The Montessori cube chair is a chair that evolves with the growth and free movement needs of babies and children. It is a three-position three-phase chair that can be progressively adapted in height to be used by a baby or a child of 1, 2 or 3 years of age.
It is a square chair in the shape of a cube, inspired by Montessori Pedagogy, made of wood, with a seat in two positions, one lower and one higher (depending on how we place it). The chair also has a backrest and sides that add security and are very useful for the child to hold on to them, climb, and keep the posture… it has so many great features:
- Cube chairs can be a safe choice for “clumsy” kids. Kids fall. It happens to all of them. The design makes it very stable, so it is harder to tip over. The rounded edges are safer than the sharp wooden corners on standard activity tables.
- A cube chair is also a table! That’s right; turn it over, and it is now a square table that doesn’t tip over easily when your toddler leans on it.
- Get two: Now you have a chair and table set! Or use them pushed together as a larger table or a stable surface for your child to cruise around to practice walking. That texture will help them maintain their grip. The chairs can stack for storage, but you really will be using them all the time. You won’t be storing them.
- It has two seat heights. When your child is younger, use the lower seat with a higher back and sides for support and safety. When your child gets taller, use the other side for a slightly higher seat with less back support.
- The cube chair is quite stable for kids that need to hold onto armrests to get in and out of a chair. The truly therapeutic chairs, such as the Rifton line, are the ultimate in stability, but they are very expensive, very heavy, and made of solid wood. They are often rejected by kids and families for their institutional look. If you can use a cube chair, everyone will be happier.
What positions does the Montessori cube chair have?
These are really versatile as they can be used as a stool by older children and adults, they can be used as a step stool, and can also be used as a table. The only downside is they can be pulled right up to the table but as the sides are so high, the chair does not side under the table. It has a nice deep seat and the child is secure once they are in it, it’s hard for them to fall out.
There are no requirements for the cube chair, they come in lots of different heights. The Montessori cube chair, being an evolving chair, adapts to the moment our child or baby is in. Usually, the positions in which it can be placed are as follows:
- Chair mode with the seat low to 14 cm from the ground. For the first movements of climbing, raising the legs, or sitting down.
- Chair mode with the seat high at 19 cm from the ground. An evolution of the previous state at a higher height.
- Small table mode with a height of 30 cm or it can also be used as a chair with a seat at 30 cm (without a backrest).
Why have a Montessori cube chair?
The Montessori cube chair is a material that promotes autonomy in the movement of babies and children in a safe way. It is therefore an element in the purest Pikler style, which gives the baby the leading role in its motor development.
The Montessori cube chair is designed to encourage a baby’s autonomy from a very early age. At first, they will use it as a support, as it is a heavy chair and there is no danger of tipping over. Later, if we allow the baby freedom of movement, he will gradually learn to get in and out of the chair by himself. In addition, it has two seat heights and by turning it upside down, the baby will choose the most comfortable way to sit, so it adapts to the baby’s development. It is a very practical and useful chair up to the age of 3 or 4, and it will depend on the child’s height, although it can also be used as a table later on.
Which kids don’t do well with these chairs?
Children who use cube chairs have to be able to sit without assistance and actively use their hip and thigh muscles to stabilize their feet on the floor. Kids with such significant trunk instability that they need a pelvic “seatbelt” and/or lateral supports won’t do well with this chair. A cube chair isn’t going to give them enough postural support. If you aren’t sure if your child has these skills, ask your occupational or physical therapist. They could save you money and time by giving you more specific seating recommendations for your child.
Your child may be too small or too large for a cube chair. Kids who were born prematurely often remain smaller and shorter for the first years, and a child needs to be at least 28-30 inches tall (71-76 cm) to sit well in a cube chair without padding. You may add a firm foam wedge to activate trunk muscles if they can use one and still maintain their posture in this chair or use the Stokke-style chair or the Rifton chair until your child has developed enough control to take advantage of a cube chair.
If you are considering ordering a little chair, we recommend doing it as soon as possible, perhaps even as young as six months. This way you have it ready for when the child can use it and get the most out of it.
Child-size tables and chairs are so important to the infant, they tell the child this is your home too, this is your environment, and you are valued. They can also show the young child how capable they are, ‘yes, you can sit in your own chair’, it’s an early independence that most children enjoy! For an older child, perhaps around 14-18 months, a shortened child’s chair can work really well.
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posts., V., 2022. The Cube Chair: Your Special Needs Toddler’s New Favorite Seat! – Baby Bytes. [online] Baby Bytes. Available at: <https://thepracticalot.com/2018/05/13/the-cube-chair-your-special-needs-toddlers-new-favorite-seat/> [Accessed 29 September 2022].
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