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As your child grows and becomes more mobile, it's essential to allow them the freedom to move and explore throughout their home. This means all the baby-proofing you did when they were infants will still be important as they grow — but you'll want to modify it as they develop to account for their increased mobility and need for more space.

Since potty training typically comes during the toddler phase, your Montessori efforts will need to extend to the bathroom because your child will be spending more time there. It's important to include a step stool, faucet extenders and a light switch extender — all with the goal of teaching your child to be self-sufficient in the bathroom.

As children grow, their level of play also evolves. To encourage their exploration of the world around them, there are a number of things you can do, including these three.

1. Keep Books and Toys on Low Shelves

Place a small selection of age-appropriate books and toys on low shelves — but no plastic toys. Keeping them on a low shelf will allow your toddler to help themselves to whatever catches their attention. Place each kind of toy in a different basket or bin so they start to learn everything has a rightful place. Rotate their toy and book selection every few weeks to keep things new and fresh.

2. Hang Interesting Artwork at Eye-Level

Whether it's a print from one of the greats or a framed picture your child or an older sibling drew, exposing your toddler to art and beauty is a great way to stimulate their mind.

3. Create Seasonal Nature Trays

Each season, assemble a tray of items you've found outdoors for your child to touch and explore. When you include your child in collecting the items from your yard, this even becomes another moment for learning and exploration. Just remember to make sure the trays don't contain anything that could be a choking hazard or make them sick if it ends up in their mouth. If you aren't sure where to start with a nature tray, consider some of these seasonal ideas:

  • Spring: Green leaves, moss, assorted flowers and plants, seeds, fake eggs

  • Summer: Shells, small boats, starfish, flowers, fruit, herbs

  • Fall: Gourds, apples, leaves, acorns, dried corn, books about fall, real or artificial mums

  • Winter: Paper snowflakes, evergreen branches, snow globe, pictures of winter scenes

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