18-24 Months: Outdoor

18-24 months: Outdoor and Travel

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The great outdoors has much to offer the 18-24 month old.  Start with a daily walk at your child's pace, and bring your explorer's kit.  There's always something new, if you look close enough! 

Time outside encourages movement, listening, observation, a love of nature, and a deep sense of place.  And best of all, it requires minimal planning and set-up! 

If you have a yard or small balcony, you can keep a few outdoor activities (like these below) available for your child. 

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Outdoor Materials for 18-24 months

Child-sized Backpack 

A child sized backpack with pockets for treasures is a must for daily walks.  This one is from Herschel and at 10 inches square, it should fit many 18-24 month olds. The magnetic closures and one zippered pouch are manageable skills to master  but any smaller backpack with a zipper, Velcro, or fold over flap would work for this age.  I recommend a smaller pocket on the back or side, and a pocket for a water bottle is always welcome.

The Wild City Book

Think you can't find nature if you live in the city? This book is full of ideas for fun, exploration, and discovery of the great outdoors in the concrete jungle.   This is a great book to spark your creativity for nature inspired art, learning, and adventures.   

Chalk

Chalk is another winner for 18-24 month olds.  This triangular chalk encourages a tripod pencil grip AND it won't roll away.  I stick with 2-3 pieces of chalk at this age, any more and your child will just spend her time switching chalk instead of drawing.  

Sand box

A sand-box offers open-ended play that can keep toddlers interested for hours.   This box is my favourite as the lid folds up to make two sturdy benches and completely closes (no surprise visitors!).  Or, take the DIY route and fill a small tent with sand

Garden Tool Set

This three piece garden hand tool set is perfectly sized for small hands, AND they actually work.  I'd probably bought 7 sets myself for my classrooms and young friends I've worked with.  Start with the green rectangular trowel for scooping soil, and over time your child can help rake and dig too.  

Check out this gardening post for ideas. 

image from  Zerlina Crafts

image from Zerlina Crafts

Snack Pouch 

Sturdy legs means longer walks and the need for snacks.  I always carried a tiny fabric bag for my toddler friends on our daily walks, and the flat bottom ones were always the most successful.  This super cute snack pouch is from Zerlina Crafts, and is washable, and water-resistant. Plus, the little tab on the side is perfect for clipping to a backpack for easy access. 

Walking Trike

This is a good introduction to the world of wheeled toys, and learning how to steer.  This trike is difficult to tip over and is low enough to the ground for most 18 month olds to climb on by themselves.  I've tied a string to the handlebars and helped with steering as a child got the hang of this trike.  

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Paintbrush and Bucket

Paint with water is my go-to outdoor activity with young toddlers.  Endless fun, no clean-up, and you can paint almost anything.  I'd suggest using the larger paintbrush in this set for outdoor, and save the others for indoor art projects.  This bucket from Toysmith is made from metal and holds up well to repeated outdoor use.  


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18-24 Months: Bed and Bath

18-24 months: Bed and Bath

TPE toileting

This is the age to practice self-care activities like getting dressed, washing your face, hair and body, using the toilet, and brushing teeth.  Until your child has mastered these skills, you'll still need to help keep her clean and clothed. 

These items below offer your 18-24 month old independence and a greater chance of success in learning these skills. 

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Self-Care Materials for 18-24 months

image from  Tiny Undies

image from Tiny Undies

Cloth Training Underwear

When you notice that your child is starting to make the connection between "I need to relieve myself" and "I AM relieving myself", you can begin toilet learning.  This happens around 18 months, sometimes as young as 12 months, and sometimes not until 30 months.  Get a stash of cotton training underwear like these tiny trainers from Tiny Undies to help your child connect the feelings of urgency with the resulting wetness.  (A Pull-up prevents this, and will slow down the process)  I like these underwear because they are thick, plain, and uninteresting (making it less likely your child chooses to have an accident purely to wear different underwear), plus it's a mama-run small business!  The trainers have extra padding for toilet learning, and the tiny undies are unpadded.  Make sure to use the code TPETINYUNDIE for $5 off your order at checkout. 

Hair and Body Washing

A small pitcher and mini squeeze bottles are key to mastering bath time skills.  The pitcher allows a child to fully control a small amount of water, dumping on their hair or body.  Smaller travel size squeeze bottles allow a toddler to "dump" ALL the soap or practice those strong squeezing muscles with just a small amount of soap.  

image from  Tiny Undies

image from Tiny Undies

LEARN Underwear

Oh. My. These are amazing.  Andrea from Tiny Undies has designed self-correcting underwear for toddlers to aid in independent dressing.   Two different colored leg holes makes it easy to match left with left and right with right, the orange tabs show your thumbs where to pull up, and the bear shows you which way to put your legs through first, ensuring you put these on right-side up. These are available as padded trainers and as regular unpadded underwear.  Make sure to use the code TPETINYUNDIE for $5 off your order at checkout.

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Clean-Up Kit

A critical step in learning to use the toilet is cleaning up.  When I'm working with a young friend, I will first clean any unsafe or unmanageable mess (like feces or large amounts of urine) with a pet enzyme disinfectant spray, and then encourage her to clean with her clean-up kit (remember this is about practice, not getting things actually clean).  I suggest a smaller spray bottle filled with a vinegar solution, a washcloth, and a small bucket.   You can also use a non-toxic spray like Mrs. Meyers. 

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Chair for dressing

The Me-do-it chair from Community Playthings is my favourite chair for infants and toddlers.  It has a low-to the ground seat that is easy to get in and out of, and arm rests for leverage.  This is a difficult chair to tip over, and scoots quite nicely as a make-shift push cart.  The chair comes in two sizes: 5" and 6.5".  Keep a chair like this near your toileting area and/or in your dressing area.   

image from  IKEA

image from IKEA

Child Dressing Area

Around this age your child can begin making simple clothing decisions.  Design your space for success with a lower hanging bar, shelves, or baskets.  Only offer choices that you can YES to (no swimsuits in winter), and keep all extras out of reach.  Use a child-sized wardrobe like this one from IKEA, or adapt your bedroom closet with this Closet Maid system.  

