Monday 15th April – Montessori inspired transferring objects activity   12 comments

Full of inspiration and enthusiasm after attending the Montessori outdoor learning course at Lincolnshire Montessori, Penny did some internet research to find out more.

This what she discovered;

Authentic Montessori equipment is very well made – but expensive

You can buy Montessori based equipment that is very similar but not 100% the same, and quality is variable

You can buy Montessori inspired resources – so the basic idea but not the same and quality again variable

You can improvise – and lots of people do – and blog about it

Just try an internet search yourself!

But to help you on your journey of discovery – this is my understanding at this moment in time –  transferring objects (can be liquids or solids) comes under Practical Life  – and also promotes left to right movement, pincer grip, sorting skills and more – and can be a pre reading, writing,  math and science activity (depending on what you use)

Penny had noticed trays with bowls and tweezers on at Lincolnshire Montessori and on one of the blogs a transferring activity using buttons – which got Penny thinking about  ……. well yes – buttons.

Penny does own a tin with buttons in it BUT it is also a sort of memory tin, as it contains buttons from her married life and particularly her children growing up – like the little duck buttons from the first cardigan she every knitted, buttons from out grown school shirts – cut off to be spares for other shirts and so on.

Penny also had fond memories of  playing with buttons as a child and a more recent experience of playing with buttons during a workshop on ‘Loose Parts’. The ‘Loose Parts’ workshop was very much a hands on experience and everyone had to PLAY. Penny chose to sit under a table, watching the others but also exploring a collection of buttons. She felt the weight of them as a collection, as one button, she sorted by size, material, number of holes, colours, shapes, if she liked them or not, she lined them up  and of course counted the various groupings that she made. At times she was daydreaming and just picking up handfuls of buttons and letting them fall back into the container, other times she was fully engrossed in the activity – and as Penny is an adult in her 50’s – just think how much more a child would think to do with the buttons, how much the child would be able to explore and learn from.

So without further ado – Penny went on an internet search for buttons – and found some on ebay. Sorry partners of those reading this blog – a link coming up –  link to buttons on ebay However even Mr.Penny’s Place could not ‘moan’ about the size of this item or the amount of storage space needed – although he could not believe that Penny had actually paid good money for a collection of buttons.

Within a couple of days the buttons arrived – and guess who was the first to play with them? Penny? NO ….. the children? NO, ….. grandchildren? NO .

It was Mr.Penny’s Place!!!!!

He ‘played with the buttons for several minutes and admitted it took him back to his childhood days and that he enjoyed handling the buttons.

So on Monday morning Penny set up the button transferring activity inspired by Montessori ideas but also with Penny’s own ideas


The children wanted to play straight away – so Penny explained that it was important the buttons stayed on the table. She showed the children how to use the tweezers and to move buttons from one container to another. The children noticed the different colours and that all the blue ones were together, and all the white ones and so on  – they also noticed that there were big buttons, very big buttons, middle sized buttons, small buttons and tiny buttons (Penny made a mental note of the size descriptive words)

Penny then left the children to explore the activity




Some times they used the tweezers and sometimes their fingers.  As can be seen by the middle photo they  sorted  by colour – in fact later on they sorted by shades as well – so dark yellow and light yellow.

Oh and if you have not got any tweezers here is a link to some on Amazon Link for tweezers (and if you don’t need 12 why not share with a colleague?)

Penny also provided a large bowl of the smaller buttons and a mirror tray


The children, and in particular Shona and Chinzia  loved this activity and returned to it through out the day


And as you can see from the photo below  – Penny just had to have a play as well. Alex provided some support to Penny and helped Penny do some of the green and the red buttons.


A very successful activity – and although it would have been nice to have some free buttons – Penny can now inform Mr.Penny’s Place that the buttons were worth paying out for.


When Penny  saw these boxes in the TTS sale – Penny had to buy some!

Assorted March photos 150

Assorted March photos 149

12 responses to “Monday 15th April – Montessori inspired transferring objects activity

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  1. Love it! What briliant activties and lovely photos – we may well pinch this idea : )

    • Thank you Nathan

      As someone starting out on my journey of exploring Montessori based activities – I take that as a compliment. Although my ethos and practice has always been on these lines – what is different now is my developing understanding. Often simple things such as the left to right positioning of things and way to move things – simple but very effective.

  2. What memories, we too had a button tin in fact a tin with ducks on it. We spent many hours playing with the duck tin. I feel an activity coming on. Thanks for the inspiration Penny.

  3. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring activity Penny. I will be finding some buttons for Mr Three Smiles Childcare to play with ;-). Has Mr Pennys place got any milk bottle lids to play with? We found that our different families and their relatives used milk with different colour lids and were happy to save some for us. Now we have whole box full of lids that cost nothing but have great play/learning value.

    • Well the children do have a fantastic collection of milk bottle tops and tops off jars. Mr. Penny’s Place has to combine playing with them with water play when Penny puts them to be washed!

      I hope Mr. Three Smiles Childcare enjoys the button play.

  4. What a coincidence I too have been working with the children this week with the same activitiy, I have been using mini teddy bears you can buy. They come as a tub of 80 bears four different colours and three different sizes. We extend the learning by sorting by colour or size or count the bears forwards and backwards. I like the idea of the buttons to change the activity but keep the learning objective. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Well as you saw I acquired a button box this week and as the children have been so busy with rainbow sand we haven’t had chance to explore.however it is certainly in the planning compartment of my brain for this week!

    • Thank it is the good thing about ‘in head’ planning – it can stay in you head – until needed. When the time is right, I am sure the children will enjoy the button activities.

      And check out the update about the lovely wooden boxes I brought to go with our buttons

  6. oh dear Penny did you have to because now Sally is going to have to spend more money! I must say some of your buttons are lovely bright colours, because mine is a very old tin full of old fashioned buttons they are a bit drab, it will be interested to see whether the children notice this!

    • Sorry Sally – but yes Penny ‘had to’

      I would be interested in some feedback about the children’s reaction to the buttons and lack of bright colours – maybe you will write a blog about it

      • I might just have to do a blog thats if I can drag my children away from rainbow sand this week, however it now looks more like volcanic waste!


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