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Montessori short bead chains and squares, skip counting, preparation of multiplication

Bead cabinet is important in Montessori classroom, especially in our Math Centre. Most students and visitors are attracted by the colorful beads when they enter the classroom

Our house didn’t have space for the standard bead cabinet.  Therefore, we chose to make ours following Cherine’s idea.  We used our hardwood flooring leftover materials for the cabinet. Daddy spent two days on this project. It turns out great!

You can find her instruction in here (Making Montessori Ours)


There are three components in the bead cabinet

  • Bead chain
  • Bead squares
  • Bead cubes

If space /budget is not available for the full set of bead cabinet, I still strong recommend to have the short bead chains and bead squares for elementary Math

You can find our short bead chains in here or ETSY shop

Also free printable in here


Montessori short bead chains 

The pictures show Montessori short bead chains.  They are used for skip counting


They are hanged in the short bead chain hanger

I made this hanger myself because I was not satisfy the store bought hanger.  The store bought one is hard to put chains on/ off.

If you are interested, you can get the hanger in here


Montessori inspired bead chains for multiplication

I recently created this Montessori inspired bead chains. It helps a child to visual the WHOLE times table.  

You can get it in here


Montessori bead squares

The pictures show Montessori bead squares.  They are used to introduce the concept of square number


Square numbers

2×2 = 2^2 = 4

3×3= 3^2 = 9


9×9 = 9^2 = 81

10×10 = 10^2 = 100

Children can count the square.  Children can make the squares by folding the Montessori short bead chain.  These works give children visual experience how to form a square.

 I also use the bead square to introduce the concept of square roots for my grade 8 and grade 9 students.  Square root is the length of the square.  


Our work on skip counting, multiplication at home

Hannah is working on her first skip counting. skip counting by 10

Today, we used the 10 short bead chain.   We used to started with number 5 or number 10. That’s more easier for children.

After that, we use the new materials found in Pinterest.  Ice-cream skip counting.



Work on long bead chains for skip counting by 5

Princess said the short bead chain is too short -_-, so she decided to pick the long bead chain instead.

Besides skip counting, I found this work also reinforce princess counting skill.

After a lot of practice of the Montessori golden bead system, princess can go through 29->30, 39->40…. easily.   That’s what she said when she do it

“29.  9+1. friends go together to make 10. I have two 10. 2+1 is 3. Now I have three 10. So that’s 30 after 29!”  Her eyes show the excitement when she figures it out.  That’s the best part of learning.  When a child figure out the concept by herself, she understand it. Not just because mommy ‘told’ her.


The picture shows what we did before with Montessori golden bead system.  It is one of my favourite material. Visual learning for children.

The tray only has 9 holes. When we need to add one more bead, there is no space for the tenth bead. Friends go together. The 10 unit beads ‘exchange’ to 1 ten bead bars. Now, we have 3 ten bead bars and that’s 30.

This work covers several works we did before.


The concept of place value:

By the size of the Montessori golden bead materials, child recognize 1/10/100/1000 are different.

We do matching the symbol cards.

Start with 1/10/100/1000


Then go with other numbers


Exchange between 1/10/100/1000:

A child do a lot of exchange to understand the place value.

There is only one digits for each value, 0-9.  Whenever we hit 10, we need to exchange.

For example,

10 units beads –> 1 ten bead bar

10 ten bead bar –> 1 hundred bead square

10 hundred bead square –> 1 thousand cube


When the child familiars with exchange, he/she should be aware whenever he/she hit 10 in the calculation. That’s a important concept on math.

When students in our math centre write 10 in the units side on their  calculation. I don’t ‘correct’ them on their paper. I invite them to work on the Montessori golden bead instead. We ‘play’ exchange game and do the story.

After several times of work, they understand the concept of place value and self corrected themselves.

That’s the best part of the Montessori learning. A child discover and explore through the materials and learn the concept from there.


Princess also invited her favorite unicorn to practice skip counting by 2.

We use hundred board and do a dot to stamp the skip counting by 2