Montessori Sensorial Activities

According to Dr. Maria Montessori, the senses are the gateway to knowledge. During the first six years, the child goes through a sensitive period and is most receptive to sensorial stimulation. 

The Montessori Method of education incorporates the stimulation of senses in the curriculum. According to this unique pedagogical tool, the child gathers information and knowledge from the environment. 

The Montessori method of education of sensorial materials as stimuli encourages the child to be aware, attentive, and entertained during the education process. 

Montessori sensorial activities along with Montessori Sensorial Materials provide stimulation for all five senses. 

The stimulation of visual, auditory, gustatory, olfactory, tactile, kinaesthetics, vestibular, and proprioception is facilitated with the help of Montessori Sensorial activities. 

Montessori Sensorial activities in conjunction with Montessori Sensorial Materials encourage the child to concentrate, coordinate, memorize, collect appropriate information, understand abstract concepts, and develop a sense of order as well as structure. 

The Montessori Method covers a diverse range of curricula, concepts, and subjects that are often introduced to children in the form of interactive activities. Sensorial activities are a unique aspect of the Montessori method. 

Whether you want to enroll your child in a Montessori Program or create an appropriate Montessori Environment at home it is best to acquire knowledge of the activities you might be introducing to your younger one. 

Here is everything you should know about Montessori Sensorial activities. 

What are the Characteristics of Montessori Sensorial Activities:

Sensorial training is amongst the cornerstone of Montessori Philosophy. Montessori sensorial activities with conjuncture to Montessori Sensorial Materials are designed to stimulate the senses, develop fine motor skills and gross motor skills, as well as help children learn through tangible materials. 

Here are some characteristics of Montessori Sensorial Activities:

  • Control of Error
  • Isolated introduction of concepts
  • Should be aesthetically pleasing
  • Should involve universal properties
  • Are introduced from simple to complex
  • Should always provide concrete representational to abstract and complex concepts

List of Montessori Sensorial Activities and Sensorial Materials:

Here are some examples of Montessori Sensorial Activities with Montessori Materials that promote sensorial stimulation based on different age groups:

Cylinder blocks: (2.5 to 3.5 years)

Cylinder blocks also called Knobbed cylinders are wooden cylinders of various dimensions with knobs or a pincer grip that can be used as handles that usually come in a box. 

The Cylinder blocks come in four different sets, each set comprising 10 cylinders with varied sizes, heights as well as dimensions.
The Knobbed Cylinder Blocks engage and stimulate the child’s sense of touch and sight. 

Using these cylinders the child develops refined motor skills and understands the difference between measurements as well as dimensions. 

With the help of knobbed cylinders, the child can make use of the three-finger grip to hold a pencil. 

Pink Tower: (2 to 3 years)

The Montessori Pink Tower consists of 10 pink-colored wooden blocks that vary in size. The Blocks range from 1 cubic centimeter to 10 cubic centimeters. The Blocks have the same color and texture.

Given to children between 2 to 3 years, The pink tower provides visual stimulation and develops fine muscular coordination.

The Pink Tower helps the child develop a deeper sense of space, dimension, and size by touching, feeling as well as assembling the three-dimensional figure. 

Brown Stairs: (3 to 3.5 years)

The Brown Steps, also called Broad Stairs, are 20 centimeters long rectangular prism blocks that gradually increase in thickness. The end faces of the brown stairs vary from 1 centimeter to 10 centimeters. 

The Brown Stairs are introduced to the child right after the Pink Tower at the age of 3 to 3.5 years.

The child with the help of Brown Stairs attains a deeper understanding of spatial locations, units, measurements, and proportions.  

The child also develops motor skills and is prepared for future geometric concepts. 

Red Rods: (3 to 3.5 years)

The Red Rods are rods that come in varied sizes and have a square cross-section. The set of Red Rods consists of 10 rods where the smallest rod is 10cm and the largest is 1 meter long. 

Each rod increases 10cm in size moving to 100cm. 

The Red Rods come on the 4th number after cylinder blocks, pink tower, and brown stairs. The Red Rods primary use is to develop the child’s perception of length. 

The red rods also help the child with coordination, balance and expand the child’s mathematical vocabulary. 

Color tablets: (3 to 4 years)

The Color Tablets are made of wood and usually come inside a box. 

There are three types of color tablet boxes-

The first has the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow),

The second has 12 colors,

The third has 9 colors mostly in gradients.

The use of all three boxes of color tablets helps the child learn and differentiate between colors, shades, tones, and hues. It also develops fine motor skills by promoting the use of pincer grips.

Knobless Cylinders: (3.5 years)

The Montessori Knobless Cylinders are also called Colored Cylinders come in four sets with red, yellow, blue, green, and red-colored wooden cylinders. Each colored cylinder varies in size and dimension.

  • Yellow Cylinders: vary in height and diameter
  • Green Cylinders: vary in height and diameter
  • Red Cylinders: vary only in terms of the diameter and the height is constant
  • Blue Cylinders: Vary only in height and the diameter remains constant.

The knobless cylinders develop refined motor skills and hand-eye coordination. 

