Some days, weeks, or even months later, at a point initiated by the child’s inner guide, interest, and experience, he will stack them perfectly for the first time. There is almost always an expression of joy, "I did it!” Look at Seamus - genuine pleasure and pride!
We invite older children who have worked through and mastered most of the sensorial materials to begin to try some of them blindfolded. They have done certain activities blindfolded from the beginning - in particular the Fabric Box and Opening and Closing - so the experience is familiar, but this is a new adventure, sidelining the usually dominant sense of sight. It's a whole new level of challenge, and always a lot of fun to observe.
During this extended period of exploration, free building begins for many children, using the pink tower and brown stair as a foundation, and this activity seems to hold an endless attraction. Their creativity explodes. Early this fall, we had to ask certain older children to stop doing it for a while, because they were setting a rather wild example for the younger ones. Now we've opened it up again, with some moderation and balance encouraged. I can't tell you how many different and amazing "marble runs" and "castles" we have seen just over the past year - they have been countless, unique, and mostly not photographed.
All three of these next photos were taken last year.
So here's to the Pink Tower! In this age of iPads and movies and all digital media, the Pink Tower shines as a prime example of the importance of hands-on materials, experiences, and learning for young children. As Dr Montessori wrote long before the digital age, "The hands are the instrument of man's intelligence."
P.S. This blog post needs a postscript. Remember the smallest pink cube, only 1 cm cubed? It is a favorite tiny object for the younger children, one that disappears and then reappears in Montessori classrooms everywhere. Just this fall, two have gone missing. The first was in September, and after a month, I replaced it with my last extra (I opened Chickadee with 3 extras). A few weeks later, it was gone again, and this time it disappeared while the cubes were out on a rug, in use, in full view. Ten were brought out, nine put away. Pockets and cubbies were checked, rugs were lifted, shelves were searched. We looked everywhere. I have no more extras stashed in the basement. In past years, more than one parent has found the tiny pink cube in a pocket at home, but not this time. So any day now I will order some more extras from a supplier, along with some pink paint to touch up the cubes. Because nine pink cubes are just not enough....