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May 17, 2015

DIY Montessori Weighted Cylinders

Part of why I love the Montessori method is its development of the whole child. It's not just about teaching a child to read or write, it's about helping a child discover everything about the world around them. An important part of this process is teaching children to use their sense to classify and discover the world around them. DIY Montessori Weighted Cylinders are just one way to add to that exploration and discovery.

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Sensorial materials are developed to help children isolate and develop different sensory skills. One such skill is being able to classify objects by weight. Baric cylinders are one way to help children learn this skill. The baric -- or weighted cylinders -- are a set of cylinders that look the same but feel very different. Each pair is slightly different weight from the next. The goal is for children to identify and match the cylinders by weight. 

Montessori sensorial materials help to isolate senses for children. These DIY Montessori weighted cylinders encourage children to match objects based on weight. This easy DIY is perfect for homeschooling or exploring the senses at home.

While weighted cylinders and other sensorial materials can be purchased from a variety of sources, one of the reasons I really like this material is that it can also easily {and cheaply!} be reproduced at home!

I recently made a set of weighted cylinders for our classroom! They are so easy, that anyone can do it!

To make, you'll need --

  • 8 small identical canisters with lids  {I used old film containers, but anything can be used.}
  • Hot glue
  • Small metal washers
  • 4 red, 4 blue stickers

That's it! To put them together, first separate washers into pairs. One of the cylinder pairs will need to be the control, so it will be empty. Therefore, you'll need three pairs of washers of equal quantity, but varying weights. I used 0 washers, 3 washers, 9 washers and 18 washers. 

Next, I used the hot glue to glue the washers together. This way, they won't rattle together in the cylinders creating a new sensorial experience -- sound. Once the cylinders were together, I hot glued them to the bottom of the container. This ensures that there will be no movement when used. Then, I used the hot glue to attach the lids.

Finally, I placed one red sticker on the bottom of each cylinder pair, and a blue sticker on it's corresponding match. This way each correct pair had one red, and one blue cylinder (this helps to make the work self correcting). 

After making the cylinders, I presented them to Henry. He listened to the presentation, and was eager to try. However, I was actually surprised to see how much he struggled with this work. Many of the other sensorial materials have become a breeze for him, but this really made him think.

Once the work was completed, Henry said to me "I don't like this new work!" and stormed off. Since I put the tray in our sensorial area, I've seen Henry looking and contemplating the work. So, I asked him why he didn't like it. He explained that it was because he couldn't find the matches. I gently encouraged him to keep trying it, but so far he hasn't gone for it. Even if it takes him awhile to return, I'm glad I've found something to challenge him in a new way!

Do you use sensorial materials? Which is your favorite?

12 Months of Montessori Learning! 

This post is brought to you as part of the 12 Months of Montessori Learning series. Our theme this month is sensorial. Visit these great bloggers for more Montessori and Montessori inspired sensorial posts! 

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Unknown said…
I love this idea. I'm so glad you shared how easy this can be to DIY it. Yay!!! I'll be doing this ;)
Unknown said…
What an easy DIY work to make at home! I would love to try this. I'm sure he'll come back to it. :)
Bess Wuertz
Bess Wuertz said…
This is a great idea! I love seeing the focus on experiencing weight.
Mama's Happy Hive
I'm excited that this activity is so easy to DIY! Thanks for sharing how you put this together.
Elaine Goh
Elaine Goh said…
I've always wished I had kept some film canisters. This is an easy, and can also be substituted with coins! :)