counting rods - counting, numbers and noodles

use your noodle

I have been coveting Montessori number rods for a couple of years.

Sadly, they don't fit my budget;  I even investigated making some.  (I asked my husband to buy me some wood and cut it to the right lengths - but he bought the wrong grade wood, and they have been sitting at the back of my car's trunk for over a year).

 I have been number rod-less ... until now.

Now my rods do not look as sleek and smooth as the ones that Maria Montessori created ... because my rods are made with pool noodles!

Grabbed a few noodles from my noodle stash. (Had some left over from making swords, and have bought a few more in "must have" colours!)

I marked cutting lines - 10cm, 20cm, 30cm all the way to 100 cm, and cut the noodles to the correct lengths.  I used a break knife, not a saw; the saw helped me keep my cutting edge level.  

I alternated the colours to provide some differentiation. 

I wavered back and forth whether I should print the numbers on the rod or not.  Numbers won.

And then I played counting. 

the 7 rod and the 3 rod are as big as the 10 rod
the 1 rod and the 2 rod and the 4 rod and the 3 rod are as big as the 10 rod
the 6 rod and the 4 rod are as big as the 10 rod

Now, unorthodox though they might be, I have counting rods -- oops, counting noodles.

I'm going to cheat a little bit here.

These were made, but not by me.

A former student, current high school art student and family friend wanted a project.  I was happy to oblige.

It all works with the rock thing that I have going on this summer.


  1. These are very clever. I wonder if the stores will still have pool noodles?

  2. Love the colors you chose, I love how lifesize these math manipulatives are! Great idea, thanks for sharing.
    Antonia @ forkin4th

  3. Great idea! I'm really tempted to go out and buy some pool noodles now!

  4. Love the life size manipulatives! Great visuals!

  5. Okay Ms. Sandi who painted the alphabet rocks! I truly am jealous!! I have the rocks...

  6. Hi Sandi,
    The rocks are beautiful!! Did she use a stencil or paint them free hand? Also, the noodles ...what a great idea!

    Playful Learning Brooklyn

    1. My rock artist painted the letters freehand and then outlined them with a jiffy marker after she painted. Wait until you see the rock family she painted for me!

      I was planning to make some alphabet rocks with transparent alphabet stickers and modge podge. That would work for non-artistic types like me!



Back to Top