Traditional Montessori materials, especially math materials, facilitate tremendously in the application of abstract concepts like numerals, teens, and ten’s with my children. Dr. Maria Montessori envisioned children holding and “feeling” the quantity of, for example, the ten Numerical Rod and really grasping that “10” is BIG and “1” is small (see a post here). Montessori Teen Board (buy Teens & Tens Board set here and the golden beads here) is another ingenious material with presents an abstract concept of teens as concretely as possible with golden ten-bars and color beads. Not only children see how ten and ones are being “built” to make teens via fact families, but they are also physically building teens themselves!
Today, we are trying an extension to a traditional Montessori Teen board, and instead of using Montessori color beads, we are using ladybug pegs (clothespins) to advance fine-motor control and promote color-association. And the best part is that you probably already have clothespins on hand, and if not, they are very inexpensive to purchase.
Each stem is represented by a golden bead 10-bar, so a child has to add the missing number of ladybug pegs to “build” a teen-number as shown on the board. For example, to build a teen number twelve, a child would add two ladybug pegs since the 10-bar is already there as a stem.
Clothespin activities promote fine motor skills which are essential in developing the strength children would need for many basic skills from buttoning and tying the shoelaces to learning how to write.
As a result of this Peg Math activity, the child is learning number recognition and color association, while building teens and mastering fact families (10+3=13). And most importantly, it is a fun way to advance fine-motor control while the child exercises the control and strength of those little fingers!
For details on presenting the Teen Boards, read here “Working with Numerals and Beads (Teen-Board intro).” Also, read here “Teen Board at 36 months – Montessori Math Lesson (This “Is” vs. “Says”).” And for Holiday inspirations, read here “Christmas-Inspired Teen Board – Montessori Math Lesson.”