Mirrors serve an essential purpose in the infant and toddler classroom.
While looking at their reflection, infants observe their body movements, facial expressions, and surroundings to better understand themselves and their place in the world. They learn about their inner feelings, how their emotions show up to the world, and social skills like empathy and compassion. Not only that, mirrors foster early language and speech development.
Helping infants and toddlers build these early social, emotional, and language skills is a priority at Kaplan. We work closely with early childhood experts and manufacturers to create products, like mirrors and reflective surfaces, that engage children as they play and grow.
No matter the size, shape, or style of reflective surface you choose for your classroom, they all enhance how infants and toddlers develop socially, emotionally, and cognitively. In this article, we will share nine mirror options from Kaplan that will make a great addition to your infant and toddler classroom.
1. Curious Crawler Mirrored Play Table
If you need a versatile reflective surface that is appropriate for a variety of ages and stages, the Curious Crawler Mirrored Play Table is a great option. Made from durable birch plywood, this round table features shatterproof acrylic mirrors on the top and sides, giving children a view of their reflection from every angle. Young infants enjoying tummy time activities or crawling around the classroom will learn about themselves by watching their reflections and the expressions/movements they make. As they learn to sit and stand, they can use the reflective tabletop to observe how they play with objects and peers.
2. Reflection House
The Reflection House creates an immersive reflective experience for infants and toddlers in the classroom. Seamless shatterproof mirrors cover all sides of the Reflection House, providing endless opportunities for children to explore and watch their reflections' movements and facial expressions. An open side gives young infants and toddlers a way to crawl inside and view their reflection from a variety of angles. Get more out of the Reflection House by flipping it over to create a mirrored table or mirrored sensory "bin" for your classroom.
3. Reflection Triangle
The Reflection Triangle offers a safe play space for infants and toddlers to explore their reflections while improving their gross motor skills. They can crawl or walk through the opening, use the slanted sides to pull themselves to standing, or sit and study their reflection. The shatterproof mirrors attached to every side of this unit are easy to clean and durable enough to support the weight of young children.
4. Magic Mirror Cube
Enhance infant tummy time with the Magic Mirror Cube. This soft, easy-to-clean foam cube can unfold, giving infants even more ways to explore their reflections and develop self-awareness. The nature-inspired colors of this cube help infants feel calm as they play and interact with their reflection. You can also invite older toddlers to play a "Who do you see?" game by rolling the mirrored cube on the floor and asking everyone to say the name of the person's reflection they see.
5. Exploration Wall Mirror
Ballet bars, like the one attached to the Exploration Wall Mirror, give growing infants a sturdy way to pull themselves up while studying their reflection in the mirror. Encourage children to use this bar for a fun game of peek-a-boo, which they can play with themselves or another friend in the classroom. The leaf details on the upper mirrors add nature-inspired elements that bring a calming quality to your classroom and break up the reflections children see in the mirror.
6. Rectangle Mounted Wall Mirror
The Rectangle Mounted Wall Mirror is large, durable, and will easily mount to the walls of your classroom. Secure it close to the floor so infants can watch their reflection as they sit, crawl, and walk around the classroom. Secure it higher on the wall so infants can see themselves while in the arms of their teachers and caregivers. You can also use this mirror to magnify natural light in your classroom and brighten up dark spaces.
7. Sensory Reflective Balls
The curved edges of the Sensory Reflective Balls produce a distorted view of reflections, encouraging natural childhood curiosity and the need to explore. These balls may look heavy, but the stainless steel material and construction process make them lightweight and easy for infants and toddlers to pick up and hold. Take these balls outdoors to help infants and toddlers explore views of the sky, clouds, buildings, tree canopies, and more.
8. Discovery Station Mirrored Play Table
Older infants and toddlers who can stand and walk will love playing on the Discovery Station Mirrored Play Table. A shatterproof acrylic mirror covers the entire play surface, making this a great addition to classroom STEM or block centers. Place blocks and other objects on top of this table and watch as children study their movements, engage their critical-thinking skills, and build strong bonds with their classmates.
9. Sense of Place Circle Acrylic Mirror
Bring texture and natural elements to your classroom with the Sense of Place Circle Acrylic Mirror. Woven hooks on the back make it easy to hang this mirror on the walls of your classroom. This mirror brings warmth and a home-like feel to the dramatic play area. Or, use it in dark corners or areas of your classroom to bounce around natural light and illuminate your space.
Start shopping for classroom mirrors!
The above list features a small sampling of the mirrors and reflective surfaces you can purchase for your infant and/or toddler classroom. To see more options, feel free to browse our website.
Are you curious how mirrors, reflective tables, and other classroom furnishings will fit in your classroom? Visit the myKaplan FloorPlanner to find out. This free tool allows you to create a digital 2D or 3D rendering of your early childhood classroom. Using items from the Kaplan inventory, you can add and arrange classroom furnishings, like mirrors, within your design to get a realistic view of how they will fit in your space.