What toys do you buy an infant who is turning 12 months old? An infant going into its toddler stage, who is an explorer on the go that loves to use his hands and his feet? An experimenter who shows relentless curiosity? Montessori materials and activities of course! Here is a wonderful gift guide for a Montessori toddler that is one – two years old, Montessori style!
One-year-olds are in the sensory-motor stage of development. They will spend 80% of their time interacting with their physical environment. They want to listen to, look into, and manipulate everything.
They will touch, feel, mouth, hold, drop, throw, shake, bang, taste, smell, and listen to every item they can get their hands on; as well as crawl, cruise, toddle, walk, climb, and run (large motor movements). This is how the 12-month-old learns, through action, by doing.
Between 12 and 15 months, fine motor skills are still very much a challenge. (Fine motor skills include manipulating the hands and the fingers to do a puzzle.) Your young Montessori toddler will utilize control over his arms first, then his hands, and lastly his fingers. So, having toys that promote fine motor skills are great but don’t feel like your child should have these mastered. He may have the cognitive ability and understanding, but he still has to practice the fine motor skills to achieve his goals, and this will take several more months.
By fifteen months your child knows what a spoon is for, but he has to practice the skill of self-feeding and spooning to master it by 18-24 months. In the meantime, you can help your child with a few fine motor activities by guiding his hand, rather than doing it for him.
Give them large unstructured toys they can explore and manipulate, like a train, a boat, a drum, a ball, truck, a car, and a keyboard: toys children can manipulate without frustration, feelings of failure, or dependence on an adult. Toddlers love emptying containers, cabinets, drawers, and toy chests, but they will show little interest in putting anything back.
So keep toys and objects to a minimum, rotate them every two weeks or so, and expect to put his things back for him, asking for his help but not expecting it. Showing him how it’s done so they learn by observing and then doing when they are ready.
Toddlers want to feel power and control over the environment. The parent can help by minimizing and having a peaceful environment. Include thought out appropriate toys, objects, household items, and activities in the environment. Lastly, allow your child to explore a cabinet, a drawer, a low shelf, a large basket, the paper recycling bag, and safe household items.