Training Potty

Sure, you can do toilet learning without a tiny toilet, but it will make your life so much easier if you do.  This one from Baby Bjorn has a simple plain design, small size, non-skid ring, and a removable insert which is easy to clean and dump.  The LOCKIG potty from IKEA has similar features and is also a good choice. 

Andrea from Tiny Undies tells me she is designing a super-small training potty for those of you following EC or with tinier children!  Get on her email list for the announcement. 


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18-24 Months: Kitchen

18-24 months: Kitchen and Eating

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With newfound balance and strength, your child can really start participating in preparing food, setting the table, and cleaning up. 

This is an excellent time to introduce a few simple (practice) practical life activities with 2-3 steps, and designate a drawer, shelf or box for your child's kitchen tools.  

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


kitchen Materials for 18-24 months

Crinkle Knife and Cutting Board

This is my favorite first knife.  It's a real tool and can cut most foods, but is blunt to the touch and won't cut your child's fingers.  A great tool to learn the habits of safe knife use.  Make sure you get a smaller cutting board too! 

image from  For Small Hands

image from For Small Hands

Whisk 

This bouncy spring-style whisk is easier to use than a traditional whisk, and is a great introduction to learning the skill is whisking.  I start with an inch or two of water in a stainless steel basin and 3 drops of dish soap, then progress to whisking food.  Find this whisk and other smaller kitchen tools on  For Small Hands.    

image from  For Small Hands

image from For Small Hands

Child-sized utensils

Real silverware and real plates demonstrate trust, encourage care and responsibility, and offer your child a sense of prideful ownership.  This toddler-sized set of utensils are from For Small Hands, and feature blunt tines and a slightly smaller size than their child utensil set.  

Dustpan and Brush

This smaller set from OXO is my favorite first dustpan and brush. The bucket style dustpan helps keep dirt in place all the way to the trash can, and the side handle on the brush is easier for toddlers' hands.   

image from  Duralex

image from Duralex

Child-sized Place Setting

Yes, these are glass, and yes you can expect your child to break something.  Offering real glassware to your child demonstrates trust and encourages care and responsibility.  

When your child breaks one of HER glasses, it will have a bigger impact than you saying "be careful!" ever will.   I like this glass set from Duralex for this age because it is truly durable and quite forgiving.  They have a handful of other styles if this one doesn't suit your taste.  

image from  Handmade Montessori

Place Mat

This washable place mat from Handmade Montessori offers a clear model of exactly how to set your place, all without you saying a word!  These are used in the Montessori Young Child communities to offer independence and teach placesetting.  Use this placemat with child-sized utensils and tableware to help your child learn this same skill.  

image from  Handmade Montessori

Toddler-sized Apron

There are thankfully lots of places to buy a child-sized apron now, but finding one that a toddler can independently use is still a challenge.  This is my favourite design; a full front and half-back secured by elastic on the sides.  Easy to pull over your own head, and no snaps, ties, buttons, to strings to get in the way.  This apron from Handmade Montessori has the bonus of vinyl-coated cotton fabric which makes it easy to wipe clean.  


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18-24 Months: Play

18-24 months: Play and Toys

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Once toddlers can stand and really move, a whole new world opens up which needs exploring!   Toys still need to be relatively simple and inviting.  There is no need for toddlers to have electronic toys.  Look for realistic, relatable themes that aren't too visually busy or overly complicated.  

Keep a small number of play items available at once (about 5-10 max)  where your child can easily see everything and put things back.  Make sure there are plenty of opportunities for movement, both inside and outside.  Look for items to climb over, in, on top of, stand on, push, etc. 

Play objects for 18-24 months should still be checked for small pieces and loose parts that could get swallowed.  Toys for this age should hold up to rigorous throwing, dropping, crushing, banging, and pulling, and be made from sturdy materials like thick cardboard, wood, or metal. 

Help your toddler explore the world in a safe, independent way.  Provide simple demonstrations of what to do in a situation and how to do it.  Be mindful of over-helping or over-suggesting how to use something. This stunts creativity and problem solving.

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Play Materials for 18-24 months

Jumbo Piece Puzzles

These large wood puzzles are perfect for young toddlers.  The larger rounded knob encourages a strong fingertip grip (writing muscles), and with only three shapes to choose from, it's possible to complete the whole puzzle before losing interest or getting frustrated. 

Picture Dominoes

These thicker domino cards offer an opportunity to match by shape, color, and number.  Use just a handful of these as a matching activity to start, or play a simple domino game with the whole family.   

image from  Wiwiurka

image from Wiwiurka

Climbing Triangle

As your child gets stronger (and braver), she will want to climb everything.  Give her an appropriate place to practice with an indoor climbing structure, like this Pikler triangle.  I used one of these in my Parent-child toddler classes, and I love it.  There's graduated difficulty and multiple ways to climb, so it can grow with your child.  It folds up, and it's beautiful.  And most importantly, the triangle allows your child to test her own skills and learn how to move safely.  This one is from Wiwiurka, and is handmade in Mexico.   

Push Along Duck

I personally think this duck is super cute, but more importantly it's been super popular with many toddlers I've worked with.  The added complexity of walking behind a toy while steering and balancing is a welcome challenge for this age.  I find the wood stick to be more manageable than string pull toys, and more challenging than the push-cart I suggested for 12 month olds. 

image from  Heirloom Kids USA

Color Disc Sorter and Stacker

This is a classic Montessori Aid to Infancy material designed to build fine-motor and coordination skills.  The smaller size of the dowel and discs encourages the tripod finger grip later used in writing, but are still large enough to avoid choking hazards.   The simple colors and design help your child focus and make connections faster.  This material is mama-handmade from Heirloom Kids USA.

image from  Margaritkadolls

image from Margaritkadolls

Soft, Simple Doll

Dolls aren't just for girls.  This handmade Waldorf-style doll is perfect for any 18-24 month old, and will stand up to strong love and use for years.  A doll is perfect for caring role play, learning body parts and gentle, kind touch, and general companionship.  This doll is from Margaritkadolls and is handmade in Poland.   

