Are you familiar with the Montessori dressing frames? Dressing frames are a practical life activity that provides children with the opportunity to focus on a particular fastener, one at a time. A dressing frame allows a child more control (unlike a sister wearing a zippered onesie who keeps moving, haha) and primary (unlike some busy books and such that I’ve seen that can be overwhelming). While there are, commonly, 10 different dressing frames:

  • Zipping Frame
  • Buttoning Frame with larger buttons, (perfect for toddlers)
  • Buttoning frame with a smaller button
  • Lacing Frame
  • Velcro frame (two versions, one is a single, long strip and the other has three pieces)
  • Buckling Frame
  • Hook and Eye Frame
  • Snapping Frame
  • Safety Pin Frame
  • Bow Frame

I have seen some companies offer a total of 12.

While I may still do most of the dressing, with the outfit choices still being all theirs as it’s been since birth, as E and V become interested or more comfortable with a skill they’ve been doing more. Dressing frames allow them to repeatedly practice a skill as they work towards perfecting it in a more controlled way.

Dressing frames are light and easy to maneuver as well as offer toddler/child-friendly sizes. The button frame provides large buttons versus their cardigan which has smaller ones. As they master the frame they become more ready to move on to their own clothing and such.

With the zipper frame, when first introduced, they were interested in moving the zipper up and down but didn’t have the dexterity to put the bottom teeth/chain into the bottom stop. To meet them where they were currently, I put the teeth into the bottom stop and used a safety pin to stop it from coming out so that they may master zipping up and down first. (Yes, I absolutely had to look up the actual parts of the zipper, haha.)

While dressing frames are lovely, E and V have found many other opportunities to practice some of these skills around the home and I haven’t found a need to purchase some of the dressing frames when items around the house often fill the need. For instance, they enjoy the buckles on their high chairs.  Rather than purchasing a smaller button frame, and seeing how intrigued E was with V’s cardigan, I’ll bring out the other so that she can focus on the button to her little heart’s desire.

I’ve seen some absolutely gorgeous DIY dressing frames– Nimble Wren Montessori on Instagram is someone who makes so many lovely DIYs. 

Have you made your own dressing frame? If you have, please share. I’d love to see them and I’m sure so many others would, too. 

Disclosure: French Family Montessori uses affiliated links through Amazon. There is no additional cost to you, but provides a small compensation that helps support this site.  I only share products that we use, have used, or are on our wish list. There is no obligation to purchase an item through an affiliated link.  




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