The Stereognostic Sense
The development of the Stereognostic sense is an important part of the child's work in the Sensorial area. Just as important as any of the other of senses, the stereognostic sense allows the child to discriminate size and shape through the use of touch. Dr. Montessori wrote “When the hand and arm are moved about an object, an impression of movement is added to that touch. Such an impression is attributed to a special, sixth sense, which is called a muscular sense, and which permits many impressions to be stored in a “muscular memory”, which recalls movements that have been made." (The Discovery of the Child) The use of the stereognostic sense allows the child to have a mental picture through the use of touch and movement. Other activities that develop the use of the stereognostic sense include the mystery bag and stereognostic bag.
The stereognostic activities are first done with eyes open. Once the child knows how to feel the object in the hand and is familiar with it, the objects are then used with the blindfold. I introduced this to my oldest daughter with just two types of pasta. After the initial sorting with the use of vision, she watched me use the blindfold and sort the pasta. She then had a turn. For more of a challenge I will introduce another shape and later have four different shapes. Part of the challenge is also remembering which container it goes in (great for memory skills). Other sorting materials could be buttons, beans, or shells. The important aspect of this activity is that it must vary in size and shape.
Colored pasta is very simple to make. Add a few drops of food coloring and a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the pasta in a bag. Move it around a bit.
Let it air dry as soon as the coloring looks good. It will dry very quickly.