Bead Stair

From Montessori Album
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Bead Stair
Math - Linear Counting
Bead Stair 2.JPG
Age3.5 - 4
Prerequisitesability to count to ten
recognizes numerals 1-10
MaterialsBead Stair
small paper slips with numerals 1-9
container for bead stair
container for numerals
square of black felt

This activity helps the child learn to associate the quantities 1 through 9 with their numerals.
It also introduces the child to the material used in the Teens Beads, the Teens Board, the Short Chains, the Long Chains, Addition With Bead Bars, Subtraction With Bead Bars, and Multiplication With Bead Bars.


  1. Carry the work to a mat or table. If done at a table, use a large table mat.
    Bead Stair 1.JPG
  2. Place the bead bars randomly on the middle of the mat.
    Bead Stair 2.JPG
  3. Find the 1 bead bar and place it near the bottom of the black mat.
    Bead Stair 3.JPG
  4. Find the 2 bar and place it above the first bead bar. Continue in this way until all the bead bars have been placed in order.
    Bead Stair 4.JPG Bead Stair 5.JPG Bead Stair 6.JPG
  5. Place the numeral cards in random order along the bottom of the mat.
    Bead Stair 7.JPG
  6. Take the 1 bead bar and place it in the upper left corner of the mat. Point to it and say, "This is 1."
    Bead Stair 8.JPG
  7. Take the 1 numeral and set it to the right of the bead bar. Point to it and say, "This says 1."
    Bead Stair 9.JPG
  8. Present the rest of bead bars with numerals in order in the same way.
    Bead Stair 10.JPG

Points of Interest

Control of Error

Creating the triangle.

Variations and Extensions


Bead Stair material.JPG

The bead stair consists of 9 segments of wire strung with one to nine beads. Every number of beads is done in a different color: 1-red, 2-green, 3-peach, 4-yellow, 5-light blue, 6-lavender, 7-white, 8-brown, 9-dark blue. The beads should be as spherical as possible so that they are equally wide as long. They should measure between 7 and 8mm in diameter.

Make Your Own

See the Make Your Own section in Multiplication With Bead Bars for bead suppliers and prices.

Where to Buy

Bead Stair 1-9
Absorbent Montessori $26.00 (with tray)
Adena $1.89
Affordable Montessori $12.00 (with tray)
Albanesi $9.00
Alison's $6.00
Bruins $9.00
Cabdev $5.00
ETC Montessori $9.00
IFIT $2.50
Juliana $3.78
Montessori Buy $2.14
Montessori Concepts $2.00
Montessori Education Supplies $18.50 (with grooved tray)
Montessori Land $5.00
Montessori N' Such $3.00
Montessori Outlet $1.95
Thinkamajigs $3.95
Best Montessori Toys $15 (9 timber cubes)

Bead Stair 1-10
Juliana $3.78
Jump Start $9.95 (with tray)
Jump Start 11.95 (with grooved tray)

5 Bead Stairs
Grandpas $8.00
Grandpas $12.00 (with box)
IFIT $10.00
Kid Advance $9.99
Materials Company of Boston $33.00 (with box)
Montessori Concepts $8.00
Montessori Land $17.00
Montessori N' Such $24.00 (with box)
Nienhuis $40.50 (glass beads)
Nienhuis $28.50 (fused nylon beads)

Bead Stair Tray
Bruins $6.00
Cabdev $8.00
EarlySchool $8.00
ETC Montessori $6.00
Hello Wood $12.00
Hello Wood $14.00 (with grooves)
Hello Wood $12.60 (left aligned)
IFIT $5.00
Kid Advance $6.99
Montessori Buy $7.44
Materials Company of Boston $9.00
Montessori N' Such $7.50
Montessori Outlet $3.95
Thinkamajigs $7.95

Bead Stair Box
Juliana $13.86
Thinkamajigs $12.95

Bead Stair Stamps
Great Extensions $60.00
Jump Start $20.95
Montessori N' Such $22.95
Montessori N' Such $65.00 (with tray)