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Spindle Boxes – Learn a Montessori Math Lesson


Spindle Boxes are part of Montessori Math Introduction to Numeration. Although gorgeous and reasonably priced, one of the best things about a Spindle Box is that you can make your own fairly easily at home with sticks, pipe cleaners, straws, etc.

Plus, there are many variations of objects to keep the work interesting is always a bonus.

Spindle Boxes - a Montessori Math Lesson

The main aims of this work are to guide a child in his learning to count and to introduce the concept of “zero”.


Montessori Math Spindle Box

Here is how I present the Spindle Box to a child:

Invite the child to do the work. Get a mat and spread it on the floor.

Presentation I

Carry boxes, spindles, and mat one at a time to the mat. Place as shown in the image.


“Would you like to learn how to use the spindle boxes today?”


Point the numeral one: “Do you remember what this is? Yes, it is one.”  Move through the numerals included in the box.


  • Count a spindle from the box & transfer to your other hand to place in the one: “One”.
  • Point to the next numeral and repeat the same approach, restating the quantity and finish counting each spindle into the box.
  • Go through five, at which point the child will be most likely ready to take over the work. If not, invite him to do so.


When all of the spindles have been distributed, point at the zero: “What is in here? Yes, nothing. It is empty because zero means none.”

  • To put spindles away, begin with section one and return them to the basket section by section. Count as I drop them back into the basket. I might also ask the child to go section by section to grasp the spindles and return them to the basket, counting them as they drop into the basket.
  • Return to shelf once all the spindles have been put into their respective sections.



Montessori Math Resources

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