Last week, I talked about preliminary and practical life activities as the most important activities for preschoolers at the beginning of the school year. Other activities which are important to emphasize early in the school year are sensorial activities.
Montessori sensorial activities are those which refine the five senses – tactile, visual, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory senses. Children are particularly receptive to developing their senses from ages 2-6, and it’s important to give children at those ages as many sensorial experiences as possible.
Montessori sensorial materials are carefully designed. Whether purchased or handmade, they follow basic Montessori principles. They isolate the quality (for example, the geometric shapes introduced are the same color and only vary in shape). They have a control of error (for example, the child will not be able to fit all the cylinders properly into a cylinder block if one is out of place). They prepare the child indirectly for future learning (for example, many of the sensorial activities come with ten pieces as an indirect preparation for the decimal system).
Sensorial Activities at Home
The sensorial materials in the Beautiful Sun Montessori photo are beautiful, wooden materials from a Montessori school. For a home setting, you might choose to have many high-quality Montessori materials, a few high-quality materials combined with inexpensive versions, or inexpensive and handmade versions of Montessori materials. Don’t feel that you need to replicate a complete Montessori preschool.
Sensorial Activities and Links
Here are links to some pages with Montessori sensorial activities:
Info Montessori has a great introduction to the sensorial activities. You’ll find descriptions of activities to develop each sense along with videos at the site to help you understand how to demonstrate activities using Montessori techniques.
Beautiful Sun Montessori has three photos and listings of sensorial materials below the photos and listings of practical life activities.
Suite 101 has an article by Andrea Coventry breaking down the five senses into nine senses developed through the Montessori sensorial materials.
North American Montessori Center also has an article discussing the nine senses. This was part of a series on sensory processing disorder.
Maybe Montessori has a series of blog posts with notes on the Margaret Homfray videos.
My Montessori Journey has a post describing Montessori sensorial activities along with a color-book sensorial extension.
Mont Home has a page of photos of sensorial activities along with each activity’s description, purpose, and whether the material was purchased or handmade.
Montessori Mom has a post on sensorial education with links to individual sensorial activities in the left sidebar.
I have a category of posts of sensorial activities.
Does your child have a favorite sensorial activity?