Wooden Memory Game

Here's another game that offers a few ways to play together, or on your own!  These wood tiles from Hape Toys with sweet, simple animal pictures can be matched together, used in a memory game, hidden for a lost-partner treasure hunt, or whatever else you can think of! 

Bowling Set

Here's an active activity your child can do indoor or out!  I prefer softer pins for this age to help with noise and for safety reasons.  There's a handful of plush or plastic bowling sets from Melissa and Doug, but this handmade set is from CrochetFanaticDesign is my favorite by far.  


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12-18 Months: Outdoor

12-18 months: Outdoor and Travel

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As your child begins to walk, you can start of the most treasured toddler activities: the daily walk.  This is a slow activity full of exploration, observation, repetition, and joy.  

Outside time also builds gross motor skills, especially with ride-on toys, simple games, or helping with chores.  Make sure you get good shoes (see below) so your child learns to walk correctly.  

And when traveling, don't forget fun actvities like vocabulary cards or sing-along music! 

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Outdoor Materials for 12-18 months

Wheely Bug

A ride-on toy like this Wheely Bug from Prince Lionheart is perfect for 12 to 18 month olds who are just learning the idea of pushing with their legs.   It's almost impossible for a child to tip this over, and the wheels allow it to move in all directions quite easily.  I'm partial to the mouse, but there are several other designs to choose from.

Watering Can

Playing with water is a favorite activity for most young children, and a watering can like this encourages purposeful help!  I suggest introducing a watering can outside so your child can practice dumping as much water as she likes without drowning your potted plants.  

Shoes for Walking

As your child is coordinating her body to walk quickly and efficiently at this age, good shoes are of utmost importance.   No boots. No flip-flops.  No heels (yes, I have to say that sadly).  Your child's feet and legs must move in a natural fashion, and that requires a sneaker, sandal with an ankle strap, or bare feet. 

Look for velcro or elastic closures that your child can do on her own, and a sturdy but flexible sole.  These would also be a good choice.  

Digging Shovel

I love this shovel for toddlers.  It's  thick plastic handle and scoop hold up well to repeated use and the curved design helps dig deeper and more gracefully without added force.  


Vocabulary Cards on a Ring

A set of picture cards is great for practicing familiar words, and keeping them on a ring like this allows for easy travel.  These aren't as nice as the ones from So Awesome (so sad to see them go), but have many similar features.  The simple pictures are clear, the words and objects are familiar to many toddlers, and the tapered top makes flipping easy. 


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12-18 Months: Bed and Bath

12-18 months: Bed and Bath

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With newly acquired skills like standing and walking comes great opportunity for independence.  The tools listed below allow your child to do many things on her own that would otherwise be challenging in an adult-sized home.  

Be sure you also offer opportunities to practice care-of-self activities like combing hair, washing hands and face, and brushing teeth.  You'll still need to help meet the goal of these activities, but as your child gains practice, she'll eventually be able to meet these goals herself.  

This is also the time to offer emotional and intellectual independence through limited, real choices.  Read more about independence and toddlers here. 

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Self-Care Materials for 12-18 months

Light switch extender

Light Switch Extender

This clever piece of plastic allows your child to turn on or off any light switch by herself.  Use this one if you have the wider rocker switches in your home.  

Faucet Extender

Again, another piece of clever plastic that encourages independence! The gray end is made of silicone and fits over the spigot of your sink, allowing the stream of water to extend a few inches closer to the edge of the sink.  This is a must for any small child! 

Hairbrush and Comb

Care of self is the very foundation for all practical life activities, and necessary for building functional independent skills.  This lovely set offers three tools for various hair types (or no hair at all!).   

image from  IKEA

image from IKEA

Step Stool

This is my favorite two-step stool for young children.  If you have a slippery floor, you could always glue some non-skid rubber to the bottom, or you may want a step stool like this one.  I'd also add some non-skid tape to the steps for extra traction.  

Small Bathroom Mirror

Most 12-18 month olds are not tall enough to see in the bathroom mirror, even with a step stool.  Solve this with a small unbreakable mirror like this one attached to the bathroom wall or vanity.  


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12-18 Months: Play

12-18 months: Play and Toys

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At this age, your child's brain is absorbing on a literal, surface level and is looking for connections, cause and effect, and deep sensory information to attach to words.   There is no need for toddlers to have electronic toys, as these will directly get in the way of this brain development.  Toys for this age must be sturdy, simple, and realistic.  Look for play items that aren't too visually busy or overly complicated.  

Keep a small number of play items available at once (about 5-10 max)  where your child can easily see everything and put things back.  

Safety: Play objects for 12-18 months must be checked for small pieces and loose parts that could get swallowed.  Toys for this age should hold up to rigorous throwing, dropping, crushing, banging, and pulling, and be made from sturdy materials like thick cardboard, wood, plastic, or metal. 

Playing together: Help your toddler explore the world in a safe, independent way.  Provide simple demonstrations of what to do in a situation and how to do it.  Be mindful of over-helping or over-suggesting how to use something. This stunts creativity and problem solving

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Play Materials for 12-18 months

Stacking and Nesting

These cheerful wood bowls from Grimm's Toys are perfect for stacking or nesting, two favourite activities at this age.  Plus, these wood bowls can double as storage when your child outgrows them.  Start with 2-3 bowls of very different sizes like red-yellow-blue or orange-green.  As your child gets better at stacking or nesting, you can include all five.  

Other excellent stacking and nesting toys include: 

The First Years Stack Up Cups

Green Toys My First Stacker

Hammer Pounding Toy

This toy offers an appropriate way to practice pounding or smashing toys together.  This pounder toy from Hape also allows your child to see exactly how far the colored pegs go when she hits them, and can be flipped over to repeat.  No balls to loose around the house!  

Honey Sticks Beeswax Crayons

 These crayons are 100% beeswax, non-toxic, and too large to choke on or break easily.  They smell faintly of beeswax and honey, which I think is just lovely.  These chubby crayons are perfect for 12-24 month olds who are just learning to hold objects and intentionally make lines and designs on paper.  

Shape Sorter

This is my favorite version of this popular toy, because of the simplicity and sturdiness of this design.  Just three very different shapes are used here, and three very different colors.  The lid of this wood box is easy for 12 month old hands to lift up and replace.  This shape sorter doubles as an object permanence toy, as the shapes seem to disappear into the box when sorted correctly.  

