DIY Montessori: Knobless Cylinder Patterns & Variations


Making your own Montessori materials can be lots of fun, and so rewarding. The key item when making any new work is to find what is needed in your classroom, and add lesson opportunities according to those needs. Try adding seasonal variations to an already-established work on the shelf, such as snowflake pin pricking during winter, or hand-made nomenclature cards for specific holidays. These exciting new work extensions help keep the spirit of learning lively and spontaneous.

A fun way to incorporate new lessons, is to create extensions, or variations on a work. For example, the knobless cylinders have an endless amount of lessons that can be given to help the child learn to discriminate in size/diameter. A fun variation that our children enjoy is the knobless cylinder patterns, hand-made by our guides. Often times the child can trace the pattern and complete the puzzle on their own. Here is an example of one of our knobless cylinder patterns:
photo 3_2

To make your own pattern, you’ll need:

  • Canvas, or some sort of material that easily rolls up for storage (we used non-adhesive shelf liner)
  • Permanent Markers (black, red, blue, green, yellow)
  • Pencil

Start by deciding what pattern you’d like to make. Get creative! You can make a train, boat, or even incorporate the cylinders into natural scenery, as long as the child is able to grade the objects, just as they would off of the pattern. Once your pattern is made, use a pencil and trace around the cylinders to replicate the different sizes, starting from largest to smallest, left to right. Using a pencil helps preserve the cylinder’s paint, and not leave behind scratches or marks. Re-trace over the pencil with a permanent marker.

Optional: It might be helpful to draw an additional, colored line around the circles to indicate which color cylinder goes where. For instance, I re-traced the boat’s windows in blue to indicate that the blue cylinders were to be placed there. I did not fill in the circles with the color blue, but rather a thin blue line to highlight that specific circle.

Have fun, get creative, and use your imagination!

“The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” – Dr. Maria Montessori

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