Simple Montessori Bell Mobile

Phoebe is now 3 1/2 months old, and the original mobile I made for her, the Pom Pom Mobile, is no longer very interesting for her. When I put her under it, she is bored. She knows how to make it spin. She knows all its pretty colors. She’s very familiar with the baby in the mirror.

These days, Phoebe is learning how to grasp and hold things, and she needs a mobile that will help challenge her in these areas.

I give you: the Simple Montessori-inspired Bell Mobile:

simple montessori bell mobileI use the term “mobile” very loosely here. Truly, it’s just a jingle-bell on an elastic that’s hooked to the ceiling. Let me walk you through the features of the mobile…

Except for the bell, the mobile is black. I used black string and black elastic because I wanted to create a lot of contrast against the nursury’s while ceiling in order to draw attention to the bell.

simple montessori bell mobile elastic

The bell fits easily in Phoebe’s hand. When she hold it, she can shake it like a rattle, and when she lets it go or knocks it, it jingles.

simple montessori bell mobile elastic

The elastic is important because it allows Phoebe to pull on the bell without pulling it out of the ceiling, and it also makes the bell jump around in a fun and unteresting manner once she releases it.

I created several knots in the string that hooks the bell to the ceiling so that I can adjust it as Phoebe needs different heights. For now, I’m keeping the bell low and easy to grasp or knock with her fists.

simple montessori bell mobile elastic

The bell is easy for Phoebe to reach

simple montessori bell mobile elastic

A simple knot connects the elastic to the string

simple montessori bell mobile elastic

Several knots at the top of the string make it easy to adjust the bell’s height

SO HOW DOES PHOEBE LIKE IT?

I made the Bell Mobile last night and introduced it to her this morning. Even though she was distracted by teething pain (yes, at 3 months old she’s already teething), she liked it immediately. When Phoebe sees something new and interesting, she gives this cross-eyed look, puts her mouth in an “ooo” shape, and bobbles her head back and forth. That was her reaction when I showed her the bell. (Mom thinks, “Yay! She likes it!”)

http://darlingillustrations.com/2011/montessori-pom-pom-mobile/

So, I help her get the bell into her hands a few times so she gets what the purpose of it is, and then I leave her under it to come blog.

Phoebe starts to cry.

“Huh,” I thought. “I used to leave her under the Pom Pom Mobile, and she’d amuse herself forever. Well, for 20 minutes, at least.” But, of course, this is a different mobile. This is a new mobile. And it is a challenging one. So, I laughed at myself, and went in to lie next to her, helping her explore her new toy. I adjusted the height of the bell to make it easier to grasp (I’d hung it too high, originally). I steadied the bell and let her reach for it, or I guided it over to her little hands. And she loved it. Grasping the bell and shaking it was her favorite thing to do.

MAKE IT YOUR OWN

This is what you need:

http://darlingillustrations.com/2011/montessori-pom-pom-mobile/– A bell that fits your baby’s hand. I bought a package from Michael’s. I figure there are other projects I can dream up that will make good use of them. This package of 14 bells, size 25 mm, cost $3.99.

– Black elastic. I bought the thinnest Michael’s had: a 1/2 inch braided elastic, 1.5 yards long. $1.69.

– Black string. I had this lying around the house.

– Scissors. (duh)

Just knot the bell to the elastic, and the elastic to the string. I tied the string into a loop, and then knotted one end to the elastic, that way it was easier to create varied lengths on the other end.

And that’s it! Simple. Easy. Cheap.

UPDATE

My friend, Emily, educated me a little bit today about the bell-elastic concept. In her own words:

“Bells are really for before they have the motor control to grasp on purpose, so if they happen to knock it, it makes a nice tingly sound, which is good feedback. Then they get better at “aiming” their flailing arms to make it jingle on purpose. So then once theycan aim, you use a ring mobile to practice grasping.”

Thanks Emily! Next project: ring mobile!

By ekwetzel
2011-07-26

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