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Montessori Spindle Box


Montessori Spindle Box


The Montessori Spindle Box is one of the first math materials that our preschoolers at Montessori Kids Universe of Mason work with. Numbers themselves are abstract symbols that represent specific quantities. The Spindle Box makes numbers concrete and lets our little ones see how each number represents a quantity of one more than the one before it.

What Is the Spindle Box?

The Montessori Spindle Box consists of a small wooden box containing 45 identical wooden pegs (spindles) and a larger box divided horizontally into 10 compartments. To begin this work, the child brings both boxes from the shelf to a work mat.

The Spindle Box Work Cycle

To complete the work cycle, the child methodically “places” zero spindles into the first compartment (effectively skipping this one), then places one spindle into the second compartment, two into the third, and so on until he places nine spindles into the tenth compartment. Children are free to repeat this process as many times as they’d like.

Spindle Box Control of Error

All Montessori materials were designed so that children can complete the works independently, from start to finish. This includes being able to know if they did the work correctly, without needing to ask an adult, and being able to correct mistakes on their own. If a mistake is made during the Spindle Box work, it will be obvious at the end when there are either leftover spindles or not enough spindles.

Concept of Zero

The idea that zero is a number and that it represents nothing at all is an important mathematical concept. Zero is an abstract notion that must be conveyed to preschoolers in a concrete, hands-on way. Leaving the first divider of the Spindle Box empty to signify zero is the perfect way to introduce this concept to little ones.

DIY Spindle Box Ideas

Parents can create their own Spindle Box-inspired activities to practice with kids at home. Here are some ideas using objects easily found around the house:

  • Egg Carton DIY Spindle Box: Cut the last two egg cups off of an egg carton so you have ten egg cups left. Use dry beans as the “spindles”.


  • Ice Cube Tray DIY Spindle Box: Not all ice cube trays have ten compartments, but you can still practice quantifying numbers with any number of compartments.


  • Ramekin Makeshift Spindle Box: Line up ramekins horizontally and drop M&M’s or chocolate chips inside for a fun math-themed treat.


  • Toilet Paper Roll Spindle Box: Save those toilet paper rolls! There are two ways you can make a Spindle Box with these essential items. To create a more traditional Montessori Spindle Box, cut rolls in half longways and tape 10 together to form the compartments. Use straws as the counters. Alternatively, tape rolls together and stand them up on end so your child can drop straws in from the top.

Montessori is for everyone. If you are on the search for a preschool near West Chester, Liberty Township, Warren County and Butler County, look no further than Montessori Kids Universe of Mason, where your young learner can enjoy fun and educational projects like this one!

Our professionally trained teachers blend Montessori and Reggio Emilia curricula to prepare your child to be an independent thinker, academic achiever, and thoughtful leader. We accept children from 6 weeks to 6 years old and are open from 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM Monday-Friday.

Schedule a tour on our website to see the MKU difference for yourself!