What is the Montessori Pink Tower
The Pink Tower is one of the first sensory materials your child might work with in their Montessori primary program. It’s a set of 10 wooden cubes that increase in size by one cubic centimeter per block.
The largest wooden cube is 10cm on each side and the smallest cube is 1cm on each side, if that’s a better way to explain it.
The cubes are one color, which isolates the concept of size for children. This is a grading activity wherein the cubes are supposed to be placed one on top of the other based on a their size.
Isolating concepts is a common theme in Montessori classrooms, and Montessori-familiar parents often look for this quality in the toys and activities they keep in their homes.
Isolating the concept of size, in the case of the Pink Tower, helps children focus on discriminating the varying dimensions without the distraction and added confusion of different colors.
What is the purpose of the Pink Tower in Montessori?
This seemingly simple Montessori activity is actually pretty in depth in its purpose. The Pink Tower helps a child develop visual discrimination, introduces them to mathematical concepts, and helps to develop their fine motor skills.
The visual discrimination of the following dimensions are the focus of constructing the Pink Tower:
In addition to these points, weight and it’s relation to the size of each block is something that can be discussed when building the Pink Tower. The cubes are meant to be carried individually to a child’s workspace. This is in part, so they can get a better sense of the size and weigh of each cube.
This material is designed to help children gain a sense of sequence. It also serves as an introduction to the decimal system.
An even cooler feature of this seemingly simply Montessori material is that it is actually pre-algebra work…well…pre-pre-algebra work.
While this isn’t something that is discussed with a 3 year old, handling and stacking the pink cubes and working with the activity extensions are introducing a child to the concepts of volume and the third power (cubing).
During the time this material is introduced to a child, they are in the period of the absorbent mind. It’s important when watching a child build the Tower, not to interrupt or correct them.
Let them see for themselves that the Tower they’ve built doesn’t quite look like it looked when it was constructed before they brought it over to their workspace. They error(s) they made are likely to pop out at them.
If they don’t notice their error, that perfectly ok. When it’s time to return the cubes to their place in the room, they are shown how to return the cubes, one at a time, starting with the largest cube.
This will reinforce the correct order of the cubes and they are likely to have more success on their next attempt!
Another purpose of the Montessori Pink Tower is the language introduced during the activity. “Large, larger, largest”, and “small, smaller, smallest”…language used when grading objects.
So, you see there is more to the Montessori Pink Tower than a simple building activity. It’s purpose builds on skills children will use far beyond the primary years.
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