DIY Math Materials For Kindergarten – Learning Teen Numbers and Tens with Hands-on Activities

Math games, kinesthetic materials, and hands-on experiences are the best way to introduce children to the world of abstract mathematical concepts.

At the age of 4 and 5 children often start to show great interest in exploring numbers and quantities in everyday life. Maria Montessori developed a sequence of presentations and materials that help children internalize the knowledge they gain when they begin to work with those materials.

Math kinesthetic materials for preschool and kindergarten children make learning math so much fun and they are easy to make with printables and a few supplies from a craft store.

DIY Montessori Math materials become essential teaching tools for educators in a classroom and homeschoolers. Holly of Montispired used DIY materials to teach her child teen and ten-number recognition. Holly made bead bars using different colored pipe cleaners and matching beads.

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photo credit: montisprired

The number boards (aka Seguin boards I and II) are very easy to replicate using printables. This version is available from my Resource Library. If you are not a subscriber, join here and download it for free.

Here is how Holly was using tactile materials for teaching teens number recognition 11-19:

Seguin Boards and following the child’s interest:
Butterfly is quite familiar with her 1-9s and has already been introduced to the teen numbers, so it’s definitely time for the Teen Seguin boards!
This was a free printable version from Montessori Nature; the wooden boards are gorgeous, but not in the budget yet!
I started with the blank 10 sheets, showing Butterfly how there was a one in the tens place, and then adding numbers into the ones place to create the teen number.

photo credit: montispired

Once she grasped the concept, she built all the numbers with her beads quickly!
We played a couple of games with it, me taking numbers and get figuring out what was missing, as well as doing the Knock Knock game to flip the numbers and place them in their correct spot.

Then she started adding her own twist, putting them in the wrong place on purpose (and telling me which place the wrong number was in) putting the little numbers from the bead stair in the tens place to match the ones, and I helped her figure out what new numbers she’d made.

Tens Board with dice!
We stalled for a bit with doing any math lessons or work, so I was surprised today when Ms 4 said yes to my suggestion to use dice and beads to make numbers.

photo credit: montispired

We each rolled dice, and then she would pick out the colored beads and count them together to figure out what should go in the Ones place. (We haven’t covered decimals yet, but I’m trying to use the wording already.)

photo credit: montispired

Then I would ask her to find the correct amount of Tens bead bars, and we’d see what we had all together.
I love the tip of pointing to the beads and saying “this IS 57 beads,” and then to the number and saying “this SAYS 57” – to connect the concrete amount with the more abstract numerals she’s seeing.

Follow Holly here: Etsy | Instagram

If you would like to learn more about Seguin boards, I invite you to watch these two presentations

Teen Board

Ten Board

You may also enjoy our other math resources

About Anastasia - Anastasia is an early childhood teacher and the founder of Montessori Nature - a blog about Montessori living and learning and nature-based explorations. With many years of experience working in a Montessori environment and homeschooling her children, she directed her passion for all things Montessori and nature into creating educational resources. You can learn more here and browse her printables on Teachers Pay Teachers.