Montessori Monday – DIY Bead Bars

1-5 Bead Stair

1-5 Bead Stair

The last few Mondays, I’ve focused on DIY Montessori materials. DIY Montessori materials are especially helpful if you have a Montessori homeschool or are using Montessori materials in an environment other than a traditional Montessori school. Many materials, such as practical life materials, can be put together in just a few minutes.

Except for practical life activities, the materials may take longer than a few minutes to create … but many are still very simple to prepare. Today, I want to help parents with preschoolers who are ready for work with Montessori bead bars. The Montessori short bead stair is generally used with children ages 4 and up, although you should always individualize the activity for your own child.

DIY Montessori Bead Bars

(UPDATE): I have a giant bead stair in my “Montessori-Inspired Math Activities Using Wooden Beads and Free Printables.”  (photo at the top of the post)

Bead bars from 1-9 are used in Montessori schools for a number of activities, such as counting and addition. For a younger child, Growing a Godly Girl made a giant bead stair using pipe cleaners and 1” wooden beads for the numbers 1-5.

Note: Colors of the beads can vary according to manufacturer. If you want to be consistent with traditional Nienhuis Montessori bead stairs, use the following colors for each number of beads:

1 – red
2 – green
3 – pink
4 – yellow
5 – light blue
6 – lavender
7 – white
8 – brown
9 – dark blue
Montessori Bead Bars (Photo from A Thousand Joys)

Montessori Bead Bars (Photo from A Thousand Joys)

Here’s a photo of the materials used by A Thousand Joys with the teen boards.

The Pinay Homeschooler has DIY bead bars and links to helpful resources.

Preschool Universe has DIY bead bars using Wikki Stix.

Momma of 4 Cutiez tells about her experiences making Montessori bead bars.

You can make a beautiful set of complete Montessori bead material with beads and wire by following the directions at Walk Beside Me. Or you can make a simple set for the bead stair and some introductory activities using pony beads and pipe cleaners. Just consider your homeschool and what will work best for your unique family.

Skip Counting Activity (Photo from Counting Coconuts)

Skip Counting Activity (Photo from Counting Coconuts)

Here’s an example of a skip counting activity from Counting Coconuts using pony beads and pipe cleaners. It’s easy to prepare, yet attractive and an effective teaching tool. If you want to use the traditional Montessori colors, use golden beads for 10 bars.

Directions for Presenting Montessori Bead Bars

Angie Chan’s Blog has directions for introducing the short bead stair.

Montessori Mom  and Shu-Chen Jenny Yen have directions for using the Montessori bead stair for addition.

Montessori Primary Guide has directions for using bead bars to introduce teens quantity as well as ten bars and unit beads for the tens.

If you’d like ideas for more DIY Montessori materials, check out my other DIY Montessori material posts!

Montessori Monday Link-Up

Montessori Monday If you haven’t heard, I’m now co-hosting Montessori Monday with Nicole from One Hook Wonder! If you have some Montessori ideas/lessons to share, please link up below. Please also place the Montessori Monday button (using the code from the right sidebar) in your post or put a link back to this post. Thanks for participating! :)


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