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Rubbing Plates

Sweet Pea is 38 months old.

From: A couple of months ago, we tried to make our own rubbing plates out of hot glue and cardboard, but they did not work very well.  When I saw a set of Roylco ready-made rubbing plates at Hobby Lobby, I thought we would give them a try.


  • Rubbing Plates.   (In addition to flowers, Amazon sells leaves, dinosaurs and insects and I found even more sets on the Roylco site.)
  • Crayons with the paper removed.  (If you want to go all out, you might be able to find sturdy Crayon Blocks.)
  • Several sheets of paper.
  • Scissors.
  • Chip clip or binder clip (or tape, but it doesn’t work as well).


  • Use the scissors to cut the paper so it is the same size as the rubbing plates.
  • Assemble the rest of  your materials.
  • Show your tot how to clip a piece of paper on top of a rubbing plate.

  • Lay the paper and plate in front of you.
  • Choose a crayon.
  • Deliberately place your non-dominant hand on the side of the paper to hold it steady.
  • Using your dominant hand, rub the edge of the crayon across the paper until the picture shows through.

  • Let your tot try by themselves.

Observations: Sweet Pea has worked on these several times.  She really enjoys watching the flower magically appear as she rubs the crayon across the paper.

Clipping the rubbing plates to the paper turned out to be a great fine motor control activity all by itself.  She struggled to get the paper lined up evenly with the plate, but of course, never wants any help.  🙂

There are 16 different plates and our set even came with an identification sheet, so we are able to talk about the real names of the flowers when she makes each rubbing.  Sweet Pea will often ask to use certain ones by name.  She is especially fond of the lilies.

This activity requires quite a bit of dexterity, so I would only recommend it for older tots.

Notes from the Trenches: I originally used tape to hold a rubbing plate in place and then more tape to hold the paper on top of the plate.  This worked fairly well for securing everything, but was inconvenient to change out every time Sweet Pea wanted to work on the next plate.  Also, it was hard to get the tape off of the paper without ripping Sweet Pea’s work.  If you use tape, this will be much less of an independent activity.

Rating: 3 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Independent)

Carnivals: This post is linked at One Hook Wonder’s weekly Montessori Monday and Mommy Moment’s  Montessori Moment.  Take a look at those sites for other great Montessori ideas.

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