Newborn to 3 months: Play
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.
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Play Materials for 0-3 months
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.
When you find your infant is fed, rested, and content, she can spend some time on her play mat. It is important this mat is very plain so your baby does not get overwhelmed (nothing like this.). A thin mattress works well for this (like one you'd choose for a floor bed or crib), or my personal favourite: a lambskin.
Unbreakable wall mirror
It's tempting, but don't use a normal long hallway mirror for your infant space. Get an acrylic mirror sheet that is lightweight and won't shatter or chip. A sheet that's 12x24 inches is plenty, but you can go bigger if your space allows. Your child can enjoy this mirror for many years beyond infancy.
Babies love mobiles. Any simple, beautiful items that offer contrast in color, shape, light-catching qualities, texture, or shadow will make a helpful, interesting mobile for the first three months of an infant's life. HOWEVER, your newborn does not NEED anything else to stimulate their vision. Please note that babies this age can not choose to look away, and it is disrespectful to hang anything directly above their line of sight. All mobiles should be placed off to the side where you child can choose to look at them...or not.
There are 5 specific visual Montessori mobiles that are offered in the first few months to aid in visual development and concentration. If you wish to follow this sequence yourself, here it is (intro times are approximate). I've linked to where you can buy these mobiles pre-made, but their are DIY tutorials available if you are crafty. Get the first four from Bella's Casa here.
Munari- around two weeks
Octahedron- around six weeks.
Gobbi- around nine weeks.
Dancers- around twelve weeks
Sky or Water themed mobiles (butterfly, whale, fish, birds) around 15 weeks