Are you new to Montessori and looking for more information on the Stereognostic Sense?
I can help! I enjoy doing Montessori activities with my own children at home and so, as well as the traditional Montessori Activities that develop the Stereognostic Sense, I have also incorporated my own ideas for games and activities into this.
Here I will cover what the Stereognostic Sense is, why it’s important, and how to help develop it in your own child.
We don’t exclusively follow the Montessori method, however I incorporate elements of Montessori education into my kids week as I’m really growing to love it.
I hope you do too.
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What is the Stereognostic Sense in Montessori Education?
The Stereognostic Sense is about identifying an item through touch, without being able to see it, hear it, taste it or smell it.
This is often done through the use of a Mystery bag. This is where the child has to put their hand into the bag to feel the item in it and try to determine what it is purely through their sense of touch.
The Stereognostic Sense (otherwise known as the Tactile Gnosis) is one of nine senses that the Montessori Method focuses on integrating into the classroom environment.
The nine sense are:
- Visual Discrimination
The Stereognostic Sense is particularly important for those who have impairments in one or more of their other senses. For example, a child who is blind will rely more heavily on their Stereognostic sense.
However, developing the Stereognostic sense greatly benefits all children.
What is an Example of the Stereognostic Sense in Montessori?
One example of the Stereognostic Sense in Montessori, in our everyday lives, is reaching to turn on our bedside light in the dark. We use nothing but touch to feel for the switch in the dark. I know I have definitely developed this skill over time, and it is very useful.
An example of the Stereognostic Sense in a Montessori Classroom would be the use of a Mystery Bag, or a blindfold. This allows our little ones to use their sense of touch to try to identify what object is in the bag, or when blindfolded, which object they are holding.
How Can We Develop the Stereognostic Sense?
The Stereognostic Sense is a fun one to practice with your kids, as there are so many games and activities that you can do to help develop it.
Any kind of activity that involves them needing to use their sense of touch, without the use of their other senses, helps to develop the Stereognostic Sense.
Below I have shared some fun activities that I do with my kids to help them develop their Stereognostic Sense further, and then at the end I have shared some fun, free games.
What Kind of Activities Help to Develop the Stereognostic Sense in Montessori?
Blindfolded Object Identification
As easy as it sounds, the child is blindfolded and handed an object to hold and try to identify, using just their sense of touch.
Guess what’s in the box
Create a Cardboard Mystery Box.
Find a Cardboard Box and cut a hole in the side of it, big enough for a kid to put their hand through. Then use some strips of paper or tinsel to cover the hole so they can’t see into the box.
To play, you simply put a new object into the box when the children aren’t looking and then get them to take turns putting their hand into the Mystery Box and trying to identify the object inside through their sense of touch.
Challenge your child to do a chunky board puzzle whilst wearing a blindfold. A wooden number and shape puzzle like this one from Amazon works great for this.
The Montessori Stereognostic Bag Activity
This is the most well-known Montessori Activity for developing the Stereognostic Sense.
It involves placing an object into a cloth bag (when the child is not looking) and then passing the bag to the child for them to guess what the object is using only their sense of touch.
Objects could include;
- Fruit / Vegetables
- Animal figures, like these from Amazon
- Favourite Toys
- 3D Shapes, like these from Amazon
- And Everyday Items that are familiar to the child.
What is the Aim of the Stereognostic Bag in Montessori?
The aim of the Stereognostic bag is to develop your child’s Stereognostic Sense. They do this by identifying objects just by touching them, without the help of their other senses.
The Stereognostic Bag, also known as the Montessori Mystery Bag, is the most common activity used in Montessori to develop the Stereognostic Sense.
My children enjoyed doing this activity, and I noticed it also helped develop their descriptive language and concentration skills as well.
What are Some Fun Games to Develop the Stereognostic Sense?
Pin the Tail on the Donkey
The classic kids party game, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, is a great game to use when developing the Stereognostic Sense.
To mix it up and keep it interesting, try different variations of this game. You could pop the googly eyes on the cow, or place the trunk on the elephant.
You could also take advantage of the seasons. Try pin the red nose on Santa or pop the nose on the snowman at Christmas time.
Lucky Dip Style Object Identification
Similar to a lucky dip, the adult fills a sack with shredded paper or packing peanuts and then adds in objects. The kids take it in turns to put their hand into the bag, without looking, and rummage around until they find an object.
They then must use their Stereognostic Sense to identify the object, before taking it out of the bag to see if they are correct. If they are, they can keep the object.
Blindfold Treasure Hunt
This is one I came up with myself for my own kids, so it’s tried and tested!
The child is blindfolded in a separate room and then lead to the room where the treasure hunt is laid out.
For the treasure hunt, lay out cushions on the floor to mark the way. The child crawls from one cushion to the next, using their hands to feel where the next one is.
At the end of the line of cushions they will reach their treasure in a box. They need to open the box and feel the objects inside. They can keep as much of the treasure as they have managed to identify with their Stereognostic sense.
Hide and Seek in the Dark
This is such a fun activity for Preschool aged kids.
Just make sure there are no sharp objects or anything dangerous in the room they are playing in and remind everyone to walk slowly with their hands out in front of them to feel their way around objects in the dark.
I used to love playing this game with my family growing up and my kids love playing it now.
More Montessori Ideas and Activities
I don’t claim to be an expert at the Montessori Method, and don’t follow it exclusively. However, there are so many aspects of the Montessori Method that I absolutely love and it’s such fun trying out these new activities with my own children before writing about them for you.
I hope you’ve found this useful and fun!
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