The Montessori silence game is a sensorial activity that is introduced in the primary age group (2.5-6) in Montessori schools. It is an activity that translates well to the home environment and can be a great calming activity, as well as a patience activity.
In fact, the Silence Game can happen anywhere as a portable “tool” to help your child return to a centered and calm state during or following a “time-in”.
This article gives a version of the Silence Game you can easily implement into your home.
What is the Silence Game in Montessori?
The Silence Game in Montessori classroom settings is introduced to children who have practiced other “control of movement” exercises, such as scooping, pouring, walking a line, and moving chairs quietly.
These activities, along with the Silent Game, contribute to Normalization and are important to have a functional learning environment.
Before doing this activity in your Montessori home environment, your child should have worked at plenty of Practical Life Activities, as well as the activities mentioned above, like closing a door quietly and walking a line.
The activity is calming, however, a child who is feeling distressed or particularly energetic will have difficulty participating.
In a Montessori classroom, the Silence Game is never played when the class is unruly.
When presenting this activity in your home (these are the same materials used in a classroom setting), here is what you will need:
- index card with “silence” written on it (or a bell)
- Music player
Direct aims of activity
- To develop auditory discrimination (level of volume)
- Experiencing silence
- Preparation for music (listening and performing) and environmental listening
- Self awareness and self control
Points of interest during presentation
- Sitting calmly and still
- Being able to hear sounds usually missed
- Listening to a whisper
How to play the Montessori Silence Game
- Invite your child to sit with you on a mat or another comfortable spot on the floor
- Show your child how to sit in tailor-fashion
- Light a candle and dim the room
- Turn over the “silence” card to signal the start of the game (Ring the bell, if that is what you are using.)
- Model for your child how to sit without movement and close their eyes
- Turn relaxing sound or music on (optional)
- Reduce the volume of the music slowly until the room is silent
- Speak softly to your child and tell them what you hear, then ask them to tell a soft you a sound in the environment that they hear
- Whisper to them that you are going to get up quietly and move to the other side of the room, and for them to continue to sit and listen to the silence
- Before your child begins to get restless, quietly call them over to you
- Turn on the lights and blow the candle out
You may notice that toward the end of the Silence Game, when it's time for your child to walk over to you, they do so very peacefully and quietly.
This means the indirect aims of the activity have likely been met.
*It is important not to end the game abruptly. When it is time to blow out the candle and turn on the lights, continue to speak quietly and move slowly.
- Playing the Silence Game outside and listening for more subtle sounds, like rustling grass
- Playing the game alone, using a one-minute sand timer as a visual cue for how long to be silent
This is a wonderful, peaceful activity that I have implemented in my own home as part of our daily routine.
I find that it fits perfectly and is much needed in the hours between lunch and dinner.
When playing the Silence Game at home, I simply sit with my children on a yoga mat and go through the steps.
I find everyone, including myself, is much calmer and more centered following the game.
It's a great way to destress the whole household and feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day!
Have you heard of the Silence Game in Montessori? If so, have you tried it at home with your own child?
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Wednesday 10th of March 2021
Awesome, I am myself into meditation but always wondered how to get my 4 year old interested in it to calm him down. He gets angry often and hits me but he is very sensitive and emotional too. If we have upsets, he prefers crying in silence but if I stop him from hitting or something else (mostly interrupting when his father is on call), he gets furious. He is very rough in play but I don't say anything now...earlier I used to pretend that toys got hurt and needed rest but it didn't work. But otherwise he never hits or misbehaves with anyone outside home. He has mostly been with me all these years, I sometimes get confused if I should become firm or still be loving mom and stop him peacefully to stop him if he is hurting me. I think he needs some calming exercises. What do you suggest?
Wednesday 10th of March 2021
Meditation is so wonderful. It's great that you make the time for yourself to do it. I see a tremendous benefit to my kids when we play the Silence Game. I hope your little ones reaps the benefits, as well!