Sensorial – Part 4

Today we continue our exploration of the Sensorial area of the Montessori classroom, specifically discussing the following materials – the color blocks, the ten geometric three-dimensional shapes, touch boards, and the sound cylinders . Sensorial is an area of the Primary classroom that is uniquely “Montessori.” Many of the jobs hearken directly back to Dr. Montessori when she set up her original classroom for the benefit of the young, unattended children in the housing projects of Rome in the early 1900’s.

IMG_0098There are three color boxes. The first has the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow). The second has 12 different colors. The third box has nine colors, but in different grades from light to dark.



Ten Geometric three-dimensional shapes made from wood and usually painted blue. The shapes are:

  • Sphere

  • Cone

  • Ovoid

  • Ellipsoid

  • Triangle-based pyramid

  • Square-based pyramid

  • Cube

  • Cylinder

  • Rectangular prism

  • Triangular prism

Touch boards groom the student’s sense of touch and enhances their ability to distinguish between the smooth and rough.


Sound cylinders are sensitizing the child to the gradations of sound from soft to loud and at the same time, teaching the child how to match the sounds from the red box with the exact same sound in the blue box.IMG_0094

Once the basic sensorial lessons are mastered, numerous extensions can be practiced with each of the materials.  Often sensorial materials will engage the interest of the child for long periods of time because the materials are concrete and the “control of error” is so immediate.  There are also many math and language applications using the sensorial materials, such as labeling the materials, or taking a moment to count the quantity of materials used in a particular job.  Sensorial is part of the classroom that uses all five senses and draws directly from the wisdom of Dr. Montessori in a concrete, useful and vivid way.

Montessori material descriptions taken from Wikipedia “Montessori Sensorial Materials”