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Language - Grammar
Article icon big.jpg
Age5.5 +
Noun - Person, Place, Thing
Materials2-4 of a type of object
2-4 of another type of object
1 of an object
1 of another object
writing tray (pencil, red pencil, slips of paper, scissors)
Grammar Symbol set

In this activity the child is introduced to the concept of articles.


In this example, the objects are 2 rocks, 3 buttons, 1 pinecone, and 1 spool. Just about anything could be used as long as the words begin with consonants.

  1. Take the material to a mat or table.
    Article 1.jpg
  2. "Could you give me a rock?"
    "That's right. Either one would have been fine because there is more than one."
    Set the rock on the table near the left side.
    Article 2.jpg
  3. "May I please have a rock?
    The child should hand you the other rock.
    Place this below the first.
    Article 3.jpg
  4. Continue by asking for the buttons one at a time in the same way:
    "Could you please give me a button?"
    Article 4.jpg
  5. "Could you please give me the pinecone?"
    "Will you please hand me the spool?"
    Article 5.jpg
  6. "Now, instead of saying the word, I'm going to write you a message."
    Write down the word 'rock.' Give it to the child.
    "The word could go with either one."
    Article 6.jpg
  7. Write labels for the rest of the objects and have the child place them.
    Article 7.jpg
  8. "This is a rock. We have more than one, so we say a."
    Write 'a' in red on a slip of paper and have the child place it before one of the correct words.
    Article 7a.jpg
  9. "This is the pinecone. There's only one, so we say the."
    Write 'the' in red on a slip of paper and have the child place it before the correct word.
    Article 7b.jpg
  10. Continue writing 'a' or 'the' on slips of paper, and have the child place them where they go.
    Article 8.jpg
  11. "Let's get the grammar symbols and mark what kinds of words these each are."
    "First let's mark the nouns. Which words are the names of the things?"
    Place the black triangles over the nouns.
    "We use this symbol for these words." Show the small blue triangle.
    "These types of words are called articles."
    Label all the articles.
    Article 9.jpg
  12. The labels can then be put in the tray with the items in the tray so the child can do the work independently later. (Printed labels could also be used.)
    Article 10.jpg

Points of Interest

Control of Error

Variations and Extensions

  • If the child knows the difference between consonants and vowels, you could make a version in which every object is either 'a' something or 'an' something.


One inch wide strips seems to be a good width for the paper labels.

Make Your Own

Free printable Grammar Symbols (black outlines, print on the appropriate color of cardstock and cut out):

Grammar symbols could be cut out of card-stock, craft foam, or plastic (maybe from plastic lids).


Where to Buy

Prices and links last checked: 25 May 2020

Basic Grammar Symbols Box
Absorbent Montessori $25.00
Adena $20.92
Affordable Montessori $39.00
Alison's $26.25
Alison's $52.00
Alison's $52.00
Bruins $80.00
E & O $37.00
ETC Montessori $30.00 (no box?)
IFIT $23.00
Kid Advance $22.99
Leader Joy $24.95
Materials Company of Boston $65.00 (small)
Materials Company of Boston $65.00
Materials Company of Boston $75.00
Montessori Concepts $25.00
Montessori Outlet $9.95 (box extra $13.95)
Thinkamajigs $30.95
Waseca $70.00

Basic & Advanced Grammar Symbol Set
Alison's $47.25 (plastic)
Alison's $49.40
Nienhuis $90.90 (plastic)

Box for Both Sets
Montessori Outlet $15.95
Nienhuis $55.50

Advanced Grammar Symbols only
Adena $17.92
ETC Montessori $28.00 (no box?)
Materials Company of Boston $40.00
Montessori Outlet $7.95
Thinkamajigs $24.95 (cardboard)

Grammar Symbols Stencil
Affordable Montessori $4.99 for 2
Albanesi $52.00 for 5 (large)
Albanesi $52.00 for 5 (small)
Alison's $6.50 for 2
ETC Montessori $7.50
Mandala Classroom $45.00 for 5
Montessori Outlet $3.95
Nienhuis $7.50
Waseca $5.00

Grammar Symbols Stamps
Alison's $29.95
Great Extensions $55.00

3D Basic Grammar Symbols
Adena $20.92
Alison's $18.00 (no base)
Alison's $35.70
Bruins $85.00
E & O $134.00
IFIT $28.00
Kid Advance $21.99 (base: $8.99)
Kid Advance $65.99
Leader Joy $26.95 (no base)
Leader Joy $34.95
Materials Company of Boston $55.00 (no base)
Montessori Concepts $38.00
Montessori Outlet $28.95 (base: $8.95)
Montessori Outlet $57.95
Nienhuis $178.50
Thinkamajigs $37.95

3D Noun and Verb
Adena $10.92
Affordable Montessori $12.00
Alison's $15.75
Bruins $35.00
E & O $17.00
IFIT $13.00
Kid Advance $11.99
Leader Joy $15.95
Materials Company of Boston $48.00
Montessori Concepts $13.00
Montessori Outlet $13.95
Nienhuis Noun only: $26.20
Nienhuis Verb only: $26.20
Thinkamajigs $11.95