Giant Ball

I've found these large exercise balls to be endless fun with young toddlers!  The ball is so big, it's easy to children to "catch" when rolled to them, it's light enough to be picked up and thrown, and, they can push, jump, and bounce into it.  This exercise ball features thick rubber walls that slow-deflate when punctured and it's easy to clean.  

image from  Heirloom Kids USA

Chunky Shape Sorting Puzzle

This simple chunky puzzle offers an introduction to sorting by shape and matching.  Knobbed pieces are a bit too difficult for most children this age, so look for a first puzzle with large, thick pieces of wood and less than 5 pieces.  Introduce this puzzle with just ONE shape and the board, adding the other two later.  This is handmade from Heirloom Kids USA

Ramp Racer

Every Montessori mom blog lists this car ramp racer from EverEarth, and for good reason.  It's a simplistic, compact design that's mesmerizing for young toddlers.  I particularly like the stop block at the end, so cars don't race across the room.  This toy encourages repetition with very little reset time, and is totally child-powered.  

image from  Amy Baby Toys

image from Amy Baby Toys

Beanbags

Beanbags are one of my go-to play items for young toddlers, so many possibilities!  Make a throwing game, stack them high, then knock them down, or balance one on your head.  These triangular beanbag blocks from Amy Baby Toys are perfect for smaller hands to grab, stack, or throw, and they come with a handy fabric bag for storage.  Note that these are filled with small plastic beads, and should not be used with children younger than 12 months for safety reasons. 


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12-18 Months: Kitchen and Eating

12-18 months: kitchen and eating

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Around this age your child is most interested in helping and mimicking the activities she sees the adults doing in her home.  Take advantage of this interest by offering simple tools for independent activity like these below.  

In the kitchen, your 12-18 month old can help scrub hard fruits and vegetables with a stiff brush, mash bananas, tear lettuce, put boxes back in the pantry, and practice scooping rice or flour.  

She can work on skills like drinking from a real glass, using a spoon or fork, asking for more please, and climbing in and out of a highchair. 

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Kitchen Materials for 12-18 months

image from  For Small Hands .

image from For Small Hands.

My First Glass

Learning to drink from a real glass is a welcome challenge to the 12-18 month old.  Introduce the idea with tiny glasses like these from For Small Hands.  These are made of thick glass and hold just a few mouthfuls of liquid to make misses easier to clean-up.   I've also used these shot glasses from IKEA as a first glass in my toddler classes with success.

Scrub Brush

A short scrub brush like this one is perfect for small hands.  The palmer grasp on this handle (whole hand) helps build your child's hand strength and coordination, and can be used for the various other activities as she gets older.  I like the soft-yet-stiff bristles on this brush to remove dirt without scratching skin.  

Mixing Bowl

 A large metal mixing bowl is a must for this age.  I use a bowl like this for washing, scooping, and mixing activities with toddlers.  It's unbreakable, has a pleasant sound, and is light enough to be carried by a child.  You can substitute a plastic wash bin if you like.   

Tripp Trapp Highchair

For family meals, a highchair like this one is most convenient.  This  design from Tripp Trapp is one I recommend all the time for it's durability, independence, and long-term use.  The seat and foot shelves are fully adjustable, and allows your child to climb up herself.  Plus, the 5-point harness straps close in the front, so your child can learn to buckle herself in by herself.  

image from  For Small Hands .

image from For Small Hands.

Mini Masher

This little masher from For Small Hands is made from one piece of metal, which makes it less likely to break or bend.  It's a perfect size for toddlers to practice the hand movements involved in mashing (a larger tool would teach incorrect grip and build poor technique).  

Divided Bowls with Lids

Many children this age eat like tiny birds, just a handful of food at a time.  I find it really useful to pre-portion finger foods, yogurt, or snacks into divided plates like these and then snap the lid on whatever wasn't finished at meal time.  


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6-12 months: Play

6-12 months: Play

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There are so many big changes that happen from 6 to 12 months!  A play area for these mobile infants must be safe above all things.  I highly suggest creating a "yes"space that is not only baby-proofed but has interesting things to touch, move, and look at.  

As your child begin to sit on her own, you can offer a handful of items just out of reach so she has to stretch and bend over.  Get a pull up bar (see below) and a walker wagon to encourage pulling up and cruising. 

Please note: infants can be easily mesmerized by household items, and they in fact make excellent toys at this age.  You can offer a small collection of similar items in a treasure basket for exploration! (see below)

Any toy we listed on the 3-6 month page will still work for this age too. Your infant's brain and body have changed so quickly, she can now explore these toys in new ways.  

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Play Materials for 6-12 months

image from  Heirloom Kids USA

Pull Up Bar

A pull up bar offers a safe place for the infant to practice pulling up and cruising(sideways walking).  Attach a bar in front of an unbreakable mirror to create more interest and feedback.  This bar from Heirloom Kids USA  is 1 inch, perfect for smaller hands, and even has the holes pre-drilled for you.  Make sure you secure this into wall studs or use drywall anchors for safety. 

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Silicone Muffin Cups

I love these.  Interesting shapes and textures, flexible, washable, stackable, nest-able, AND you could use them for baking when your child gets older.  Look for cups that are food grade and BPA-free.  I offer a handful in a basket like this to 6-12 month olds, and observe the creative ways they find to play with them. 

image from  Bella's Casa

image from Bella's Casa

Two-handed puzzles

Infants are keenly interested in this simple Montessori puzzle that requires coordination for both hands! Offer the egg and cup first, and the pin and cup next, as it's slightly harder.  This handmade set is from Bella's Casa.  These have a similar function to the palmer and pincer blocks below, so you could choose one or the other if you are short on space. 

image from  Heirloom Kids USA

Palmer and Pincer Grasp Blocks

Another lovely handmade item from Heirloom Kids USA.  These Montessori infant materials offer another simple puzzle that build coordination and hand dexterity.  The block on the left builds a whole hand grip (palmer) and is offered first.  The block on the right can be offered when you notice your child picking things up by their thumb and index finger(pincer grip), around 9 months.

