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2 min read

Have you noticed that your child points out every little speck of dirt, tiny hole in a piece of fabric, or ant on your walks?

Montessori refers this intense attention to detail as the Sensitive Period for Small Objects and it typically occurs between the ages of one to four.

This interest will ultimately lead to the development of fine motor control and the pincer grasp, which in turn will eventually help them to write.

It's also a way for young children to understand and classify a large and overwhelming world. By focusing in on the small details, they can learn how things move, respond, and feel at a scale that's more manageable to their size.

Understanding this sensitive period can provide empathy and patience when our little ones take ages to walk to the park, inspecting everything along the way.

It can also provide ideas for activities that support development during this period - offering a basket of rocks or shells for inspection, giving your child a magnifying glass to bring out to the backyard, or even just stepping back to give them the time and space to do a thorough inspection of items they find around the home.

Snowflake Matching

Montessori printables, Montessori sensitive period for small objects

This is a great activity for children in the Sensitive Period for Small Objects. It also helps to develop visual discrimination.

This activity requires the child to use a magnifying glass and look closely to match the large and small snowflakes to each other. The small set is just a shrunken version of the large snowflakes.

Print both sets of cards here > 


Then cut them up and lay them out, with all the large snowflakes in one line and the small snowflakes in a second line. Mix up the order so they're not all matched up right away.

If your child is under 3, start with just 3-5 sets of snowflakes. You can always add more if they master 3 sets quickly.

For very young children or those having trouble using a magnifying glass, just print two copies of the large snowflakes and have them work on matching them.

It still requires attention to detail to discriminate between all the snowflakes.