Montessori Baby: Benefits of a Play Tunnel

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In my experience older babies really explode into movement during the months surrounding their first birthdays. The path looks different for each baby but often it’s something like crawling, pulling to stand, climbing, and walking. There are honestly so many different gross motor play options that you can add to your home to support these new milestones. In our home, we’ve recently added a play tunnel for Penelope. The benefits of a play tunnel have made this simple toy totally worth it for our Montessori baby. 

Play tunnels are super option for Montessori homes for a variety of reasons. First, they are really fun and appealing for a large age group of children. From crawling babies, all the way through early elementary, play tunnels encourage specific active play that really engages the senses. 

Play Tunnel Benefits for Montessori Babies

Montessori baby sits upright inside rainbow play tunnel and smiles

So, why consider a play tunnel for your Montessori baby? Well, because they encourage movement, and we know that movement is how babies learn. But, beyond just movement, play tunnels encourage crawling! Crawling is so incredibly important for babies and children because it helps create connections between different sections of their brains. Even as babies move past the crawling stage, this movement remains important. 

“Crawling is an remarkably sophisticated movement pattern. You see, crawling engages all three midlines simultaneously, which not only gets baby where he wants to go, but also supercharges the growth of the pathways that span the left and right hemispheres and makes those pathways stronger and faster in the process.” A Moving Child is a Learning Child
Maria Montessori stressed the importance of movement for children on their paths toward adulthood. But more than that she also observed that young children were sensory based learners. That is, they need to experience the world through their senses. Play tunnels are awesome because they engage two sensory systems that are often forgotten about by (or unknown to) parents – the vestibular system and the proprioceptive system

Rocking and rolling inside the tunnel activate the vestibular system. Crawling/slithering/being on the ground activate the proprioceptive system. Hauling the tunnel from place to place can help a child reach maximum effort and is also good proprioceptive work. As the baby gets older these benefits remain and the tunnel can be used as part of longer obstacle courses and gross motor play. 

Montessori Friendly Play Tunnel Options

There are so many play tunnels on the market at a variety of different price points. We have struggled in the past with the wiring breaking through the fabric, so I’m a little leery of investing a lot of money into a tunnel. However, there are some really nice options available on the market at a variety of different price points. 

Baby sits backwards in sunny play tunnel in her Montessori home

When I’m considering a play tunnel, I want something that is going to withstand gross motor, active play. I want something that is beautiful and calls to the child to come explore. I want something that can be tied up and easily stored away when not in use. 

We personally decided on this one from Discount School Supply because I loved it’s size. It is shorter which I find more accomplishable and appealing for babies. It’s also a little more high quality than those we have tried in the past. Plus it was on sale when I got it and I’m a sucker for anything rainbow! 

There are so many benefits to play tunnels for Montessori babies. I’m really glad we added one back into our environment and I look forward to using it for a long time! Do your children enjoy a play tunnel?

There are many sensory and movement benefits to adding a play tunnel to your Montessori home. Read about why this gross motor toy is perfect for your Montessori baby!


This post is week 47 of my Montessori baby series featuring Penelope. 

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