Monday, January 31, 2011

more math manipulatives

"Mommy, do you have any work for me to do?" Finn asks nearly every Saturday morning. Montessori school clearly agrees with him. He seems to respond to clear instructions and boundaries around specific projects, especially ones that can be done over and over again. So we decided to set up a few "works" that he can do at home.

One of the works that we set up for him is a little bag full of wooden hearts. They are painted with watercolors and sealed with beeswax. Perfect for a myriad of works, including counting, sorting, patterning, addition and subtraction.

Finn's current favorite is addition. If he has 4 yellow hearts and then gets 2 blue hearts, he has 6 hearts altogether! Very exciting!

I've also started showing them to Philip in a grid and talking a bit about multiplication since I know he'll be venturing into that territory soon at school. Manipulatives can be so wonderful for explaining the meaning behind the memorized facts.

I also let Finn help me make a counting/numeral work with beans and craft sticks this weekend. He put a dab of glue for each bean on sticks from 1 bean to 10 beans.

He very carefully and neatly lined up his beans (a great work, on it's own!)

And while he napped, I printed out the numerals 1-10 on photo paper and attached them to the end of each craft stick with velcro dots.

Now he can count the beans and learn the numeral that corresponds to each number, then when he knows them really well, he can remove the numerals and match them to the correct bean stick. He was so excited about this work that he wanted to bring it to school!

Any fresh ideas for more works of this variety would be greatly appreciated!


  1. impressive! I love the sticks, we made something similar on paper--but i think we're going to mimic the popsicle sticks!

  2. what a great idea! gonna have to do this next time the grandgirls come over. thanks!

  3. LOVe this! My four and a half year old son would totally dig this. He is very project oriented as well. It seems most boys are. I struggle though, homeschooling with 4 kiddos, to fulfill his need for that everyday.


  4. Check out this blog there are lots of great ideas!

  5. That's great Joy! Even I think it's useful to visualise what we have been accustumed to do by memory. Lovely to see how Finn is eager for "work", totally engaged in the joy of learning!

  6. Look at you getting your Montessori groove on! Another fun one is the Memory Game of Numbers-- print off small slips of paper (you can start with 1-10, and then go up higher if you want to). Have a basket of objects, a carrying pouch, and a basket of your numbered papers. Finn first sets the basket of objects "faaaaarrrr" away from where he is working, then chooses a number, memorizes it, and fetches the correct quantity from memory. You can make cute pouches for all the components of this work with fabric if you want to make it more crafty, and switch the objects seasonally.

  7. Wonderful! I especially love the craft sticks. I shared on Twitter (@candaceapril) and facebook (Naturally Educational).

  8. I love the fact that Finn asks you to have work given to him! I think manipulatives are great tools to help a child learn. Anything that allows a child to play and learn at the same time is a great idea.


I love to hear what you think!