Magic Beans Counting

|

This year, the preschool children and I will be basing our mini unit studies off of classic fairy tales and folk tales. We’ve already done Cinderella and Puff the Magic Dragon, and today we are starting Jack and the Magic Beanstalk.

Magic Bean Counting - a simple math activity inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk, plus notes on what to consider when using themed materials for learning

One of my favourite ways to embrace a child’s interest or introduce a new unit study, is to swap out some of our classroom materials for themed variations.

Counters (used in our spindle box and alongside the sandpaper numbers) are one of the easiest materials for me to integrate into our work room, as they still serve the function of the original material while adding a bit of fun and whimsy to activities that may get stagnant or boring over time.

By making the simple swap of replacing the traditional spindles with these “magic beans,” children who may have lost interest in a material will often experience a renewed interest. This is especially important with children who don’t like repetitive activities and always want to move onto something new – although we might know that repeating an activity is how we gain familiarity and understanding (you don’t learn how to count by counting once and then moving straight on to addition).

Sweet magic bean counting activity inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk - and what to consider when using themed learning materials

When swapping out any classroom material, I look at the original material and try to determine what it’s functions and purposes are so that any swap will still achieve those same goals.

For the spindles, not only are they used as simple counting objects, they are perfect for children practicing that pre-writing “pincer grip” by grasping objects with their thumb and forefinger, and there is a specific number available (45) so that children can double check their work. (If they have 10 spindles in the 9 spot, they know that one of the other numbers is missing a spindle.)

This is a good principle to keep in mind as well if you are DIYing a learning material: what are the primary and secondary uses for this material?

Magic beans in the Montessori spindle box, inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk - and what to consider when using themed learning materials

The kids loved this simple magic bean counting invitation and it was a simple way to encourage the children who resist “simple” math activities to practice this basic skill.

Materials we used for our magic bean counting:

Sweet magic bean counting activity inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk - and what to consider when using themed learning materials

 

Today, several of my fellow Montessori bloggers are sharing their own math activity posts – be sure to check them out!

Natural Beach Living ~ The Natural Homeschool ~ Living Montessori Now ~ Planting Peas

The Kavanaugh Report ~ Mama’s Happy HiveChild Led Life

The Pinay Homeschooler ~ Every Star Is Different ~ Grace and Green Pastures

12 months of Montessori Learning

Similar Posts

4 Comments

  1. I LOVE this variation to the traditional materials! I will definitely need this information in the future to keep math interesting in our Montessori homeschool. Thank you! 🙂

  2. I’m terrible at DIY but I think I could handle this. I agree that it could help spark my children’s interest one again. It’s such a lovely idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.