Toys · Under Ones

Organizing Baby Toys

A huge component of Montessori education is preparing children’s environments to meet their developmental needs. The goal is to create spaces within which children can thrive with relative independence. To create such a child-friendly space, it’s necessary to:

  1. Remove opportunities for children to behave in unpreferred ways by, for example,
    • Keeping adult-only items out-of-reach
    • Moving unsafe furniture to a different room
    • Closing off non-child-friendly areas
  2. Create opportunities for children to meet their own needs by, for example,
    • Storing children’s activities within their sight and reach
    • Having a place for everything and everything in its place

In the home, it’s important to have comfy and functional spaces for adults too. But instead of creating separate kid and adult zones, consider creating some spaces that meet everyone’s needs.

In my home, there are two adults, a dog, and a ten-month-old, plus visiting adults and young children. I try to keep the main living space comfortable for all, while also safe and stimulating for my baby and visiting young children. With these goals in mind, I keep only a selection of our baby toys out at a time. The toys are spread around the room, each in their own particular spot. I try to make each spot look simple and appealing. When my baby looses interest in a toy, I rotate it out for a different one, and as my baby improves his large motor skills, I change the location of the toys. For example, he currently loves standing and walking with assistance, so I’ve created some standing play stations.

All the other baby toys are at ground level, so they can be easily seen, reached, and played with.

I also have a shelf with work for young children. This work I’ve stored slightly beyond my babe’s reach or in containers that twos and up can open, but my baby cannot. This way the work is accessible to the children, but I don’t have to worry about the baby getting it.

The beauty of this Montessori-at-home approach is that it makes life way easier for me.

  • I don’t have to guess what my baby wants because he can easily see what he wants and move toward it.
  • I don’t have to deal with constant cries of frustration because most everything that he can see is ok for him to play with.
  • I don’t have to clean-up big messes because there aren’t very many toys available and he plays with them near where they are stored, so we can easily clean them up as we go.

For more info on some of the pictured work, see posts:

Also, thanks Claire for suggesting this post’s topic!

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