The use of knobless cylinder blocks helps the child understand the difference between varied sizes and dimensions. 

The child also learns about differences and similarities between the shapes. It also helps the child with coordination and concentration.   

Geometric Cabinet: (3.5 years)

The geometric cabinet is a wooden box that consists of 6 drawers. Each drawer has a different geometric shape along with wooden tiles to go along. The wooden tiles have knobs to lift the tile out.
First drawer: comprises 6 circles of different diameters.
Second drawer: comprises of 1 rectangle and 5 squares
Third drawer: comprises of 6 triangles
Fourth drawer: comprises of 6 polygons
Fifth drawer: comprises of 6 quadrilaterals
Sixth drawers: comprises curved figures like a curvilinear triangle, oval, ellipse, quatrefoil. 

The Geometric cabinet is used to develop the child’s visual sense that will help the child to discriminate between shapes and forms. 

The child is able to learn the names of different shapes, as well as learn how to differentiate between the shapes. 

Constructive Triangles: (4 to 4.5 years)

The constructive triangles facilitate both sensorial and geometric stimulation. This sensorial material usually comes in 5 to 6 boxes that comprise different shapes and types of triangles.

The shapes that can be made with these triangles are parallelogram, hexagon, trapezoid, rhombus. 

With constructive triangles, the child develops a better understanding of shapes as well as acquires the knowledge of basic geometry. 

Geometric solids: (4 years)

The geometric solids are Montessori sensorial materials that provide a three-dimensional image of geometric shapes to children which makes these shapes more tangible. 

The shapes include:

  • Prisms 
  • Cubes 
  • Cuboids  
  • Cylinders 
  • Cones 
  • Rectangular 
  • Pyramids 
  • Triangular pyramids 
  • Ellipsoids  
  • Spheres 
  • Ovoids 

These are usually kept in a basket. These three-dimensional shapes also come along with two-dimensional thin figures.
The geometric solids are Montessori Sensorial materials that challenge the child’s stereogenic sense. 

With help of feeling and observing the shapes closely the child understands the nature of the shapes as well as their form.  

Sound cylinders: (3 to 4 years)

Sound cylinders are used to develop the sense of hearing.  These cylinders usually come in 2 boxes with each box containing 6 sound cylinders. 

There are 6 cylinders that have blue on the top and 6 cylinders that have red. Each cylinder gives a different sound.
The Montessori Sound cylinders cover one specific aspect of the auditory sense, the sense of hearing. They mostly come to service for children with hearing disabilities. 

Montessori Bells: (4 years)

Bells in the Montessori method are used for teaching children the difference between tones and pitches. 26 bells with varied ranges and tones are used to help children develop a sense of music and tone.
The Montessori Bells help the children identify and distinguish between different pitches and tones. 

The child will also be able to play simple songs on the bells as they advance. These bells help children gain knowledge about music theory in an engaging and exciting way.

Smelling bottles: (3 to 4 years)

The Smelling jars or smelling bottles stimulate the child’s olfactory sense. With the help of smelling jars, the child will be able to differentiate between smells. 

The child will also be able to identify different smells.

Silence Game: (4 years)

The Silence game is a unique Montessori Sensorial activity that contributes to the normalization of the child. 

This activity helps children become more attentive and aware. Children are promoted to listen to subtle sounds in their environment. 

Other Montessori Sensorial Activities for Toddlers and Infants:

Here is a list of other interactive and engaging Montessori Sensorial Activities:

  1. Fruits and vegetable baskets:
    Excite your child’s senses with a colorful and engaging activity that incorporates fruits and vegetables.
    One can add different fruits and vegetables in a basket to help the child distinguish, comprehend, and discriminate between different fruits as well as vegetables. 
  2. Water Play:
    Water play activities are activities that help make mundane tasks like bathing, washing one’s hands, or washing the dishes exciting for your younger one.
    Give your child an opportunity to take the lead in watering the plants, washing the dishes, or independently washing their hands. 
  3. Movement activities:
    Allow the child to freely move around to facilitate the development of their Gross motor skills.
    One can use a Pikler Triangle to promote the development of gross motor skills, balance, and coordination. 
  4. Mystery bag activity:
    The Mystery bag is a stereogenic activity that develops the child’s tactile sense and the child’s ability to visualize objects based on their tactile abilities and sense of touch.
  5. Feeling Fabrics:
    This activity includes a Montessori sensorial material, called a fabric box. A fabric box comprises different pairs of textured fabric materials that promote the child to feel as well as match the fabrics. The box includes Cotton, Jute, Wool, Silk, and Leather.

What is the Purpose of Montessori Sesnorial Activities?

Sensorial Training and Sensorial Stinultaion as vital as they are for the child’s development process, are often overlooked in Traditional Educational Institutions.

The Montessori Method of education is a unique pedagogical tool that incorporates Sensorial Training in the curriculum to enhance the child’s educational experience as well as promote holistic development.

Montessori Sensorial Activities help with the refinement of senses, isolates different sensorial experiences for the child, help children discriminate between shapes, sizes, temperature, and help enhance the child’s spatial awareness.