Category: DIY Hands-On Materials (Page 2 of 2)

DIY First Writing Materials

There are infinite ways to make the first writing attempts fun for children. Most children in Montessori schools learn reading through writing. Here is some inspiration.

Prepare paper, scissors and glue. Always let your child have a separate set of tools and paper.

Find beautiful simple pictures, best with one object only. This is a used envelope with cute animal pictures:

Cut and then glue the pictures on paper. You can start naming/labeling the images right away.

On this picture, we did a project on the distinction between vowels and consonants. We used different colors for each. In Montessori classrooms vowels are red or pink, and consonants are blue.

In this project, we talked about the plural “s”. We highlighted it in green.

You could also label the pics of your last vacation, kindergarten or family meeting. You can make little booklets, just by stapling the sheets together, or make whole in the paper and pull a thread through them.

Try it! Get creative! Use your resources ! It’s fun!
You can post your own projects to inspire others 🙂
Carmen Gamper

DIY Blue Triangles Box

The Blue Triangles is a Montessori material composed of 12 right-angled blue triangles.

This material familiarizes the child with the ever-recurring right angle, and with the symmetrical shapes made of triangles.

You can create this material together with children as an art project. When you work and play with this material, also help your child in becoming aware of right angles in the room. The child can use one of the triangles to determine if an angle/corner has 90 degrees.

Here you can see the original Montessori material on a picture from the Nienhuis catalog.

I found these easy to follow DIY instructions for the Blue Triangles at Included are some basic shapes that can be formed by the triangles. You can download here:

Constructive Blue Triangles form Montessoriforeveryone

You can get creative and find many more shapes made of the triangles.

The more famous Chinese game, the Tangram is a similar material. It contains various triangles, a square, and a parallelogram.

These materials help children develop spacial thinking, and lay the foundation for geometry on paper.

Just like the Froebel materials, they can also be used to inspire the child to tell stories and create landscapes and pretend worlds.

Carmen Gamper

DIY Montessori Cut-Out Numerals and Counters

This is a Montessori-material to comprehend the distinction between even and odd numbers.

For schools I would suggest purchasing from It is made of beautiful hard wood resistant for being used by many children. However, teachers can also create this material with the children.

On this picture you see the material purchased at for $ 9.00. It’s resistant enough for private use.

The DIY version cost about $2.00, and it was a lot of fun creating!

Get 45 of the same counters. I got small red buttons. You could also get seashells, pebbles, berries, cookies, blocks, leaves, flower petals etc. Then your material wouldn’t cost money at all!

Draw the numbers from 0 to 9 on beautiful colored cardboard, and cut them.

You can set your material up as you are crafting:

I usually show children the numbers from 0-9 with this material as opposed to classic Montessori teachers, who usually show the numbers from 1-10 with this material. I find, that zero is as important as other numbers and this material is perfect for (not) showing it.

When you cut-out numbers, children get the opportunity to see also the mirror-image of the numerals.

Before using the cut-out numerals, it is useful to show children the numerals sticking to a surface. You can use cardboard squares and glue on them numerals made of felt, sandpaper or velvet. Children can trace them with their fingers, and also try to recognize them blindfolded.

Enjoy the process,
Best, Carmen

DIY Montessori Materials

I’ve prepared a new series of blogs with step-by-step directions for crafting Montessori materials and miscellaneous math and writing materials.

I’m using inexpensive raw materials, such as beads and buttons, which can also be replaced by nature materials such as seashells and pebbles – which are free!

Crafting these materials can become a project together with children. Sometimes the lesson is learned while the material is being made.

When you craft together with children, I suggest you work on your own material, and let the child work on a separate set. This way the child can learn by imitating you, while working at her own pace and in his own style. These informal lessons can become a wonderful memories of time spent together.

Children from about 3 years on are basically “emotional learners”. For them, the lesson itself is not as memorable as the emotion accompanied by the process. The joy of creating is more important than a perfect outcome or product.

It’s also ok that your product might look “better” than the children’s product. It’s in the nature of things. You have cut and glued and measured a hundred times, whereas a child is just starting to learn those skills.

I encourage parents and teachers to use hands-on learning materials in teaching, and also to let children experiment, tinker and play with them – of course without breaking them.

Be very clear and patient in explaining how a specific material can be used, and how it shouldn’t be handled.

As an introduction you can state the material’s purpose, play with it, and if appropriate narrate your activity step by step. This way you give the child a chance to imitate you again.

You can prepare a special shelf or table with the new materials, and give introductions when the time is right.

I hope you enjoy the learning process together with children!

Math can be fun!…with hands-on learning materials!

Get inspired!! Math teacher, tutors and parents can make lessons way more interesting and accessible with hands-on learning materials. Children love to play and learn with the materials also after the lesson, in self-directed ways.

To see, touch and play with the ‘Times Tables’: The Decanom, developed by Dr.Maria Montessori

Learning decimals with REAL money!!

Deepening understanding for addition with Dr.Montessori’s beautiful Snake Game.

How much is 1000? How long is the pool? Experiencing length and width, and measuring real objects is exiting!

It is my joy to offer math tutoring for 6 to 14 year- old students with hands-on learning materials in Marin/San Francisco. Please write to References available upon request.

I utilize hands-on materials for addition, subtraction, division, multiplication for whole numbers, decimals and fractions, measuring materials, logic, strategy, pattern-recognition and fine motor development materials in order to give the abstract worlds of math a foundation in the concrete world around us.

Dear Math Tutors and Teachers: I offer consulting to introduce you to materials to help make your lessons experiential, efficient and fun. Contact me for a free introduction at

Best wishes,
Carmen Gamper

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