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DIY Montessori Sound Cylinders

DIY Montessori Sound Cylinders

DIY Montessori Sound Cylinders are a traditional Sensorial Activity to stimulate an auditory sense in preschoolers and kindergartners which is easy to make at home with recycled items.

What are the sensorial activities? From birth till about seven years of age, children have a very sensorial relationship within their world ~ they utilize all of their five senses such as sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell to learn about their environment. Anything that triggers their senses, goes directly to their brain. Each Montessori sensorial activity triggers just one sense, allowing a child to discriminate the order and focus to advance that particular sense. For example, a sensorial activity that stimulates the auditory sense is Montessori Sound Cylinders. Most importantly, you can easily make a DIY version of cylinders with recycled materials readily available at your home.


Sound Cylinders are a traditional Montessori material isolating a single auditory sense: the sense of hearing. This activity can be offered to a child starting from two and a half (you can always try earlier and see if the child responds) and is usually presented after introducing the Knobbed Cylinders, Pink Tower, and Binomial Cube

Sound cylinders come in two (red and blue) identical sets of six sealed wooden cylinders that make a distinctive sound when shaken. The cylinders are graded from very soft to loud, and each cylinder has either a red or a blue top. Each set is contained in a wooden box with a matching red or blue lid.

Your child will learn:

  • auditory/sound discrimination by exploring one sense – a sense of hearing;
  • the sense of order;
  • matching the sounds, since sounds made by the cylinders are paired, i.e. the sound made by one cylinder in the red set matches the sound made by its equivalent cylinder in the blue set.

With a younger child, you may want to start with just three sets of distinct cylinders: arrange blue in a column on the right and red in a column on the left. 

Montessori Sound Cylinders

You will perform a pairing exercise: take one red cylinder and shake it near a child’s ear.

DSC_0100.JPGThen try to find a match from blue cylinders, asking a child “Does it sound the same?” If the child does not think that the blue cylinder’s sound matches the red one in the right hand, the child will place that blue cylinder to the side and proceed by picking the next blue cylinder and matching it to the same red one the child is holding. 

DSC_0100.JPGA matched pair is placed in the middle.

Similarly, the child will proceed until all the cylinders are matched pairs. As with most Montessori materials, there is a control of error ~ numbers on the bottom of each red and blue cylinder must match, representing a pair of identical sounds.

Montessori Sensorial Activity Extensions to stimulate Auditory Sense

  • Introducing language: you can present a Three Period Lesson to teach a child terminology: loud vs soft

                    Presenting a Three-Period Lesson:

                            (P1) “This is  loud; this is  soft.”

                            (P2) “Will you show me loud/soft?

                            (P3) Ask the child: “What is this?” 

  • Grading one set of cylinders in order from loudest to softest.
  • Use a blindfold to further isolate the sense of hearing.  

For details on Montessori Three-Period Lesson, see here Montessori Three Period Lesson in Action (using 1st of 6 Phonetical Set: s m a t). 

DIY Montessori Sound Cylinders

Stimulating The  Sense of HEARING • Auditory Sense

DIY Montessori Sound Cylinders
DIY Montessori Sound Cylinders

 DIY 👂🏻Sound Cylinders

Montessori sensory work that stimulates the sense of hearing, focus on volume, acoustic and hearing in general. Also, included in this category, are music and music theory such as learning to distinguish pitch, musical tone, noise, loud vs. low, animal and human sounds and silence. Some Montessori works that fall under the Sensorial auditory category are: sound cylinder (boxes)  and Montessori Bell

However, there is absolutely no need to buy Montessori sounds cylinders, since it is super easy to make them at home. All you need is four pairs of identical containers/cylinders (we were using recycled spice jars), filled with various materials. 
1. softest (use sand, rice, Millet or any other fine grain~ we are using breadcrumbs)
2. soft (small beads ~ we are using pasta)
3. load ~ we are using pennies.
4. loudest ~marbles or rocks.

Make sure that the difference between the sounds is very clear making it easier for a child to differentiate and match the sounds.

As a control of error, put numbered stickers underneath each spice jar. Although traditional Montessori cylinders are non-transparent, I purposely chose clear spice jars as this can be modified for smaller children who might receive visual help. For older children simply use a 🙈blindfold or cover jars with the cardstock/paper. 

DIY Easter Eggs Sound Cylinders


This is an Easter Inspired DIY version of traditional Montessori Sound Cylinders  Sensorial Activity to stimulate the auditory sense. Sound cylinders are meant to isolates just one sense  – the sense of hearing. (That is why the traditional material is opaque/you cannot see through). Here, instead of six matching pairs, we will be making three matching pairs. So, you will fill one red and one blue with identical filler: starting with the loudest/pasta (code that pair as 1) to the softest/rice (code that pair as 3). You will have a pair in the middle/cereal (code it 2). As with all Montessori materials, there is a control of error – numbers on the bottom of each egg must match representing a matching pair.

During this sensorial activity your child will learn:

  • auditory/sound discrimination by exploring one sense ~ the sense of hearing;
  • the sense of order;
  • matching the sounds since sounds made by the eggs are paired, i.e. the sound made by one egg in the red set matches the sound made by its equivalent egg in the blue set.

Please let me know which DIY Montessori Sound Cylinders version is your favorite?

Have you downloaded my NEW eBook? It has everything you need to know to get started on your Montessori journey, as well as a CURRICULUM outline reference guide, the order of lessons, and the age when they should be introduced, in my opinion. See details HERE.

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Also, check out HERE Homeschooling The Montessori Way Yearly membership in case you are exhausted from swimming in the vast ocean of irrelevant information and saving activities you never get to! I am here to help! WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER!

♡ Enriching the Mind one Heart at a time ♡
Enriching the Mind one Heart at a time

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