Knob Cylinders

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Knob Cylinders




  1. Block 1: Ten cylinders varying in height and diameter from tall and wide to short and narrow.
  2. Block 2: Ten cylinders varying in height and diameter from short and wide to tall and narrow.
  3. Block 3: Ten cylinders varying in diameter only.
  4. Block 4: Ten cylinders varying in height only.


This is an individual exercise, which may be done either on the table with a table mat or on the floor on a floor mat. (Note: work cycle to be observed) This presentation can be carried out in 3 stages, advancing from one stage to the other as and when the child is competent enough. (Repeat the presentation for each of the 4 blocks of cylinders, advancing from Block 1 to Block 4 as and when the child is competent in each block.)


  1. The Directress first shows the child how to carry the block of cylinders to the table with both hands holding the ends of the block.
  2. Stage 1: The Directress sits beside the child and places one cylinder block in front of the child. Then the Directress removes the cylinders from the block by holding the knobs with three fingers (called the pencil grip), starting from the largest to the smallest. Directress removes each cylinder from the block and places it in front of the respective socket that was removed from.
  3. After a short pause, Directress then puts the cylinders back to its respective sockets, starting from largest to the smallest. Directress may invite the child to help from the 3rd. cylinder onwards. The exercise is done without letting the cylinders fall and without making too much noise.
  4. Stage 2: Repeat Stage 1 but place the cylinders at random when removed from the sockets. The child will have to search for the correct socket to place back the cylinders.
  5. Stage 3: Three Period Lesson. Takes the largest and the smallest cylinder and  teach the child these terminology:        
  • Block 1: "Fat, thin"
  • Block 2: "Short, tall"
  • Block 3: "Fat, thin"
  • Block 4: "Short, tall"

Return the block of cylinders to the shelves, holding the block with two hands at both ends.

Control Of Error

Each cylinder has a correct socket. If the child incorrectly places a cylinder, then the exercise cannot be correctly completed.

Points Of Interest

The important objective is that the children should be able to use each cylinder block successfully and they must be allowed the time they need to achieve this. Seriation of several objects can be a difficult exercise for very young children - but the seriation of the cylinders is assisted by the Directress's demonstrations and by the fact that it is easy to see if a particular cylinder is in the wrong socket.


  • Develop the child's visual perception of dimension.
  • Develop the child's coordination of movement.
  • Provide controlled experiences on seriation.
  • Provide basic language- important in mathematics.
  • Prepare the child, indirectly, for reading and writing.
  • Strengthen child's pincer grip