One of the groundbreaking discoveries made by Dr. Maria Montessori was that movement with purpose is crucial for brain development. It’s easy to imagine activities for a three-year-old that provide purposeful movement, but what about for a young baby?
A young baby’s uncoordinated movements make it seem like she has no control over her limbs. But beneath all that flailing and jerking is a brain that is really hard at work. Simple Montessori grasping materials like the Grasping Beads and Interlocking Discs – are ideal for babies aged two months and up. The natural materials and simple lines provide gentle experiences of discovery and set the stage for a lifetime of learning through movement.
They motivate her to control her arm and hand with the purpose of reaching out, grabbing the interesting object and bringing it closer to examine it. The interesting textures (very different from the boring smoothness of plastic) keep her exploring, the ergonomic shapes are perfect for little fingers, and the gentle rolling potential of the toys encourages the baby to move her entire body in preparation for rolling and crawling.
When you give your baby opportunities to grasp objects, you are making a big impact on her interest and understanding of the world.
Research shows that babies who use their hands to explore their surroundings are better able to perceive where one object ends and another begins. This will be useful when they learn to crawl and need to stop themselves from tumbling down the stairs!
Also, once babies begin to reach for objects, they become more and more interested in their environment. In a sense, the more we allow them to explore, the more they’ll want to discover.
Think of it as a way of supporting your child’s love of learning from a very early age!
For more tips on how to introduce Montessori activities, read The Nine Key Points to Sharing a New Activity with Your Child.
P.S. If you’re getting ready to welcome a little one into your family, or have recently given birth, find out how my Montessori Parenting Program can provide the right start for you and your baby, schedule a ‘Discovery Session’ with me. It’s free and you’ll know if we are a good fit. 😉
1 thought on “Grasping Reflex and Your Baby’s Brain”
Dear author, I am a new parent of a two and half years old baby. She now still can not light her head up and still can not hit things intentionally. When I put rattle in her hands she will grasp it but I think she did not interested in them. I tried to hand the bell on top of the roof to attract her attention, she won’t look at it as well. Is there any thing else to train her? And how long should I put mobile to let her look at?