Montessori with your 12-month-old to 15 months old is such an exciting period! This has got to be one of my favorite stages of growth for toddlers. They are becoming more and more independent and you as a parent get to help them along the way!

I’m going to dive right in here. I’m going to give you everything you’re going to need to get started with Montessori with your 12-month-old. Let’s go!


Montessori with your 12 month old to 15 month old is such an exciting time! Find out what you need to do to prepare your environment, what sensitive periods to watch out for and all sorts of activities and materials ideas to stock up on!

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Montessori with your 12 month old – 15-month-old




First thing’s first with Montessori, you need to start by preparing your environment. Even if you’ve been practicing Montessori in your home for a while now you still need to prepare your environment for each of your child’s new developmental stages. This will help support your child through his/her sensitive periods which we will talk about below.

By now you should’ve switched your child to a floor bed. The low bed offers your child a better perception of their environment and allows them to move forward in their path towards independence.

An area for feeding should also be set up for your child by this time. It should include items such as a weaning table, weaning chair, and dining set (weaning set).

The area for work should be set up with aids for independence, age-appropriate toys and materials, and practical life activities. Use these aids for independence to start preparing your area for work:

  • Child Sized Chair
  • Child Sized Table
  • Stools
  • Child-Sized Wardrobe
  • Low Shelves
  • Learning Tower

You’re going to want to set up an area for self-care at this time as well. This is normally done in the bathroom where other members of the family partake in self-care. You can add a small sink or a stool to access the sink. You’ll want to make sure everything your child uses for self-care such as a toothbrush, hairbrush, hand towel, soap, etc are all within reach so he/she can independently access them.




When you start to fill your low shelves please remember that you don’t want to overwhelm your child with too many choices. Anywhere between 6-12 toys or materials is a good number to have out at one time. Also, keep in mind that rotating the materials every few weeks is highly suggested.

Using an educational program such as Monti Kids will be of great help. This program is designed to take the guesswork out of finding Montessori materials suitable for your toddler. Learn more about Monti Kids and how they can help you find age-appropriate Montessori materials by clicking here! Use code HOLLY60 to get $60 off your first order.


Here are just a few materials your 12-15-month-old may be interested in:

  • Play Silks
  • Ball Tracker
  • Balls
  • Egg Shakers
  • 1-2 Piece Puzzles
  • Schleich Animals
  • Bubbles
  • Object Permanence Box
  • Learning Tower
  • Child Safe Knife
  • Books
  • Scrubbing Brush
  • Child Sized Table & Chairs
  • Wooden Trays
  • Child-Sized Glass
  • Child-Sized Dining Set
  • Vertical Dowel




Upon beginning a new activity or presenting a new material you need to remember that your child is only just learning to concentrate. As your child grows older he/she will be able to concentrate for longer periods of time. 

It is also important to note not to correct the child when they are concentrating. This will not allow them to build the skill of concentration. Instead, wait until they are finished and model the correct way to use the material for them continuing to present and model the activity or material to them each time until they correctly use the item. 

Here are some activities your 12-15 month old may enjoy:

  • Climbing
  • Swinging
  • 1-2 Piece Wooden Puzzles
  • Sand Play
  • Using Open & Close Items
  • Singing
  • Rhymes
  • Point & Make Animal Sound
  • Playing Posting Games
  • Transferring Work
  • Washing Station
  • Animal Watching
  • Puddle Splashing
  • Mud Painting

Click here to enroll in our 5 Days To A Montessori Home Challenge.




Practical life activities are important because they allow your child to feel part of a community. They promote sensorial exploration, language development, and independence.

Start to introduce practical life activities to your child by first observe your child’s interests. Present the activity to your child remembering to practice beforehand. Starting with one activity and building more and more.

Start by trying one of these practical life activities and building from there:

  • Washing Fruit or Vegetables
  • Peeling Bananas
  • Stirring with a Spoon
  • Drinking from a Glass
  • Wiping Table with Cloth
  • Using a Fork or Spoon to Eat
  • Brushing Teeth
  • Brushing Hair
  • Washing Hands
  • Loading the Washing Machine
  • Putting Dirty Clothes in Hamper
  • Putting Activities Away
  • Throw Away Trash
  • Berry Picking
  • Watering Garden
  • Gather Leaves

Click here to grab a free Practical Life Activity List.




