As of lately i've been researching for some educational/developmental toys for Mason. I looked into the Montessori approach and discovered how amazing and beneficial it is to children. I didn't think that there would be any activities, or toys for infants that would follow the Montessori approach, but after getting some useful links from Randalin over at Harvesting Kale, I found some toys and ways to start using Montessori in our home! I also discovered some cool toys that I've already put on Mason's Christmas list. After searching through these links I found a blog that was helpful in showing me step by step on how to make a montessori puzzle ball for the babe! The Montessori puzzle ball is basically made for tiny little hands with many crevices that babies are able to grab a hold of. It also promotes using both hands and helps utilize their wrists by handing it back and forth between hands. I thought i'd give it a try and sew one myself. And here are the steps...
Step 2- Cut all the circles into fourths.
Step 3- Now just on the patterned fabric, cut out ellipses.
Step 4- Place one patterned ellipse on top of a solid quarter. Make sure the patterned piece is facing inward.
Step 5- Sew the curved top. Its recommended that you start in the middle, that way you can double stitch the entire thing to make it more durable. (I was on Mason's napping time, which is unpredictable so I didn't do the double stitching).
Step 6- Place another white quarter on top of the piece, making sure you tuck in the part you just sewed so that you don't sew it together. Now sew that piece as you did the last.
Step 7- Sew together the sides, make sure you leave enough of an opening to stuff it.
Step 8- Carefully turn the entire thing inside out. Making sure to get all the corners puffed.
Step 9- Now stuff it! I used some allergen free polyester. Stitch up the opening and repeat for all the pieces. You should have 12 patterned ellipses, and 24 solid quarters.
Step 10- Once you have three pieces done, you can stitch them together so that all corners touch.
And finally, you will have four sections of three done and you just stitch them all together. With all corners touching. This can be done by hand. I used needle and thread for the last 2 steps. I also added a bell in the middle so that it would make some noise when Mason played with it.
Its a lot harder than it seems, but it gets easier as you progress. It took me about 2 hours to make. I started right after Mason went to sleep and finished in the morning. He might still be too young for it, but he does somewhat try to grab it. So far, so good!