Age 4 to 5 is the perfect window to lay a solid foundation for addition and subtraction. We recognize and understand the “Plus Sign” and “Minus Sign”.
Let’s SUBTRACT the idea that math is boring…
By ADDing a Montessori-approved material to your homework routine — albeit some of these children’s math tables, boards, and strips are rather peculiar in appearance. (See for yourself.)
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Best Montessori Materials for Learning Addition + and Subtraction –
A Montessori education should be accessible to all.
Even if you’re child’s not enrolled in a pricey Montessori School, these addition and subtraction materials and toys let you ADD a teacher-tested Montessori approach at home without SUBTRACTING thousands of dollars in school fees from your wallet.
- (01) Elite Montessori Hundred Board Preschool Learning Material
- (02) Mirus Toys Wooden Regrouping Board (Colors, Marbles, Add, Subtract)
- (03) Melissa & Doug Add and Subtract Abacus with Pastel Counting Beads
- (04) Melissa & Doug Classic Wooden Abacus (100 Primary Color Beads)
- (05) Kid Advance Montessori Subtraction Strips with Grid
- (06) Pagalou Toys Addition & Subtraction Wooden Math Set
- (07) Montessori Factory Math Board + Number Tiles (Add / Sub / Mult / Div)
- (08) Stastoys Plus and Minus Numbers Board Marbles Toy
- (09) Alytimes Counting Stick “Rods & Tiles” Calculation Math Educational Toy
- (10) From Jennifer Minimalist 100 Ball Counting Board
- (11) MerryHeart “1 to 100” Rainbow Hundred Numbers Math Board
- (12) Cats Crafts Toys Montessori Wooden Addition Strip Board
- (13) Bonus: Montessori Addition / Subtraction Printables (Low-Cost Alternative)
(01) Elite Montessori Hundred Board Preschool Learning Material
The Montessori 100 board is a material that allows the child to identify the sequence of numbers from 1 to 100. This model comes in a wooden board of 13.6 x 13.6 x 0.4 inches, with 100 wooden pieces engraved with the numbers from 1 to 100. It also has 10 compartments to store the cards, that is, so they can practice grouping the numbers 10 by 10 and keep them in order.
It not only allows them to learn the sequence, but also to differentiate the odd and even numbers, presenting them in a skipped way in the table and guiding them in the process of identifying why it is odd or even. This resource is suitable for children from 5 years old.
(02) Mirus Toys Wooden Regrouping Board (Colors, Marbles, Add, Subtract)
This handmade wooden board allows you to manipulate and understand the concept of units, tens, hundreds and thousands through the Montessori color scale, as well as to practice addition and subtraction through the process of regrouping or counting. It comes with red marbles each representing hundreds, blue marbles each representing tens, and green marbles each representing ones. The number tiles to ask the child to represent the quantity are not included in this kit.
We can draw on a sheet of paper having the 3 colors of marker base of the marbles, and ask the child to represent the number in the holes arranged under the color with the identification of hundreds (100), tens (10) and units (1). For example 343, the child will take 3 red marbles and place them in the red holes, 4 blue marbles in their respective holes and 3 green marbles, representing hundreds, 4 tens and 3 units, or what would be the same, the decomposition of the number.
To practice addition, we write the quantities in the colors according to the system of units, tens and hundreds, one number on top of the other. This allows the child to visually identify how many marbles he/she should pick up per color. The child will place them in the classified wooden box and then present the marbles in the rows arranged by color, we ask him to count the total marbles according to the decimal system and we will obtain the result. We will adapt this process with simple single-digit and increasing sums.
For the subtraction, the inverse process, we will remove as many marbles as the operation according to the color scale.
This resource is very popular because it is very manipulative, and it is a mixture between the gold beads and a variation of the game of stamps; something like between the concrete and the abstraction.
