Monday, 22 August 2011

Montessori mobiles for babies

According to Montessori principles carefully chosen mobiles are an important part of a child's first environment.  The Montessori series of visual mobiles are designed to be presented to the baby who is not yet reaching with purpose or grasping with intent. They are hung out of touching distance, but not so far away that the baby cannot focus on them. There are then a series of mobiles designed to be grabbed and pulled when the baby is ready.

The aim of mobiles in the infant’s environment is to:

  • encourage focus and concentration
  • offer a visual experience
  • give kinetic information
  • educate the aesthetic sense 

Many of these mobiles are easy to make yourself as I hope to demonstrate in the next few posts.

But first a summary of the mobile types and the age at which they are generally presented (these are just my favourite and for some there are many variations):

My selection of mobiles from Michael Olaf

Montessori Mobiles
  • Black and white pictures (0-4 weeks)
  • Munari Mobile (3-6 weeks)
  • Octahedron Mobile (5-8 weeks)
  • The Gobbi mobile (7-10 weeks)
  • Dancers Mobile (8-12 weeks)
  • Flowing Rhythm Mobile (8-12 weeks)
  • Butterflies (10-16 weeks)
  • Hummingbirds (10-16 weeks)
  • Mother and baby whales (10-16 weeks)

Mobiles / hanging toys designed to be touched as soon as attempts at grabbing start
  • Bell on a Ribbon (12-16 weeks)
  • Wooden ring on elastic  (12-16 weeks)
  • Primary colours mobile (12-18 weeks)
  • Wooden musical mobile (16-20 weeks)

The Michael Olaf Company is probably one of the best places to buy the mobiles from if you don't mind paying $30 - $50 for each one (I have bought a few but feel quite bad about it considering the amount of use they will get) but if like me you live in Europe or if you just fancy having a go at making your own then why not give it try?

Mobiles should have no more than 5 objects and they should be real, such as butterflies, birds, or fish—things that move through the air or water.   They should be changed every week to maintain interest but it is also beneficial to reintroduce earlier mobiles later on as they are rediscovered by the baby with new enthusiasm and interest.

I bought a special mobile hanger (from Michael Olaf for $12) to mount above the baby's bed but they can also be hung from the ceiling with a hook (but check that it is secured sufficiently).

Stay tuned for tutorials and more mobile info.....


  1. Hello! Great post that really piqued my interest. Would you kindly tell me where I can get more information about Montessori Mobiles for babies? I am particularly interested in the bit you mentioned about the hanging toys and the ages one should introduce the mobiles. Thank you!

  2. Hi Joyfulmam,
    I'm preparing a big post on this at the moment but a good place to start is the book 'Montessori from the start' as it really explains why these mobiles are great for developing concentration. I can send you a summary f you ike?

  3. Hi Rachael, I have actually ordered the book and am expecting it any day now! Thanks so much for the offer, though, and I look forward to your post!! Kind regards from sunny South Africa! JM

  4. Hi Rachel,
    I love your posts so much, they inspire me and I actually started making some of my own homemade mobiles: the Munari mobile and another one using the metal insets, it is also black and white. Do you think I can use this one as the black and white pictures mobile? Or are there certain kinds of pictures to include?

    1. Thanks so much Assia!
      Obviously the important aspect is the black and white contrast with the idea being that the Munari mobile has the geometric black and white shapes leading onto the more 'lifelike' pictures of animals and sea creatures which are usually used for the mobile. That said I noticed that Henry loved just black and white images for the first 6 months of his life so a bit of variety wouldn't hurt too :)
      I used black and white pictures of animals like zebras, pandas, rabbits etc
      Hope this helps! xx

  5. Is it okay to start anywhere with the mobiles or is it important for them to go in progression? I have a 4 month old and haven't done any mobiles with him. Should I start at the beginning with the black and white or start with something with color?

    1. Hi Joellen,
      There is no need to start at the beginning with the mobiles - The objective is just to find the right one for the stage of development of the baby so that it stimulates and holds their interest. At 4 months there is no need to start with the black and white one but I would add that Henry loved his Munari mobile after 6 months even and when we look at photographs he always asks to see that one.


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