Montessori spindle boxes are intended to teach the concept of zero, number sequence, and one-to-one correspondence.
Since new Montessori materials are expensive, I have tried to make some of my own materials to incorporate Chinese teaching.
Thankfully, the Montessori spindle box is easy to DIY with recycled materials! This post gives instructions plus videos on how to present the Montessori spindle box to your child.
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What you need for the DIY Montessori Spindle Activity:
- 45 craft sticks
- Alternatively can use chopsticks, tree branches, pencils, paper straws, or pipe cleaners. Try to make each “spindle” the same color and size so the child can focus on quantity and not get distracted by the colors.
- 10 toilet paper rolls
- Box lid or tray
- Piece of cardboard (optional)
- Glue or tape (optional)
How to Make the DIY Montessori Spindle Activity:
- Label toilet paper rolls zero to 9
- Tape paper rolls together
- Optional – use glue or tape to mount paper rolls onto cardboard board so the set is portable (not shown).
**Note: Another way to set this up is to cut the paper rolls in half so that each compartment lays flat like the official Montessori spindle box.
How to present the DIY Montessori spindle box
- Introduce the name of the activity and where it is located on the shelf
- Carefully lay a work mat on the ground and place the Montessori spindle box on it. The work mat defines the workstation.
- Demonstrate how to use the spindle box.
- Starting with 1, take out the corresponding quantity of craft sticks and place them on the work mat.
- Re-count before placing them into the toilet paper roll.
- Grab all the pencils in one hand to feel the quantity.
- Control of error: ensure that the tray has the exact amount of sticks needed (45) so that inadequate sticks or extra will be left over if your child has miscounted.
How to teach counting with the Montessori Spindles
This video from MyWorks Montessori demonstrates how to give a presentation to a child for the Montessori Spindle Box. This Montessori teacher offers so many helpful teaching tips throughout the video!
Additional teaching suggestions:
- Explain that symbols represent a certain quantity of separate objects.
- Ask the child what they observe about the “zero” compartment (eg, empty, nothing)
- Model counting out loud for your child and ask her to count out loud:
一，二，三，四，五，六，七，八...yī, èr, sān, sì, wǔ, liù, qī, bā…
- Explain to your child that it is important for children to practice counting Chinese out loud and also make a habit of counting carefully without rushing
Have you made a Montessori spindle box or did you end up buying one?
If you teach your children counting with a DIY Montessori Spindle Box, let us know!
More ways to teach kids math
- How I’m Teaching My Children Math for Free
- 10+ Ways to Use a Wooden Hundred Board
- 10+ Ways to Use a Printable Hundred Chart