The Montessori Pink Tower is probably the most recognizable Montessori material and today we have a guest post to share how to present the Pink Tower, it’s benefits and alternatives to this traditional Montessori material.
The following is a guest post from Elaine from Planting Peas.
What is the Montessori Pink Tower?
The Montessori Pink Tower is one of the most recognizable and traditional materials in a Montessori classroom. It is also one of the first Montessori sensorial materials that a child will work with.
It is basically a set of 10 cubes that range from 1 centimeter cube (1 cm3) to 10 centimeter cube (10 cm3). These cubes are not hollow like nesting blocks, they are solid blocks. As such, the weight of each cube gets progressively heavier as the cube gets bigger.
What is the objective of working with the Montessori Pink Tower?
The Montessori Pink Tower helps a child with visual discrimination.
It may seem obvious to an adult or older child that the stacking order should be largest at the bottom to smallest on the top. But when I first introduced it to Z when he was about 2 years old, I was surprised that it does not come so obviously to a young child.
In addition, it fulfills the child’s need during this sensitive period for order. At this age, a child craves a sense of predictability and order. You might already recognize it — when your child insists that he should be coloring blue if the outline of a picture is blue, or when your child insists that the tissue box must return to the shelf even though for all practical purposes it can be left on the sofa for the time being.
Indirectly, the Pink Tower is a precursor to Math as are most other Montessori Sensorial materials. It is a sensorial introduction to the Base Ten system, and it ties in perfectly with the table of Pythagoras. It’s difficult to explain, but I’ll redirect you here to find out more about the deeply educational nature of Montessori Sensorial materials.
How does a child use the Montessori Pink Tower?
In the beginning, the lesson is a straightforward one — take all the cubes down and stack them back up from largest at the bottom to smallest at the top.
In this video, my son has decided to arrange the cubes horizontally. Unfortunately he has missed a cube and has trouble figuring out where it should go. He definitely needs more time to work with this material.
Once a child masters this, they can move on to several other extensions. This includes stacking them up but aligned at the corners. The smallest cube is then used to demonstrate its relationship to all the other cubes. This activity can also be done blindfolded, played as a game of “where does this cube go”, matching the 3D cube to 2D cards, etc.
The Montessori Pink Tower is also often combined with other Montessori sensorial materials (such as the Montessori Brown Stair and Red Rods) to create beautiful patterns!
- Here is a written lesson with video, and here is one from Study At Home Mama.
- Here is another video lesson.
Resources – Buy, DIY, Alternatives to the Montessori Pink Tower
1. Where to Buy a Montessori Pink Tower
- Alison’s Montessori
- Montessori Equipment (where I bought mine) (Here’s a review by Study At Home Mama)
- Montessori Material For Sale (Facebook group)
- Authentic Montessori Material For Sale (Facebook group)
- Montessori Materials For Sale in Canada (Facebook group)
- Your local used websites, such as Craigslist or Kijiji
*Keep in mind that if you decide to buy a Montessori Pink Tower, you’ll likely want to buy the Montessori Brown Stair as well!
The Montessori Pink Tower isn’t easy to DIY because of its precision. I think that by the time the cost of materials, time and labor is factored in, you’re almost better off buying a used or new one. (Don’t forget to factor in the fact that Montessori materials fetch a pretty decent resale value too!)
But that hasn’t stopped some people from doing it. Here are some DIY inspiration:
- Making Montessori Ours is extremely handy and has made a set that looks store-bought!
- Research Parent made one using foam board.
- I’ll add an Etsy pre-made “interlocking blocks” alternative
There are some acceptable alternatives to the Montessori Pink Tower and these work well for those who are on a budget or simply want to supplement the child’s sensorial learning at home.
- Melissa & Doug wooden nesting blocks (we have this, and love it!)
- Melissa & Doug Deluxe 10-Piece Alphabet Nesting and Stacking Blocks (I believe these are made of sturdy cardboard instead of wood)
- eeBoo Life on Earth Tot Tower (Looks like these are made of paper over heavy board)
- Melissa & Doug Nesting, Sorting Garages and Cars — This one looks like a value-packed product that could be used in multiple ways. It doesn’t isolate the concept of visual discrimination, but sure looks like a great value for all the different ways the child gets to learn with this, and could work well for folks on a budget.
- Tallest Tree Stacking Blocks — here’s a review by Mama’s Happy Hive.
I am amazed at this material because it is so much more than just ten stacking blocks. The precision, the connection to Math … best of all is the build and quality allows us to keep this material well into the Elementary years if not later!
For more Montessori lessons, check out our collection of Montessori Practical Life posts.