Something that fascinates me about the sensorial aspect of Montessori is the structured sense perception. Instead of merely teaching that one object is red and another is pink- Montessori students can sort color tablets according to the degree of red. Instead of teaching that one object is heavier than another, Montessori students can compare and sort weighted objects. They look, smell, touch, taste materials with a wider understanding of how it compares and contrasts to similar objects in their environment.
David Gettman states that "the Sensorial Activities isolate a single perceptual quality by making each object in a set identical in all respects except one." So instead of showing your child 10 different things that are blue, Montessori's approach is to show blue in relation to other colors- with the only difference in the materials being the color itself.
The list of activities are categorized by the five senses. I am going to highlight the activities that I plan on implementing with my daughter in pink (remember my pick and choose philosophy- we can't do everything!)
- cylinder blocks (develop visual discrimination of size)- buy here
- pink tower (develop visual discrimination of differences in three dimensions)- buy here
- brown stair (develop visual discrimination of differences in two dimensions)-buy here
- red rods(develop visual discrimination of difference in one dimension)- buy here
- color tablets (develop perception of colors, hues, and intensities)- buy here or do it yourself here or here (this is my current DIY project!)
- geometric cabinet (develop child's visual and tactile perception of the shapes of 2 dimensional figures)- buy here
- constructive triangles (visual images may be combined to create different images)- buy here
- square of pythagoras (reinforce concept of combining visual images to create new images)- buy here
- binomial and trinomial cubes (develop visual perception of three dimensional patterns)- buy here and here
- touch boards (aid the child's fine motor control)- buy here for $35 or do it yourself for a lot less!
- touch tablets (refine child's tactile sense)- buy here for $16
- fabrics (further refinement of tactile sense) buy here for $15 or do it yourself
- thermic bottles (develop/refine thermic sense) buy here or do it yourself
- thermic tablets (distinguish materials used to conduct heat- buy here or do it yourself
- geometric solids (develop stereognostic sense, which creates mental picture through touch) buy here or any teacher supply store
- stereognostic bags (refine stereognostic sense) do it yourself idea (listed in the comment section)
- mystery bag (apply stereognostic sense to the exploration of unknown) buy here for $10 or make your own with a variety of objects around your home
- sorting grains (refinement of stereognostic sense)- do it yourself here
- visual work with blindfold (apply stereognostic sense to familiar activities guided primarily by sight)
- baric tablets (develop baric sense) buy here
- sound boxes (develop child's ability to perceive loudness and softness of sounds)- buy here for under $17 or make your own. Great for developing a sharp sense of hearing.
- bells-(develop perception of tones) buy here for $450 (yikes!!) or if you are tech-savvy a computer version is available here to download. I would love to hear if anyone has positive or negative experience with the bells...
- tasting cups (teach bitter, salty, sweet, sour)- do it yourself project