Red Knobless cylinders

This sensorial lesson is designed for 3 to 6-year-old children to guide them with the difference in diameter using Montessori red knobless cylinders.

What are the Knobless Cylinders in Montessori?

The Montessori knobless cylinders are a sensorial material with 4 different color boxes, each set containing ten cylinders, which vary in height, diameter, or both. The lids of each box match the color of the cylinders inside.

The purpose of knobless cylinders is to help the child refine their visual discrimination based on diameter and height.

The dimensions of each set of cylinders vary methodically in one or two dimensions: diameter or height. They are introduced in the following order: red, yellow, green, blue:

  • Red knobless cylinders–In it, each cylinder decreases in diameter, and height remains constant.
  • Yellow knobless cylinders–In it, each cylinder decreases in both diameter and height.
  • Green knobless cylinders–In it, each cylinder decreases in diameter and increases in height.
  • Blue knobless cylinders–In it, each cylinder decreases in height, diameter remains constant.

With knobless cylinders, children also learn about grading language:

  • short, shorter, shortest
  • tall, taller, tallest
  • thin, thinner, thinnest
  • thick, thick, thickest

In this video, a child will be introduced to the red knobless cylinders explaining the concept of thick and thin.

Aim of Introducing Montessori Red Knobless Cylinder

  • Development of visual discrimination based on the difference in diameter. 
  • It also helps in developing a child’s fine motor skills, order, concentration, and hand-eye coordination. 

Control of Error

Each cylinder has a different diameter when seen visually.

Points of Interest

  • The color of the cylinders.
  • The difference in the size of each cylinder.

How to Present Montessori Red Knobless Cylinders to the Child?

  1. Invite the child to the table while carrying the box of red knobless cylinders.
  2. Take off the box lid and place it below the box.
  3. Using your thumb and two primary fingers, slowly remove each cylinder and place them randomly in a row in front of the child.
  4. Tell the child “Now, I am going to arrange these cylinders in order.”
  5. Introduce the child with the thickest and thinnest red cylinders.
  6. Let the child compare its size. 
  7. Now, place the thickest red cylinder on the left.
  8. Select the next thickest cylinder and place it in position 2(from left to right.)
  9. Continue till all the cylinders are placed in order from thickest to thinnest.
  10. Touch the top of each cylinder from left to right and again introduce them with the concept of thickest to the thinnest.
  11. Ask the child, “Do you observe any difference in these cylinders?”
  12. Let them reply, “Yes, as we move from left to right the size of the cylinder is decreasing. They are becoming thinner”.
  13. Invite the child to try arranging them in order.

Watch the video to know how to introduce the order of the cylinder. Invite the child to arrange the cylinders as per the size as shown in the video and help them develop their visual discrimination.

More knobless cylinders video resources


For more video lessons, click here

Video Created by: Joanne Shango


  • What is a Knobless Cylinder?

The Montessori Knobless Cylinders is a sensorial material that consists of 4 boxes of 10 colored cylinders (red, yellow, blue, and green). Each box has a lid that matches the color of the cylinders contained inside. Its purpose is to refine a child’s visual discrimination, based on diameter and height.

  • What is the order of Knobless Cylinders?

When introducing knobless cylinders, red knobless cylinders are introduced first, followed by yellow, then green, and finally blue. 

  • How do you use a Knobless cylinder?

Show the child how to order the knobbed cylinders by size and height from left to right. Or you can ask the child to use a mix of knobbed cylinders and arrange them to create a pattern.


  • english language
  • knobless cylinders
  • montessori
  • primary level
  • sensorial