Number Rods

We are having fun being at home for the preschool years. Our 4-year-old and 2-year-old have been bonding and are great friends. I have to think that it is partly due to the time they get to spend together. Without one or both leaving for preschool during the day, their days are filled with quality time. It is a cherished time. My husband and I are both drawn to the Montessori method for teaching our kids, so we have been incorporating some of those teaching materials in our home “classroom”.


I started pricing the Red Rods and Number Rods a while back and was astonished by the prices. Montessori teaching materials are beautifully crafted and represent natural materials, which is wonderful. However, I do feel some of the materials price themselves out of everyday homes or classrooms, which is a shame. I was also yearning for a project to divert my energy away from the internet or social media. So, I decided to try to make the classic blue and red Number Rods. At the time, it was the first wave of COVID-19 and so shopping for the wood was limited to online. FInding 100 cm long panels was not possible for me, so I elected to make the half-size version.

Our rods are 5-cm to 50-cm, increasing by 5-cm each time. I involved our 4-year-old in the measuring process, which she loved. We even tried to hand saw the rods (I was sawing and she was holding with her safety googles and gloves), but it was proving to be too difficult. My husband used a table saw to cut the correct lengths. As a safety precaution, he then sanded and rounded the corners. Fortunately, I found blue painters tape with a 5-cm width, which made taping the sections a lot easier. I elected to skip right to the blue and red versus the solid red rods. I felt our kids were beyond the red rods and had other sensorial materials for that purpose.

It was a fun and therapuetic process. I’d paint during quiet time. Reflect on the day. Listen to podcasts or sit with my thoughts. Using my hands to create was a nice feeling and helped distract from the negative day-to-day newsfeed. I went with acrylic paint at the suggestion of my husband, who is a painter. He also gave me advice on painting the red first, as most red paints require several coats. I purchased the red and blue paint via Amazon- products linked below. The Apple Barrel Real Red gloss acrylic paint covered beautifully. The red only required two coats. Be sure to allow the paint to dry completely before applying the next coat- because the tacky paint will clump. After the red sections, I peeled off the painters tape and re-taped, covering the red. The Apple Barrel Real Blue gloss acrylic paint ended up requiring 3 coats. After all sections had dried and the tape was removed I did some touch up to the edges. I am so pleased with the colors of this paint. It is the richness that I was hoping for- again scroll to bottom of post for purchasing links.

Raising Vegan Tip- Use wood scraps or a wire rack to allow paint to dry.  Placing them directly on paper or parchment paper will result in paint sticking to the paper.  Basically, the less surface area to touch anything while the rods dry, the better the results. 


To present the number rods to our littles, I referred to Montessori Album, which is a fantastic free website that will give insight into presenting and purchasing Montessori materials.

Links to recommended products:

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