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Montessori Math Cards and Counters Lesson


The Cards and Counters lesson is a foundational Montessori math activity designed to help children understand and internalize the concept of numbers and counting, specifically the numbers 1 through 10.

In this activity, the child is provided with a set of number cards, usually beautifully made to engage a child’s interest, and a set of 55 counters (these might be anything from small natural objects like seashells or stones to more traditional counters or beads).

The activity involves both counting and matching, helping the child to connect the abstract concept of a number with a concrete quantity.

The Cards and Counters Lesson is the last lesson within the Numeration of Montessori Math. Click this link to view the AMS Montessori Math Lessons Sequence.

Montessori Math Cards & Counters Lesson
Invite the child to do the work. Get a mat and spread it on the floor.

Presentation I 

  • Name the cards and counters.
  • Randomly place numerals out.
  • Ask for the child’s help to place the numerals in sequence at the top of the mat and to identify the numerals.

 “Now we’re going to put the quantities on the mat.”

cards and counters

  • “How many are needed here?” Count counters as you place them in your hand and then below the numeral.
  • Continue with the same approach until complete. Comment on the pattern of the odd and even quantities.

Presentation II

  • Ask the child to lay out the cards and counters. When finished, point out that some end in pairs and some do not have partners.
  • “We call the ones that don’t have a partner odd numbers. Can you point to the odd numbers? We call the ones that end in a pair even numbers. Can you point to the even numbers?”
  • Ask the child to separate the odd numbers from the even numbers. Return to the shelf or make a booklet.


  • Use other objects in place of the red counters (like the acorn example above)
  • Lay counters out in a different pattern under the numerals


  • Work with larger quantities
  • The child makes their own set of cards and counters
  • Work with larger quantities & identify odd and even numbers
Montessori Math Cards & Counters Lesson


Have fun!

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