Sunday, January 1, 2012

Montessori Knobbed & Knobless Cylinders

I have been getting a some questions about making these.  I decided not to make these. I bought my large set here, but you can also purchase a smaller set here.  To make these you would need to purchase a large range of bits to cut them out.  The four blocks with cylinders grade by width and height in four different arrangements...thus unless you have these bits on hand...the cost to purchase them would far exceed the cost to buy them - however if I'd had the tools on hand I may have made them.  In addition to this...the Knobless Cylinders (here) are a direct extension to the Knobbed Cylinders...meaning down the road both sets are used together.  The cylinders in both sets match perfectly.

These next two pictures from our school room are to give you an idea of how the two materials work together.  The "Knob" on the Knobbed Cylinders are basically the size of a standard pencil...thus every time a child grasps this using the "pincer grasp - similar to that of a pencil develops the manual dexterity and muscle memory required for writing - of course the child is not aware of this until later.
 These knobs also develop a number of other skills including discerning - size, height,width, depth and weight of objects, memory and matching skills.
There are extensions that enhance patterning,design skills.
These also provide opportunities for language ...small...smaller...smallest..."Can you find me the largest cylinder?".  Be creative and come up with new lessons. I also use them for Ordinal numbers presentations First...Second...etc.

There are lots of extensions for these to be found out there for free or to purchase.  You can inexpensively purchase many here, or you can easily make your own simply with construction paper and gluing down the circles. Kids can also draw and color in their own designs.
Also please check out the FREE Montessori Primary Guide for lessons on how to use the cylinders and most other Montessori's an amazing site!!  This blog has great extensions that she made herself!!!  This is also a fantastic post from Living Montessori Now!!

Also visit Montessori Research and Development for their Sensorial Extensions Manual for the Knob less Cylinders here and the Sensorial Extension Manual here.

If you look around your house you will see many developmental toys that have taken their cues from Montessori Materials. Many board puzzles have similar knobs. There are tons of design, patterning, sequencing and matching toys out there, one of our favorites is Wedgits  you can take a look at them here.   

We love this material!  If you should make these PLEASE send me a link I would love to see them!!


  1. Hi! my dad has made them for us - he has also made knobless cylinders but I haven't put them on my blog yet. Hope I will do it soon:)

    Here is the link:
    scroll down the page:)

    Love your blog and ideas!
    Hugs from Poland,

    1. Wow!!! We have loved making many of the materials that we have it is so rewarding:)) Your father is extremely talented, and it was a pleasure to see the work he has created for you and your children!!
      Thank you so much for sharing it just beautiful!!! Amazing!!!

    2. Thank you!:) My dad will be happy hearing that:)

  2. Hi! I would like to ask you some questions (contact you)but unfortunately I can not find your e -mail.

  3. Beyond missing out on the extension opportunities, I am curious if the mini-knobbed cylinders would suffice? All of my research doesn't discuss a comparison between the two.

  4. The smaller set is basically just that. I personally decided to purchase the larger blocks/set because of the extension work/longevity, it was far more work for them to complete and really reinforced the purpose of the work. Speaking for myself here I wondered if I spent the extra money on this set, would I end up wanting to purchase the larger set in the end anyway?
    I don’t think you absolutely need the larger set in the grand scheme of things, but it is a really wonderful material if you are able to purchase it. We made so many of our materials, and were given many as gifts that we did splurge in a few areas like this one. Realistically though most puzzles produced now have Montessori style knobs on them for practical reasons, but work just as well for the purpose of writing preparation. Hope that makes sense:)

  5. The other reason for the larger cylinder blocks is that Montessori created them on the base 10 system. Many of her materials are made based on this concept. This particular material also differs in 1/10 of a cm. in sequence - either in diameter, height, circumference, etc. The smaller cylinder blocks do not have this the base 10 concept throughout the materials provides for consistency, ease of use, interconnectedness, and relation within the materials.

    1. Absolutely!! Thank you for commenting :)

  6. I need the exact size dimensions for the holes drilling bits and accurate dimensions, is there a reference document or anyone got the info please ???

    1. I have not seen the dimensions listed anywhere, but I am in the process of creating a document - it's on my to do list. I will share it when I have it put together :)

  7. This is tough to make in North America. We are thinking of making it in imperial with as close dimensions as possible by purchasing dowels from a local company and then machining the blocks. Thoughts? By the way this blog has the dimensions :

    1. I have created a document and cut list for this material and will post it soon. I also chat about using dowels. I think dowels are a good choice keeping in mind the blocks still need to be cut to house the cylinders. It generally isn't the wood for this material that makes it expensive to make at home but more the tools required. If you have them - or can get all the bits cheaply - or have someone to make it, it would be great to make. For us it was the cost of all the bits that outweighed purchasing it.

    2. I guess it depends on type of wood. We are looking at maple or ash:)

  8. Hi there. I Pmd you on Facebook for the document. We were hoping to make it this week. Would you be able to send it before posting? Also does it include the trapezoidal/profile dimensions of the outside edges of the block? We'd like to make those. Thanks so much. If you already posted it which page is it on as I cannot locate the document section of the blog.

    1. Just published the post! I am so excited to know how this works out for you!!! Let us know :)


I greatly appreciate your friendly comments and feedback. I love to see what others are making, so please feel free to include a links and share your site with us!!! If you have any questions regarding any of the materials we have made...I'd love to help!!! Thank you for visiting us:)

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