According to Dr. Maria Montessori, for the initial six years, they have an Absorbent Mind and are highly receptive to the stimuli present in their surrounding environment.
Infants and toddlers pass through several stages of development known as the Sensitive Periods.
It is a parent’s responsibility to provide their child with an environment that integrates appropriate stimuli to promote holistic development.
The Montessori Method of education is a pedagogical tool that incorporates manipulatives such as Montessori Materials and Montessori toys to enhance the child’s learning experience as well as provide age-appropriate sensorial stimuli.
Unlike Traditional Toys that often assimilate unnecessary and unrealistic components, Montessori Toys often provide the child with age-appropriate stimuli to promote physical, fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive development in children.
Montessori Play Gyms are engaging Montessori Toys that allow your infant or toddler to indulge in self-directed play and auto-didactic education.
There are a plethora of play gyms available in the market that may or may not align with the Montessori Philosophy.
It can become quite perplexing for parents to pick out a play gym that is not only in accordance with the Montessori Principles but also caters to the needs and requirements of their child.
Here is everything one should know about Montessori Play Gyms to provide their child with the best play and learning experiences.
What is a Montessori Play Gym Exactly?
A unique feature of the Montessori Environment is freedom within limits. Children in a Montessori Prepared Environment have the unique opportunity to venture out of their comfort zone and interact with stimuli present in their surroundings.
The Montessori Method of education allows children to have the freedom of movement in a controlled environment that allows children to become confident and independent.
Play gyms are a great way to allow your child to explore new possibilities by providing them with freedom within limits.
Montessori Play Gyms are common play gyms that align with the Montessori Principles and Montessori Philosophy.
These Play gyms come in a diverse range of shapes, sizes, and colors, as well as incorporate different types of moving components.
In accordance with the Montessori Principles, Montessori Play gyms are often manufactured from wood or other naturally sourced materials.
While Traditional Toy Play gyms integrate distracting toys and vibrantly colored components, Montessori Play Gyms incorporate neutral shades and simple toys to avoid overstimulating the child.
What are the Characteristics of the Montessori Play Gym?
Recognizing the chief characteristics of Montessori Play Gyms is integral for parents to provide their children with a Montessori Play gym that caters to their individual needs or requirements.
Here is a list of characteristics of Montessori Play Gyms that every parent should recognize:
Dr. Maria Montessori strictly prohibited the use of synthetic and plastic materials, hence every Montessori Material or Montessori toy is manufactured from naturally sourced substances such as wood, steel, glass, or bamboo.
Play Gyms that are manufactured from wood are amongst the best and also align with the Montessori Philosophy.
These Play Gyms are child-friendly and help the child develop an interest as well as respect for nature.
2) No Distractions:
Traditional Play Gyms integrate flashy, noisy, unrealistic, and vibrantly colored components that can often overstimulate and overwhelm the child.
Montessori Play Gyms on the contrary incorporate simple, realistic, and natural components that provide children with age-appropriate stimuli to promote fine motor as well as gross motor development.
While Traditional Play Gyms provide children with exciting toys that often become distracting, Montessori Play gyms incorporate toys that are engaging.
Children while playing with Montessori Play gyms engage in resourceful activities that stimulate their senses as well as promote cognitive, physical, and sensory development.
When you think of Montessori Materials and Montessori Toys always think of simple and minimalistic.
Montessori Play gyms have simple components, neutral colors, and appropriate stimuli.
5) No Restrictions:
The Montessori Method of education provides children with freedom within limits. Montessori Play Gyms do not restrict the child’s movement and allow them to move freely.
What is the Purpose of Montessori Play Gyms?
Play gyms are among the most versatile and exciting toys parents can provide their children.
Montessori Play gyms are engaging Montessori Toys that allow the child to interact with insightful and resourceful stimuli.
The chief purpose of Montessori Play gyms is to provide their child with a multi-sensory experience that helps with fine motor and gross motor development.
Another purpose of Montessori Play gyms is to enhance the child’s creative imagination and help them develop their inner potential by providing them with new opportunities.
What are the Benefits of Montessori Play Gyms?
While most individuals deem toys to be mere extensions to enhance a child’s imaginative play, The Montessori Method of education integrates a diverse range of toys that encourages holistic development.
One such Montessori Toy is the Montessori Play Gym which helps your toddler or infant explore new possibilities.
Here is a list of befits your child will enjoy when you incorporate Montessori Play Gym into your home environment:
1. Sensorial Explosion:
The Montessori Play Gym fashions several toys that help stimulate the child’s visual, tactile, and auditory senses.
