Category Archives: On our shelf at 16 months of age

On our shelves at 16 months

S is now 16 months old and I am constantly thinking of new activities to set up for her. Most of these are easy and cheap to make and offer great learning opportunities for our young ones.


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Top shelves left to right:


Car tracker racer, S and her dad play together and love racing the cars down the track.

Basket of farm animals, at the moment we only look at each animal, talk about their body shape, we name them, and we learn what sound they make. This is an activity that could be used for many months to come from easy to complex. Some extensions for this activity are to learn what each animal eat, which continent (country) they are from, names of female, male, and babies, and to match them with picture cards and name cards (3 years old plus). Schleich is a great brand, expensive but quality. I went with a cheaper type thought.


Opening and closing lids, S shows so much interest in getting into my makeup bag to open and close makeup containers. So here I have a basket of empty containers for her to explore. This keeps her engaged for a long time.


Wooden board with pegs (Montessori material). It develops child’s hand coordination. It needs a great deal of concentration and perseverance. I introduced this to S yesterday and I could see how much effort was needed to hold a small peg and put it into a small hole holding the right end. To help S with this activity so it is not too hard I worked alongside her and put one in and let her put another one in. It was so lovely to be able to do a difficult task together with each other’s help.

Bottom shelf from left to right:

Balls in a muffin tray, for now we are only taking them out and putting them back in, but this could be used for sorting colours and counting later on.


Sensory fabrics, here I have put together a box of different type fabrics with different texture for S to explore (two of each fabric). Extension is to try to match fabrics and later on learn the name of each fabric and maybe even try to identify each fabric using a blindfold.


Pompoms in egg tray, to put in each compartment and take out, helps with hand-eye coordination, recognition of colour, pinch grip, and concentration.


Depositing coloured sticks, Daddy drilled some holes on the lid and sanded it to make it smooth and safe to touch. It is used to deposit small thin sticks into the jar. It helps alot with concentration, hand-eye coordination, and pinch grip. This is a great activity even for older children.

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Here is another cheap activity, fun and engaging and keeps my girl busy while I am cooking dinner, I first started with one tube, now there are two and as I finish using a roll of paper towel I will add another tube to make it harder and to keep her interest.

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S Loves her Russian Dolls, still trying to figure out which one goes in which but she can open them and finds it so exciting to discover a smaller doll inside




More toys ideas at 14 months

Some of these toys could be used well before 14 months of age (e.g. bead maze, deposit boxes, etc). I researched and bought these toys well before S was ready and kept them in the toys cupboard and brought each one out when I felt the time was right. S was using the bead maze since she was 6 months old. At the beginning she would only move one bead at a time and now she manipulates them in different ways. some of these toys such as the puzzles and the deposit boxes could be used together to make the activity more complex as the child becomes more capable. e.g. to provide more challenge we can simply combine the rectangular and square prism activities.  Image

Top shelf left to right:

discs on horizontal dowel and vertical dowels, these were designed by Montessori, purpose: hand-eye coordination, practice with different finger grasps, Indirect purpose: colour recognition, sorting and categorizing

Wooden pounding bench:

purpose: hand-eye coordination, basic of cause and effect, motor skills

drawing activity,

a selection of felt pens and a paper, I chose a brand that is easy for a 14 months old to hold and easily makes mark on paper

object permanence box with drawer and a single circle puzzle (Montessori materials)

I have explained about puzzles here, object permanence box purpose: develops hand-eye coordination, and indirectly allows child to experience object permanence, works on precise hand movement, wrist and finger control

Bottom shelf left to right:

Mommy made object permanence box with tray and ball (Montessori material)

purpose: the child has to drop the ball into the hole, the balls rolls down into the tray, she becomes familiar with the object permanence concept, refined hand movement meaning control of wrist and finger grasp

Montessori puzzles as explained here in this post

deposit box with rectangular prisms, I used formula tin to make this, purpose: to fit the prisms into the hole, preparation for shape sorting activity and shape recognition, this idea was to provide similar experience that an imbucare box provides, I could not justify spending hundreds of dollars to purchase all these Montessori materials.

deposit box with square prisms

on the left side of the shelf there is a box of Lego, a basket of musical instruments, bead maze which S loves and spends considerable amount of time working with, and a wagon as explained here


top shelf

a small bead maze (manipulative skills, hand-eye coordination, concentration, shapes and colours recognition, etc)

twisty worm (can be twisted at the joints, good for motor skills)

pull along toys

sound jars (rice in one jar and spice in the other, early sound recognition, preparation for using Montessori sound boxes, look here for more details)

bottom shelf:

treasure basket with kitchen utensils, just to explore different items in the kitchen and to become familiar with the way to hold them, preparation for using them later in the practical life activities, learning their names (language lessons)

chalk and blackboard for drawing