DIY Red rods/Number rods
Number rods are a sensorial/math material you'll find in the primary (3-6) classroom. They are directly linked to the sensorial material of red rods. Red rods lay the foundation for the Number rods. The purpose of number rods is to give the child knowledge of quantity for numbers 1-10. And then to later use the written number symbols with them. However if you're looking to get them they can be quite pricey, but there is alternatives. This is a DIY but I outline some other options on my other blog post Montessori materials on a budget.
These number rods were a very easy to DIY. And they only cost me £5! I used an old shelf we had lying around. I will give you the measurements but you can make them bigger or smaller as required as long as the 1:10 ratio stays the same! We already had a saw, nothing special you're bulk standard saw, some sandpaper that we already had and I had to buy some gloss spray paints for them, red and blue, which were 2 for £5. That's IT!
So firstly you're going to need to find yourself a piece of wood measuring 1 metre x 0.5 metres. this will give you enough for all number rods and little spare for mistakes. The measurements for the number rods themselves are 1" wide x 10cm per sections. So the first number rod is 10cm, second is 20cm, third is 30cm all the way up to the 10 rod which is 100cm/1 metre. Its pretty simple maths, thankfully!
Now the beauty of this is it has its own short cut. So you'll actually want the following cuts.
1" x 1 metre - 6 of them.
Then you will put 1 aside for the 10 rod. Then you will cut 10cm off of one, which will give you the 1 rod, and 9 rod. Then 20cm off the next one for the 8 rod and 2 rod. Then 30cm off the next one for the 7 rod and 3 rod. Then 40cm off the next one for 6 rod and 4 rod. Then the next one 50cm off (half) for the 5 rod, and a spare 5 rod. Make sense?
Once you have all of your number rods cut to size, then you will want to sand them all down to avoid any splinters and to make them more aesthetically pleasing. This is when you will need to even out any bumps or odd parts and make any adjustments needed as the next step is the paint!
You'll need 2 cans of spray paint/wood paint whichever you prefer. 1 Red and 1 Blue. I chose a gloss spray paint as it seals itself quite well and makes it waterproof! I got mine from The Range whilst they were on offer but you could get yours anywhere, ill put a link to some at the bottom of the post.
When it comes to painting it's up to you which way you want to do it. You could use painters tape to do one colour of sections, then wait for it to dry, remove and then to the blank sections in the remaining colour.
I personally chose to spray them completely red to get a good covering and seal on them to start with. So if you're needing red rods first, TADA they're red rods now. THEN I chose to use painters tape over it once it was fully dry and section off the parts I didn't want painted blue. Then I sprayed them all blue, and once they were dry remove the tape to reveal fully painted number rods!
They're almost done, all that's left to do is to seal them. I used a craft glue/mod podge thing we already had lying around but you could buy some sealant if you wanted to. Put a evenly spread thin layer all over the rods to seal them, wait for them to dry and you're done! You now have number rods for considerably less than if you bought them!
Ours did not come out perfect, or even close to it and I quite liked it! I liked that you could see that they were made with time and love, rather than looking perfect. They were good enough to do what they needed to do and provide my son the foundation of quantity and number symbols. So I'm happy with the outcome. You may be more crafty, or have better tools than me so no doubt you could make yours as close to perfect as you wanted to :)
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I believe Montessori is for everyone, I want to help everyone bring a little more Montessori into their homes and lives.
Montessoraus Mama. x