Long Rods

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Long Rods
Sensorial - Visual Discrimination of Size
Red Rods.jpg
Age2.5 - 3.5
PrerequisitesPink Tower
Broad Stair
Materialsset of Long Rods

(Also called the Red Rods)
Use of this material teaches the child visual discrimination of length. This activity also prepares the child to use the blue and red Number Rods.


  1. Invite the child to the lesson. Unroll a rug. Show where the work is on the shelf and name the lesson.
  2. Starting with the shortest rod, carry the rods one at a time to the rug. Place them on the rug in mixed-up order with all of the edges lined up on the left.
    Long rods 1.JPG
  3. Move the longest rod and then the shortest rod to the bottom of the rug. Point to the longest one and say, "This one is long." Point the the short one and say, "This one is short." Then mix the rods back in with the rest.
    Long rods 2.JPG
  4. Select the longest rod and place it at the top edge of the rug. Find the next longest rod and place it just below the longest rod touching it.
    Long rods 3.JPG
  5. Continue until all of the rods are in order.
    Long rods 4.JPG
  6. Clean up: Starting with the longest rod, carry the rods one at a time back to the shelf. Roll up and put away the rug.


Segment on Long Rods begins at 28:22.

Points of Interest

Control of Error

Variations and Extensions

Long Rods extension Rainbow Mama.jpg
Source: Adventures of a Rainbow Mama

Long Red Rod Snail pattern on a printed card and the execution (Counter Clock)
LongRedRodSnail 400x400.jpgLongRedRod Snail.jpg


Introduces the vocabulary:
short, shorter, shortest
long, longer, longest


This material consists of ten wooden rods, usually painted red. The shortest rod is 10cm in length, they each increase in length by 10cm up to the longest which is 100cm long.

Make Your Own

Take the opportunity to make these with your kids (including carefully cutting the rods).
(You'll need to buy 10cm + 20cm + ... + 100cm = 5.5 meters long of good quality wood, eg. oak). The ends should measure about 3x3 cm.
(It is possible to use "half-size" rods with the longest rod being 50cm, and the shortest 5cm, with 1.5 x 1.5cm ends. This might be preferable for a homeschool environment with limited space.)

LongRedRod MakeYourOwn VTH.png

Where to Buy

Prices and links checked: 23 January 2022

Long Rods
Store Price
Adena $52.99
Affordable Montessori $65.00
Alison's $49.61
Bruins $160.00
E & O $88.20
Hello Wood
stained red
IFIT $55.00
Kid Advance $55.99
Leader Joy $58.95
Materials Co. of Boston $105.00
Montessori Outlet $58.95
Nienhuis $169.50
Thinkamajigs $64.95
Store Price
Adena $32.99
Affordable Montessori $42.00
Alison's $32.41
Bruins $60.00
E & O $42.30
IFIT $30.00
Materials Co. of Boston $49.00
Montessori Outlet $35.95
Thinkamajigs $42.95

Further Reading