After a child has been introduced to a number of Sensorial activities, Montessori Baric Tablets can be offered to stimulate child's interest and awareness to differences in weight. The material is suitable for children as young as three years old, and Julia at seven, still enjoys it. Baric Tablets (buy here) is a Montessori Sensorial Material, meant to isolate one particular sense to further its development. Here, the tactile sense of touch is being stimulated. Baric Tablets come in a wooden box with three compartments each containing seven wooden tablets, finished with non-toxic paint. Each set of tablets differs in weight and color (for control of error). You will also be introducing language to your child such as light-weight tablets, medium-weight tablets and heavy tablets.
Presentation: place one of the tablets on the palm of the hand and move both hands with the palms facing outward in an up and down motion, weighing it to determine which one is heaver/lighter. You will only be working with two sets of tablets at a time. With a smaller child, start with two sets of baric tablets that vary most in weight: take one of the heavier tablets, place it on the palm of the hand and move the hand, weighing it and say, "This is heavy." Now, place that same tablet on the child's palm and ask him/her to do the same. Proceed similarly with the lighter tablet: "This is light." Ask the child to determine which tablet is heavy or light. Proceed to work through the two sets of baric tablets until the child has sorted them all into lighter and heavier piles.
You would start with the child's eyes open and then gradually encourage the child to close his/her eyes. Eventually, you would offer the child to determine the weight while using a blindfold.
Control Of Error: the color of the wood. The child closes his eyes to focus his attention on the weight rather than the color of the wooden tablets.
When he opens his eyes, the child can check whether or not he has sorted the tablets correctly by weight by looking at the different colors of these three types of timber.
You can also use a scale to compare the weight of the tablets.
Tablets are made from different types of timber, e.g. beech, oak, mahogany. The tablets weigh approximately 12, 18 and 24 grams each respectively, making the difference of 6 grams between each variety.
We started with two sets of baric tablets which vary most in weight: the heaviest & the lightest.
Adrian would sort tablets by weight into two piles (baskets): heavy & light.
As the child gets comfortable, offer to compare two sets with a less obvious weight difference.
Adrian is comparing lightest vs medium weight tablets.
Sorting medium vs heaviest tablets while blindfolded.
Control of error: a child can weigh ⚖️ the tablets to see which one is heavier.
Read here about these ⚖️ balance scales, as well as a link 🔗where to purchase them under "Fall Inspired Weighing Activity with Balance scales" post.
Also, this is an easy 💠DIY activity: you can make two sets of heavy vs light materials of similar visual appearance. (Try 🆓lumber or timber samples from your local HomeDepot store.)