Toys such as rattles, balls, different textured fabrics, image cards, or bells can help enhance the child’s play experience and provide the child with valuable stimuli integral to their sensory development process.
2. Gross Motor Development:
Gross Motor skills are the abilities that are required for the movement of large body muscles to perform basic activities like walking, climbing, crawling, jumping, and even sitting.
Gross Motor skills involve the movement of larger body muscles- arms, legs, feet, and the core muscles present in the torso (belly and back).
Upon interacting with the Montessori Play Gym, children are encouraged to manipulate the movable components physically.
The child while playing with the Montessori Play Gym is promoted to engage their larger muscles to physically maneuver and manipulate the toys.
3. Fine Motor Development:
Fine Motor skills are the ability to make deliberate and precise movements with small muscles situated in the hands, wrists, and fingers while coordinating eye movements.
While interacting with the toys or components attached to the Montessori Play Gym, children are able to utilize their smaller muscles and enhance their fine motor skills.
4. Creative imagination:
Montessori Play gyms are amongst the most creative, fun, engaging, and versatile Montessori Toys.
The toys and other components attached to the Montessori Play Gym provide children with unique sensorial experiences to enhance their play experience.
Infants and toddlers while interacting with the Montessori Play gym components and toys are able to enhance their creative imagination.
5. Cognitive Development:
Along with enhanced imagination, fine motor, and gross motor development, Montessori play Gyms also promote cognitive as well as academic development.
The components and toys attached to the Montessori play Gym allow children to comprehend the concepts of cause and effect.
This newly gained knowledge of real-life consequences, causes, and effects helps prepare children for future concepts integral to their academic prospects.
The toys are a great introduction to the world of colors, shapes, textures, sounds, and patterns.
This imaginative play also helps children develop appropriate vocabulary and helps enhance the child’s communication skills.
Montessori Play Gyms are not only versatile but also portable. While providing your child freedom of movement within limits, Montessori Play Gyms are also small and easily adjustable to any corner of the home.
If you are a parent who is always on your toes or someone who is consumed with daily chores, setting up a Montessori in an accessible place can make this new freedom within limits safe.
Parents can easily take apart the Montessori Play gym and take it anywhere they please.
When to Introduce Montessori Play gym?
Montessori Play Gyms are fun and engaging Montessori Toy that helps your child enhance their gross motor skills as well as fine motor skills from a very young age.
While Montessori play Gyms can be used as a toy for infants as young as 1 year of age, it is best to introduce this fun toy to your infant when they begin to actively grasp objects.
How to set up a DIY Montessori Play Gym?
While purchasing a Montessori Play Gym from a store can seem simple, creating a customizable Montessori Play gym for your younger one feels more fulfilling.
Creating your own DIY Montessori Play Gym is not as difficult as one might think.
Here are some easy steps one can follow to create their own Montessori Play Gym:
The Base or the Frame:
Here is what your will need to create your own DIY Frame for the Montessori play Gym:
- 4 Wooden Boards 24 inches long, 1 and a half inches wide, and half-inch width
- A Round Wooden Rod 25 inches in length and 1 inch in diameter
- Two 3 inches long screws
- Two 23 inches long rops
- A mechanical screwdriver
- Measuring Tape
- Wood Adhesive
- Duct Tape
- A marker
Follow the steps mentioned in the tutorial to create your wooden Frame:
What can you add to your Montessori Play Gym?
When it comes to adorning your custom Montessori Play gym, the options are unlimited. It is important to note that toys that do not align with the Montessori philosophy should be refrained from being incorporated into the Montessori Play Gym.
Parents can add any components that the infant or toddler can easily grasp, chew, manipulate, maneuver, or grip.
You can add the following toys and components to engage your child’s imaginative play experience:
- Textured Balls
- Soft Play Mats
- Montessori Black and White Cards
Are the Montessori Play Gyms worth it?
The answer to this question is subjective and based on your child’s developmental needs, requirements, and the parent’s schedule.
The Montessori Method of education promotes children to indulge in self-directed play and promotes them to become self-reliant from a very young age.
Montessori Play Gyms are one such Montessori Toy that allows your child to indulge in self-directed play as well as enhance their gross motor skills and fine motor skills.
Montessori Play gyms unlike like traditional provide children with appropriate stimuli, and opportunities to freely move around, as well as maneuver components that are integrated into the play gym.
Infants require ample exercise to develop and strengthen their gross motor as well as fine motor skills.
Montessori Play Gyms are great for parents who are always on the move and want to provide their children with a safe place to exercise and move around.