29 May 2013

Homemade Montessori - Cards and Counters

This is one of the simpler Montessori DIYs I've made. I made this about a year ago.  Like the Felt Moveable Alphabet, this was to supplement my daughter's lessons at school.

When I first encountered this Montessori manipulative, I remembered how we were first taught 'numbers and counting' in the traditional school I attended back in the day - learning mostly from textbooks and hardly working on anything concrete or tangible (which would have made me learn faster and more effectively). I have since appreciated how this material is tactile, that it not only helps children recognize numbers, their sequencing and their corresponding quantities but it also introduces "odd" and "even" numbers.

These are the Montessori numbers and counters we use at the preschool where I used to work.  Photo courtesy of absorbentminds.co.uk

I have been on the lookout for shops selling Montessori materials, keeping an eye out for the red 'numbers and counters,' but haven't encountered any so I decided to make my own.

These are the materials I sourced for this project:
1. Blank flash cards - a supermarket find.  You may also use index cards.
2. Green marker- to match the glass stones.
3. Green glass stones which have flat undersides - I found these in Divisoria.  (I saw some glass stones in SM but the undersides were not flat).  Other DIY moms have used bottle caps, acorns, pine cones and even Teddy Grahams!  So you can be creative! 
4. Plastic container for the glass stones.

I use the cards for practicing sequencing.

And the number cards and counters (glass stones) for learning corresponding number quantities.

For the cards, I just wrote the numbers on the cards and drew uneven circles to resemble the glass stones.

It is important to put the exact number of counters or in this case, glass stones for numbers 1 to 10 (55 pieces) to serve as a self-check or control of error.

At times, my daughter would rather count the glass stones without the cards which also makes for good counting practice so I don't mind.

Other times, the glass stones are used for "cooking" in the Homemade Toy Kitchen (along with beans and shells) or used as "treasure" so we are almost out on glass stones.  Haha!  Time to replenish.

If you want to learn more about using this material, this post is a step-by-step tutorial on how to best use it.  You may also check out  this post to see how Lisa Nolan, a Montessori mom, uses this material with her child.

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