Between 4-6 months, the baby starts achieving new milestones, and everyday she learns something new. Her motor skills are evolving – she can grasp and kick with purpose now. She understands direction, and can lift her head up well, while on her tummy. If ready, she may also turn over at this stage. I have outlined a few of our favourite activities and montessori materials for 4-6 months here. This is just a guideline, and you may not need everything from this list in the same order.
By now, V2 was well into tactile mobiles. Once she started batting her gobbi, we introduced the ring on ribbon, and the wind chimes mobile. You can simply hang a puzzle ball or regular ball or some coloured ribbons above her (ensure they do not overstimulate and are developmentally appropriate). You will notice the baby enjoys batting, clutching and kicking the material.
The interlocking disc is still the first ball we introduced to V2. But now she could focus and hold an object above her, with both hands, as well as her feet.
This is a great time to introduce the Amish ball or the puzzle ball.
Also other tactile, cloth balls with different textures or plush toys are well loved. You could simply use a small cushion or sensory pillow as well.
We now notice that she does not just want to watch a book while we read to her. She has an intrinsic need to reach for the book. She takes great pleasure in manipulating the book with her limbs and mouth. This sensory exploration is necessary and it should not be curbed.
Hence, this is a great time to introduce fabric books, crinkle books, crinkle sheets, play scarves and other sturdy baby books.
This is nothing but a basket with a few toys thrown in. We try to use natural materials as the baby is still mouthing, and use not more than 5 toys at a time in the basket. We still use a lot of rattles and teethers in the basket. We rotate the materials in the basket every week and try to follow a theme. For example, teethers of different shapes, or kitchen cutlery, etc.
The baby loves exploring the items in the basket. At some point you may notice that she enjoys taking them out and putting them back in. Although I do not interfere when she is exploring, at some point of time, we name the items in the basket, helping in language as well.
You need not buy a baby-friendly basket for this. Just use a cloth or bamboo basket available. A shallow kitchen utensil would do as well.
The prepared adult
As always, all the materials and toys are meaningless without the watchful adult.
It is you who would watch her interact with her environment, and move her limbs purposefully.
You are the one who would read aloud the same books over and over. She watches your mouth move and make familiar sounds and she tries to imitate them.
You are the one who notices that she enjoys peekaboo games or has favourite action rhymes.
She watches you go about your work, eat, groom, etc and starts getting ready to do the same. At around 5.5 months we started having V2 at the dining table with us. She would watch us keenly and by 6 months, we noticed her moving her mouth in a chewing fashion or watching our food keenly. V2 was ready to start exploring foods other than breastmilk!