Kindergarten Cuisenaire

I am not ashamed to admit that I have an unhealthy love for cuisenaire rods. When I was ordering supplies for this year, it made me positively giddy to add these babies to my shopping cart.  Classic.  Wooden.  Cuisenaire rods.  And it made me even giddier when I came across a used set at a curriculum store for only $6 – everybody needs a spare set of cuisenaire rods, right?

But what does one actually do with these little wooden wonders?  Well, there are loads of things you can do with them, but in this home we’re primarily concerned with what a 5 year old does with them.  So here’s what we’re doing…

Today we charted the rods on a graph.  First, I had them each make a staircase with the rods using one of each color.  We have a couple of great iPad apps that mimic cuisenaire rods (Number Bonds by Thinkout & Intro to Numbers by Montessorium are my faves) so this was familiar territory.  Then, I gave them each an empty 10×10 graph.  I just made it in a word processor by putting two 10×10 tables on a sheet and cutting it in half.  Fancy.  Then I reminded them that the white block represented one unit and showed them how to use the white blocks to measure the colored rods and find out what number each rod represents.  As they measured each one, they would color the corresponding blocks on the chart until their paper was a replica of their staircase.  Ta da!

But really, this was a pretty “formal” activity as far as kindergarten cuisenaire will go for us.  Most of the time, we’ll do simple activities like measuring things around our house.  “Cool! That book is one yellow, one green, and one red long.  Can you measure it again using different colors?”  Or just plain playing with them, creating shapes or letters or rocketships.

For more great cuisenaire activities, check out my Pinterest board!

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