Welcome back to the 12 Months of Montessori Learning series! This month we are concentrating on the subject of mathematics. I am sharing ideas for introducing Montessori math to toddlers. Please remember to scroll all the way down to the bottom and visit all the other awesome bloggers who are sharing Montessori math activities this month.
Sensorial – Pink Tower & Brown Stairs
The child starts developing his understanding for abstract mathematical concepts by using hands-on concrete sensorial materials such as the pink tower, brown stair, and red rods. By using these materials the child is able to understand the concepts of “large versus small” and “long verses short.” These concepts lay a foundation for the later use of the bead material. For example, while adding the bead bars together they become longer and while subtracting they become shorter. The process of introducing a quantity, then a symbol, and finally a quantity with the symbol is how the child is able to understand abstract concepts while using concrete materials.Our pink tower and brown stairs are displayed horizontally on the low shelf in our Montessori homeschool room. Little Bee enjoys carrying the pink tower to his mat and stacking it vertically. For a video on how to present the pink tower to your child for the first time, please visit – www.infomontessori.com – Pink Tower.
He also enjoys building the brown stairs, although he doesn’t always get them in the correct order… yet. For an explanation on how to present the brown stairs, please visit – www.infomontessori.com – Brown Stairs.
Red Rods & Number Rods for 3-4 Years Old
The reds rods build on the concept of long verses short (large verses small) that the child is already familiar with from building the pink tower and brown stairs. After the red rods are mastered, then the next material presented is the number rods. The number rods are divided into red and blue sections representing the quantities of 1-10. These colors guide the child into the abstract concept, of the meaning of a symbol (numbers), as it relates to a quantity. For an explanation on presenting the red rods and number rods, please visit www.infomontessori.com – Red Rods and www.infomontessori.com – Number Rods.
I showed Little Bee a simplified presentation of the red rods by using only the three longest rods. He enjoyed moving the long red rods into formation (longest to shortest). Moving these long heavy rods into formation is a wonderful gross motor activity for a toddler.
The next step, after the child has mastered the red rods and the number rods is to present the number rods with number cards to teach the quantitative meaning of the colors on each rod. After this exercise is mastered, then the child can use the table top number rods. The smaller number rods with number cards prepares the child for future work with the more intricate bead materials.
This number line activity helps the child learn the shape and order of each number by matching the symbol with the picture. I hand wrote each number on white paper with a red magic marker. If you would rather use a printable, check out these super cute number line printables!
Counting Tot Trays for 2-3 Years Old
Little Bee is 2.5 years old and we are mostly concentrating on counting at this point in his homeschooling journey. He loves to count on his fingers, toes, sing songs about counting, and count objects as he is playing. He enjoys when I set up counting tot trays for him to explore. The tot tray below is a combination of the Montessori counting (number) cards and the Melissa & Doug Stack and Sort Board. While Little Bee stacked, we counted the shapes together for each number.
Sorting and Counting Numbers
3-4 Years Old Math Material Information List
- Number Rods (red/blue) (~$70) – DIY Option
- Sandpaper Numbers (~$30) – DIY Option
- Number Cards – DIY Option
- Spindle Boxes (~$45) – DIY Option and DIY Option and DIY Option
- Concept of Zero
- Numbers & Counters (~$25) – DIY Option
- Bead Stair (~$10)
- Table Top Number Rods (~$40)
- Memory Game
Please also visit, Montessori Homeschool Curriculum for 3-4 Years Old.