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.

## Number Line

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

After Little Bee was finished stacking, I set up a sorting and counting game for him using the same materials.

Please visit the links below for more ideas on presenting math tot trays to your toddler.

Montessori Inspired Botany Tree Exploration

10 Christmas Montessori Inspired Tot Trays

8 Montessori Inspired Valentine Trays

## 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.

### 12 Months of Montessori Series - Montessori Mathematics

Natural Beach Living ~ The Natural Homeschool ~ Living Montessori Now ~ Planting Peas

The Kavanaugh Report ~ Mama’s Happy Hive ~ Study at Home Mama ~ Child Led Life

The Pinay Homeschooler ~ Every Star Is Different ~ Grace and Green Pastures

Renae says

What a fabulous post explaining the beginning phases of the math materials. I was finally able to order our pink tower this summer. I can’t wait to order our brown stairs. It definitely takes time to collect all of the materials but it’s so worth it in the end! I can’t wait to start working with Sunshine in a month or two with these materials!

Elaine Goh says

I remember Z couldn’t do the brown stairs or pink tower either, and I remember thinking to myself “What’s wrong with my kid!” But then I realized that while it comes so easily for us, it is pretty difficult for a toddler. But it is so worth it though in my opinion — all that handling and just looking at them will prove valuable later on when he’s older and working on more advanced Math concepts. I have no doubt Little Bee will have plenty of AHA! moments that will make you proud.

Mama's Happy Hive says

Thank you Elaine! That is encouraging. 🙂

The Natural Homeschool says

Oh my! What a wonderful set of math activities! They look so fun and very educational! So exciting!

kimberly says

Very Cool!!! I loved how you shared so many different ideas.

Mama's Happy Hive says

Thank you. I wanted this post to be a resource. 🙂

Nicole @ The Kavanaugh Report says

Great activities! I can’t wait for Nora to get to this stage.

Yuliya says

These are great! I really love how Montessori and your take on these activities make math fun! My kiddo is only a little bit older than your son and he still loves many of these types of works! He’s actually really into counting now, but my husband unintentionally taught him number order in his language wrong: 1, 2, 6… At least it’s different enough from Russian that he still counts correctly in that language hah.

Bess says

I love your explanation of the foundation of Montessori math. It starts long before numbers! You have some wonderful ideas for tot trays.

Mama's Happy Hive says

Thanks Bess! 🙂

Marie says

What an inviting space! What a great way to introduce math. He is going to grow to love numbers. Thanks for the inspiration.

Mama's Happy Hive says

I hope he grows to love numbers! 🙂

Jae says

Vanessa, I couldn’t understand why you keep telling us that it was difficult for you to come with this. This is such an amazing post! Lots of ideas that I could reference for Vito. And I love ALL your materials! T

Mama's Happy Hive says

Thanks Jae! 🙂 It finally came together in the end. 🙂

Laura says

Great hands on activities. You put so much love and thought into all you are teaching him!

Marie says

I love this learning space so much! We are happy to feature your post at the Learn & Play Link up on Christian Montessori Network. Thank you so much for joining the party!

Katie @ Cup of Tea says

The counting trays are such cute ideas. We are in to numbers right now in our house. It’s so much fun!

Maria Telesa says

I love Montessori’s ideas of teaching! I will still use them in our school. Thank you for a great plan and upgrading the Montessori Method.

Katherine Johns says

Do you have printables for the counting trays pictured in this article?

Mama's Happy Hive says

I’m sorry I don’t have printables for this. I used a red magic marker to create these numbers on thick card stock paper.