Free Printables

Montessori Sensorial Materials: Number Rods and Red Rods

Let's discuss the Montessori Sensorial Materials in more detail using the Montessori Number Rods and Red Rods as an example.

In the words of Maria Montessori,

"The training of the senses, insofar as it makes a man an observer, not only fulfills the generic function of adapting him to the contemporary mode of civilization, but it also prepares him for the exigencies of life."

A child can not progress with academic accomplishments until their sensory needs are met and developed appropriately.

This is why sensorial materials are being highlighted in our classroom this year with Sunshine and our other children.  

Montessori Sensorial Materials: Number Rods and Red Rods

Note:  The Montessori Number Rods are the first material in the Montessori Math Preschool Curriculum, but they can also be used as a sensorial material.  For the purposes of this post I will refer to them as a sensorial material.

The Benefits of Montessori Sensorial Materials

I have put off purchasing Montessori sensorial materials for quite some time.  Those that I can make with my limited DIY skills, I do.  Justifying the cost and the need for sensorial materials compared to those in the core subject areas is tough.

Then there's the question of space.  Some of the sensorial materials are really big, not to mention heavy.  Even if we find a space to put the materials, my husband worries about the space needed to successfully complete sensorial work.  

And safety...  If some of the sensorial materials aren't used appropriately, they can definitely cause damage to surroundings and people.  Some of our kids have a lack of safety awareness, issues with depth perception, vision impairment, and destructive tendencies.  

Then there's our kids who become quite obsessed with parts and pieces, so much that they're unable to complete a task. 

One would think this is enough to build a case that sensorial materials aren't worth purchasing.  But here's where you'd be wrong.  

Sensorial materials help a child develop their minds and bodies in a way that prepares them for work in the core subject areas.

Working with the sensorial materials can help a child's body receive sensory input that's crucial to development.  This sensory input may help a child stay regulated in a classroom whereas he may not otherwise do so.

Sensorial materials can aid in helping a child with sensory sensitivities become more comfortable with their surroundings.  

They can help a child with motor delays and low muscle tone.  

If a child is able to complete sensorial work in the classroom, he will be prepared to succeed in the core subject areas because his body and his mind are trained in the ways that are necessary for success.

Just take a look at what can be done with the Number Rods and Red Rods!

Montessori Sensorial Materials: The Number Rods and Red Rods

The Number Rods and Red Rods are huge!  They are long and heavy.  Storing them on shelves or in their stands can take up quite a bit of space.  The price of the materials can be quite a turn off.

But do you know how many different ways there are to use the Montessori Number Rods and Red Rods?  

Do you know how much these materials can benefit a child?  

Are you aware of alternatives that may work for specific children in your classroom?  

Let me just give you a glimpse of the amazing sensory experiences that have taken place in our classroom!

The Number Rods and Red Rods have been in our classroom for over a month now.  Each child has shown excitement while using the materials in ways that best fit their academic and sensorial journey. 

Beginner Exercises with Montessori Red Rods and Number Rods

Sunshine is just beginning her sensorial journey in the classroom.  When working with the Red Rods she is starting with the very first lesson.  The same is true when using the Montessori Number Rods

Montessori Sensorial Materials: Intermediate Exercises with Number Rods and Red Rods

Once Dinomite, Bulldozer and Princess completed the beginner exercises, they moved on to the intermediate level exercises. These include variations for each set of rods, used individually.

Bulldozer using the Montessori Red Rods

Montessori Sensorial Materials: Advanced Exercises with Number Rods and Red Rods

Eventually Dinomite, Bulldozer and Princess all felt ready to take on a bigger challenge, variations that include the use of both the Number Rods and Red Rods at the same time.

Montessori Red Rods and Number Rods

Montessori Sensorial Resources for the Classroom

When it came to finding resources for my four kiddos, Montessori Print Shop didn't let me down.  They offer this amazing Red Rods & Number Rods Pattern Cards Bundle that includes all of the variations you could possibly dream of to accommodate any child's need.

I noticed that Bulldozer preferred work where he arranged the rods vertically.  Dinomite leaned toward work where he could easily see patterns.  Princess loved variations where the rods were more spread out.  The bundle from Montessori Print Shop included variations for everyone.

Special Circumstances with Sensorial Materials

Now some of you may be thinking, wait a minute! Aren't Dinomite, Bulldozer and Princess elementary students?  You are correct. They are.  But due to their developmental disabilities it wasn't until now that they have been ready for work with the Red Rods and Number Rods past the initial lesson.

Dinomite becomes frustrated easily and hasn't been able to visually discriminate variations until now.  

Bulldozer could not lift and carry materials due to low muscle tone and a lack of safety awareness.  

Princess was not at point where she would let me present lessons to her or be trusted working independently.

If your child has special needs of any kind he may not be ready for the Red Rods and Number Rods until much later in the learning process. And that's okay.  

There are so many variations that make this work very flexible for physical and cognitive development.


There are some children who may never be ready for the classroom size Red Rods and Number Rods due to physical limitations, lack of safety awareness or behavioral issues.  

If not supervised closely 100% of the time, Sunshine and Princess are not able to use these materials. Instead we have them use the small numerical rods.

Small Sized Number Rods in Use

There are actually two sets of numerical rods included.  One can easily be painted red to act as a set of Red Rods.  

Though smaller, this set can provide a child with experiences they may otherwise not have due to developmental, physical, and/or emotional limitations.  They are also a great cost effective alternative if your budget is tight.

Using Small Number Rods

The Montessori Number Rods and Red Rods are fabulous materials that should be included in every classroom.  There are so many ways to use them, such as those mentioned in this post, and then some when combined with the Montessori Pink Tower and Brown Stair.

Children love them and find the challenge of working with them too exciting to resist.  It's through their experiences with these materials that they improve and refine their senses, and also prepare for more difficult math and geometry concepts.

For those who would like more resources related to Montessori Sensorial materials and resources, be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter by clicking on the link below.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

Montessori Sensorial Materials: Pink Tower and Brown Stair Montessori-inspired Shark Themed Practical Life Valentine's Day Practical Life and Sensorial Activities The Montessori Silence Game The Montessori Peace Corner The Ultimate Montessori Planner

Montessori Sensorial Materials: Number Rods and Red Rods

No comments:

Post a Comment