To the average person it might look like Montessori pin poking
is a mindless activity - but it's very far from mindless! Pin poking
helps children develop their pincer grip, co-ordination, and
concentration. A child must be able to sit and focus, be ready to handle
a sharp object without hurting themselves or others, and show interest
in the activity. Pin Poking can be used to create a variety of arts and
crafts and extension lessons in culture (ie. geography maps).
It's helpful to offer young children
(3-4yrs) the shapes for them to pin poke as they may not be ready to
trace their own. Older children (5-6yrs - those who have the ability to
carefully trace around shapes) can prepare their own shapes using the
Montessori classroom materials: metal insets, geometry cabinet shapes,
fraction pieces, puzzle maps, etc. Or, they can draw their own shapes
freehand, pin poke them, glue them on a sheet of paper and create a
A Point of Interest: if the child is gripping
the pin poker to hard their hand will cramp and tire quickly. It's
important for children to learn the pincer grip, but also to learn the
correct amount of pressure required to pin poke for an extended period
of time (concentration).
The Mind-Hand Connection
In order to prepare the hand for fluid and
beautiful cursive writing (or printing), the mind-hand connection must
be made repeatedly. Pin poking (along with cutting lessons) is an excellent
activity to prepare the mind-hand connection.
Many schools use fancy pin poke
kits (along with a
heavy felt pad underneath) - these can be purchased at Montessori
you can simply use large push pins and place cork, a thick piece of
cardboard or a piece of carpet remnant underneath to protect the tables.
Whether it's the change in season, or the fact that the children have lost interest in the materials, it's important to keep the Practical Life area fresh. Don't be afraid to add new P. Life lessons! You can gear them to the seasons, or towards a new-found interest by a child or the class. We've included a few ideas here that might help guide you to some new lessons. Take some time to read through the Blogs We Like - they are always packed full of ideas!
Over the years we've found the best place (most economical) to get Practical Life supplies are the 'dollar stores'. When the seasons change you can often get adorable trays and bowls to match themed lessons and/or your snack table. Of course, you can shop online at several Montessori suppliers such as Montessori Services.