I am super excited to finally share Baby V’s play space setup with you today!
Being a Montessori teacher and having had my own in-home daycare for preschoolers, has provided me with some essentials and hands-on activity ideas.
While I was pregnant with my daughter, we could not wait to meet her and I could not wait to create a playroom space for her!
(Baby V at 3 months old - heart melting...awwww)
She is growing so fast, time is flying! She loves books, clapping and bouncing to music, taking things apart, exploring environments indoors and outdoors, loves to be on the move, and of course pulling Mama’s hair, and those giggles and “Mama”, “Dada” sounds just make us all melt. As new parents, we are trying our best to do the best for her, take in every moment, the tears, the laughs, her giggles and smiles, and eagerness to be on the move (keeps us moving).
She is our world and it's amazing to share and embrace her milestones and moments with her.
Now, if you have followed me and read my previous posts, I enjoy doing research, like really enjoy it. As Baby V was approaching two months of age, my husband and I started to plan her playspace layout in our basement where we have previously completed some reno’s. She began playing in this space at about 4 months old. When thinking about creating this for our baby girl, it takes some planning and research, and I have done it for you to save you some time.
Hope that this post inspires you to incorporate even just a few of these items and takes the stress off of creating simple play area for your little one!
(*PLEASE NOTE with the items below and with babies and young children - SAFETY AND SUPERVISION IS REQUIRED).
How to set-up a play space for baby:
1. Choosing a comfortable space – choose an area in your home that you and your little one will be comfortable in. Allow for some room for floor work, storage and/or shelf of some kind, keeping in mind the temperature of the room (ie. Basement like ours, vs. a main floor room or bedroom) and essentials you would need for that ie. Carpet/mats. When we renovated the basement, we had incorporated a playspace area in our plans. Keep in mind to add in safety gates for stairs***
2. Storage items: keep it simple. Infants do not need too many items to play with especially at the age of 3-4 months. Set aside some baskets with toiletries (a few clothing items, blanket, wipes, diapers, change mat, burp cloths, first aid kit, etc.), and some baskets for play items. Keep it minimal so that play items don’t take up the whole space, which allows for more room for baby to explore and move around in, and less clean up/clutter at the end of playtime. I have a separate bin of her clothing items/diapers, etc., we keep this on the main floor as well.
3. Use one shelf for their play/educational items – following along with Montessori inspired recommendations, have a shelf AT THE CHILDS LEVEL – this allows not only for items to be at eye level and once the child is crawling etc., can access the items with guidance and supervision. It is also for safety reasons, as well as it provides a “prepared environment” where your little one can visually see the items of interest and explore them more easily according to what they are interested in.
This shelf - we bought three of them (actually a bedside shelf) on sale at IKEA:
4. Mats/carpets – keep in mind that your little one will be laying, moving around and playing on these items, so mats are a great option for a play surface and are easy to wipe clean.
This mat was more costly, has a huge playing surface (great for an open area like this one), easy to clean, thick, and is two-sided (another pattern on back).
Recently, we added in this mat/reading space. We had purchased a mat from an education supplier store (for the daycare), and added a thick blanket on top of it as well as some pillows. Add a basket with some clothing items and extra blankets, stuffed animals and you and your little one have a comfy place to read or practice tummy time/crawling.
5. Incorporate a large Mirror – a great way for baby to explore! As Baby V continues to grow, she loves to see her reflection in the mirror and make faces and sounds with Mama, Dada and family! This mirror is from Portugal, it has been in the family and she loves the texture of it. This is a great addition to have in your play space. Adjust height as your baby grows. *PLEASE ENSURE THAT THE MIRROR IS SECURED TO THE WALL AND CHILD IS SUPERVISED.
6. BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS! – As a teacher, and now a mom, I cannot say enough about incorporating books from a very young age into playtime, before bed and really anytime of the day! Books are fantastic for your little ones and READ READ READ as much as you can to them. First, you can have one or two in a basket on the shelf and rotate a few at a time.
7. Inspiration from nature – add in some plants or flowers to the space – for now, we added some faux ones.
Suuuper easy to make - Faux leaves + wooden frames + glue gun! Love these
8. Art Board – this is a great item to have for when your little one is an infant to much older – you can start by clipping various patterned pictures to it and then your little one can display them on this board. We purchased this cork board at Walmart. The Dollar store and IKEA have smaller ones too – you could combine a few together, and we painted it, added string and some clothespins.
For now, we have some pictures of black and white images soon to be filled with Baby V's art work!
9. As far as storage/storage bins, we did built ins under the stairs and put items in bins and baskets. Baskets and cloth bins are great for storage and be sure to rotate items every few days.
10. New Space layout to enjoy: Hope you found some inspiration to help guide you in setting up a simple play space for your little one!
She loves exploring her activities in this space and we love seeing her excitement each day!
Looking for some MORE TIPS on INCORPRATING A MONTESSORI SPACE IN YOUR HOME? Check out my top tips from my home daycare program in THIS previous POST.