Perhaps one of the most widely recognized Montessori materials is the famous Pink Tower. It is ten pink wooden cubes varying in size from one cubic centimeter to one cubic decimeter. Seen in both the Primary and Toddler classrooms, this material serves a facet of developmental areas.
The cubes have the advantage that any two successive cubes vary in three dimensions, length, width and height, thus making their difference in size reasonably obvious to children. The most difficult of the blocks to place in position is the smallest, which is 3/8″ on each side. The child’s arm has to be quite steady to place this small object in the center of the next largest block and requires close attention and obvious efforts in performing this task.
By holding the first few cubes with the thumb, index and middle fingers, i.e. the “pencil grip” will prepare the child for holding the pencil later when learning how to write.
After making repeated use of the cubes, a child’s hand finally adopts automatically the precise position necessary to cover the top dimension of the cube. In other words, a child develops a muscular memory for define graduations of space.
The purpose is to develop the child’s visual and muscular perception in judging sizes, develop the child’s coordination of movement and fine motor control as well as prepare the child indirectly, for mathematics by giving the child experiences in comparison, grading and serration with the cubes.