(03) Melissa & Doug Add and Subtract Abacus with Pastel Counting Beads
This wooden abacus with the rainbow scale is perfect to initiate counting in the little ones, and at the same time teach the process of addition one by one. It is represented in the scale of 9 to 1, and comes with two wooden boards that are inserted in the middle of the abacus, to be used as a guide for addition, subtraction or simply color grouping. With the mathematical operation printed on the back of each marble, the child can quickly visualize that each marble, if grouped one on top of the other, increases the amount of the number, and the opposite is the case if subtracted.
It is a very versatile material, which can be suitable for children from 2 years old to identify colors and practice fine motor skills by moving the marbles, and after that, move on to numbers and counting.
(04) Melissa & Doug Classic Wooden Abacus (100 Primary Color Beads)
This wooden abacus is presented in its original rectangular shape, with vibrant colors in each of its rows composed of 10 small balls. It teaches children to count up to 100, add, subtract and multiply.
When the fingers are exhausted trying to add, the abacus comes to the rescue to do sums of larger numbers. Without a doubt, this manual calculator is an excellent resource that can be presented to children from 2 years old, as an introduction to colors, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and after that, the construction of numbers and mathematical operations.
(05) Kid Advance Montessori Subtraction Strips with Grid
With this wooden board children are taught in a very visual way the addition and subtraction. It is through the system of strips, wooden strips of different lengths that when placed on the board, which previously comes already gridded, using as a guide the top printed with the numbers from 1 to 18, we can ask the child to fit as many number bars as the length of the strip. To exercise the difference with the numbers, the bars are blue and red, which are the same as the number bars material where we taught to count and represent the quantity with the segmentation of the bar.
The board has a distribution of 12 squares x 18 squares, 18 strips of different lengths, 9 strips and 9 blue strips classified and identified with the numbers from 1 to 9.
This material has the possibility to be used in multiple ways, from initiation to counting, number grouping, identifying greater than or less than, and mathematical operations.
(06) Pagalou Toys Addition & Subtraction Wooden Math Set
This wooden board, made in Romania, does not lack detail to teach our little ones to add and subtract up to two digits. It comes with wooden pieces carved with the numbers from 1 to 20, the symbols of addition, subtraction and equals, and 30 balls to do the mathematical operations. At this point, you can choose to buy with felt pompoms or with colored wooden balls.
The board already has the divisions to place the number and symbol tiles, as well as the section to classify the balls according to the mathematical operation and the result with wooden tokens. The result can also be placed with the balls, in a row arranged in the lower area of the board, or if our child already knows how to write, he/she can write down the amount on a sheet of paper.
This Montessori game can be used from the age of 3 years, because it allows to recognize the number scale with the chips, teach numbers in a tangible way thanks to the classification of balls or pompoms, and when he has enough mastery, add and subtract.
(07) Montessori Factory Math Board + Number Tiles (Add / Sub / Mult / Div)
A mathematical operations board handmade with maple wood that does not lack detail. Special to start with the little ones the addition, and from there, the rest of operations. It is suitable from 3 years old and will attract the attention of children, because the objects to count are colored felt pompoms.
The table comes distributed in 5 boxes at the top, where boards will be placed with the operation to be performed (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, greater than and less than), and 3 larger boxes at the bottom where the pompoms are grouped according to the numbers and type of operation that we have built above.
Includes tokens with the numbers from 0 to 20, tokens with the mathematical symbols and 22 pompons. The wooden board measures 9×6 inches.
(08) Stastoys Plus and Minus Numbers Board Marbles Toy
This random math board game promises that our children will never get bored while practicing operations. It is made in Ukraine, and its handmade wooden tilt board.
The game consists of dropping a handful of glass marbles, which are already included in the set, from the top, as if it were a funnel, the marbles will roll in different directions, and fall into two sections. We will count the marbles in each section and take the large green number that corresponds to the groups of marbles, then we will introduce the mathematical symbol that we want to be solved by the child, and we will ask him to do the operation, whether addition, subtraction or multiplication.