The child’s absorbent mind (0 – 6) is driven by what Maria Montessori identified as sensitive periods in development. Follow your child’s lead for his/her cues of sensitive periods beginning. Try not to underestimate your child’s ability or work. If he/she is doing certain work over and over, they are probably in their sensitive period for that work/task.

Here’s a list of sensitive periods your child may be experiencing at this age:

  • Movement Birth-6 Years
    • Gross & Fine Motor Development Birth-2.5 Years
  • Language Birth-6 Years
  • Sensory Skills Birth-5 Years
    • Small Objects 1 Year – 3.5 Years
  • Emotional Control Birth-2.5 Years
  • Toilet Learning 12 Months-18 Months
  • Order 1 Year – 3.5 Years

Learn more about sensitive periods and how they affect your child by clicking here.


Remember that your child is in their first plane of development. Maria Montessori described this time as the absorbent mind. Your child is watching you. You should be modeling the behavior you desire your child to have.


Ready to take the next step into Montessori living? Join us in The Montessori Learning Center to learn everything you need to know about Montessori with your 12 month old! Click the image below to learn more.



What questions do you have about Montessori with your 12 month old? Pop them in the comments below so I can help you get started with your Montessori journey!


Disclaimer: This isn’t the end all be all for Montessori with your 12 month old to 15 month old. Montessori is largely based on following your child’s lead, knowing that every child is unique, there can not be one set standard for every child.  Use this information as it suits your child.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Ami Reply

Thanks for all the information!!
Love you!!

Best regards!

Laura Short Reply

Hi Holly,
I am having trouble keeping my 12 month old son challenged because he masters materials quickly. I am having success introducing practical life activities, and he makes up a lot of games on his own (sliding thin magnets between the doors of the fridge and freezer, hanging things on all the kitchen knobs, etc). But even still he wanders around the house fussing because he is bored all of the time. I have set up a stimulating environment as best I can (musical instruments, natural materials, books, etc), but Montessori materials are expensive and when your kid masters them quickly, it gets more expensive. Do you have any suggestions for keeping a fast learner challenged without breaking the bank? Thank you!

    Colleen H Reply

    Hello Laura!

    Honestly practical life and making up their own fun is absolutely great! Even when we set up shelves with Montessori materials the goal isn’t to keep them occupied at all times, rather the goal is to provide materials that fill the needs and activities that they are already drawn to. If he is mastering the materials quickly and moving on then you’d want to try more challenging activities until you find the sweet spot of not too difficult but not too easy. Other things that can occur, is that the material simply isn’t something they are currently drawn to. Many children will continue to use a material even after mastered. A phase of high gross motor needs is also common at this age in which any stationary materials will be ignored.

    As far as the items themselves, you don’t need specific Montessori materials. They are great if that fits in your budget, but you can easily convert items you already have, DIY materials, or thrift used items.

    TTL Team Member

Mallary Reply

Hi Holly!
I’ve been implementing Montessori practices in our home since my son was born. He is now 13 months old. The biggest issue I’m having currently is that he is still putting anything and everything small in his mouth. I would love to start transfer work like your picture above with the dried beans but I KNOW all of them would end up popped into his mouth. Any suggestions to helping him move on from this or am I just too early? I’m a first time mama and appreciate any advice!

    Colleen H Reply

    Honestly the easiest way I found to do this was to embrace the mouthing and combine transferring and practical life. For instance, if I’m giving them a snack of cheerios, instead of just giving them a pre-filled bowl, I would set up a work to let them transfer them to their own bowl. Then step back and let them explore. The same if I’m making dinner. It’s really easy to shred a little bit of carrot that I’m already chopping and set up a quick activity for them.

Amy Reply

Hi Holly,
Thank you for the great info! I’ve been trying to implement Montessori into our lives since my daughter was a couple months old. I had been having my daughter sleeping on her own, but by the time she was about 10 months old she began to cry randomly throughout the night. This had not happened before as she had been a great sleeper. The only way we found that would console her was having her sleep next to one of us. She then got “attached” to me. She is now 14 months and will not sleep without me by her side, while she pulls/plays with my hair. If she’s in her own mattress she wakes up within the hour or so and nothing comforts her like my hair. Do you have any advice for something like this? Thank you in advance!

