Mobiles, part II – Yo Gobbi Gobbi

I previously posted about the first two mobiles that are introduced to the newborn: the Munari and the Octahedron mobiles.  The third mobile that the young infant is exposed to (somewhere around 6 weeks of age) is the Gobbi.

This beautiful mobile consists of five balls in five graded shades of one color.  Its purpose is to further refine the child’s developing sense of sight by providing a slight change in tone from one ball to the next.  The baby tracks the change of shades back and forth, and his eyes work on adjusting focus from the closest ball to the one that’s farthest away from his face.

The Gobbi is easy to make (but a little time consuming).  You will need five styrofoam balls, which can be found at any craft store; a dowel; embroidery thread in five graded shades of the same color; and a very long embroidery needle.

With the dowel, make a hole through the center of each styrofoam ball.  Wrap each ball in embroidery thread of oneImage shade, making sure that it is entirely covered and no white shows through.  When you’re done, string the balls onto the dowel with matching embroidery thread, making sure each ball hangs slightly longer than the previous, but equidistant from each other.  The darkest one should have the longest thread (be closest to baby’s face) and the lightest the shortest.  You can wrap the dowel in embroidery thread if you have any left over.

Hang the mobile about 12 inches from the baby’s face either near a window or near a fan so that it turns SLOWLY on its own.

How you present a material is just as important as how you make it.  There is no need to direct the child’s attention to the mobile; he might not seem interested the first few times you place him under the mobile but with a little patience he will discover it and enjoy it for long periods of time.  Make sure that you don’t interrupt or praise your baby while he is concentrating on the mobile (or any activity, for that matter).  He doesn’t work for our approval, but for his own development.  The joy of discovery is the only reward he wants and needs.

Here is the Gobbi in action:

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18 thoughts on “Mobiles, part II – Yo Gobbi Gobbi

  1. Hi –
    Just a quick note to say that I make the Gobbi also … Instead of styrofoam balls I use wooden beads. I paint the dowel (often a color that matches the thread) and hide the knot inside a hole drilled into it. The balls are hung so that the bottom of each one reaches the center of next one.
    Because it’s not a mobile but more a ‘hanging’ I hang it with a swivel so that the one dowel will turn more easily on its own. To see some of the mobiles i make you can go to http://www.youtube.com/giopeterful (where there are also videos of my husband’s stone sculpture) They are also on my website http://www.mimaustin.com Thanks so much for your site .. I have shared it on my MiM- Montessori in Motion Facebook page.

  2. Great work Pilar! I feel better seeing yours as mine are looking about the same. I have one left to go but the craft store where I got the balls is out of that size and I can’t find them anywhere else. Good thing I still have a few more months before I will need it. I love your video. It is so inspiring and totally makes all of the time worth it. I also totally dig Zach’s pjs!!

  3. Hi-I’m just wondering if you could explain a little more how to get the embroidery thread attached to the ball. I’m not as crafty as I wish I was and I need details or pictures to help sometimes. Once you thread the needle where do you start to keep it in place? Thanks!

      1. You make the center hole with a thin dowel (or a skewer stick also works). Then you thread your needle, insert it into the center hole from one side, and bring it out the other side. Leave a tail of thread that will be your “anchor”. Bring the needle back into the hole, bring it out the other side, and repeat. Your “anchor” should end up below the thread as you loop it over the sphere. Keep looping the thread over and over until it has wrapped the entire sphere. It will take about two skeins of embroidery thread to wrap one sphere. Use the same colored thread to attach the sphere to the dowel that will hold all the spheres.

        I’m going to try posting pictures this week so you can see how it works. I’m making one for a friend, so it’s a perfect opportunity to do a tutorial. Stay tuned!

  4. hmmn. tried today and failed ;( i must be missing something simple. do you thread the whole skein through? do you cut manageable lengths of thread?
    can’t wait to see your pictures. in the meantime i’m blaming this on pregnancy brain 😉

    1. You can use the whole skein or manageable lengths (I prefer the latter). Pass it through the hole in the sphere and loop around, repeating over and over until the ball is covered in thread. I hope the pictures on the tutorial help!

      1. AMAZING! WONDERFUL! thank you so much for posting the tutorial. not having a big enough needle and trying to pull the whole skein through was my downfall. will get a longer needle tomorrow and begin again. thanks again so mu much for sharing!!

  5. I never ended up making one for my first baby but I would still love to see pics so I can make one for future children. I know it shouldn’t be that hard but I’m such a visual learner. Thanks!

  6. Great blog! My baby is going to turn 9 weeks on Sunday. Unfortunately I still haven’t made the Gobbi mobile but still want to do it (hopefully until Sunday!). Do you think it’s a bit too late or should I just go for it? Thank you.

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