Walker Wagon

I'm not a fan of walking "aids" for developmental reasons, but this Montessori material is an exception.  A walker wagon offers your child an opportunity to practice skills like pulling up, take steps, and moving forward, which are all needed to walk.  Look for a wagon that is wide, heavy and hard to flip, has slow-moving wheels with traction, and is well-made.  This Radio Flyer meets all that criteria, and this wagon from IKEA also works.   

Baby Gates

Your mobile infant needs a safe space to explore and a gate offers easy protection.  My favourite baby gates allow me to open with one hand and walk through (as my hands are usually carrying a baby or toddler).  This one is extra tall and extra wide and pressure mounted.  Pick up some wall protection too, your walls will thank me later. 

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Outlet Covers

I have not found outlet covers I love.  The ones I've experienced are either too tight or too loose, and won't help you if you have something plugged in.  I've found the best solution is to block outlets with furniture to remove the visual temptation if you can, otherwise find a set of covers that are tight-fitting in your outlets.  Try these basic ones first, and these from Safety 1st.  I've also just taped over the outlets in a pinch. 

There are now new child-safe outlets available for installing into your home! Ask about it for new construction.

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Treasure Basket

Infants are quite happy with common household objects, and you can build foundations of logical thought and language with a treasure basket.  For 6-12 month olds, start with 3 objects that are quite different in texture, shape, color, or material.  Any safe objects you have around the house are fine.  The basket here has a plastic comb, a piece of ribbon lace, a large hair clip, a metal teaspoon, and a wood block.  As your child gets older, you can offer just brushes, or all red things, or different kinds of fabric.  Oh, and the basket is an object too!  


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6-12 months: Kitchen and Eating

6-12 months: kitchen and eating

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Around the time your baby turns 6 months you can begin introducing other food to her.

Start with simple tastes of sweet things like fruit, and follow your child's interest. If you're already eating healthy whole-food meals, your baby can have some of the family dinner much of the time (follow a guidebook like Feeding the Whole Family for specifics to avoid) and a collection of finger foods for lunch and snacks.

Mobile babies need a safe space to explore in the kitchen too. Keep any heavy, breakable, or sharp objects out of reach and consider other safety concerns in your space. I suggest leaving a lower cabinet or shelf available with lightweight bowls, boxes, cups, and cooking tools for endless exploration.

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Kitchen Materials for 6-12 months

Silicone Bowl and Place mat

If your child is still in the "let's dump everything out" phase, an all-in-one place mat and bowl like this one is a great solution.  It removes the complexity of sliding and temptation to dump with a normal bowl.

Feeding the Whole Family

This is the best book I've found for walking through the weaning process AND offering practical recipes.  The first few chapters outline common allergies to avoid, balanced whole food nutrition, tips for raising healthy eaters.  I've used this book to cook for myself, and it really is a family friendly cookbook.  

Learning Tower

Once your child can pull up and stand on her own, she can "help" in the kitchen!  A tool like this learning tower makes it easy to offer independence and keep your infant safe.  Start by having your child watch and hold a (safe) kitchen tool, like a wooden spoon.  As her hands get stronger, she can hold objects under water, taste test, and wipe the counter. 

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Kitchen Safety

Like the other rooms in your home, your kitchen must be prepared to keep your curious mobile infant safe.  Put child locks on any lower cabinet with sharp or heavy objects, cover low electrical outlets, and get a tall trashcan with a lid.  We have these magnetic locks from Safety first in our home, and we love them.  Easy to open and relock, and no space for little fingers to get slammed.  

Feeding Spoons

When your child is ready to feed herself, get a set of these training spoons.  This clever design from Olababy will scoop food at various angles, stands upright for easier grabbing, has a thick stem for grasping, and is soft.  

These bamboo and silicone spoons are wonderful for adult-led eating.  The smaller spoon bowl fits easily into an infants mouth, and the soft silicone won't scratch or bump sensitive baby gums. 

image from  NaturaBaby

image from NaturaBaby

Weaning Table and Chair

A smaller table and chair offers your infant some independence in learning to eat solid foods.  I suggest starting with tastes of food here, and mostly finger foods.   This large and small set from NaturaBaby is so versatile.  Use it first like pictured as a weaning table and chair, then flip the table for two chairs when your child grows. 

Baby Food Storage

If you're making your own soft baby food from your family meals, a freezer mold like this one is super handy.  You can fill just a few cups at a time, then pop them out for easy storage and reheating.  The lid keeps freezer burn and other contaminants out.  Note, this works for freezing breast milk too! 

Bibs  

Bibs are a necessity as you introduce food to your infant.  Look for bibs that are water-resistant but still soft and flexible, like these pictured.  The bib should not get in the way of eating.  I like these fabric ones best because they can be quickly wiped off or washed.  


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3-6 months: Play

3-6 months: Play

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Now your child is ready for a few simple toys to explore as she practices using her hands, arms, legs, and feet. Make sure your child has time to move around on the floor or another clean, flat surface (the play area pictured in 0-3 months will still work for this age) . The best toys here will develop hand strength and dexterity, see below for categories.

As your child can begin to reach for objects with intention, offer a handful of items just out of reach so she has to stretch to get them. Small, soft baskets are excellent for storing toys here so you can carry a few from room to room.

Please note: infants can be easily mesmerized by household items, and they in fact make excellent toys at this age.

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Play Materials for 3-6 months

image from  bella's casa

image from bella's casa

Hanging Toys

Hanging a simple object on a ribbon or elastic is perfect for increasing hand-eye coordination,  depth perception, and concentration.  Traditional Montessori items are a wooden ring and a bell, but any lightweight, safe, simple object could be used here.  

These hanging toys are from bella's casa, and are ready to use, no assembly required. The ring offers a large area for grasping, and the bell makes an interesting sound when batted.   

Hang these from your ceiling, a sturdy mobile hanger, or a wooden gym (see below).  Stick to one object at a time, to avoid distraction and over-stimulation. 

image from  Poppyseed Play

image from Poppyseed Play

Wooden Gym Hanger

If you don't have an easy way to hang objects from your ceiling, a gym like this can be used.  Many baby gyms have WAY too many colors and objects on them, look for very simple models like this one from Poppyseed Play.  The gym should be sturdy, with enough space underneath for your child to safely roll over.  

