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Montessori Sensorial Variations & Extensions


Montessori Sensorial Extensions are crucial to engaging a child in further learning. The materials are beautiful and robust, but having great variations and extensions in your back pocket will ease your days in the classroom.

Montessori Sensorial Extensions

Sensorial Extensions

If you search Google Images for “Montessori Sensorial Extensions & Variations,” you will find many ideas. I am a visual person, so I particularly enjoy perusing the images various educators have uploaded for all of us to see and bring into our classrooms and homes.

My training, thanks to MEIPNs extraordinary instructors, also gave me new and refreshing ideas. These instructors also inspired me to think beyond the materials and printable materials.

Knobbed Cylinder
“…the function of the sensorial materials is not to present the child with new impressions (of size, shape, color and so forth) but to bring order and system into the myriad impressions he has already received and is still receiving.”
~ Dr. Montessori 

How can we extend Sensorial learning in our children’s lives so that they may hold onto and build this knowledge over their lifetime?

Montessori Sensorial Variations & Extensions

Below are a few ideas for the Knobbed Cylinders, Pink Tower, Broad Stair, and Red Rods, some of which are pretty standard, and others are hopefully new to you. I hope that you enjoy it. My disclaimer is that I am biased toward learning through movement, learning with real objects, and in nature.

I also work hard to cross over into other areas of learning to bring the knowledge together. You will see a theme with these ideas. Please know that not all these ideas are my own. I sourced the ideas to give credit to the original creator or sharer of the idea.

Knobbed Cylinders

  • Use a blindfold when removing and replacing the cylinders
  • Place the block on one side of the room and the cylinders on the other side of the room
  • Graph cylinders in all four blocks by diameter and height
  • Use cylinders on a balance scale
  • Sensorial Pattern Cards from Montessori Services or Sensorial Pattern Cards for download from Montessori Printshop


Broad Stair Brown Stair

Pink Tower Brown Stair Extensions

  • Play “which piece is missing?”
  • Ask the child to create various shapes, animals, and things with cubes and rectangular prisms. Examples include a snake, a snail, a circle, “something thin/wide,” “something tall/short,” a maze, a building, and so on. Use words alone or present images representing either the real objects or examples of using the pink tower to create these things. Our Montessori Story has several incredible Pink Tower and Broad Stair extension images.
  • Head over to Google Images and utilize the many resources on the internet giving examples of various patterns to create with the Pink Tower and Brown Stair. Search for “Pink Tower and Broad Stair Extensions,” and many fantastic ideas will pop up. Or use Sensorial Pattern Cards from Montessori Services or Sensorial Pattern Cards for download from Montessori Printshop.
  • Ask the child to identify objects in the classroom or on a walk corresponding to the shapes of the Pink Tower and Brown Stair.
  • Invite the child to sketch the Pink Tower/Broad Stair or to color in a printout of the pattern/tower/stair.
  • Have the child trace cubes or prisms, color in, then cut or pin poke out to create a 2D tower/stair.
  • Marble run with the Broad Stair and/or the Pink Tower (Children LOVE this one!)

Red Rod Extensions

Red Rods

  • Build a maze, then have the child tip-toe through the maze
  • Use a blindfold
  • “Which rod is missing?”
  • Go to Google Images and search for “red rod extensions,” You will find unique patterns and creations.
  • Use the rods to measure items around the room.
  • Trace the rod, color in the rods, cut out the rods and recreate a 2D pattern
  • Grade various objects by the rod length, then build a stair with the objects of the different lengths (e.g., pencil, flag, set of chopsticks, ruler, clip, book, etc.)
  • Red Rod Pattern Cards from Montessori Printshop

Besides the standard Montessori product companies, purchase these Montessori Sensorial materials at a reasonable price from Amazon!

Montessori Knobbed Cylinder Set
Montessori Pink Tower
Montessori Brown Stair
Montessori Long Red Rods

Take care,

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