Entries in Montessori Sensorial exercise (8)


Tea Cup Matching

This lovely place-setting excercise is a great Sensorial precursor to a Practical Life tea-serving activity.












Developmental Aims:

  1. Sharpen visual discrimination of gradations of size in series
  2. Develop visual discrimination of colors and patterns in sets 
  3. Develop fine muscle coordination through careful manipulation of small porcelain objects
  4. Develop sense of order, concentration, and independence

(Activity displayed at a PNMA Spring Sharing Fair in Seattle, WA)


Science-Sensorial Experiment

Go to: www.sciencekids.co.nz… Enjoy a range of fun science experiments for kids that feature awesome hands-on projects and activities that help bring the exciting world of science to life! Example:


What you'll need:

  • A small piece of peeled potato
  • A small piece of peeled apple (same shape as the potato so you can't tell the difference)


  1. Close your eyes and mix up the piece of potato and the piece of apple so you don't know which is which.
  2. Hold your nose and eat each piece, can you tell the difference?

What's happening?

Holding your nose while tasting the potato and apple makes it hard to tell the difference between the two. Your nose and mouth are connected through the same airway which means that you taste and smell foods at the same time. Your sense of taste can recognize salty, sweet, bitter and sour but when you combine this with your sense of smell you can recognize many other individual 'tastes'. Take away your smell (and sight) and you limit your brains ability to tell the difference between certain foods.


Locks and Keys

Thanks to Ann Lardizabal, UMA student from Santa Rita, Guam, who shares this original hand-made project - matching the key to the lock. 

Lock and unlock



Push Pin Shapes

There are so many great reasons to have push-pin work in the classroom, such as developing fine-motor skills, concentration, precision, confidence (a pre-scissors tool for the younger ones)...plus, in this case, reinforcement of shape recognition. Shown here are Shape Book examples with the Montessori Metal Insets and Geometric Cabinet. The use of a corn cob holders are ideal for this type of work (see tool in center).  

Thanks to the PNMA 2011 Sharing Fair for another great idea!


Grain Matching - Food Unit

Contributed by Connie Jones Ostrowski from the 2011 Seattle PNMA Sharing Fair.

Curriculum Area: SENSORIAL

Age Group: 3-5

Prerequisites: Rough and Smooth Touch Tablets

Direct Aim: Classification skills, sorting/matching different textures of grains


  1. "Today I would like to show you some different types of grains. Let's see if we can match them up."
  2. Take out each container of grain and take a close look and briefly describe the texture, color, and say the name of the grain.
  3. Show the grain 'wheel' and say, "Now I will find the match."
  4. Match them, placing the containers of grains to the corresponding spot on the grain wheel.

Variations/Extensions: After doing basic match ups for a week or so, you could add a 'texture art project' using the same grains and with glue on cardboard.

Materials: Use a basket or tray, create a 'grain wheel,' dividing the circle into 10' pie slices and cover with different types of grains. The more varied, the better.

Source of Materials or Supplies: Go to the bulk section of your grocery store (PCC or Whole Foods) to acquire varied grains. This was used for a Food Unit to demonstrate the different kinds of grains used as staple foods around the world.

Ideas for Grains: black quinoa, oats, emmer, buckwheat groats, corn, wild rice, millet, brown rice...and things made from grains (cereal, wheat flour rainbow pasta)


Sensorial - Mystery Pouches

UMA student Shana McCarty-Ebler of Colorado Springs, CO shares her creative original project for the Sensorial area of learning. What a hit with the children!

Mystery Pouches

Purpose: To stimulate the child’s sense of touch and to correlate the sense of touch to the sense of sight.


  1. Wooden tray
  2. Wooden bowl holding 10 different natural objects (non-toy) that match the objects that are hidden in the pouches
  3. 10 individual pouches made from muslin which have little windows on one side that stay closed with velcro and that each contain an object which matches one of the objects that are in the wooden bowl
  4. A rug 


  1. When first introducing this exercise, start with just five items. Later, change them out to the other set of five items. And then later, place them all on the tray.
  2. Because the pouches are a white material, and since they will be touched a lot, at the beginning of the exercise: point to the pouches, look down at your hands, say, “I need to wash my hands” or “I need clean hands” and then go wash them. 
  3. When demonstrating, pick up the pouches very ceremoniously (to indicate how to gently handle them)…in other words, discourage the possible temptation to pull the flap. 

Option: Although the pictures indicate the items aligned horizontally, another option is as follows, especially when beginning with only five objects:

  1. Take out each object, name them and place them in a vertical row on left side of rug
  2. Take out each pouch and place them in a vertical row on far right side of rug.
  3. Lift, feel, and name the top object in left row
  4. Starting with the top pouch in right row feel it carefully…continue down the row until you find the match
  5. Lay the match just to the right of the object
  6. Continue in same manner until all have been matched
  7. “Let’s check to be sure” (lift each flap, starting at the top)

What I learned from creating this original project: The sewing took longer than I had anticipated, but I really enjoyed doing this project.  I tried to think of similarly shaped objects that may make it a little more difficult to discern…The varying objects were of differing shapes and sizes, which added an element of interest as well.

What I learned from my demonstration of this activity: I had learned from my last lesson to remain completely quiet and to focus on the work rather than the child or try to read his face, so that went pretty well this time.  I was very happy that he did this work a couple more times on his own. It made me feel that it was successful.  The coin and the key kind of disappeared in the corner of the pouch and were a little difficult to maneuver into the window area and made me think about using a double-sided scotch tape the leave it centered, but not obscure the “feel” of the object.

What I learned from the child’s response:  His squeal of delight made my day.  I knew that he would enjoy doing this work and I left him completely alone…with his back to me, where I could discreetly see how it was going.  He was completely absorbed.

Very clever. Thank you Shana!


A Colorful Sorting Exercise

Children love to sort things. Here is a basic, easy-to-make, inviting sorting activity. 

This activity will aid your child's development on many levels... can you name a few?


Stacking Bowls

Aoife Brosnan, UMA graduate from Ireland, shares an attractive, easy-to-make Sensorial exercise that can be used in the home or in the classroom. She has used all natural materials  – wooden tray, glass bowls, and jute work rug.  This visually simple activity is inviting yet challenging for all primary-aged children. 

“The aim of this exercise is to help the child experience the difference in sizes between the bowls and how one fits into the other. It is also to help a child develop his/her fine muscle coordination, visual discrimination skills, concentration, grace in movement (carrying tray of glassware), self confidence, and independence. Plus, it provides an indirect preparation for language, ie: working left to right… and Math, ie: diameter, height, sequencing…”

Thank you Aoife!