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Grasping Toy

Another excellent toy for hand strength and dexterity, grasping objects are perfect for 3-6 month olds.  Look for one that has large openings for your infant's hands, or large objects to clutch. There are lots of great choices, I'd suggest no more than 2 available at a time, rotate a few others every few weeks if you like. Look for toys that are simple in colors, design, texture, and function. Here's some I love:

Manhattan Toy Skwish 

HABA triangles

HABA rainbow clutching toy (pictured)

Interlocking Discs

Rattle

A classic. Look for a rattle that is super simple and makes a pleasant sound. There are lots of great choices, I'd suggest no more than 2 available at a time, rotate a few others every few weeks if you like. Here's some I love:

Wood and Crochet Rattle 

Black and White Crocheted Rattle

Montessori Bell Cylinder

HABA Kringelring Wooden Baby Rattle

Teething Ring or Toy 

I'm a fan of the simple freezer rings for teething, and  a silicone necklace for the times you're holding your teething infant. A teething infant is going to chew any object you give them, so having a specific "teething" toy isn't necessary, but these chilled rings can help soothe sore gums.  

Soft Baskets

A few soft baskets can be handy for holding your child's toys at this age.  Only a few toys should be out at one time, so you'll need space to hold the rest, and a soft basket is an additional item to explore! Avoid any baskets with loose parts or breakable pieces that could be swallowed (reed, wicker, etc) 

These canvas baskets are collapsible and can be re-purposed as your child gets older. 


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18-24 Months: About this Age

Eighteen to Twenty-four months

What happens when I do this?

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This age child is determined, and in full exploration mode.  We're entering full toddler-hood here.  Around 18-24 months, your child is learning to control events and mentally organize the world around her.  She has little sense of real danger, and is mostly incapable of sharing.  This age child wants to imitate you and be nearby while remaining fiercely independent.  

This is the time to introduce toilet learning (if you haven't already), and offer a handful of simple practical life activities, focusing on personal and home care.

Go outside and keep a consistent routine everyday if possible.  External order and routine is translated to logical thought processes, and will help your child feel more secure.

Toddlers are explorers.  They test everything- words, strength, gravity, your patience, power, control, limits, etc.  Expect this, and know that it's helpful for your child to make these discoveries now.  


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12-18 Months: About this Age

Twelve to Eighteen Months

I can help.

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A 12 to 18 month old is experiencing a huge leap in mobility as she is able to stand, walk, and free her hands for exploring! Remember, new skills do not emerge in a steady line.  Just because your child did it once doesn't mean she can do it again on command.  

Children this age express thoughts and emotions without a filter, and live in the moment.  A child this age can only see the world through her eyes, asking her to “share” or “be a good girl” is meaningless.  

This child is also experiencing a leap in understanding language and speaking.  Your child is watching your every move, word, and response, and using them as a model for how to act.

Learning how to solve small everyday problems on her own is essential at this stage, and she’ll devote deep concentration in order to learn.   She can’t predict or make judgments about her actions, even if she understands all the steps and has experienced the effects before. 


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6-12 Months: About this Age

Six to twelve Months

I can really move now!

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Around 6 months, many babies really get moving as they begin crawling, scooting, pulling up, and creeping. Make sure your home is ready for this new level of exploration with the appropriate safety measures. I suggest creating a “yes space” so your child can freely explore without your direct supervision in a safe manner.
 

Your child's brain is hard at work wiring all the necessary nerve connections for these new methods of transportation in her arms and legs, and she needs LOTS of time on the floor to practice. Any container your put your child in (bouncy seat, jumper, car seat, stroller, chairs with straps, etc) is directly opposing this goal and getting in the way of her natural development.


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3-6 Months: About this Age

Three to Six Months

I have hands!? How do I use these? 

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Around 3 months your child is spending more time awake, and is ready for a few simple toys to explore. There's a lot of coordination work to be done with hands, arms, legs, and feet, so make sure your child has time to move around on the floor or another clean, flat surface. You can begin transitioning to a floor bed or crib around this time, as you notice your child can spend more time asleep throughout the night.

Your child may be getting her first teeth during this time! She will also begin babbling, making all the sounds she hears around her. She won't be able to speak for quite some time, but it's important to still speak to her like she could reply, with a full sentences and a rich vocabulary.

If you are nearing the end of parental leave and looking for respectful care, read this guide.


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The First Year: On the Go

The First Year: On the Go

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We highly suggest you limit your commitments in the first few months with your child, for her sake as well as your own. There is a lot of adjusting taking place for both of you!

When you do feel ready to travel, I suggest starting small, like going outside.

Babies LOVE to be outside and it's a win-win for you.  There's always something new to see, touch, smell, or experience and you don't have to do anything more than go out.   Even stepping onto your welcome mat is fine. 

You may find it helpful to have a carrier or stroller for longer walks and trips. I’ve listed a few below.

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


On the Go Materials

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Car Seat

If you plan on taking your child into a car at any point, you'll need a car seat.  The best car seat depends on the your vehicle or lifestyle and what kind of travel, features, and options matter to you.  Read this very through article from Baby Gear Lab to help you make the choice that's right for you.  

The safest seats for the first year are infant bucket-type seats. But, it’s improper installs that cause the most injury, not safety ratings of the car seat, so make sure you practice installing your car seat with an expert.

It's not ideal for your child to spend any more time in a car seat then necessary, as it is a container that will restrict her free movement and ability to explore.  

Baby Carriers and Slings

An carrier with infant accessories can be a real life saver for sore arms.  Many models will hold children from day one through toddlerhood, and are sturdy enough to last years.  Infants should ALWAYS face in with a carrier to help them feel safe and connected to you (front facing is like riding in the first car on a roller coaster).   

I'm a fan of the Ergo carrier (pictured and linked below), but there are many options available.  Learn more about choosing a carrier here. 

