Montessori maths materials. Need I say more. Well, yes, probably! The Montessori method for teaching maths involves a lot of manipulative materials that are tempting to touch and lovely to look at. The bead cabinet is one of my favourites but the price tag is a bit off-putting! This one is great and the cabinet to store it all in is too but together the cost is reaching thousands. Obviously not affordable, but crafty doesn't say can't, so here is my homemade version for considerably less (approx £40 total by buying the beads when on sale).
The materials. Beads - a whole load in various colours, wire ( I ended up going back for more), pliers, wire cutters, jump rings and plastic mesh.
The beginning - when I had no idea how long this was going to take!
The thousand cube! Yes it is solid and made of 1000 beads all wired together. Do you see the plastic mesh in between the edge rows and the second row in? That's what holds it all together.
The squares and cubes 1-10. I made one cube of each and the number of squares equal to its size, eg, 3 - 3x3 squares, 8 - 8x8 squares, 10 - 10x10 squares etc.
Bead bars, approximately 60 of each, although more of the 10 bars.
The bead chains. Short bead chains that show the square of each number (eg, 6x6), and the long chains show the cube of each number (eg 6x6x6). Let me tell you that the long chain of 10 is very very long and time consuming to make! It's extremely cool when you can compare it to the 10x10x10 cube and see that they are the same though!
I also made snake games which involve some more of the bead bars, some bead bars 1-10 in different colours for holding places, and again in another different colour for negative numbers. Somehow I forgot to photograph the snake game but here is one by another DIYer so you can see what I'm talking about.
I have plans to show you how we are using these beads in our homeschool, but for now I'm just taking a breath after all that bead stringing!