Children & Arithmetic: 5 Fun Activities Using a Montessori-inspired item (VIDEO)

Posted by Montessori Official on

It can be extremely complex to teach children the basics of arithmetic. Indeed, most children think multiplication, subtraction and division are unfunny. On the other hand, all too often parents and homeschool parents wait longer than necessary to introduce their child to the fun world of math. As for teachers, they often face difficulties to teach arithmetic especially math operations.

Today, let’s discover how to learn arithmetic while having fun in the Montessori-inspired way with 1 item and its video tutorial. The Early Learning Counting Box is a very interesting material because it provides an important link between hypothetical math operation principles and the real world. Being able to hold, touch and visualize the amounts and numbers will vastly improve the child’s comprehension and self-confidence in-line with the basic principles of Montessori teachings. 

You’ll find that there are some beautiful colored tablets that range from the numbers zero through nine, as well as the different symbols for operations. There are also sticks inside that are beautifully colored and help you with numeration. For younger preschool children, you can only use sticks and numbers to give them a learning boost, so they begin their school years full of confidence with a can-do attitude.

The Early Learning Counting Box is a great addition to the mathematical section of your classroom, homeschool, or just a great companion for your kids on long car rides or busy places on the go.

Teaching Addition the Montessori-inspired Way (Age 4.5 - 5)

Let’s begin by teaching one of the operations: addition. Addition is the simplest operation to teach because it means “all together”. You can begin by introducing what a plus sign is and saying, “This symbol means all together”.

Teaching Addition the Montessori-inspired Way

Let’s count, one plus zero equals one. You can invite the child to write the equation at this time.

Next, let’s remove the zero and move on to one. Our new equation will be one plus one. You can put out a stick for each of the ones and you can remind them that when we add, we put both of them together in order to create our sum, because plus means “all together”. One plus one equals one, two. Pause to let the child write this equation as well.

Continuing on in this fashion, we will move on to one plus two. Show the child how to count out the sticks for both the one and the two, as well as demonstrating how to put them all together.

Teaching Addition the Montessori-inspired Way

One plus two altogether equals, one, two, three. Three!

Feel free to just choose two random numbers to test their knowledge of addition. If they have a firm grasp on numeration and addition, they should be ale to count each one and find the correct solution.

Teaching Addition the Montessori-inspired Way

Five plus three equals one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Eight.

Teaching Multiplication the Montessori-inspired Way (Age 5+)

Let’s move on to multiplication. Multiplication means “times”. Let’s start with one time a number. One times one equals… First, we start by counting out the correct sticks for each of our numbers. One stick, one time, equals one.

Let’s try three times two. Begin by counting out your sticks, one, two, three. We’ve taken this number once and it says to take it twice. One three, let’s count a second one and let’s make it a different color. Two threes. Three taken twice equals one, two, three, four, five, six. Six. Three times two equals six.

Let’s find another equation. Remember to put your sticks away at the end so you can stay organized. Let’s do three times nine. So, remember when you do “times”, you take the first number the second amount of times. For instance, we’re going to three, nine times. My first three is going to be green. I like to use different colors to separate out my “threes”, so I can keep track of ow many times I’ve taken the number three.

Teaching Multiplication the Montessori-inspired Way

One three, two threes, three threes, four threes, five threes, six threes, seven threes, eight threes and nine threes. We have taken three nine times. Let’s count to see how many times three times nine is. Twenty-seven. Three times nine equals twenty-seven.

Learning Subtraction the Montessori-inspired Way (Age 4.5 - 5)

The next operation we are going to perform is subtraction using the minus symbol. Subtract means to take away. When we are doing subtraction, we want to start with a large number on the left and a small number on the right. For example, nine take away zero. Let’s count out nine sticks. If we have nine sticks and we take away zero, how many sticks will we have? We have nine. Nine take away zero equals nine.

Let’s try another number and we’ll stay with our nine. Nine take away seven. We can use our same sticks that we already counted out. So, nine sticks minus seven, or take away seven, equals umm, let’s see. Let’s take away seven sticks and see how many we have left. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Take those sticks away. We have two sticks left. Nine take away seven equals one, two. Two.

You can continue on in this manner, trying different numbers as well, and if your child feels confident with subtraction, try to trick them by choosing random numbers and having them count out the number and take away the correct amount. They will show that they have mastered subtraction when they can do any numbers you choose. You can also have them practice writing each equation so that they feel ore comfortable writing symbols and the equations of operations.

Learning Division using a Montessori-inspired toy (Age 5+)

Let’s move on to our next symbol: division. Division means to take into separate equal parts. We want to start with a high number on the left and a low number on the right, for example eight divided by one. The way to explain division is to say we are sharing this between a group of people and the one says how many people we share it between.

For example, let’s count out eight sticks above the eight. We’re going to share these eight sticks with one person, or divided by one person. Eight divided by one equals eight.

Learning Division using a Montessori-inspired toy

Let’s try another number other than one to better demonstrate how division works. We can keep our same eight sticks. So, for example, eight divided by two. Pretend you’re dividing the sticks between two friends. We want to make sure that the two piles are equal. One for you, one for me. You can tell them to divide them out in this way.

