In our signature class for babies 0-12 mos, Early Childhood Developmental Specialist Elizabeth McKenzie facilitates a playgroup that recognizes the importance of this time in your baby’s growth. In a relaxed setting, this class gives tiny ones the tools for reaching milestones and parents an unhurried space to ask questions about their little one’s progress and development.
Here, we’ve asked Elizabeth to share some of the tools and toys she loves for this class and how she employs them in the curriculum.
KEY MILESTONES FOR BABIES 0-12 mos.
The amount of cognitive and physical development that occurs in the first year of life is astounding. This is the time that babies are developing all of the important foundational skills that will set the stage for the future.
I love using Monti Kids toys in my classes because they are smartly designed to allow children to layer skills on top of one another. Each toy provides opportunity to explore and experience at the child's own pace. This line does a great job of removing the flashy colors, blinking lights and silly sounds that you see with so many "educational" baby toys, and gets at the heart of what play should look like for this age group. The quality is great and the line grows with the child. The Monti Kids collection has been a wonderful enhancement to our classes.
Wooden blocks are a classic for a reason- great for hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, problem solving and fine motor development. I choose blocks that have some weight to them so the baby can really feel what they are doing. I like how these blocks have some texture to them to give even more sensory input. Blocks are so versatile- the possibilities are endless!
Putting objects "in" and "on" is an important foundational skill for play. Stacking blocks allow the child to develop object permanence and visual-spatial awareness. Another plus? As your baby goes from tummy time to crawling to standing, the stack of blocks grows too!
Wooden Stacking Rings
Stacking rings are another tried and true baby toy that packs a big developmental punch. Babies learn to use both hands together and practice hand-eye coordination, as well as develop motor planning. I like to use these rings to encourage babies to "give" on command- another important skill that will lead to learning to share later on!
It's never too early read with your child. I look for books that have simple, large pictures on each page. Rather than read the words, I attach simple sounds or single words to each page in order to start building speech and language skills. I reach for these books frequently because the pictures interesting to parents and babies alike, and it is easy to tailor the language to the child. I also like how sturdy the pages are for little hands to help turn!