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Make Your Own Sensorial: Sorting Shiny and Dull

Some of the most interesting activities for your child can be made with the things you already have!  This week I made an activity used for training the eye, an area of the Montessori Sensorial curriculum called visual discrimination.  Specifically, sorting objects that are either shiny or dull.   This sorting activity can be easily personalized for your audience by varying the objects or the container.  I once made this material out of toy cars, and it got a lot of ‘traffic’!!  

My own children are (still) in love with Christmas, and some of these items pictured are their favorite little trinkets.  They noticed it, new on the shelf, upon entering the room.  I typed up the cards that read, “shiny” and “dull” and placed a sticker on the back for my non-reading tots. On the other side of the “shiny” card there is a glitter sticker, and on the back of the “dull” card is a plain green foam sticker. 

With the work ready, ask the child, “what is shiny?  What is dull?”

Exciting extensions can come in the form of games where the child searches for items to sort.  “Go find a shiny object.”  If the child is interested, expanding on the lesson can help add educational value (and fun!).  We had quite a pile going.  I love displaying books relative to the materials, like Shiny and Dull, My World Of Science or Shiny Or Dull?.    See what is shiny or dull in your house!

Jessie is a mother of three beautiful daughters (twin tots & a preschooler), an AMS trained Montessori teacher of 40 students, and a wife to one. Jessie has a background in dance, a yoga certification, and a Masters in Early Childhood Education. Jessie has a childhood education blog at

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Practical Parenting

Tuesday 25th of January 2011

We do this a lot! We even make treasure hunts out of it! Very fun!


The Education Of Ours

Tuesday 25th of January 2011

Oh, we love polishing! I'm still working to find a nice, safe polish I can make myself. What do you use Colleen? We are loving this work right now. The girls have started adding things to it, and big sister keeps checking to make sure it's even between dull/shiny. Now we need a bigger basket!

Thank you for your comments, and the lovely award!

The Sunshine Crew

Monday 24th of January 2011

I tried to link up to your post but when I did, it wipes out my post on my blog for some instead of doing the link up bar, I added it withing the text of my post to come read your post. did not see where the other Montessori Monday links ups are going, so hopefully, this way will work. Loved your post Jessie. Just not sure why when I tried to select to link up that it takes off my other post...guess I need to learn more about html.Have a happy day and hope that you and others will come read my post that I attempted to link to yours...


Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog

Monday 24th of January 2011

Cute idea!!!

The Sunshine Crew

Monday 24th of January 2011

Great idea for a work! We like to polish coins and silver items and so when we have these on our shelves, it would be fun to also have the shiny and dull work on our shelvs at the same time. Thank you for sharing this idea. When I put it out for Little Bro and he tries it, will have to let you know and will link back to your neat post.Thanks again, Jessie.Colleen:)