    Colleen H Reply

    Sleep is such a hard subject, because we all come at it from different views and it can vary so much per each child. I would try to take yourself out of the situation but only gradually as she is ready. For instance, in the beginning I would still lay next to her until she is asleep, and then leave (or transfer). When she wakes up again I would again lay with her until she falls back asleep and leave again. Basically to build the new association that if you need me I will come, and you are safe. However, if this is too many wakes ups for your body to handle each night, I’d give myself the grace to try it a few times each night and then prioritize my own sleep and not leave her side again. Hopefully with that reassurance she will start to sleep in longer stretches without you. Once that happens, I’d try to phase out her playing with my hair. Maybe she can for a little bit to wind down, but only until she’s really drowsy and then she falls asleep on her own without it. Then I’d try to transition myself further and further out of the equation as possible. Maybe just sitting next to the bed, maybe in the same room but in a designated chair, etc.. Hope this helps!

    TTL Team Member

Tere Reply

Holly, thank you so much for this!
As a first time mom to a premature baby, we have given him all the help he can get to develop, and he has thrived with Montessori activities!
He’s 4 now, and you could never tell he was a preemie!

    Colleen H Reply

    That’s amazing! Thank you for sharing! Your comment was such a great way to start my week 🙂

Kate Reply

Hi Holly!

I am a first time mom. I have a 13 month old baby girl. I want to start teaching her the montessori way and I am so happy to come across your site. My baby is very clingy. She always wants me beside her when she’s playing or even watching Cocomelon. I don’t know how to make her learn independent play. It’s very hard for me to work on some chores because I can’t leave her alone.

    Colleen H Reply

    Independent play is a long journey, and it will take time to develop. The first thing I would consider is their play space. You want it to be calming with only a few toys displayed. Young children can become overwhelmed quickly, and fewer items will let them engage deeper and build focus. The next thing I would do is make myself boring. If they want me to be next to them I will happily oblige, but I won’t really interact and will simply observe instead. Overtime, I’d shift myself a little further away, still in the same room but doing my own activity, and slowly build up time. At this age you wouldn’t really expect more than a few minutes of independent play.
    TTL Team Member

Alyse Reply

I have 13 month old twins. I feel like they get especially distracted by each other and it makes it more difficult for them to focus. They are always watching each other and not me.

I also want to transition them to floor beds from their cribs,but they love and feel safe in their cribs and don’t seem to have any interest in sleeping in a more open environment. Any tips?

    Colleen H Reply


    In the moments when they’re distracted by each other could you bring them in and turn that into an observation moment? They learn so much by watching and mimicking at this stage, even from each other! “Oh you see what they’re doing? Lets quietly watch them work.”

    For the crib to floor bed transition, I’d try to start out slowly. For instance, maybe just at nap times to begin with, or perhaps some quiet time reading on their new beds and then sleeping in their cribs until both spots are associated with calm comfort.

    TTL Team Member

Masego Reply

I honestly feel as though I am making my daughter unproductive. I’m a working mother and thus have to rely on nannies to give her the required development tools but they need the tools and the structure. I feel she’s getting less and less able to take on the teachings. I fear I don’t know how to schedule a Montessori day or if she’s even interested in Montessori

    Holly Reply

    Can you work with your child on the weekend? Depending on age but even just 1 hour a day of Montessori activities is perfect. The rest is just following the Montessori principles such as freedom of choice, respecting your child, and freedom of movement. Holly xx

Kristen Reply

Can you explain to me a little better how the sensitive period works for toilet learning? My LO is about to turn 15 months and is still in diapers but tells me when he’s pooped. I am a Montessori newbie and know very very little!

Monique Reply

Hi there
My son will be 14months soon.
I am a stay at home working mom. I follow his lead of interests during the day, but I would like to find out how long is suggested to JUST constructively do activities with him? He enjoys exploring and learning by himself, but I want to spend a specific time only working with him. Is it really necessary if I follow his lead during the day?

