A few months ago I posted about metal insets here. I decided to make a different version, using more shapes and hopefully a bit more like it is supposed to be. Mine are not individually removable like they should be but I may actually like this version better as they stay all together.
Here are what the real insets look like.
I started by using a piece of Elmer's foam board, like is used for science fair presentations. Next, I downloaded the shape templates from here and printed them out. Using a utility knife, I traced over the outline of the shapes onto the foam board. After I had the shape pressed into the foam board, I cut the shapes all the way out. After they were cut out, my daughter and I painted the removable pieces and the frames 2 different colors. I then glued small rocks as pulls onto the pieces. This isn’t working well, however, as the rocks keep coming off. I will have to replace these with something that works better. To remind me of the correct steps, I glued some instructions to the other side of the foam board. I like this because it folds up and is easy to store. What I do not like is that the foam board doesn’t allow for as clean lines as wood or metal would. I also am not happy with the pulls. For now, however, it works well. I do have plastic ones of square, circle, and triangle that I will continue to use for now as well.
The frames are in one color and the inset shapes are in another. Colored pencils should be provided. The teacher places the frame exactly over the square of paper, showing the child that no paper can be seen around the edge of the frame. Next, the teacher draws around the shape. She then removes the shape and lets the child see the drawn shape. Next, she uses a different colored pencil and fills in the drawing with light parallel lines from side to side. takes one pencil and draws around the shape. She removes the frame and lets the child look at the drawn shape. She changes for the second pencil. She fills in a small part of the drawing with light straight parallel lines that go exactly from one side of the drawing to the other.
So…what are metal insets for?
As explained by Nienhues Montessori: “Dr. Montessori analyzed the movements which are connected with writing and developed the Metal Insets for directly preparing the child for handwriting.The Metal Insets exercises strengthen the three finger grip and coordinate the necessary wrist movements.The exercises also advance proficiency in lightness of touch and evenness of pressure through drawing activities.”
Here is a video of a child using metal insets-