Montessori is a flexible, individual-based education system that focuses on self-led learning. To assist with this learning, the method employs several tools and materials designed to help children develop basic motor skills, learn math, science, language, and even develop life skills. One of these learning tools/toys is the pink tower.
The pink tower is quite possibly one of Montessori’s most iconic learning tools. Designed by Maria Montessori herself, the pink tower consists of ten pink wooden cubes. It is considered a sensorial material that was created to help students refine and understand all of their senses.
It’s fascinating that a simple tower of pink blocks could mean so much in an educational system. Read on to learn more about the pink tower, how to use it, and where to buy it.
The Pink Tower: What It Does
The pink tower is one of Montessori’s sensory materials. In fact, it is often referred to as the symbol of Montessori. Sensory materials include things like smelling cylinders, red rods, knobless cylinders, touch boards, and much more. Sensorial toys are creative toys that, as mentioned above, help children to boost and refine their senses as well as understand them properly. The pink tower is no exception to this standard.
The cubes in the pink tower all vary in size but they have the same color, texture, and shape. The main purpose of the pink tower is to teach children about size. It helps to refine a child’s visual sense by discriminating differences in dimension. When children take the blocks to the mat and begin to stack them, they will begin to notice the successively larger size and heavier weight of each block.
The stacking of these blocks will also help children to refine their movements as well. They will begin to learn self-control as they make their best effort to stack the blocks efficiently and neatly. When children first start stacking, they will not be able to do it perfectly right away.
It will take repetition and the careful refinement of their hand-eye coordination to perfect the art of stacking. As mentioned before, the child’s visual perception will be strengthened as they assess whether or not they stacked the tower in the correct order. This will increase your child’s confidence and sense of independence as well.
An additional perk of having a pink tower in your home or classroom is that it will indirectly help prepare your children for the study of language and mathematics. Sound ridiculous? Well, actually it’s true. Stacking the blocks prepares the hand for writing in the three-finger grip. It also indirectly prepares children to learn the decimal system since the blocks represent the numbers one through ten.
It is incredible to think that such a simple tool/material could teach a child so much. The pink tower was designed to be introduced to children between the ages of two and three. This is primarily because that is the age when sensory development and error control become extremely vital. The pink tower will teach your child to utilize more than one of their senses at the same time.
This might sound crazy, but if used correctly, the pink tower will prove to be quite beneficial and instructive to your little ones. Dr. Montessori developed it using the scientific method. Everything down to the pink color was chosen and designed for a reason. The color pink proved to be more engaging to young ones and therefore seemed to be a perfect choice.
Teaching, Explaining, and Buying the Pink Tower
Now that you understand why the pink tower is such a beneficial tool it might be a good idea to discuss how to set it up and teach your children to use it. All you will need is your tower and a mat to set the blocks on.
Roll out your mat. The mat is your child’s workstation so make sure it is flat and neat on the floor. Invite your little one to join you in the sensorial area and identify where the pink tower is. Once your child has identified where the tower is, take each of the blocks (beginning with the smallest block) and arrange them randomly on the mat.
Once you are ready to begin, sit on the child’s dominant side and begin to construct the tower. Carry each block on the palm of one hand with the other hand resting on the top, or with the cube resting between the tips of your fingers on both hands. Every once in a while stop and compare smaller blocks to larger ones to make sure you have the correct next size. It is also important that you use your bird’s eye view to center the blocks as perfectly as possible.
Once you have finished the tower, use the bird’s eye view once more to make sure it is centered. Finally, deconstruct the tower and randomly assemble the blocks once more. Then offer your child a turn. Be patient and allow them to navigate through the learning process on their own. They will make mistakes and won’t get it completely right at first, but with time and practice, they will be able to perfect their skill. Their ability to judge size and weight will slowly improve over time.
In addition to stacking, children can also work on recreating patterns with the pink tower. Pattern cards like the ones below are available online from Etsy shops and other Montessori sites.
Where To Buy It
The pink tower can be bought in a variety of locations online. Etsy.com and Amazon.com have plenty of options, as well as other tools and Montessori materials that you can use in your classroom or home.
There are also several Montessori-based specialty stores where you can buy all these things and more. If you are interested in more than just a pink tower, you may want to consider a place like Monetssori Services, which has plenty of materials and curriculum to offer.
Wherever you choose to purchase your pink tower and however you choose to use it is purely your choice. However, if you are willing to be patient with your child as they go through the learning process, you will be surprised at just how much they can learn from using the pink tower and other Montessori-based sensorial materials and toys.