Montessori’s Odd and Even maths activity (sometimes called Cards and Counters) introduces the abstract concept of odd and even numbers visually, making it easier for little minds to grasp. It is usually introduced after children have become familiar with number concepts taught in: 1)Number Rods, 2)Sandpaper Numbers, 3)Spindle Box and 4)Memory Game Montessori lessons.

Maths: Odd & even numbers

All that is required for this activity is: numbers from 1-10 and 55 counters (wooden dots are typically used in a Montessori classroom but anything will work if you are at home and would like to practise the lesson with your child).

To start the lesson, place the numbers in random order on your work mat and ask your child to consecutively order the numbers from 1-10 at the top of the mat (you want to know that your child understands counting before teaching them the concepts of odd and even). Your child could also hand you the numbers in order as you place them on the mat, to demonstrate the exercise.

Then, starting with number 1, ask your child to hand you one counter and place it directly underneath the number. Move on to number 2, and ask your child to hand you two counters, placing them directly under the number. Explain that ‘one’ is on its own – it is odd, and ‘two’ is a pair – it is even. Proceed with numbers 3 and 4, placing the counters in pairs and explaining that one of the number 3 counters does not have a partner – making 3 an odd number, and that the four counters under number 4 are in pairs – making it an even number. And so on…up until number 10.

Have a look at the below tutorial by My Works Montessori to see how each lesson is applied:

As demonstrated in the video, the aim of the presentation is to make it obvious for a child to see when a number is on its own and when it is in a pair – illustrating the difference between odd and even. Once your child starts becoming confident in the lesson, allow him to place the counters under the corresponding numbers, stating which are odd and which are even.

If you’d like further information about this tutorial, feel free to contact us at We’re happy to answer any questions.