen.
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.
I plan to get this with my 2nd little one who will be coming to this age soon.
This ends up being more affordable than buying each material individually.
If you are after high quality Montessori materials with education and support along the way, check out Montikids, They have a great program for those who are interested.
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 didn’t, as well as each child has their own interests to follow.
This is in our living room, which 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?
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!
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 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.
Practical Life with 7 Month Old
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 sizes 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 and lunch 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.
✻ Related Post : All About Using Montessori Weaning Table
Outdoor Play with 7 Month Old
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
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, or we would walk over to his Nan’s house 2 streets over.
You can always sprinkle a bit of different adventures throughout, but don’t feel you need to do any excessive prep for 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.