Montessori Brown Stairs and Extension Activities

What is the Montessori Brown Stairs?

Montessori Brown Stairs, also known as the Brown Stair or Broad Stair, are an essential educational material used in Montessori classrooms. They consist of ten wooden prisms or rectangular blocks of varying sizes, all painted or stained in shades of brown. These prisms are identical in width but differ in length and height, ranging from the smallest and thinnest to the largest and thickest.

The Montessori Brown Stairs serve several educational purposes. First and foremost, they help young children develop their visual discrimination skills by distinguishing and matching the prisms based on size. This material also aids in the refinement of fine motor skills as children carefully manipulate and stack the prisms to create various stair-like structures.

Moreover, the Montessori Brown Stairs provide an early introduction to concepts of dimension, spatial relationships, and mathematical thinking. Children learn about concepts such as width, length, and height as they explore and arrange the prisms. They also begin to grasp fundamental mathematical ideas like seriation (arranging objects in a sequence) and grading (comparing objects based on size).


Note: Display horizontally in a way that the two changing dimensions of the square faces are clearly visible.

Watch this VIDEO to learn how to present this lesson.

Extension Activities

  1. Removing one prism
  2. Grading at a distance (using 2 separate work spaces)
  3. Language game (Choose a prism and ask the child to get one that is thicker or thinner.)
  4. Environment game (Ask the child to find something in the room or house that is the exact size (or shape).
  5. Stereognostic game (using a blindfold)
  6. Matching with brown stairs cards
  7. Forming the brown stairs based on the pattern cards

You’ll also find Brown Stairs & Pink Tower pattern cards there 👆

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