Friday 18 April 2014


Montessori Activity: The Colored Short Bead Stair

AGE: From 4 years old


To teach numeral recognition and counting (The bead stair distinguishes clearly each number up to 9 as separate entities of differing quantities. The bead bars hat compose it facilitate the construction of the numbers from 11 to 19 and show respectively their relation to the quantity of 10.)


1.     1 set of colored short bead stair (1 red, 2 green, 3 pink, 4 yellow, 5 light blue, 6 purple, 7 white, 8 brown, 9 dark blue)

2.     1 mat

3.     2 felt pieces (you can use colored pieces of paper instead)

4.     1 set of Number Tablets or 1 worksheet


1.     Lay out the Colored Bead Stair on the first felt piece to the left of the worksheet and place the second felt piece to the right of the worksheet.

2.     Have the child pick up Bead 1 (red bead), touch it and count “1” with his index finger, and place it at the top of the second felt cloth.

3.     Ask: “What color is “1”?” The child should say red.

4.     Have the child color the blank bead on the worksheet with the red marker.

5.     Have the child trace or write the numeral 1 on the corresponding line with the red marker.

6.     Have the child count the colored circle with his index finger.

7.     Have the child pick up Bead 2 and repeat the steps 2 – 6 until the whole worksheet is completed.

      1.     Lay out the Number Cards in numerical order.

2.     Lay out the colored short bead stair and take out each bead bar, having the child count the beads on each.

3.     Once all of the bead bars have been placed on the mat, ask for Bar 1.

4.     Have your child bring it, count it, and place it at the bottom left corner of the cloth under Number Tablet 1.

5.     Repeat for bead bar 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.



The exact number of beads in colored bead stair


1.     It is important for the child to touch and count each bead with his index finger.

2.     Once the child has mastered the color-coded outlined worksheet, move on to the standard black and white ink version with yellow tracing lines.

3.     Once the child can write, introduce the standard black and white worksheet without the yellow tracing lines.
      4.    Repeat this activity until complete independence is demonstrated.

Update 28 April 2020 (3Y11M12D):

I tried this activity with C today. It was the first time I took out the materials. To my surprise, she said that she knew how to work with it. She told me that she has learned it from the Superland Montessori Preschool in Singapore. We were only there for a week. I am amazed that she had learned so much. She went on to demonstrate the activity to me. She got the overall correct, although she placed 7 before 6, and then realized her own mistake when she saw the length not following ascending order. When placing the numeral cards, she couldn't find 7 - 9 consistently yet, getting it right sometimes, and wrong sometimes.

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