Sunday, June 12, 2011

Homemade materials

Hundred board:

I'd been wanting to make a homemade hundred board for a long time, but had been putting it off. I couldn't figure out in my head how to make it good enough. Finally, one of my endless Google searches turned up a reference to using tiles from the home improvement store. Lightbulb! I went to Lowe's and bought a sheet of 144 small glass tiles. They peeled easily off the backing, and I used a Sharpie to write the numbers on each.

For the board, I took a leftover piece of flannel and sewed straight lines to delineate where the tiles should be placed. This turned out to be a fabulous solution, because I can roll or fold up the board for storage, and the tiles don't slip at all when on the board.

I'm storing the tiles in an old silicon muffin tin that fits perfectly into one of my trays.

Of note is that I decided, instead of going from 1-100, to go from 0-99. I think it makes more sense to start each row with the next 10 group. However, Nugget was disappointed not to have a "100" tile at the end.... so I made one up for her quickly, and told her that her reward for counting to 100 was that she got to put this 100 tile into a small cup on the shelf. Every time she gets to 100, she can put a new 100 tile into the cup. That way, she can see how many times she's completed the hundred board.

Now, this was probably presented to her a bit early. We hadn't worked yet with making 11-99 with the bead stair. But I had the material sitting out, and she found it.... Even though it was a bit early, she was able to complete it with some encouragement from me. It's a lot of work!

Hundred squares:

When I purchased our materials, I only bought 10 hundred squares. I figured I could make that work, but I had forgotten that I needed enough to do regrouping of hundred squares into thousand cubes. I thought about putting in an order, but ended up needing the extra hundred squares before I made up my mind.

I did a lot of thinking about how to make homemade hundred squares, but once I thought to use foam core for the material, I knew that was the right answer. It's lightweight like the squares that I have and easy to cut to the right size.

Figuring out how to make the dots was the hard part. I tried using paint and applying it different ways (eraser, brush, q-tip, etc), but it blobbed and didn't look good. Plus -- painting hundreds and hundreds of small dots?! No thank you. I finally decided to just print out some sheets of dots and spray glue them on. It wasn't the look I was going for in the beginning, but it worked out well enough.

Bead stair tray:

This is a pretty simple one. I had a bead stair but no tray. Another thing I thought I could do without, but once we started to use it, I realized we really needed to be able to lay out the stair in order and not have it roll away. This is just foam core again, one sheet on the bottom and one with a triangle cut out glued on top of it.


Nugget has a strong interest in animals, and it's been a common topic of discussion around our house if an animal is a mammal, reptile, bird, etc. I decided to show her a bit more formally how we classify things and where these divisions came from.

To start with, I printed off some pictures. Four each of non-living, plant, invertebrate, mammal, fish, bird, amphibian, and reptile. I took a bit piece of felt and drew a graph on it.

At the top, we separate living from non-living.

We take the living and separate plant from animal.

Then the animals are split into invertebrate and vertebrates.

And, finally, the vertebrates are split into bird, fish, reptile, amphibian, and mammal.

For even more interest, I also put out a selection from our Safari Toobs.

Some of these animals end up "helping" with the rest of the Montessori work. :)


  1. Love the glass tile idea for the hundred number tiles. I made ours out of foam. Though it works, D has a tough time with it. Great idea, I am going to redo ours.

  2. Some other thoughts on the 100 square:

  3. I really like the taxonomy chart. I'm definitely gonna have to make one ;)


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