Montessori Numbers Matching Game Activity: how to teach children? (VIDEO)

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Today we’re going to learn about the famous Montessori Numbers Matching Game. How to use it? Which Montessori principles & practical activities can you do? Read our detailed lesson under the video. 

This material is a great addition to the mathematical area of the room or classroom. It helps children learn numeration and the association of quantities to their symbols.

As you can see, there's beautifully painted tiles. Each tile has two parts, the symbol or number and the quantity associated with the symbol. Every symbol will only match one quantity. The pieces are small and easily held by the hands of small children. Let’s look at all the different parts available:

One (1)-alarm clock
Two (2)-shoes
Three (3)-toothbrushes
Four (4)-mugs
Five (5)-books
Six (6)-pencils
Seven (7)-ice creams
Eight (8)-scissors
Nine (9)-umbrellas
Zero (0)-nothing

Numbers matching game activity material

This work has a wonderful Control of error, as well, which helps children practice on their own, and double check their answers.

For example, the one (1) fits into the alarm clock piece, because that’s the correct one but it will not fit into the shoes or the toothbrushes. As well, the two (2) will not fit into either the three (3) or the one (1).

It will only match its corresponding quantity. This helps the kids to check their answer and make sure they are doing the work properly.

Numbers matching game activity wooden tiles

Let’s see how you can start the lesson.

Numbers Matching Activity – Looking for the symbols (Age 3-4)

We begin a numbers matching activity lesson by taking out every single piece of the puzzle and placing it randomly on the rug.

Numbers matching game activity lesson overview

The two pieces should not be close to each other so kids have to search using their fingers later in the work. You want to help them learn how to search and organize themselves from a messy work to an organized work. We can move the box down to the left too.  We begin by looking for the symbols.

One (1)… and placing them up on the top, left of the rug. We place the symbols up on the top left of the rug in order from one through nine. We use two fingers to search for the next number, while saying… ”I am looking for”, and saying the number

For example… ”I am looking for five (5)”. Continue on in this manner, until you have every single number up top from left to right in order from one through nine. Zero can be placed at the end since that is when you will teach the lesson of zero.

Numbers Matching Activity – Looking for the quantity (Age 3-4)

Now that you have your symbol, you point to it, and then you look for the quantity, using the following language:

“This says two. I am looking for two.”

Search through, stopping at each tile, before finding the correct one.

“One, two. Two.” Double check. It fits.

“This says three. I am looking for three.” “One, two, three. Three. Let’s see if it fits” It does.

This says four. I am looking for four. One, two, three, four. Four.”

‘This says five. I am looking for five. One two, three, four, five. Five”

Naming the symbol each time and counting, helps the kids connect the symbol and the quantity associated with the symbol. Continue on in this manner, always starting at the top left and travelling to the right. At the end the kids will discover that zero is left with the blank piece. That’s because zero means nothing. And you can tell this to the kids. Zero means nothing so this is correct and it fits. We have finished.

Numbers Matching Activity – Learn how to pack away (Age 3-4)

Another important part of Montessori lessons is showing how to put things away properly. This helps to keep the classroom organized and to keep the material looking its best. You can model this proper behavior by taking one piece at a time and carefully placing it back into the box, showing the child how to put each in piece carefully. Most of the time they will want to come in and help you at this point. You can let them, guiding them along the way to make sure that they are doing it properly.

This work is a great addition to any classroom and can help children practice with the teacher and by themselves so that they can feel more comfortable with their numeration skills and their associating skills between the quantities and the symbols.

Using Montessori matching activities for Numbers Learning

The purpose of this Montessori activity is to teach children to associate quantities with the numerals that represent them. This teaches the child numeral recognition and quantity/ies.

It prepares the child for maths and teaches them to recognize and become familiar with the concepts of even and odd numbers and of more and less, because of the way the tiles are painted. Even numbers are always next to each other in rows on the tile while odd numbers are not. Thus, if there is a single picture in one row, it is an odd number.

In the case of more or less, the child is able to see that the higher the number, then the more pictures there are on the tile, e.g.2 has more shoes than 1 has alarm clocks and so on. As we work towards the right, so the quantity becomes higher, until we get to zero.

Numbers Matching Activity VS Maria Montessori's Principles

Dr Maria Montessori applied her understanding of child development to design and develop many activities to teach math to small children in a way that they find challenging and fun. She used the knowledge that children are exposed daily to numbers and math concepts, e.g. clocks and watches have numbers, houses have numbers and things have to be counted, using numbers.

