DIY: Montessori Number Rods

Assalamu’alaikum & Marhaba!

Number rods are used for the ages of 3.5-6 years in Montessori learning.  Once children master the red rods, they move on to these.  They are ten wooden rods.  The smallest rod represents one and is usually one decimeter long building up to ten which is one meter long.  The rods alternate in red and blue colors to represent each decimeter.  They are one of the first Math lessons given to introduce a number of skills; counting, understanding the value of the number visually, associating the numeral to its value, and finally simple addition and subtraction.



Here I give you steps on how I made my own number rods.  I measured each section 3.5 inches long rather than one decimeter dividing the longest rod into ten equal parts.

What You Need:


  • Six long wooden rods
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Painter’s tape (for neater results)
  • Saw or high quality thick cutting blade
  • Flat edged paintbrushes
  • Red paint
  • Blue paint


  1. Using the measuring tape, divide and mark lines per decimeter, or divide each rod into ten even sections depending on the rods total length if not equal to one meter.
  2. The first rod will be used for ten.  Place on the side.img_4701
  3. Cut off one section off the next rod.  The single block will be for one, and the longer rod for nine.
  4. On the next rod, cut off at two decimeters, to be used as the number two rod, and the remaining part for eight.
  5. Cut off one rod at three decimeters, another at four decimeters.  You should have the number three, four, six, and seven rods.
  6. The last rod should be cut off at five decimeters for number five.
  7. Place painters tape on every other section.  (I painted free hand because the local hardware store was out.)
  8. Each rod should be painted red for the first decimeter, and blue in the next section, alternating each.  Paint one color.img_4703
  9. Let dry completely before you paint the second color.  Each rod should be painted red for the first decimeter, and blue in the next section, alternating each.img_4704
  10. I used the free number rod control chart printable from the Montessori Print Shop.


Hope you found this DIY useful and money-saving!  I will post our first lesson with these soon, Insha’Allah (God Willing).