Bring a wooden box with plastic numbers from 0 to 9 duplicated, and the symbols (+-x=).
This random resource invites the child to perform surprise operations, and generates fun, as well as visual tracking, by the movement of the marbles.
An important fact is that they can perform mathematical operations from 1 to 100.
(09) Alytimes Counting Stick Calculation Math Educational Toy, Wooden Number Cards and Counting Rods Box
The game of the bars is a very interesting material to start teaching numbers and mathematical operations to children from 3 years old and up. It is a wooden box that brings wooden bars in 4 colors (red, blue, green, yellow), wooden cards with the numbers from 0 to 9 and the 4 basic symbols of mathematical operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The first way to present it to the children is that they simply manipulate the bars and can identify the colors. Then they can associate a number of bars with the number we show them. For example, the number 3 is 3 bars.
From there, when the child becomes familiar with the number of bars and the associative method with the number, mathematical operations are introduced. The reason for the 4 colors of the bars is so that the child can visually identify the process of addition or subtraction.
This resource also stimulates logical thinking, improves hand-eye coordination and they learn mathematics in a fun way without forcing them.
(10) From Jennifer Minimalist 100 Ball Counting Board
This wooden board material is perfect for contextualizing number counting, practicing addition and subtraction, perfecting pincer grasp with fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination in children.
It can be made of oak, maple (very light wood) or walnut (dark brown), with naturally linseed oil finish.
There are 3 options to choose from: a 100 frame with 100 wooden balls (1/2″), a frame of 100 with 100 felt (wool) balls in 10 different colors (10 of each color), or just the frame.
The size of the board is 12×12 inches.
It is important to note that the board comes with 100 holes without printed numbers, thus, the child will learn counting by units of balls without relating them to the number. You can show cards with printed numbers and give the relationship between the amount of balls placed in the hole with the number.
To practice addition, the mathematical operation is shown, and the child is asked to place as many balls on the board as the numbers are, then proceed to count each one, and the result is obtained, it is a very visual way to interact with the “quantity” factor.
(11) MerryHeart “1 to 100” Rainbow Hundred Numbers Math Board
This Montessori counting board measures 8.5 by 8.5 by 0.5 inches and is made of wood. It is very eye-catching because the numbers are printed on tokens with a rainbow colored scale (tokens included from 1 to 100). The board is labeled on both sides: one side has blue squares and allows children to place the tiles to learn the sequence of numbers, identify odd and even numbers, and classify the number scale through the colors of the tiles. It also comes with a cardboard with the printed number sequence from 1 to 100 to make counting easier for children and to serve as a guide.
If we turn the board, on the other side, comes a green box, in which we can play to create shapes with the chips and group them by color, this part especially for when they have not yet understood the process of numerical counting, and also to become familiar with the chips and the resource. The game comes with a bag to store the counters. Recommended for children from 3 years old with adult supervision.
(12) Cats Crafts Toys Montessori Wooden Addition Strip Board
This handmade wooden kit includes a 10×10 board and two sets of number strips. Each set of strips has numbers from 1 to 10 engraved on the ends, and each one is delimited by squares, so that the child can count as many squares as the number on the strip.
For example, the 6 strip has 6 divisions with squares. The table has printed on the top the numbers from 1 to 10, and to practice the sum, if we say 3 + 4, the child will take the strip of 3 and will place next to the strip of 4, both the sum of the squares and the top of the table, will give the visual response to the child, being the number 7.
The truth has many uses, they can identify several ways to add the numbers to reach the same result, learn the sequence of numbers, start subtraction (we subtract strips and ask them to count how many squares are left), and hand-eye coordination to fit the strips in the table.
(13) Bonus: Montessori Addition / Subtraction Printables (Low-Cost Alternative)
If you are looking for a colorful digital board with addition and subtraction up to 10, these downloadables are ideal. As a review, they are useful for children to visualize the operation with the result.
