Friday, November 6, 2009

How to Make Montessori Number Rods

how to make montessori number rods

We are finding a peaceful and familiar rhythm centering our days and education in Montessori and Waldorf principles.  It is, in a small way, like coming home.  We truly do feel at home with the philosophies and methods that we are learning and the miraculous new way it has allowed us to see our children…really see them.  I have always felt a strong connection to my children’s selves, as my life centers on their development and nurture…but I feel as if I am learning in leaps and bounds and that I am constantly finding myself again as a mother, as their educator, and as an individual.  Aligning ourselves with Montessori and Waldorf principles full time, and at home, is just right for us right now in this phase of our lives, and sure has kept the studio buzzing. 

In the spirit of dear Maria, we have been preparing the environment…gathering and making supplies…and loving every minute of it!  I have found that many of the materials can be simply made with basic tools.  I’ll try to share any tips I learn along the way.

Number Rods.

Montessori Number Rods, in a set of ten, vary in length incrementally from 10 cm to 100 cm.  Each rod is colored in an alternating red and blue pattern. The first rod is red. The second, which is 20 centimeters divided into two 10 centimeter sections, is red and blue. The rods go on until the last rod is divided into 10 sections that are red-blue-red-blue-red-blue-red-blue-red-blue. 

how to make montessori number rods

Check out the molding department of your lumber yard or use 1”x 1” boards, or something close.  There is nothing technical about the width of these rods, just the length.  These can be cut with a small handsaw or miter saw.  That’s it…that’s the only tool you’ll need!  Measure and cut in 10cm increments – 10, 20, 30,…100.  Use painters tape to separate your segments and paint, then apply several coats of varnish. 

how to make montessori number rods how to make montessori number rodsI am not a Montessori purist…and I like natural wood, so I decided to alternate the colors red and bare wood instead of red and blue.  I’m pretty sure that my children will still learn to do math without red and blue number rods…but I’ll let you know!!!  The main point is that the two colors vary in color enough to be differentiated between. 

If you are going to paint the two segments rather than leaving one bare wood then paint the entire rod one color then tape off the sections to paint the contrasting color.

how to make montessori number rods 

Just a couple coats of non-toxic varnish and we are all set! how to make montessori number rods    I am quite pleased!  And so is my little one.  She set to work first thing this morning when they were finished drying.  Completely self initiated she organized, sorted, made ladders, and worked through 10-1, 10-2, 10-3, etc until she had subtracted all from one side and added all to the other.  It was wonderful to see. 

I lean towards the Waldorf philosophy heavily in my children’s lives and in our home rhythm, yet greatly connect with the Montessori teaching philosophy, methods, and materials and want them to be available to be used freely by my daughter and by her own initiative.  Perhaps Waldorf and Montessori purists would have me choose one over the other but I believe the two philosophies can coexist, adjusting to fit individual family situations.  It really is all about custom fitting education, the true education of a whole child, mind, body, and spirit, to your own specific and unique children and life.  So maybe instead of Waldorf or Montessori homeschooling we have Waldessori, or Montedorf?!?! 


Heather said...

Oh I so agree that these two philosophies can co-exist beautifully. The rods are amazing, I was jut blown away when I saw them. Hope you all have a great weekend

BTW, We have a wonderful blog giveaway today through the weekend that includes a few of my favorite vintage pieces.

quirky granola girl said...

I'd like to know more about the rug under the rods in the 3rd picture. It looks like a rag rug, but was it embroidered or did the top layer of fabric wear off? The colors and the texture are beautiful.

The number rods are interesting, but I can't quite picture how your daughter is playing with them. I'll have to do more Waldorf and Montessori research when my guy is a little older. 5 months seems a little early :)

Hannah said...

The braided rug was made by my parents in the 70's and has been well-loved and well-used. It's worn and shows several layers of wool which I love! I'm glad you like it too!

With the rods...5 months may be a bit young..and I'm sure you'll enjoy reading more on Montessori methods. Today our daughter spread out all the rods and organized them according to size..making a stair. She counted them then took one away and counted then took another etc. There is a lot information out there about how to introduce the materials. Have fun!!!!

Brooke said...

I don't know how you find time, you are amazing! :)

Ada Lee said...

I desperately want to make these for my girl, but what kind of varnish do you use?

Natasha said...

I'm just discovering your blog. These are lovely! Thank you for sharing!

Joey said...

I have just come from Rhythm of the Home and love your blog! We used to make more of our children's toys but as my workshop/studio became more of a child storage area for things that they had outgrown but I wasn't ready to part with (crib, rocking horse etc!) my woodworking days stopped all together. We hope to buy a home in the new year that will have a space to set up the workshop again and start using it!!! Your posts have me itching to get back at it!
I also wondered about the non toxic varnish that you use? Recently I've been using a beeswax/olive oil mix to protect wood things but I don't think it's the best product for all projects? What do you find?

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