What are sensorial activities? From birth till about seven years of age, children have a very sensorial relationship within their world ~ they utilize all of their five senses such as sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell to learn about their environment. Anything that triggers their senses, goes directly to their brain. Each Montessori sensorial activity triggers just one sense, allowing a child to discriminate the order and focus to advance that particular sense.
Sound Cylinders are a traditional Montessori material isolating a single auditory sense: the sense of hearing. This activity can be offered to a child starting from two and a half (you can always try earlier and see if the child responds) and is usually presented after introducing the Knobbed Cylinders, Pink Tower, and Binomial Cube.
Sound cylinders come in two (red and blue) identical sets of six sealed wooden cylinders that make a distinctive sound when shaken. The cylinders are graded from very soft to loud, and each cylinder has either a red or a blue top. Each set is contained in a wooden box with a matching red or blue lid.
Your child will learn:
- auditory/sound discrimination by exploring one sense - a sense of hearing;
- the sense of order;
- matching the sounds, since sounds made by the cylinders are paired, i.e. the sound made by one cylinder in the red set matches the sound made by its equivalent cylinder in the blue set.
With a younger child, you may want to start with just three sets of distinct cylinders: arrange blue in a column on the right and red in a column on the left.
You will perform a pairing exercise: take one red cylinder and shake it near a child's ear.
Then try to find a match from blue cylinders, asking a child “Does it sound the same?” If the child does not think that the blue cylinder's sound matches the red one in the right hand, the child will place that blue cylinder to the side and proceed by picking the next blue cylinder and matching it to the same red one the child is holding.
Similarly, the child will proceed until all the cylinders are matched pairs. As with most Montessori materials, there is a control of error ~ numbers on the bottom of each red and blue cylinder must match, representing a pair of identical sounds.
- Introducing language: you can present a 3🅿️🌠 Three Period Lesson to teach a child terminology: loud vs soft.
Presenting a Three-Period Lesson:
(P1) “This is loud; this is soft."
(P2) “Will you show me loud/soft?
(P3) Ask the child: “What is this?"
- Grading one set of cylinders in order from loudest to softest.
- Use a blindfold to further isolate the sense of hearing.
For details on Montessori Three-Period Lesson, see here Montessori 3🅿️🌠 Three Period Lesson in Action (using 1st of 6 Phonetical Set: s m a t).