The kit comes with two tables: one for addition and one for subtraction, and the size for printing is 8.5×11 inches.
It is an online option to download at the moment, after the purchase.
Addition and Subtraction Tables 2-Set → Psycho Screen on Etsy
A very complete and colorful rainbow style kit to review with children the addition and subtraction up to the number 10. In addition to bringing individual boards with the mathematical operations, it contains a worksheet with boxes to propose problems and a blank board for the child to fill it with all the addition and subtraction operations from 1 to the number 10.
When buying the kit online, it includes 9 pages in a PDF file ready to print, and the primary recommendation, after printing, will be to laminate each sheet, so that it has more durability and so that children can complete it with a marker that allows erasing and refilling.
Addition and Subtraction Squares Worksheets → Psycho Screen on Etsy
This online printing kit has two boards with the operations of addition and subtraction for the number 10. It includes a format to fill in which explains the parts of addition and subtraction, so that the child can be placed with the numbers and what to solve.`
It also comes with a blank board, which works as a guide for the child to complete everything learned from the addition and subtraction boards that are already completed.
These boards work very well as a review at home.
When buying the kit online, it includes 8 pages in a PDF file ready to print, and the primary recommendation, after printing, will be to laminate each sheet, so that it has more durability and so that children can complete with marker that allows erase and refill.
What’s the Montessori approach to teaching Addition and Subtraction?
Maria Montessori argued that with a proper foundation and with enough freedom to explore and experiment, understanding mathematics would be much easier.
From the age of two, children are introduced to mathematical thinking, with practical life activities, full, empty, missing one….
The first process of the work is the learning of the numbers from 1 to 10. This process will involve the child working with concrete materials that allow him to understand and comprehend these abstract concepts. The second process is the introduction of the decimal system and all that it implies. That is, with the decimal system the child will be able to compose numbers and later will be able to perform the four basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).
Through colors, sticks, checkers, blocks and other pieces the child will be able to learn to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Instead of becoming something abstract or something that the child must learn by heart, it can be based on small balls or pieces of wood of different colors that will help the child understand these concepts. These woods and materials measure different lengths, through which the child can learn to add or subtract them in order to understand addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Is an Addition and Subtraction board really “Montessori”?
Maria Montessori developed different materials to teach children a method that would allow them to understand numbers and mathematical problems of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
One of the most used is the addition and subtraction table, which experts in this pedagogy recommend starting to implement in children from the age of 3 years. This table allows a manipulative and completely visual teaching of the concept of numbers, and the representation of quantity, more or less. From there, and from the real numerical compression and quantity, there are the materials of the beads, the big number bars, the sandpaper numbers, numbers and counters, the spindle box, the bead ladder, the bead hanger, the 100 board, the small number bars, among many others.
It is important to remember that each material presented to the child, has its function and time of mastery, as well as a structure, we can not show the table of numbers, if the child has not understood that the number means a quantity, and for that, there are the counting bars. While it is true that in this methodology there is freedom of choice of resources, we must follow a coherent structure so that they understand the processes, and not memorize only one result.
Should I get a toy that that’s “add and subtract only” vs “all arithmetic ( + – × ÷ )”
If we start from the premise that children according to the Montessori methodology learn in stages and in a manipulative way, when we choose resources to teach them, it is better to do it in stages. That is to say, it is not the same to present a board of addition and subtraction to the child, than to give him a board of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. There would be many symbols to master at the same time, and it can generate some distraction with the child. If Maria Montessori already created individualized games, it is best to use specific resources and then master it, if we can practice with complete resources, as a review of knowledge.
For example, the number bars can be presented alone so that the child can visualize the real amount of a number and can see the difference in length of the value of that number versus another, and then integrate a table of addition and subtraction, where the bars allow to teach the value of addition or subtraction through manual, visual and manipulative counting. Therefore, I will always say yes to buying specific resources.