The Knobbed Cylinders are a Montessori Sensorial material, designed to assist children in making distinctions in their immediate environment. This material primarily engages the senses of touch and sight. The material is comprised of 10 different cylinders with ‘knobs’ used to hold each object using the pincer grip. Knobbed Cylinders teaches the child visual discrimination of dimension. This activity also helps the child develop their pincer grip which is necessary for writing.
There are four sets of cylinders. The simplest comes first. In this set, known as Block 1, the cylinders are arranged from the thickest to the thinnest.
CYLINDER BLOCK 1
CYLINDER BLOCK 2
The Block 2 set all have the same width, but they differ in height.
CYLINDER BLOCK 3
Block 3 becomes a bit more complicated, starting from the thickest and tallest cylinder and each piece gets both thinner and shorter
CYLINDER BLOCK 4
Block 4 is the most complex of all because it ranges from shortest and widest to tallest and thinnest. In this cylinder, one variable grows while the other shrinks.
The cylinder blocks can be done at a mat or table. If you would like the child to work at a mat, have the child unroll the mat before getting the cylinder block.
1.Bring the child to the shelf and invite them to take the knobbed cylinder block.
2.Take the cylinder block to a mat or table and place it at the top of the workspace. (Be sure the cylinder blocks are placed in the
correct direction as shown in the pictures.)
3.Take out all the cylinders one at a time from left to right by holding the knob with a pincer grip. Place the at the bottom of the workspace in random order.
4.Indicate that you are looking for the cylinder that fits in the left-most hole.
5.Select a cylinder you think will fit and try it in the first hole. If it doesn’t fit, try a different one.
6.Continue until all of the cylinders are back in place.
To teach the child to distinguish small differences in size.
Exercising the pincer grip
Left to the right direction (for reading)
Cylinders in sets of ten prepare for the base-ten number system.
Small, Smaller, Smallest
Thin, Thinner, Thinnest
Thick, Thicker, Thickest
Tall, Taller, Tallest
short, Shorter, Shortest
Knobbed Cylinders as a Pre-Writing Tool. The child holds and manipulates the cylinder by its knob. This is meant to begin developing the pincer grasp. This is an early step towards being able to form letters with a pencil.