Cylinders (with knobs) and solid insets
Age 2 ½ to 5
4 wooden blocks containing 10 knobbed cylinders
Block one: The cylinders vary in 3 dimensions. Each cylinder increases or decreases by ½ cm on all 3 dimensions from the preceding cylinder. The tallest cylinder is the thickest.
Block two: The cylinders vary the same as block one, only the tallest cylinder is the thinnest and the shortest cylinder is the most wide.
Block three: The cylinders vary in two dimensions, width and depth. The cylinders are all the same height. They increase and decrease by ½ cm in both width and depth from the preceding cylinder.
Block four: Cylinders vary in one dimension only, height. Each cylinder increases or decreases in height by ½ cm from the preceding one.
Presentation: Block one and block two are the easiest (because they vary in three dimensions) and block four is the most difficult (it only varies in one dimension and the control of error is not absolute, as it is for blocks one, two and three).
Presentation: You can do this on a table or on a rug. Sit next to your child and place the block of cylinders between you. Take out the cylinders, holding the knob of each between the thumb and the first two fingers. (This grasp helps prepare your child for holding a pencil properly.) Mix the cylinders on the table or rug in front of the block. After a short pause replace the cylinders in their correct sockets choosing them carefully in order of size. Some children will want to put the cylinders in themselves, which is great.
Exercise:: I usually ask my child, “Would you like to do this now?” Your child can use any of the sets without any further instruction. The cylinders are a great self-teaching apparatus that a child can figure out by him/herself.
Advanced exercise: When your child has mastered this exercise, he or she can be shown how to use two sets together. I like to put the wooden blocks in a < shape. Mix the cylinders from both blocks and replace them correctly. Later your child can take three, make a triangle out of the blocks, mix the cylinders, and then put them back. When using all four, make a square and proceed to mix and replace.
Visual perception of depth and dimension
Helps observe surroundings with a greater knowledge of height, length, width, and depth.
Helps with fine motor skills
Writing readiness-the fingers and thumb form the pencil grip