Montessori Tactile mobiles
Updated: Feb 22
If you have been practising Montessori since birth, you will of started with the Visual mobiles. Which are all about refining the visual skills, like discriminating colours, focus and tracking movement. The Visual mobiles help your baby develop the skills needed to start exploring the Tactile mobiles. If you want to know more about the Visual mobiles, you can read my blog post about the Visual mobiles here.
Tactile mobiles are when the baby can start batting, grasping, kicking and really start to physically interact with the objects in front of them, rather than just watching. Each one is there to encourage their hand-eye coordination, concentration, fine motor and gross motor skills, and teach them how to manipulate their hands to grasp and do more purposeful movements to explore their environment.
Like the visual mobiles, the tactile mobiles also go in a certain order, although the timing is a little less specific as it depends how your baby is developing their skills. But I will outline when they are likely to be introduced and in what order below. Also like the visual ones, they can get pricey and you could easily DIY most of the Montessori mobiles. If you do want to buy them, ill link where you can purchase each one below.
Bell on a ribbon
It is usually introduced around 12 weeks, or whenever the baby has started to reach for and bat the visual mobiles intentionally. This is the one you'll see most often being used as the first tactile mobile, and for good reason. Because the bell makes a noise, it helps the baby to associate what their hand is doing with the sound of the bell as it moves. It adds extra sensory involvement by being able to hear the bell. They can kick it, bat it and grasp it as they want to. Although you'll probably notice they find batting it most enjoyable!
Ring on a ribbon
Ring on a ribbon is very similar to the bell, except it's a bit tougher to grasp and also doesn't provide the sound. It also is easier for them to see it changing direction. This is useful to help the baby understand that they can also move and touch things without it making sound. The ring doesn't have to be wooden, although it is more Montessori aligned. You could also use a plastic ring, or if your baby is teething a metal ring that's safe for mouthing would be a good alternative. You can purchase the ring and bell on a ribbon together here or you can very easily just purchase the bell and ring to attach to some ribbon or elastic.
Wooden discs in primary colours
The third tactile mobile is usually introduced around 4-5 months. They are primarily for batting as they spin and swing really well when they baby bats them. I'm sure we've all noticed babies and young kids are fascinated by spinning things. It also has the three primary colours which makes it more interesting because there is now 3 things to touch, and to see how each one looks as it spins depending on the colour. Eventually they will start to grasp them, and it's usually a good indicator to introduce the interlocking wooden discs around this time. You can purchase it here or make your own using cardboard!
Wooden bell mobile
This is the last of the tactile mobiles, and hopefully you've noticed by now the precision and beauty of how Montessori materials build onto each other. Each of the previous tactile mobiles laid the foundation for your baby to be able to explore this mobile. This one combines the sound, the ring, and the added elements of the previous mobiles into one fascinating mobile for your baby to explore. The wooden ring is attached to a wooden ball that when the baby grasps and moves the ring hits the surrounding bells to make it chime. You can purchase it here
Now, although I have put these in a particular order, it is not essential you do it in this order. Some people stick to this order, others don't. Really it's up to you, however I would recommend leaving the wooden bell mobile until the other 3 have been explored at least a little bit. It just makes it a lot easier for them to explore and also if you start with this mobile, it leaves less time for the others to capture their attention and be explored because this one literally has it all!
Remember, always follow the child. These are rough ages but you should always follow your child on their personal development timeline and when they are ready for each activity. Hopefully this has made the tactile mobiles a little less confusing for you.
Disclosure: As an Amazon associate I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases through links on this page at no cost to you :)
I believe Montessori is for everyone, I want to help everyone bring a little more Montessori into their homes and lives.
Montessoraus mama. x