    Holly Reply

    Hi Monique,
    I would try to aim for an hour a day of set Montessori work where you observe him while he works with materials. Then throughout the rest of the day, you can also observe his interests in other ways such as interests in practical life like getting dressed or toileting. With those observations, you can decide what materials to put out on his shelves. You don’t have to be working one on one with him all day long. 😉
    Holly xx

Josephine Anderson Reply

Hi Holly,

I want to set up a practical grooming area for my toddler and baby. Does it need to be set up in the bathroom? We dont have a lot of space in our current home

    Holly Reply

    I would set it up close to the bathroom or in the bathroom if you can. You don’t have to set up a whole different area if your child is tall enough to reach the sink with a step stool that would work. There is also the option of hanging something on the wall such as a mirror and a couple of hooks for brushes, towels, etc. When space is limited it can be hard to find solutions but they are out there! Let me know what you decide!

Alicia Ruiz Reply

Hi!! I’ve had my baby in a Montessori environment since very very young. He will be 12 months in a week and I’ve been trying for him to use 1 shape puzzles, the coin box or putting in pegs, but he just takes everything out and throws them or uses the activity in any other way. Should I take them away from him? Should I keep trying?

    Holly Reply

    Have you started with an object permanence box? I would start there and work your way up to the coin box. If he is throwing the materials I would take them out of rotation for a few weeks and then bring them back out and see how he goes with them. Once your child is ready you will know because it will just click for them and they will be able to use the material over and over. If you want to keep something out like the one-piece shape puzzle I would continue modelling how to use it correctly after he is finished playing with it. He may not understand what the material is even used for. Let me know how it goes!

Misty Reply

My 10month old boy isn’t talking much. He’ll say bye bye Dada. He does jabber. But sometimes I think he doesn’t even focus I’ll try to get him look in mirror and I’ll read to him and point. I guess he’s just still to young. I also have a 10 yr old son. Yes i knw many years apart.

    Holly Reply

    Your child has plenty of time to reach the milestones of pointing and speaking more clearly. Generally around the age of 9-12 months children will start to use their index finger to point. Around the same age, 9-12 months is when children start using “Mama” and “Dada” for specific people. Sounds like your boy is right on track! If you want to learn a bit more about Montessori at home I encourage you to join us in our Montessori By Age 0-12 months Workshop this week: http://thistoddlerlife.teachable.com/p/montessori-workshop012/

Evelyn Reply

Hi Holly,
My son is 13 months old and I am having trouble helping him keep things on the table. When he is eating he throws the plate or pours the water on to the table. Same happens with toys he just like to throw them. What can I do to keep him from throwing things.

    Holly Reply

    Hi Evelyn,
    Throwing is very common at this age. I would encourage you to set up an activity that allows your child to throw appropriate materials such as a plush basketball and hoop for indoors. As for throwing food and drinks, I would I see it as a sign that he is no longer hungry or thirsty and I would take the plate or cup from him if he throws them leaving him with nothing to eat or drink until the next meal. Your child will quickly learn that if he throws his food he will no longer be able to eat it. Hopefully this helps!

Susan Reply

Hi holly
I’ve got the shelves and weaning table/chair since my baby was 11 months old .now she is 14 months old .
But I’ve seen her with two probs I have now -she walks off from a meal quickly as she’s independent and not in a high chair -and she gets cranky I feel Coz she’s not eating well .
Another thing is she starts a work sitting with me and after 10seconds of trying it out she walks off With a material .
She lives to love around and hardly ever sits to do anything except maybe read a book.
Pls do help me understand what’s best for her .

    Holly Reply

    It sounds like you have a lovely set up for your toddler. Remember that your child is still learning the skill of concentration and a young toddler can not often sit for long periods of time. She may be interested in some maximum effort work such as transferring a jug of water to water some outdoor plants? This will allow her to move but also work on those concentration skills as well.

Barbara Meinel Reply

Thank you for posting this! I’ve been guiding and posting about education to young mothers here in Albania about Montessori and Reggio. I hope some of them will follow your posts.

    Holly Reply

    I’m so happy to hear that these articles are of help to you and those you are teaching. Montessori is such a beautiful way of life. 🙂
    Holly xx

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