Sunday 4 March 2012


Montessori Activity: Static Addition with Fruits

Age: From 3 years old

Activity Duration: 10 minutes


1. To teach addition.
2. To teach number recognition.
3. To provide a tangible way of learning that makes use of the 5 senses.


1. Number cards (if you do not them, you can just write it on a piece of paper. Here I am using the "Number Puppets" that I have made for Joshua)

2. 1 Plus sign and 1 equal sign (here I use the magnets. If you do not have them, you can also just write them out on 2 pieces of card board)

3. 3 oranges or any types of food or household stuff you can think of in a basket or container. Next time, you can use different quantities.

4. 1 tray


1. Let your child sit beside you with the materials in front.

2. Take the materials out of the tray.

3. Take 2 oranges out of the basket and put it on the tray.

4. Take out another orange from the basket and ask your child, "Joshua, can you tell mommy how many there are all together, if I put one more orange on the tray?"
3. Your child should hopefully answer 3. If so, put the "+" sign in between the oranges and the "=" sign after the third orange.

4. Then take out the Number 3 and put it after the "=" sign and say, "Joshua, you have 2 oranges on the tray. Mommy added one more, and yes, there are now 3 oranges on the tray. This is the number 3".


1. You can play this game in a variety of ways. Next time, have a stack of number cards 1-10 with you, and ask your child to pick out the number that matches the no. of objects on the tray.

2. You can thereafter teach subtraction, by eating one of the oranges and asking your child how many oranges there are left.

Additional Information:

Joshua is turning 3 years old on Monday. I have been focusing on teaching him counting, and I realized that I have forgottten to move on to teaching him addition. So from now on, I will be conscious of teaching Joshua the addition concept formally. The above is just one of the methods. I will also teach him addition using the abacus later on. We don't own an abacus yet.

My goal is to keep the best of the Singapore's and Danish's approach to learning. The Singapore's method of learning is that there is a planned curriculum and assessment, meaning that the child has learned a lot by the time he enters primary school. Thus, the Singaporean's pre-school curriculum is my benchmark to gauge how much Joshua has acquired compared to his peers in Singapore.

The Danish way of approaching learning is to incooperate it into play and daily life. Thus, there is no real curriculum. However, the disadvantage is that the child may not learn as much, since it is not planned. But it seems to have the advantage of encouraging creativity.

I am incoporating learning into fun and everyday life, and at the same time, it is planned. Thus, in doing so, I hope to incorporate the best of both the Singaporean's method and the Danish's method. I don't know if I will succeed, as I am treading on unfamiliar ground, and at the same time, my hands are tied as a full-time working mom, but I will try. It is a challenge to be creative and to make learning fun, but I will also try. So far, I thank God that He has been giving me some ideas. I will record my ideas on my blog. It helps that my Superstar is helping a lot at home, leaving me time to think of Joshua's educational development during weekends.

Such addition can also be learned from books or some ipad applications. Why do I choose to use real objects? The pictures shown on books and ipad are 2 dimensional - see and hear. However, I think for young children at this age, it would benefit them to be stimulated on all 5 senses as much as possible - to see, touch, feel, smell, hold, hear, taste, etc. when they learn. I believe that it would help their brain to make richer connections.

I have to remember to use the opportunity during my everyday life to teach Joshua addition, so that Joshua will be learning, without even being conscious of it. However, it would still be good to formally teach him addition by bringing the "everyday" life experience onto the Montessori style "work-tray" setting. It is a more systematic way of teaching and I believe it will create more impact, and help the child to be more conscious of learning. It would also serve as a way to keep track of where you are on the curriculum you have set.


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