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Sweet Pea is 27 months old.


From: This was inspired by my desire for a set of  Montessori Insets, which are a bit out our price range right now.  (The Montessori Primary Guide has a good description of how to use insets in the Montessori style.)




  • Tape a piece of paper to the back of the stencil.
  • Demonstrate drawing on the inside of the stencil to create a shape.
  • Show your tot how to hold the marker correctly and let them try drawing around the inside of the stencil.


  • Encourage your tot to color in the shape.
  • After your tot is done, remove the paper from the stencil and show your tot the shapes that he or she just drew.

Observations: I’ve been looking around for something similar to Montessori Insets.    I originally tried using puzzle pieces from a puzzle we own.  I think these would work pretty well if Sweet Pea were older, but they were too hard for her right now.  I realized that she would have an easier time drawing on the inside of a stencil instead of around the outside of a shape.


Sweet Pea had a much better time with the stencils.  She loved this activity and I would definitely recommend it for other tots.  I wish I could have gotten a picture of her face when we would peel the paper off of the stencil and she could see the shape that she had “drawn”.  She had so much fun.  I got tired taping paper to the stencils long before she was ready to quit drawing the shapes.


Notes from the Trenches: It is important to securely tape the paper to the stencil for a young tot.  Sweet Pea had trouble holding the stencil in one place and without taping the paper to it, she wasn’t able to make any recognizable shapes.

At first we used regular markers, but I quickly discovered that a lot of ink collected on the plastic stencils.  Normally the ink from a marker is immediately absorbed into the paper, but it just sat on top of the plastic stencils until Sweet Pea would touch it and smear it all over her hands and arms.  I don’t normally like the Crayola Color Wonder markers and paper because it takes so long for the marker color to ‘develop’ on the paper, but they actually worked very well for this activity.

Rating: 2 Stars * (Fun, Easy)


3 comments to Stencils

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