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Montessori In A Minute: Sound Cylinders

The Sound Cylinders are an engaging Montessori sensorial material used in Toddler and Primary classrooms. Children in this age group are building their sensory awareness. Montessori curriculums have many materials that focus on sight and touch, and the Sound Cylinders are one of the most important sound tools in the classroom.


This tool has 12 wooden cylinders filled with different materials that create a range of sounds. The cylinders are two boxes, each containing two matching pairs of six cylinders with their tops color-coded in red and blue.

Students remove the cylinders from the boxes and set them out, separated by color. They then choose one cylinder to shake close to their ear. When shaken, each cylinder makes a different sound depending on what the cylinder has in it. Examples of fillings include rice, sand, dry beans.


The cylinders look identical on the outside. The goal is for the child to find the matching sound cylinder by sound alone. Once a child matches the cylinders, they can check their work by turning over the cylinders and confirm the numbers on the bottom of the cylinders match.


As they work their way through the activity, children improve their auditory discrimination skills, sense of order, and matching ability. Teachers also take this opportunity to introduce important sound vocabulary words like “loud,” “louder,” and “loudest.”

Montessori schools like Hudson Montessori School utilize specially designed tools like the Sound Cylinders to promote experiential and sensorial learning that students can repeatedly practice at each age level. Often, these tools are self-correcting, allowing the child to check their work and adjust accordingly.

This Montessori In A Minute series regularly explores the unique benefits of these fundamental materials.


To learn more about Hudson Montessori School’s interdisciplinary, theme-based learning approach to education, the Montessori philosophy and methodology, or how the school fosters the love of learning for children age 2 to sixth grade, sign up for an open house tour most Tuesdays at 9 a.m.

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