Saturday, 1 November 2014


Budsy has shared detailed presentations (and videos wherever possible) on the earlier Montessori Mathematics exercises. Today, Budsy will share the next follow-up activity after the Spindle Box, which is the Cards and Counters. Budsy will put up the pictures to the lesson first for now and will slowly update with the detailed presentations when Budsy breastfeeds the boys in a while… Budsy loves smartphones. They're so smart, so busy mothers like Budsy can multi-task wherever we are. 

Here is the sequence to Montessori Mathematics activities. The first stage is to introduce and get children acquainted with the concrete foundation of numerals and quantity of 1-10.


1. Number cards 1 to 10 

2. Counters (55pcs)

3. A big work mat

This is an actual Montessori material. This Cards and Counters kit contains 10 wooden number cards, 60 wooden chips (inclusive of 5 spare chips) and a wooden box with wooden lid to cover the box. Another beautiful Montessori equipment. 

1. Ask your child to sit beside you, facing a work mat. 

2. Ask child to arrange number cards in sequence from 1 to 10, beginning from the left corner of the mat. 

Note : If you are not sure if your child can carry out this activity in one sitting using all the cards, you can also work with half - just start off with cards 1-5.

3. Ask child to pick up one chip at a time and place it under the number cards, beginning from the wooden card numbered 1. Explain to the child that 1, has NO FRIEND. So, when this happens one goes in the middle position, under the corresponding number card. Ask child to count simultaneously, as he picks up the chips from the next number onwards.

4. Ask your child what number comes after 1. 

(verbal reinforcement) 

5. When your child says the number correctly (number 2), request for your child to simultaneously pick up and count the correct number of chips and again place it under its corresponding number card. 

Note : Repetition of gentle reminders/instructions breeds the familiarity children need until such time the child is observed to be able to carry out the exercise on his/her own.

6. This time, explain to the child that 2 HAS a friend. Just like queueing up in school, 2-by-2 with their classmate (or when they go out with mommy). So, friends go together. Hence, the chips are lined side by side.

7. Continue with the rest of the numbers, repeating each process with the remaining numbers up till number card 10. 

Remember the phrase :-

- NO FRIEND (place in the centre) and WITH FRIEND (place side by side) and all this time counting together each piece that is picked up by the child. If the child can verbalise the instructions on his/her own after the first few assisted presentations, let it be. That's a great sign that the repetition method has sunk into the child's mind at the best point of concentration.

8. End the exercise by concluding that the child has managed to arrange all the chips corresponding to the numbers 1-5 or 1-10, for the day. 

9. You may then choose to check all the pieces together to ensure accuracy of the exercise. At any time, there is a mis-count, do not stress the importance of getting it right, esp at first go. Just say, we'll do this exercise/activity again another day. Noworries. Praise the child for the wonderful effort. 

It is fantastic effort for a child say aged 3.5yrs or 4yrs to count, each time going back to one, till 55 chips are all used up… so compliment the things that children can do and not simply criticise what they can't. As a general rule, Encourage instead of discourage. 

10. As with all other Montessori equipment, this material comes with self-correctional feature. All the chips has to be used up upon completion (1-10) of this exercise. Which means, you (or the directress) has to already have prepared a total of 55 chips altogether, preferably of a same color.

11. For older children, or for directresses / parents who find their children are ready or up to it, this material is great for introducing odds and evens concept... 

It goes like this... 

"Now, lets do odds and evens. Let's start with one." 

Show the action of sliding your finger (pointer) right thru the middle (of the chips). Then, explain... 

"Gee.. when I slide my finger down the middle for one, I touch the chip. Now that's an odd number."

"What number comes after 1? 2?! Ok, very good. Now, I'll slide my finger down the middle... let's see... hmmm... I didn't touch any chip. Coz two has a friend, so that's an even number. Now, would you like to try that out?"

12. Resume till number 10. You may choose to raise the number cards that are even, slightly higher than the original position to depict the concept of counting in 2's later on upon completion, more clearly.

13. "Next, comes number 3. When I slide my finger down the middle for three, I touch the chip. Now that's an odd number. Whenever I touch a chip, it means I have an odd number."

14. Repeat the procedure with the next numbers up to the number 10.

15. If you are working with even numbers first, raise the even wooden number cards after sliding your finger down in between the chips.

16. Upon completion, invite your child to count the even numbers 

"Shall we count all the even numbers? Point to the raised number cards and let's count together. 2... 4... 6... 8... 10."

17. "Now, shall we count the odd numbers? 
1... 3... 5… 7… 9."

18. "Well done. Now if you would like to practise this activity again, just let me know and we'll do it together. If you think you can manage on your own, that's great too! You may just take this material from the shelf. Let's put these away and put it on the shelf, so you know where to get it the next time. It was fun working with you."

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