HOTM Blog Hop- Montessori: Sensorial

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Montessori saw the importance of the manipulation of objects to aid the child in better understanding his environment. Through the child’s work with Sensorial material, the child is helped to make abstractions, he is helped in making distinctions in his environment, and the child is given the knowledge not through word of mouth, but through his own experiences.” ~Montessori Primary Guide

Sensorial materials are designed to allow children to experience with the senses certain qualities in isolation, and then use what they learn to better understand their surroundings.  For young children, who are not yet abstract thinkers, all learning is precipitated by use of the senses.  Montessori works allow a child to explore differences in size, shape, weight, texture, color, loudness or softness, and more.  
There are many Montessori materials that can be recreated well at home for less money, though there are a few Montessori-designed materials that have no equal and would be a wonderful learning addition to your home (my top suggestions are starred below).
Sensorial works:

Montessori-designed materials that are hard to duplicate-
pink tower
  • Pink Tower– 10 pink cubes which are graduated in size (you could use cube nesting blocks for a similar exercise without the expense)
  • Brown Stair– 10 brown rectangular prisms, graduated in size
  • Knobbed Cylinders– four sets of cylinders each in a wooden base; each set graduated by diameter, height, or both
  • *Knobless Cylinders– four sets of colored cylinders; each set graduated by diameter, height or both; you can buy some extension cards here for a modest price
  • *Geometric Solids– a box of wooden solids including sphere, cube, rectangular prism, triangle- and square-based pyramids, ovoid, ellipsoid, triangular prism, cylinder, and cone
  • Geometric Metal Insets or *Geometric Cabinet– for exploration of shapes; used also for stenciling as a fine motor activity that is a precursor to writing
Other sensorial materials-
color tablets made from paint samples

  • Red Rods– 10 rods graduated in length, from 1 dm. to 1 m. (can be homemade).
  • Color Tablets- I’ve made my own from paint samples at the hardware store.  Get two of each color, cut them apart and laminate them.  The child then either matches them, or orders them by shades
  • Mystery Bag– this one is very well made and affordable and we love the feel of these little smooth solids, but I have also just used a fabric bag and put household objects and small toys inside
  • Sandpaper Tablets- use different gradations of sandpaper, two of each, and have your child match them by touch only
  • Matching fabrics by touch- corduroy, velvet, fabric with little bumps, satin, denim, etc.
  • Sound cylinders– make them with film canisters or other similar-sized containers; fill with rice, sand, shells, confetti, etc. and have two of each kind to match
  • Weight discrimination by touch alone (blindfolded)- use stones, or other like items and have your child put them in order by weight alone
  • Sorting- by color (buttons, premade manipulatives, etc), shape (shells, coins, etc.; use a blindfold), size, or other characteristic
  • Pattern blocks and templates
  • Scent bottles- glass herb jars or other small jar can be filled with different items for olfactory exploration
  • Taste exploration- with eye-dropper bottles filled with different tastes to discriminate
  • Sensory bin- great for sorting, tactile exploration, etc.  Here are some fabulous ideas.
sorting glass beads by touch alone

fall sensory bin with various tongs, bowls, and spoons

sorting a button and bead sensory bin

Many of the above materials are even more challenging when the child is blindfolded!

You’ll notice that the works on the floor are all done on a mat.  I purchased towel bath mats and we keep them rolled up in a basket.  One of our first lessons in getting out a work was to demonstrate and practice how to unroll and reroll a mat.  This mat becomes the child’s work space and the other children know not to interfere with or step on someone’s mat.

You can find some great pictures of sensorial works at Mont Home.  My Montessori Journey has a good post on Sensorial works as well.  Montessori at Home has a trio of posts on making your own Montessori materials.  Click on the link and look on the sidebar for the others.

I’ll be giving away one of the sensorial works that we love at our house next Friday, February 18th.  Be sure to come back and enter to win!

Visit these other brilliant homeschooling ladies at these Blog Hopping places:

10 days of socialization for mom | The Homeschool Chick
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10 days of large families | Chocolate on My Cranium
10 days of special needs | Special Needs Homeschooling
10 days of struggling learners | Homeschooling the Chaotic Family
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10 days of homeschool enrichment | Confessions of a Homeschooler
10 days of building a spiritual legacy | Mommy Missions
10 days of frugal homeschooling |The Happy Housewife
10 days of Charlotte Mason | Our Journey Westward
10 days of unschooling | Homeschooling Belle
10 days of organization | Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom
10 days of getting started | Blog, She Wrote
10 days of homeschooling boys | The Tie That Binds Us
10 days of homeschooling Montessori |  Fruit in Season
10 days of preschool |  Delightful Learning