Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fun Montessori Math Preparation Counting Activity Ideas Parents Can Use at Home

NAMC montessori preschool math preparation counting activity ideas for parents to use at home girl jumpingThe Montessori 3—6 Math curriculum is fascinating to learn about, and provides children with such a strong foundation in quantity and the associated symbols. The materials build sequentially on previous learning, they introduce concrete learning before abstract learning, they are self-correcting, and they isolate the difficulty being learned.

Montessori teachers are fortunate to have such wonderful materials at their fingertips to teach these concepts, but what can parents do at home? I am continually being asked by parents for ideas that they can implement to further their child’s understanding of quantity and numerals, and I have included a list of activities below. I have implemented many of these activities at home with my own children and also in the Montessori preschool. Enjoy!

Montessori Math Preparation Activity Ideas to Reinforce Counting and Number Recognition at Home


  • Ice cube tray counting

    Write down numerals in the hollows of an ice cube tray, or place stickers in the empty sections of a candy box. Let your child count, and place the required numbers of buttons, beads, or counters in each section.
  • Count stairs

    Count each step in a staircase as you climb in your house or when you are out somewhere.
  • Movement counting

    Combine exercise with numbers! Let your child look at the date on the calendar. If it is the 15th of the month, encourage your child to touch their toes 15 times, clap 15 times, or jump up and down 15 times.
  • Number fishing

    Attach a magnet to a string. Place cards with a numeral on each into a basket, with a paperclip attached to each card. When you call out a number, your child will fish for that card.
  • One-to-one correspondence

    Line up 10 small baskets or jars with numerals on them, from 0 to 10. Give your child 55 objects — spoons, pom poms, small erasers, etc. — and have him/her put the required number of objects into each basket. By the time your child is finished, there should be no objects left.
  • Playing cards and counting

    Use playing cards and buttons together. Your child can place the appropriate number of buttons on the hearts, spades, clubs, or diamonds on each card.
  • Outdoor number search

    Look for numbers every time you’re out of the house — on license plates, shop numbers, signs/billboards, etc.
  • Indoor number search

    Look for numbers inside the house — on cans, books, newspapers, the phone book, shoe sizes, clothes tags.
  • Movement games

    Create a set of index cards with a single numeral on each. Hold up each card and ask the child to hop or jump as many times as the number on the card.
  • Tactile numbers

    Write numbers on a large sheet of paper, and invite your child to use play dough to create and trace number shapes on top of each paper. Or, your child can dip a cotton swab in paint, and trace the numbers which you have written.
  • Number bingo

    Create a squared piece of paper, and in each square write a different number. Provide the child with the squared paper as well as a handful of counters and prepare to play Bingo! The parent or teacher should hold up one number at a time, which may or may not match the numerals on the squared paper. Each time the child sees a number that matches what’s on their squared paper, they should cover it with a counter. When the child gets a line of counters, he/she announces, “BINGO!”

This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Child’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that have arisen from one real student's Montessori journey.

Bree — NAMC Tutor & Graduate

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, February 17, 2011.

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