This post provides a historical overview of the “Munari Mobile” as well as a template and instructions for making your own.
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The “Munari Mobile” was one of mobiles designed between the 1930s and 1970s by Italian artist Bruno Munari. His mobiles featured simple, bold, and geometric shapes, bearing many similarities to many of Montessori’s infant and toddler sensorial materials.
The Munari Mobile is often used in Montessori infant spaces and valued for its high-contrast, visually stimulating qualities. It is the perfect mobile for newborns who are just learning to discriminate shapes and track moving objects with their eyes.
Bruno Munari wrote about this particular mobile in the preface of his book, Design as Art (which you can preview for free on Google Books). This mobile was used a way to illustrate some of the basic principles, including the mathematical ones, that he employed in some of his mobile’s designs:
Here are just some of the other mobiles he created during his lifetime:
Like Maria Montessori, Bruno Munari was considered a visionary and noted contributor to visual and non-visual arts. He was also interested in the development of creativity and imagination through childhood play, adding one more point of connection with Maria Montessori.
The Montessori- Munari Connection
Many of Munari’s design principles mirrored those of Montessori. An exhibit called “Touching Beauty” is one of the first to highlight these principles and how they were applied by both Montessori and Munari in their design and work. The exhibit is open from November 2019 to March 2020. If you’re anywhere near Ancora, Italy between now and March, check out out!
Here’s a snapshot of the exhibit – looks so much fun!
Make Your Own
The Munari Mobile is traditionally made by hand in teacher training classes. If you’re not that crafty or are limited by time, you can also purchase your own Munari Mobile on sites like etsy or amazon.
You can easily make your own out of paper, felt, or foamboard, as well as dowels, thread, and a transparent sphere (glass is preferred, but many people use plastic for safety reasons).
After making this mobile a few different ways, I have come to prefer making it out of a printed template and cutting it out of foam board (as opposed to hand-cutting or painting paper or felt).
Using a printed template makes the shapes precise; the foam board makes it sturdy. I used the thinnest dowel rods I could find as they are easy to trim with scissors.
Download the template for this mobile at the link below:
Have you ever made your own mobile? What did you make? How did it turn out?