Monday, June 3, 2013

Shapes: Our Three Part Montessori Lesson

This is our second three-part lesson.  To read about our first, check out this post.   

Currently, Q-ball's shelves are stocked with a variety of materials the emphasis shapes.  She had started to show an initial interest in different shapes, so I wanted to give her a chance to explore the topic a bit further.  In addition, to clearing digging our any materials that fostered shape exploration, I picked up books from the library that also focused on the topic.  I had never planned to do a formal lesson (she is 26 months old, after all, and I try to avoid too much formality).  However, last week, Q-ball suddenly seemed extremely engaged in the book Museum Shapes, so I decided to work in a quick lesson on shapes.

  • Pictures of shapes.  We used the books Museum Shapes and Shape Capers. We both much prefer the former.
  • Sensory that include lots of different shapes- blocks, sorting toys, puzzles, etc.
Blocks, Stacking and sorting materials, and egg shakers for the "oval" (turns out Q-ball really likes ovals!)

The Lesson:
  • Step 1: I simply read the books to Q-ball, repeating the name of the shape several times as I pointed to different examples throughout the book.
  • Step 2: After reading each book once, I read it again, and asked Q-ball to say the name of the shapes.  She was able to do this with the vast majority of shapes (arch and semi-circle were a little out of reach, but I presented seven shapes, focusing on the five most basic.  Most sources recommend presenting 3-5 objects in a 3 part lesson.) If you child is not able to do this with 100% accuracy, go back to step 1.  The goal is for your child to succeed, so you do not want to move forward until you have 100% success. Doing this over several days is more than acceptable!
  • Step 3:  Then, I asked Q-ball if she wanted to find shapes in her toys.  She quickly jumped off of the couch with her book to find the matches.  Without much guidance from me, she was able to search her shelves and find "circle like my circle" when I opened the book to the circle page.
Extension Activities:  Q-ball came up with these extension games on her own!
  • Group sensory materials by type.  (All circles in this corner; all squares in this corner.)
  • Cut and glue.  Q-ball named the shape she wanted, and I cut it out.  Using glue stick, Q-ball glued it to paper.  (If your child has been introduced to scissors, you can, of course, switch roles.) 

Montessori Mom. (2009). The three period lesson. Retrieved from
Montessori Print Shop Blog. (2012). How to give a Montessori 3 period lesson. Retrieved from


  1. Great post! My LOs love learning about shapes. I would love it if you could share this on my blog hop @ THANKS!

  2. Thanks! I look forward to looking through the other activities! I'm always excited about new resources.


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