I was reading in our local newspaper American students’ number 1 fear:arithmetic has been a common problem for many years. It just shocks me that basic math skills cannot be taught to children in our schools. Even babies at the age of 2 understand many concepts of math. They know who has more or less, what is big or small, tall or short, and little or big.

Concrete math concepts can be taught at a very young age. Montessori introduced math concepts to preschool children that are not taught until grade school or middle school. Her students used materials that were hands on, concrete, manipulatives.

One of the most important pieces of math equipment is the golden bead material, or base 10 manipulatives.

Here is an expample of base 10 materials that you can use instead of the golden bead material. It is much cheaper that the bead material and if you don’t want to make the material, buying base 10 blocks are an easy way to introduce your child to the concepts of concrete math, and eventually symbolic math concepts. Just follow the instructions from Montessori World’s Chapter Two, The Decimal System. Instead of golden beads, use base 10 manipulatives. You can buy these at school supply stores too.

If you want to make a set, use thick craft foam. Here is a free base 10 block print out-and another base 10 units, long rods and base.

You can also make these from thick construction paper.

If you do these activities with your children in a fun way, they will love math.

Both my children still love math.

In a world where everything seems to measured, math equals the playing field for all children.

These lessons are homeschool friendly too!