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Montessori Activities - Discs on Horizontal Dowel

The Montessori education philosophy emphasises the importance of developing both motor and cognitive skills in young children. One of the ways in which this can be achieved is through the use of specially designed materials and activities, Discs on Horizontal Dowel”.

What is “Discs on Horizontal Dowel"?

Discs on Horizontal Dowel is a Montessori activity that involves a wooden base with several pegs on it. The pegs are placed in a horizontal position and have a series of coloured discs that can be stacked on them. The aim of the activity is for the child to stack the discs in order of size, working from largest to smallest, onto the pegs.

Purpose of this activity:

Discs on Horizontal Dowel is designed to help children develop their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and concentration. By working to stack the discs onto the pegs, children learn to refine their motor movements, improve their grip strength, and develop better hand-eye coordination. The activity also helps children to develop their cognitive abilities by requiring them to think about the order of the discs and to recognise and differentiate between different sizes.

Benefits of Discs on Horizontal Dowel

  • Developing fine motor skills: By manipulating the discs and placing them onto the pegs, children develop their fine motor skills, which are essential for tasks such as writing, drawing, and using scissors.
  • Improving hand-eye coordination: Discs on Horizontal Dowel requires children to use their hands and eyes together, helping to improve their hand-eye coordination.
  • Enhancing concentration: By focusing on the task of stacking the discs, children develop their ability to concentrate and maintain their attention for extended periods of time.
  • Encouraging problem-solving skills: The activity requires children to think about the order of the discs and to recognise different sizes, encouraging the development of problem-solving skills.

How to do Discs on Horizontal Dowel Activity

To do the Discs on Horizontal Dowel activity, follow these steps:

  1. Invite your child to join you for this exercise.
  2. Unroll the mat and sit next to your child.
  3. Set up the wooden base with the pegs and the stack of coloured discs.
  4. Take the discs off one by one and place them on the mat in front of the equipment.
  5. Demonstrate picking up a disc using the three-fingered grasp.
  6. Carefully fit the disc onto the dowel and push it all the way on.
  7. Replace the remaining discs one by one, placing each one next to the other soundlessly.
  8. Ask your child if they would like to try.
  9. Let your child experiment with the exercise independently.
  10. Store the equipment on a low shelf for your child to access whenever they want to use it.

Points to note:

  • This exercise helps young children develop hand-eye coordination, finger grasping skills, and the ability to cross the midline.
  • It's important to let your child work independently and avoid touching or adjusting the discs.
  • Allowing children to work on their own can improve their problem-solving abilities and concentration.
  • Present the equipment in a way that's easily accessible to your child.
  • Use a mat for floor work to define the work area and help your child stay focused.


Discs on Horizontal Dowel is a classic Montessori activity that offers numerous benefits to young children. By using this activity in the Montessori environment, educators can help children develop their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and concentration, while also encouraging the development of problem-solving skills. With a simple wooden base and a stack of coloured discs, Discs on Horizontal Dowel is an effective and engaging way to help children develop their motor and cognitive skills.

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