Numbers are everywhere in our day to day lives. Maria Montessori used familiar everyday objects and concepts to introduce math concepts early on in a child’s life thereby laying the foundation for the more complicated and advanced mathematical concepts that come later in learning. Math is order, logic and sequence.

maria montessori

In the numbers matching game activity, all of those concepts are introduced and developed. The child has to use order and sequence to find the numerals and place them in order at the top of the mat, then the child has to use logic to find and match the second half of the tile.

The Numbers Matching Game is suitable for children from 3 years, but children from 2 ½ can begin trying the activity. The Montessori Method of teaching is about more than just learning by memorizing information as in traditional teaching methods.


Every Montessori task has more than one purpose or end goal. The Montessori numbers matching game is sensorial. The child has to touch and name the numerals, picking up and moving the tiles to match them to the correct partner tile, and the fitting the two pieces together.


Moreover, this activity uses and develops language. The child learns to associate between a numeral/symbol and its name and to count the number of pictures on each tile. As we are demonstrating the task to the child, we name the numerals and can also name the pictures, thus increasing their vocabulary.

Hand-eye coordination

The numbers matching game activity also develops hand eye coordination. By searching for the tiles which are mixed up on the mat, the child has to concentrate in order to find the right tile, pick it up and then repeat the action to find the matching half.

When both tiles are found, the child has to fit both pieces together to make one whole piece and by doing this also engages their fine motor skills.

Control of Error

This is a self-correcting task. The child can see if the two parts of the tile don’t fit together for themselves, they don’t have to be told that they have done it incorrectly. They can then go back and find the correct match thereby correcting themselves.

By being in control of their environment and their own actions they are left with a feeling of satisfaction, achievement and empowerment. By using their hands and eyes together to complete this task, it becomes a physical and sensory activity, strengthening small fingers along the way. It is hands on learning at its best.

Also, because it is a simple but repetitive action, and the words are repeated with every new tile, the child is more likely to learn and develop because he is doing it on his own and reinforcing the lesson with each new tile.

All the Montessori activities use materials that engage the senses and use the body and the Montessori numbers matching game is no exception. Dr Montessori understood that if children physically do the activity, the concepts learned from the task are internalized, understood & remembered.

“Do not tell them how to do it. Show them how to do it and do not say a word. If you tell them they will watch your lips move. If you show them, they will want to do it themselves.” Maria Montessori

Number Matching activity introduced in a Montessori school

In a Montessori classroom, the child’s learning environment should encourage the healthy development of the child in every area of life. Every task and activity aim to develop the cognitive, social, emotional and physical development of the child. Every task is designed so that the directress demonstrates the activity, but then the child is able to attempt the task on his own and in his own time.

The child is allowed to work at his or her own pace. There are no time constraints or set activities that have to be adhered to. The child may choose which activity he or she wishes to do, how long he wants to do it for and he may also choose where he wants to work. He can work at the desk or on the floor, wherever it is comfortable for him. The choice is his. Choice is an important principle in Montessori teaching as Maria Montessori’s philosophy was that if a child chose to do something, they would naturally learn more from it. More so than if they had been told to do something.

The child is also responsible for tidying up after him - or her - self. The number matching activity game is easy to tidy up and pack away, as it fits neatly into its own wooden box. The act of packing this activity away forms part of the lesson as the tiles need to be put back in their box in the proper order. Children need order in their lives and by packing away this activity properly, they are in control, of their environment and their materials.

numbers matching game montessori item

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Number Matching Game Product description

This set comes in a wooden box. There are 10 wooden tiles each with two parts. The top part of the tile has a brightly painted numeral from 1 -9 and a 0.The bottom part of the tile has brightly colored pictures grouped in corresponding amounts to match the numeral depicted on the top half of the tile. The tiles are made of wood and are easy for little hands to manipulate.

Why should you buy the Montessori numbers matching game activity?

The tiles are wooden and sturdy enough to survive small hands and come in a neat wooden box allowing them to be easily packed away, which in itself becomes part of the lesson.

The corresponding tiles fit easily together and the child is able to see for himself whether he has counted correctly by noticing if the two parts of the tile align or not. This allows the child to self-correct and if he has completed the task correctly, he will feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction immediately. He doesn’t have to rely on an adult to tell him that he has done well.

The Montessori Numbers Matching Activity is a beginning math skill, laying the foundation for the more complex math concepts that follow in life. This task encourages development in many other areas and is a wonderful addition to any Montessori classroom or home. The images are brightly colored and attractive to small children and the activity becomes learning through fun.

“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed” - Dr Maria Montessori


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