My first child started attending a Montessori preschool just before his 3rd birthday. One of the tools which his teacher said he had trouble understanding was the Montessori pink tower. After I looked up what a “pink tower” was, I just couldn’t believe that my son was unable to stack blocks in order of size. However, I was also unwilling to pay nearly $40 (Affiliate Link) to prove to myself that he could.
After several months, when my son was three and a half, his teacher was still saying he was unable to do the pink tower. Still unable to believe it, I decided to make one myself. I was actually pretty pleased with the result (and the total cost of under $5). However, I was a little disappointed with the amount of time he spent using it. I asked him to show me he could do it and he stacked the blocks in the correct order, but completely forgot about one of the blocks. I showed him he forgot one and he did it again correctly the second time.
In my opinion, his problem was more of an attention span issue than a stacking issue. Since he never really used them again, I’m hoping they’ll come in handy when my 2 year old is a little older.
Note that when I’d completed the tower, I basically just gave him the blocks and said, “Do it.” After all, he’d seen them at school. However, if you’re interested in introducing the pink tower to your child in a way that wouldn’t make Maria Montessori cringe, check out this tutorial on the correct way to present this learning tool from Carrots are Orange.
Recommended Age Range: Preschool
Time Required: ~3 hours
Difficulty: Fairly Easy (all the measuring with a ruler is time consuming and using the x-acto knife requires attention and care, but otherwise, the process is simple.)
Cost: Less than $5 in used supplies (I forget how much the large sheet of foam board cost, but I’m sure it was less than $5 and was the only real cost.)
- Foam board (I used a 20″x28″x3/16″ or 508 x 711 x 5 mm sheet, but I had quite a bit left over)
- Tacky glue
Supplies & Tools:
- x-acto knife
- surface for cutting (I used a self-healing mat)
- marker or paint (unless you buy colored foam board, which would have saved time, or you want to leave it white)
- The first step is to trace out all the square and rectangular shapes to be cut to make the blocks onto the foam board using a ruler and pencil. Going along with standard Montessori specifications, my largest cube was 10 cm on each edge and my smallest was 1 cm. Since the foam board itself has a thickness of half a centimeter, all the sides of each cube are not the same size. For example, the 10 cm cube is made of two 10 cm x 10 cm squares, two 10 cm x 9 cm rectangles, and two 9 cm x 9 cm squares. The 1 cm cube is made by stacking and gluing two 1 cm x 1 cm squares. Here is a diagram of the shapes that I drew onto my foam board in centimeters.
- Cut out all the shapes using an x-acto knife on a safe cutting surface, like a self-healing mat.
- Color or paint one side of each shape if desired. Although the standard Montessori tower is pink, I like blue better.
- Glue the shapes together to make each cube. As stated before, the 10 cm cube is made of two 10 cm x 10 cm squares, two 10 cm x 9 cm rectangles, and two 9 cm x 9 cm squares. This diagram shows how they are assembled.
- Similarly, assemble the 9 cm cube using two 9 cm x 9 cm squares, two 9 cm x 8 cm rectangles, and two 8 cm x 8 cm squares.
- Assemble the 8 cm cube using two 8 cm x 8 cm squares, two 8 cm x 7 cm rectangles, and two 7 cm x 7 cm squares.
- Assemble the 7 cm cube using two 7 cm x 7 cm squares, two 7 cm x 6 cm rectangles, and two 6 cm x 6 cm squares.
- Assemble the 6 cm cube using two 6 cm x 6 cm squares, two 6 cm x 5 cm rectangles, and two 5 cm x 5 cm squares.
- Assemble the 5 cm cube using two 5 cm x 5 cm squares, two 5 cm x 4 cm rectangles, and two 4 cm x 4 cm squares.
- Assemble the 4 cm cube using two 4 cm x 4 cm squares, two 4 cm x 3 cm rectangles, and two 3 cm x 3 cm squares.
- Assemble the 3 cm cube using two 3 cm x 3 cm squares, two 3 cm x 2 cm rectangles, and two 2 cm x 2 cm squares.
- Assemble the 2 cm cube using two 2 cm x 2 cm squares, two 2 cm x 1 cm rectangles, and two 1 cm x 1 cm squares.
- Assemble the 1 cm cube by gluing two 1 cm x 1 cm squares together.