I stumbled across the Montessori model of childhood education during my pregnancy. The focus on supporting the child’s learning and development by meeting him where he’s at, at a given stage really appealed to me.
The earliest of Montessori practices used in the life of a child is the use of mobiles. There are different mobiles for use primarily during the first four months of life that are designed to appropriately stimulate and challenge the baby as he gains skills to cope with his new world, from the black and white Munari mobile at the beginning, to the hummingbirds and whales mobiles as baby approaches the four month mark.
Purchasing ready-made mobiles can get quite pricey, especially when so many of them are so simple to make. The one I had the most fun with was the Octahedron mobile. This is the second mobile in the series for use from approximately 5-8 weeks of age. It is made up of primary colours and designed to capture baby’s attention as he begins to see colours and depth in his new world. Little Miss still enjoys this one!
- Octahedron pattern (below)
- pen or pencil
- three sheets of cardstock or heavy construction paper, one in each of red, blue, and yellow, preferably metallic
- fishing line
- glue stick
- three paper clips
- 1/2″ dowel, no more than 12″ in length
Print out the pattern, and cut it out!
Trace out the pattern on each colour of cardstock. I used a ruler to “connect the dots” to create the internal lines as you need these for folding. Be sure to trace the pattern on what will be the inside of the figure so no lines are visible on the finished product.
Once the pattern is fully traced, cut out the shape of each colour. Fold along the internal lines, always folding with the traced lines to the inside.
Once you have made all your folds, begin gluing the tabs in place to create the octahedron shape, leaving the last one at the top of the shape open.
Tie a piece of fishing line to a paper clip and leave a good length (this will attach to the dowel to hang each octahedron). Place the paper clip inside the octahedron and run the fishing line out the top. Glue final tab in place around the paper clip. The paper clip lends a little bit of weight to the figure to help it hang better, as well as functioning well to hold the fishing line to the octahedron.
Take the dowel and tie a length of fishing line around it securely about 1″ from the end. Leaving some slack (but not too much!), tie the other end of that piece of fishing line about 1″ from the other end of the dowel. This will be part of the hanging mechanism. Take a second piece of fishing line and tie a large loop going up from the middle of first piece of fishing line now tied to either end of the dowel. This loop will hook onto your mobile hanger to suspend the mobile.
Arrange the three octahedra in the order you would like them to hang from the dowel. Attach them to the dowel at varying heights and space them so to keep the dowel balanced.
Make any adjustments needed to balance the mobile, tighten all knots (you can add a dab of glue to them to ensure they stay), and trim all excess fishing line.
And you’re done! Simple and easy to make, especially once you get the hang of folding the shapes. Materials cost me less than $5.00 and Little Miss has gotten hours of enjoyment out of it!