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Stroller

A stroller is certainly not necessary for life with an infant, but many people find them helpful and convenient.  Strollers are for the adults, and are easy transport from one location to another.  There is no developmental benefit for your child to ride in a stroller, and it's one of the least valuable activities she can spend her time doing (traveling on her own feet is best).  The best way to take a walk with your infant in the first year is in a carrier or in your arms, so you can narrate, stop, touch, and listen together.  

There is no "best stroller", read this article to decide the features your family needs for your lifestyle.  Or, skip the stroller and use a carrier or wagon instead.  

Radio Flyer Wagon

Use a wagon like this instead of a stroller for any infant who can sit up.  The wagon offers some freedom of movement and the autonomy to look around 360 degrees as you travel.  This model folds up for easy storage and can be used with older children too. 

Sun Hat

A hat is easier than sunscreen everytime you step outside.  This one is fully adjustable, has a wide brim, and a safety breakaway clip.  

Travel Play Yard

If you don't have the luxury of a safe outdoor (or indoor) space for your infant to explore, you can create one with a travel play yard.  This is my favorite model, as it is much larger than pack-and-plays, but has a floor and folds up.  No matter where you go, your child will have a safe, clean area to explore and move.  This is ideal for day trips and camping.  A pop-up shelter or tent could also work.

Picnic Blanket for Baby

Nothing beats a blanket for babies on the go.  Look for one with a water-resistant lining to keep both of you dry on damp grass, and a blanket that folds into a easy-carry pouch is quite handy.  

Image from  Topponcino n More

Topponcino

The topponcino is a infant-sized thin pillow bed used when holding or transferring a baby. It creates a sense of security and offers consistency of texture, smell, and temperature, which can really help an infant feel calm.

You can make a topponcino if you are crafty, or buy on on Etsy. Make sure you get a few covers to throw in the wash!


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The First Year: Clothing

The First Year: Clothing

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In the first year, simple clothes are best!  Your infant is developing all the functions to move her body, and needs clothing that aids in this process.  All clothes should be comfortable, stretchy or loose-fitting, and allows for full movement of arms and legs.  

In this first year, your child will grow so fast, you won't use a piece of clothing for more than a few months.  Secondhand infant clothing tends to be close to brand new, is so much cheaper, and is worth looking for.

About gendered clothing: Pink and blue are fine colors, but to put your child in a narrow gendered box when they are so young and impressionable is disrespectful.  Keep a balance.

Please note I have not listed everything your child needs here (you'll probably also want socks, long sleeve shirts, hats, coats, etc).  These clothing items below are related to movement and the development of your child.  

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Clothing Materials

One-piece undershirts

Onesies are the little black dresses for babies.  Use them as undershirts on chilly days or entire outfits on warm ones.   You'll need more in the beginning for frequent changes.  The simple t-shirt with snapped bottom allows the shirt to stay on your baby's skin, which is good for free movement and temperature control. 

Color and pattern are your personal choice, but avoid any clothing with buttons, scratchy appliques or embellishments.  

One-piece pajamas

Another item your infant can wear all the time.  I prefer zippers over the snap clasps as they are much faster and easier to manage during repeated diaper changes. 

Mobile infants need time during the day with bare feet to build muscle coordination, and footie PJs will slow them down.  Save the PJs for sleeping at this age. 

Pants

Pants for infants should be soft and stretchy, with an elastic waist and ankle cuffs.  Footed pants are fine until your baby starts to roll over, but if you can, warm the room and allow her to explore her feet! Mobile infants need time during the day with bare feet to build muscle coordination.  

Avoid any piece of clothing that makes it difficult to crawl, creep, pull up, or stand.  Remember, your child is a person who needs to practice moving, not a doll to be dressed up.  

Legwarmers

Legwarmers are my new favorite for infant wear, after I had a day with multiple blowout diaper changes.  Used instead of pants, legwarmers have a higher chance of staying dry and clean, AND it's one less step when diapering.   

Pair these with a onesie to protect knees from scooting and crawling on the floor while leaving feet bare for traction.  


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The First Year: Sleep and Bath

The First Year: Sleep and Bath

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Babies spend most of their time sleeping in the first year, and so this space needs to be both safe, cozy, and encourage rest.

In the first few weeks, your baby will need a smaller space to sleep, like a bassinet or co-sleeper (see below).  This helps her feel safe and secure. As she grows, you can choose an infant floor bed in a safe bedroom, or a traditional crib. 

A safe space to sleep has a firm mattress or pad, with NO pillows, loose blankets, toys, or bumpers. Babies under 5-6 months should always be placed to sleep on their backs.

Learning to fall asleep is a skill, and one that your child can master without an elaborate routine from you.  Read this first book below for details.  

While your baby doesn’t need as many baths in this first year as she will later, you’ll probably want a few materials on hand to make the process easier for both of you.

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Sleep and Bath Materials

Compassionate Sleep Solutions

Here's how you help your child learn to fall asleep on her own, step by step.  This book is written by a RIE professional who also offers personal consultations for parents. 

I used this book with a very clingy 9 month old who would ONLY fall asleep on my hip and had him falling asleep on his own in a week. Read the story here.

If you are spending hours each day coaxing your older infant to sleep, you need to read this book.  

Newborn Sleep 

To help your child feel secure in the first 2-3 months, a co-sleeper or bassinet is best.   Look for a model with a flat, minimally padded bottom, short sides, and ease of access for nighttime waking and feeding.  You may prefer a model on a stand at bed-height, or a free-standing bassinet like this one pictured. 

This bassinet is my favorite, as it can be placed on a table or directly on a floor bed, moved around the home and taken on trips, plus it folds up for easy storage.   

Sleep for infants

As your infant grows, you can choose to move her to a floor bed or a traditional crib.  The floor bed is just a crib mattress on the floor of a small bedroom, designed to aid your child's independence. Yes, children fall asleep this way, and yes, it will take some guidance on your part.  This article offers more details in making the decision. 

Floor Bed After 2-3 months you can transition from the smaller bassinet to a floor bed.  Ideally, your child spends a few nights in the bassinet on top of the floor bed in the same room to ease the transition.  Floor beds are only an option IF you can make the bedroom safe for an infant.  Look for a firm, small mattress (approx. W: 28˝ x L: 52˝ x H: 5˝), a waterproof cover, and a handful of sheets.   This mattress is completely washable! 

