Short Bead Stair in Montessori

Learning Math through the Montessori method is always fun and exciting for children.

Maria Montessori believed that children learn more and can retain information for a prolonged period with hands-on learning and using their senses.

Montessori-designed materials help children approach math with hands-on, visual, and physical learning aids.

These materials allow their mathematical minds to form concrete knowledge of abstract concepts in math.

The period of up to six years is crucial for children as they have absorbent minds that enable them to form associations with numbers that can continue throughout their lives.

The Montessori approach of hands-on experience and exploratory learning gives an edge over traditional learning methods of mere explanation.

Early access to concrete mathematical materials helps children develop their understanding of the concepts. These skills and facts may need humongous efforts and time if introduced later in abstract forms.

Montessori has an array of materials that support different mathematical concepts like numeration, arithmetic tables, decimal system, geometry, etc.

Short Bead Stairs is a Montessori material that helps children develop many mathematical skills.

It makes Math interesting and appealing to children. It supports the teaching of Math in a concrete approach.

Are you wondering what a Short Bead Stair is?

Let us explore more about it.

What is a Montessori Short Bead Stair?

The short bead stair is a Montessori material that helps children understand Math concepts better.

Its concrete-to-abstract approach develops an in-depth understanding of some mathematical concepts, like quantity, as they can hold, count, and organize it.

With this, children can experience mathematical realities in their hands by understanding the physical properties first and then matching them with the abstract.

Benefits of Short Bead Stair

  • It helps children understand the addition of numbers up to 10. This activity with the short bead stairs shows the child a concrete way of doing addition using the tactile sense.
  • It can help to introduce the child to multiplication tables.
  • It helps practice subtracting numbers using concrete ways using the tactile sense.
  • Children learn to count the beads and associate the quantity by their color, length, or even weight. It helps in multi-sensory learning.
  • Children learn about geometric shapes as they build triangles with short bead stairs.

Appropriate Age

Activities using Short Bead Stairs can be performed by children four years of age and above.

How to use Short Bead Stairs

Here are some activities you can encourage children to practice using the Short Bead Stairs.

Materials Required

  1. Set of colored short bead stairs
  2. Mat or felt
  3. Working tray

Objective – Number and color recognition and triangle formation


  • Take the beads out of the box and place them on the mat or felt.
  • Start counting by first taking a red bead and showing the child.
  • Ask the child to count with you the beads on the bar. Start with the one-bead bar. Tell – this is one.
  • Similarly, take the green bead and say – this is two.
  • Place the green bead under the red bead bar.
  • This way, arrange the rest of the beads to form a triangle.
  • You can initially start with five beads. Later on, as the child becomes comfortable, you can perform the activity with nine beads.
  • When the triangle is complete, show the child the shape.
  • Invite the child to repeat the activity.
  • Continue with three-period lessons (Naming, recognizing, and recalling).

Three Period Lesson

  • Introduce the short stair beads to the child by naming them after their colors
  • You can identify the beads and ask the child to manipulate them. It allows the child to hear the name continuously and associate the objects visually.
  • Next, you can ask the child to identify the beads without help.
  • As the child performs this activity, he learns the colors associated with the numbers.

Control Of Error – The Short Bead Stairs self-correct while performing as the bars will not form a triangle if a bar is missing.

Objective – Associating the quantity to number symbols


  • Invite the child to carry the activity to a table or mat.
  • Place the beads on the mat.
  • Arrange the short beads to form a stair and show the child.
  • Scatter the beads and ask the child to arrange them to form a stair.
  • You can conduct a three-period lesson with the first three bars.

Other extension activities using Short Bead Stairs

1. Modified Snake Game

It is a simple version of the Snake Game and can help in teaching addition to children.

You need to build the snake and remove a few bars from the snake. Then ask the child to recognize the missing gaps in the snake. Children enjoy playing this game.

2. Recreating Bead Designs

This activity involves matching Short Bead Stair to a fixed number of rows with numerical symbols.

You can color the Short Bead Stair printable and encourage the child to match them to the numerical symbol. You can mark sheets for the coloring activity ready when you plan to perform this activity with your child.

3. Learning Geometry

You can use some ice cream sticks for this activity.

Make shapes like triangles using ice-cream sticks and count the sides, placing a colored bead stair on each side.

It makes for a fascinating game for children.

4. Adding other numbered materials

You can get some blocks and make colored dots on them. Print the corresponding numerals on the back.

Numbered toys having different quantities can use short bead stairs to represent the numbers.

Invite the child to arrange the beads according to the numbers written on the toy or blocks.

5. Matching colors 

You can DIY this at home using an empty chocolate box having compartments.

Line the compartments with different colored origami papers as present in the beads.        

Ask the child to identify and place the beads of the corresponding color as the origami paper in each compartment.

As the child does this activity, he learns to identify the colors associated with numbers.

Note: If the child has difficulty remembering the numbers of the bead bars, you can implement the Three Period Lesson.

Final Thoughts

Are you still thinking about whether to invest in Short Bead Stairs for your child?

You can buy one on Amazon. You will never regret buying it. It will be worth every penny of yours as you can engage your child in more ways than one with the activities that can be performed with the Short Bead Stairs.

Children have a natural tendency to learn math. Making the foundation of math strong from early childhood can be beneficial for them for a lifetime.

The practical life activities that nurture the mathematical mind of children are the foundation of the Montessori curriculum. These activities help develop coordination, confidence, independence, concentration, and order in the children.

The exercises using Short Bead Stairs help the child experience variety and repetition. Its presentation gives a visual and concrete experience of numbers and quantities associated with them.

By performing different operations like addition, subtraction, and multiplication with these beads, children graduate from sensorial explorations to measuring and counting.

By forming geometrical shapes with the beads, they learn geometry and matching colors.

They are assorted and enticing, and children never get bored doing activities with them. They can work at their level with joy and confidence with the Short Bead Stairs.