The child can continue to do this until both sides are equal and there are no sticks remaining. Then you can count one of the groups. How many sticks does one person get? Four. Eight divided by two people equals four sticks each.

Let’s try another division equation. Nine divided by three. This is where you want to make sure you choose equations that will work out equally at the beginning just to make division simple for your learner. Let’s count out nine sticks. Again, we talk about how division divides it into equal parts.

This time we are going to do three separate groups as if we are sharing with three people. We show the child how to divide it out again by counting one for you, one for you and one for you. Continuing on in this manner dividing nine into three equal groups until all of the sticks are gone. Next, count one of groups. How many sticks does each person get? Three. Nine divided by three equals three. Three equal groups of three.

Extra Math Operation Learning Features

There are many other ways that you can use this Early Learning Counting Box as well.

For instance, there’s an equals sign, less than sign and greater than sign, so you can show them equations like one is equal to one, two is less than four and six is greater than three.

As an added bonus, on the back of the numbers and symbols, you’ll also find all of the letters of the alphabet and a question mark. This Early Learning Counting Box has a wide variety of uses. Your child will enjoy discovering all the different ways they can use this product in order to expand their mathematical mind.

Further Montessori-inspired ideas for educative games and activities with the Early Learning Counting Box

The Early Learning Counting Box is an ideal gift for young children of all ages. Thanks to its all-natural wood composition, it is a solid, sturdy set that can be passed down through your family. Even pre-schoolers are drawn to its bright colors and the sticks and tablets are an ideal size for small hands. When you purchase this set, you’ll soon notice that by bringing the numbers from the pages of their books out into the real world, their comprehension and numerical awareness comes on by leaps and bounds.

Younger children will also enjoy simply “playing” with this set and learning the colors, numbers and the alphabet.

Let’s take a look at some additional activities that you can use your Early Learning Counting Box for.

Exploration and assessment

In line with Montessori principles, you want your child to self-learn as much as possible. That is to encourage them to discover a maximum for themselves. This way they will develop more confidence in their own abilities, and as we all know, something learnt “the hard way” through trial and error, is a lesson that we don’t easily forget.

We encourage you to allow your child to first of all explore their Early Learning Counting Box. It’s exciting and they will probably want to get everything out and touch each of the pieces. This is what you want, you’ll have plenty of future opportunities to help to guide them in their math learning later on.

Allow your child to handle all of the pieces and pay careful attention to what they know already and what they don’t. You may be surprised that they recognize more than you thought they would. Take the time to answer any questions and be sure to name each tablet they pick up. This can also be done with the letters of the alphabet, or if our child is very young then name the colors together and the first few numbers.

Allow your child free time to explore and to play with their new set. Once the novelty has worn off you can start to work through the basic principles of mathematics as outlined above. Remember to take your time and don’t be afraid to take a step back and to let your child make their own mistakes. You can set them back on the right track, but teach them to not fear failure. Mistakes are an essential part of learning, in learning what is wrong we can also learn what is correct.

Montessori-inspired Preschool Math Activities

If your child is still quite young, don’t worry, you can still make plenty of use of the Early Learning Counting Box. Young children love playing with the brightly colored sticks and one fun, easy activity is to tip out the whole contents of the box and to practice tidying away, but by color. At first you may want to show than an example, say a red stick. Then encourage them to put all the reds back in the box. Make sure they’re all thoroughly mixed up before!

Young children love these sorting-style games and they are excellent for improving dexterity, fine motor skills and hand-to-eye coordination, you can make the game even more fun and educative by having the tablets placed in order of the alphabet at the side. Once the mixed-up sticks for one color have been retrieved and put away, ask them to look for the same colored letters. When they pick up a letter in that color, say that letter out loud and have them repeat it after your as they put it away. Once they’ve completed the reds, move on to another color until the entire set has been put away.

As your child progresses, count each of the sticks as they put them away. Doing this regularly will help them to learn the numbers in the correct order. You can also have the number tablets on hand to point to each one as you say it. This will get your child off to a great start.

More Complex Montessori-inspired Math Activities

One of the great things about the Early Learning Counting Box is that it takes away the fear and misunderstanding that math textbooks often inspire. Once your child is making good progress in math and they can do all of the basic operations that were shown in the video, you can’t then use the Early Learning Counting Box to take things a step further.

Go through a few easy, warm up operations. Then move on to some equations that just don’t work out, like three divided by two. This is an excellent starting point to revise odd and even numbers. You can introduce the idea of a remainder when the numbers don’t work out.

Once you’re confident that your child understands the concept of division and remainders, move on to try to divide the odd numbers by other figures to obtain a round number. For example, you can do three divided by three. Once you’ve explained this to your child, allow them to explore each of the numbers. Depending on where they are in math at school, they may or may not already be aware of the existence of prime numbers. If they are not, you can take this opportunity to visually introduce them to the concept and to explain why these numbers are different.

Giving your child a solid and personalized understanding of math will help them to achieve in the future and encourage them to progress through more complex problems. This early confidence and solid base could even change their future subject choices and career, by making math an enjoyable and comprehensible subject they can literally get to grips with.


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1 comment

  • That’s amazing, thanks very much =)
    Tracy on

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