In my previous post on Montessori Mobiles, I shared how we did the black-and-white visuals. As mentioned in that post, the difference with Montessori mobiles is that they are intentionally used while the infant is awake and ready to absorb his/her surroundings.
The mobiles are meant to help develop focus on a moving object and develop perception of color and depth.
Just yesterday, my mom-in-law had visitors and she was holding our son while chatting with them. When I came to check on my son, they were telling me how amazed they were that the little one can really focus for a long time. I don’t know how they came to that conclusion exactly, but I guess the mobiles really helped him develop this important skill.
It’s funny how in the morning, my son would make sounds as if ordering me to put him on his mat already. It took a while for me to figure this out, but it’s been consistent, really – he would make sounds in the morning, and the minute I put him on his mat and hang the mobiles, he would turn silent, and just focus and watch (and also laugh and talk to it at times, haha)!
Sharing with you the mobiles we’ve done and my thoughts about it!
OCTAHEDRON MOBILE – THIS WEBSITE was my source when we did this mobile. To be honest, it really was not easy for us to do this mobile. Sure, there’s a printable template which was very helpful, but putting them on the dowel was a challenge of its own. So, as you can see in the photo, they’re not perfect octahedra. Closing the whole paper then hanging it was our main challenge, BUT even though imperfect in so many ways, this one is baby P’s absolute favorite. HE LOOOOOVES this mobile, and I don’t think I can stress it enough! When I first introduced it to him (and a few times after that), he did not show any interest, but as weeks passed and I introduced it to him again, he just loved it. He can stay long looking at this mobile. Maybe it’s the shiny feature (we used an origami paper from Daiso – I bought a metallic set in Japan before, not so sure if they have the metallic set here, but they probably do!). He loves this so much that in the morning, he would look at the wall where its hanging and just look at it – even if he needs to stretch his neck just to see it!
WHEN TO USE: 5-8 weeks
GOBBI MOBILE – THIS WEBSITE was my source for making this. For the balls, I bought 2 sizes of styro balls from National Bookstore. The smaller one (1.5″ diameter) is actually the original size for this mobile, but I personally liked the bigger one (2″ if I remember correctly), so we did 3 of these mobiles (2 sets of the larger balls), haha! We did shades of orange, shades of blue, and shades of green. Gobbi Mobile is their introduction to the gradation of colors, and I personally find this the prettiest mobile. It was also the hardest one to make for me. Good thing my husband and niece helped me out and they actually finished this mobile, haha! I bought the threads from DMC. Thankfully, baby P loves these mobiles, too! I personally think he likes the orange better, but I guess I just give it more, that’s why. The green one is the smaller styro ball, and I keep it in the car – something for him to look at during heavy traffic.
To hang it, the darkest should be the lowest one, and the lightest should be the highest. The length of the threads for hanging it (that we followed) are as follows: 30 CM | 26 CM | 22 CM | 18 CM | 14 CM.
WHEN TO USE: 7-10 weeks
DANCER MOBILE – THIS WEBSITE was my source for this one. This, for me, was one of the easiest to make. I was not able to find hologram papers, so I just used metallic paper from National bookstore. I got the ones that were not too soft, though, and the back of the paper was plain white. So when I tested it with the natural air movement, there were times when the white would show instead of the metallic part. I revised my mobiles by making another set and pasting it at the back (to hide the white paper)! It’s fun watching these dancers! My son enjoys watching them, too, but not as much as his Octahedron set, I think. But it’s quite fun to watch him try to catch the dancers. Hanging them in different levels makes a beautiful set!
WHEN TO USE: 8-12 weeks
ANIMAL MOBILES – The butterflies are his current favorite, and who wouldn’t? They look so real, I love watching them, too. I hang them using a photo hanger from Typo. I got the FREE PRINTABLE from Midwest Montessori! We just printed it on photo paper, cut it out, and that’s it! Such a pretty mobile, trust me! For the ocean creatures, we just hung the existing plastic toys I have of a whaleshark and whales. Baby P doesn’t stay long in this one like he does with the butterflies, but he enjoys watching them, too!
WHEN TO USE: 10-16 weeks
PRIMARY COLORS MOBILE – This one is usually made in wood material, and is used later on for batting, holding, and manipulating. However, I chanced upon THIS PAGE and since I knew it would take less than 10 minutes to make, I made a paper version. The website I linked is in Spanish, but all you need to do is look at the photos and you’ll understand the step-by-step procedure (she used felt, by the way, which is a material that can also be used for manipulating – so if I find felt paper in primary colors, I’ll make one again)! Since it was very easy to make (and very quick), I dint really think much of it, but I noticed that baby P would always look at it on our Mobile Wall (you’ll see photo of the wall below), so I decided to put it down and introduce it to him. Wow, he loves it. He can also take his time with this mobile.
I made other mobiles (as you can see in our mobile wall photo below), but these are the ones made for watching. Next time, I’ll blog about the ones for manipulating!
- I wanted to keep the mobiles in a box before, and just take them out when they’re about to be used. But this is what we realized – it’s hard to keep them in a box – they get tangled (especially when you use nylon to hang them)! In the end, we put a lot of hooks on one wall and all the mobiles are just hanging there! However, do note that displaying them this way is not how Montessorians do it. They’re usually kept and one is singled out and used at a time.
- I gave the WHEN TO USE guide according to what I’ve read, BUT remember it is more important to observe the child. If your baby doesn’t show interest at all, maybe s/he’s not ready for that mobile yet. Don’t rush, and don’t pressure yourself or your baby. Wait it out, and introduce again. As of writing, baby P is turning 13 weeks, and yet, I’m still using all the mobiles (I alternate them) because he still shows sign of interest in each one. Just observe your child and let him/her guide you.
- If you’re still pregnant while reading this and you are interested in making these for your baby, the best time is NOW! Once the baby is out, it might be challenging to make these because some mobiles are time-consuming!
- Even with the right tools, we can make mistakes when it comes to usage. For example, there were times when the Octahedron mobiles would move so quickly because the electric fan would hit it, and baby P would shriek in delight, so I thought it was good…right? It’s a good thing a fellow mom who knows a lot more on Montessori pointed out to me that the mobiles were moving too fast, which meant that all baby P was seeing was a blur. Again, the point of these mobiles is to help them develop focus, and so I realized she was right (and that my intuition that it was moving too quickly was right, too! I mean, I keep reading that children’s brain process slower than adults – this is why it’s encouraged that we speak slower to them, so it just makes sense that the movements should also be slower for them to fully make sense of it!). For the mobiles, just allow natural wind for the movement. Your child’s shrieking in delight reaction may be fun to watch, but it’s not serving the purpose of the mobile.
That’s it for now. Hope this post was helpful for you! Have fun making the mobiles! All that stress in making it as perfect as possible will go away once you see your child concentrate and appreciate what you did! 🙂