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