The wonderful thing about Montessori learning is that it incorporates the different senses into activities in an effort to assist learning. Sandpaper Numbers is one such activity; it ‘lives’ in the mathematics area of a Montessori classroom but easily crosses over into the sensorial area.

The purpose of the lesson in which Sandpaper Numbers are used is for children to learn the symbol that represents the numbers forming part of the activity. The materials used for this activity are numerals from 0 to 9, cut out of sandpaper and mounted on separate green boards. (The 0 is presented after the Spindle Boxes, when the concept of zero has been introduced.)

As part of a lesson, children are directed to look at the number, trace the number and then repeat its name – “one”, “two”, “three” etc. Have a look at the below tutorial by My Montessori Works and you’ll see just how sight, touch and hearing are used to explain numbers in this lesson:

Once a child has grasped the concepts presented in the initial exercise using Sandpaper Numbers, lesson extensions may be applied if the child shows interest. One such lesson is to place the Sandpaper Numbers upside down in no particular order (using all the numbers or perhaps only a few sequential numbers); the child will then pick a number and will be asked to say what the selected number is. The more use we can get from these numbers, the more practice children will have at mastering the skill of attaching symbolic significance to basic numbers.

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Photo By Montessori Pre-school Supplies