|Math - Numbers 0-10|
|Age||3.5 - 4|
|Prerequisites||Number Rods |
Number Rods With Numerals
|Materials||spindle boxes |
45 identical spindles
container for spindles
This activity lets the child practice associating the numerals and quantities 0-9.
- Carry the material to a mat or large table.
- Point to the zero. "Zero means nothing. We don't put anything in here."
- Point to the 1. "How many does it say to put in here?"
- Put one spindle in the space.
- Point to the 2. "How many does it say to put in here?"
- Put two spindles in the space.
- Continue like this until all of the spaces have the appropriate number of spindles.
- "Let's see how many are left in the box...Zero!"
Points of Interest
- The concept of the number zero representing none.
Control of Error
- There are exactly enough spindles to complete the work. If at the end there are not enough, or if there are extra left over the child will know that there is a mistake.
Variations and Extensions
Variation 1: Count each spindle as they are replaced in the box and point out the numeral again.
Variation 2: Ask the students to count the total quantity of spindles as they are replaced in the box (45).
- To show the collection of quatities into the single set.
- To show the sequence of nine
- To show zero as an empty set
- To show nine as the first group in our decimal system, not ten.
- Use of nines
- Ten is a new level
The material consists of two wooden boxes with five long compartments in each. The back of each compartment has a numeral printed on it. Zero to four are in the first box and five to nine are in the second box. The container has forty-five wooden spindles total.
Make Your Own
- This version was made by gluing segments of cardboard tube onto two narrow boards. The numerals were written on cards with a marker and glued to the front. The spindles were made from sticks cut to the same length.
- Source:Montessori on a Budget
- This version was made from two cardboard boxes with balsa wood dividers hot-glued in place. The spindles are popsicle sticks.
- Source:What DID We Do All Day?
- This was made from a wooden tray with balsa-wood slats glued in as dividers.
- (For a more detailed description of how this was done, see Maybe Montessori.)
- This one was made out of cloth and can be rolled up for storage or travel.
- Source: 54 Stitches
Where to Buy
Boxes with Spindles
1montessori (ATXinventor @Etsy) $14.50 (pre-cut parts to assemble)
Absorbent Montessori $40.99
Affordable Montessori $45.00
Affordable Montessori $59.00
Albanesi $49.00 (spindles not included)
E & O $98.00
Early School $95.00
ETC Montessori $95.00
Hello Wood $109.00
IFIT $11.00 (small)
Juliana $53.20 (spindles not included?)
Jump Start $30.95
Kid Advance $26.99
Materials Company of Boston $90.00
Montessori Buy $26.75(spindles not included)
Montessori Buy $28.84
Montessori Concepts $25.00
Montessori Land $40.00
Montessori N' Such $65.00
Montessori Outlet $32.95 (print)
Montessori Outlet $32.95 (cursive)
Montessori Stores $75.00
Nienhuis $115.00 (USA print)
Nienhuis $115.00 (print)
Nienhuis $115.00 (cursive)
5 Replacement Spindles
ETC Montessori $1.00
Hello Wood $0.50
Materials Company of Boston $0.70
Montessori Buy $1.07
Montessori Concepts $0.50
Montessori Land $1.50
Box for Spindles
Affordable Montessori $10.00
ETC Montessori $8.00
Jump Start $5.95
Kid Advance $7.99
Materials Company of Boston $13.00
Montessori Outlet $8.95
- 1montessori, ATXinventor @ Etsy (sold as parts or assembled) $14.50-$31.00
- Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Pre-School Years by Elizabeth G. Hainstock, page 81
- Basic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under-fives by David Gettman, pages 166-167