If you can't make the room safe for a mobile infant, use a crib or portable crib.  Be sure to research your options, and look for safety recalls.   

Read about safe sleeping areas and the prevention of SIDS here, if you aren't familiar.  

Blackout Curtains

While very young infants will fall asleep anytime of day, it's helpful to darken the room as your child gets older.  Involve your child in closing these curtains as part of your sleep routine, to cue "now is time to fall asleep"  You may want full blackout or merely light-blocking curtains, depending on what's outside your windows.  I also suggest thermal insulating curtains to discourage drafts in an infant space.   

Sleep Sack

The sleep sack is an excellent solution for keeping your infant warm without the danger of a blanket, or the movement restriction of a swaddle.  Sleep sacks create a warm cocoon, small enough to offer comfort, but large enough to allow for movement.    I tend to follow RIE's opinion about swaddling, but should your child LOVE and NEED to be tightly wrapped those first few months, do what your child needs so everyone can get some sleep.    

White Noise

While you want to allow your child to self-soothe so she can learn the skill of falling asleep, if you live in a noisy place, white noise may be helpful.  Simple is best, an air filter, fan, or noise machine is plenty.  Stay away from rocking/shaking/swinging gadgets, it will only make independent sleep more difficult.  

I have this air filter in my home, and I love it.  It has a quiet hum while it's running and it cleans the airs with both HEPA and VOC filters.  It's portable too, so you can move it to the area where you need it most.  

Cozy chair for night feedings

You'll want a chair for feedings in this first year so you can relax and be comfortable.  Look for a model that little fingers can't get smashed under if you're adding this to the nursery.    An ottoman can serve as a footrest and the perfect object for pulling up and cruising.  

I suggest a small table with water, snacks, and reading material as you may be sitting here for 30-45 minutes at a time!


Wash tub

Your baby needs to get clean, and really any small vessel of water will work here.  There are plenty of inexpensive plastic baby tub options, but I like this one for it's simplicity, the ability to grow with your child, and the option of using it inside the tub or out on the floor.  If you choose to use the kitchen sink, an insert like the Puj or Blooming Lotus are helpful.  But a towel and attentive parent are really all you need here.

As with other care giving activities, bath-time should be a time of connection, full attention, and respect.  Learn more about the specific techniques of creating quality time in these moments here. 


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The First Year: Diapering

The First Year: Diapering

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In the first year, you’ll be going through approximately 2,500 diaper changes with your baby, so how you spend this time together can make a big impact.

It's important to offer respectful diaper changes from the very beginning. Don't distract while you change! 

Cloth vs disposable is totally a personal family decision, and NO ONE has the right to make you feel guilty about your decision.  You can also do both!  Personally, I start with disposables for the first week to month, then cloth diapers when the child is big enough for size 2, except for travel.  Learn more about cloth diapering at Fluff Love University.

You don't need a giant changing area, but you will probably find it helpful to have a flat counter-height area available, especially in the first few months with frequent diaper changes.  As your child becomes more mobile, you’ll want a large space on the floor, or move to standing changes.

In addition to the items listed below, you’ll want wipes, rash cream, hand sanitizer, and perhaps a diaper pail and swim diapers.

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Diapering Materials

Diaper Bag

Keeping your diaper supplies together will make for calmer changes for both you and your baby.  A whole separate diaper bag is by no means necessary. but can be very useful to grab and go.  Look for a bag that any adult in your family can carry with pride.  I'm a fan of this backpack for it's durability and style.  The insulated side pocket for bottles is super convenient, as well as the outer pockets for keys and snacks.

Diaper Pouch for Travel

This travel pouch from Skip Hop is my favourite system I've used for older infants.  Easily holds a handful of diapers, wipesspray hand sanitizer, and tube of cream and can be unlatched with one hand.  The changing pad zips off for easy cleaning, and there's a wrist strap.  I ended up using this over the dedicated changing area most of the time.

Wet Bags

Wet bags are a necessity for cloth diapers, but even if you do disposable, you'll want a wet bag for soiled clothes.  This one has a second zippered pouch which is helpful for holding food-soiled clothing or drool-soaked bibs.

Diapers

Even if you choose to do elimination communication, you'll need some diapers.  There's so many to choose from, and I haven't found a particular brand that's more developmentally helpful than any other for infants. 

As your child gets older, you'll want a diaper that allows her to feel wet so she can begin to connect the feeling of needing to go with actually going.  Seventh Generation's disposables have this feature, as do cloth diapers.

Not sure about cloth diapers?  Read this overview and guide. 

Changing Pad and Table

There's no need for a separate changing table, unless you want one.  You can use the top of a dresser, the bed, the floor, a table, etc.  What you will need is a flat, waterproof pad to lay your infant on.  This one is larger than most, offers your child plenty of room to move for respectful diaper changes, and is washable.  


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Newborn to 3 months: Play

Newborn to 3 months: Play

photo from  Ananda Montessori

Brand new babies don't need much to play and explore; and it's important to keep their spaces super simple.  

Any toys you have should be saved for when your child is 3 months old.  

When you find your infant is fed, rested, and content, she can spend some time on her play mat.  Please note the lack of items in this photo.  This is the MOST you'd want to offer a child under 3 months, there is plenty here to do!    

Remember, your new baby has spent months in a dark, muffled space and is now having to adjust to all kinds of light, sound, texture, temperature, movement, feelings, etc.  That's plenty to do!  Take care not to over-stimulate a child who already has a full plate of work to accomplish. It is critical all materials and the space itself is very simple, plain, and calming. 

In a Montessori infant community, the playmat is placed near a large wall mirror.  This infant playspace at Ananda Montessori (pictured top left) shows how you could set this up.  You can use a crib mattress, a folded blanket, a lambskin, or a clean rug.

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Play Materials for 0-3 months

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Black and White Images

Newborns can't see very clearly or very far, so a series of high-contrast beautiful black and white images are interesting to them.  Wee Gallery makes adorable art cards of familiar animals from various habitats, choose the set that matches where you live.