Monday 19 November 2012


Montessori Activity: Metal Inserts

AGE: 4-6 years old


1.     To prepare the child for writing by learning to grip the pencil and controlling it including lightness of touch, evenness of pressure, continuity of lines and control of lines.

2.     To develop eye-hand coordination.

3. To familiarize the child with the curves and angles found in letters.


1.     1 metal insert (They are exactly the same as the wooden inserts of the geometric cabinet)

2.     3 color pencils

3.     1 piece of paper

4.     1 tray


1.    Choose a shape.

2.    Show the child how to correctly hold the pencil.

3.   Trace the outline of the inner circle from the metal insert and say: “I have made a red circle.”

4.    Place the metal circle directly on top of the circle that you have just drawn.

5.    Trace the outline of the outer circle with another color pencil.

6.   When the child has done many of the different shapes of metal inserts, and you feel confident of the child’s ability of tracing the metal inserts, tell the child to make lines inside of the blue shape.

9.   Select another colored pencil and draw starting from inside left edge of the drawn shape and draw a vertical zig-zag from the top to the bottom of the shape drawn.

7.    Invite your child to try.

8.   Show your child how and where to store the finished work.


1. After drawing around the interior edge of a frame, the child places the insert on the paper so that it does not correspond with the first drawn shape (this would not be possible with the circle.)

2. After drawing, the child combines two and more shapes to create a symmetrical pattern with many sections to be filled in.

1.     Cut out the figures and paste it on a page.

2.     Make booklets.

3.     Make patterns with tracing different shapes and turning them around.

4.     Let the child experience the effects of different pressures on the pencil.


The variety of movements required in this work provides the child the chance to practice the control of the writing movements and with changing directions. According to Info Montessori, “the child can learn to make continuous stroke. This is particularly helpful in cursive script.

J (3Y8M14D) tried for the first time at home today. He had tried it at the kindergarten and he enjoyed it very much. He was still not very good at controlling the metal inserts so that it did not move around, when he traced the shape.

If you don't have Montessori metal inserts, you can use shape stencils or any shape blocks to substitute. 


We tried this activity on 27 November 2013, and J (4Y8M22D) was very enthusiastic in trying out many different shapes.


The Montessori metal inserts and optional tracing tray are available from Amazon:

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