Using an abacus for counting may not be a new concept, but there’s a reason it’s been around so long. It’s great for exploring hands-on math concepts.
We even figured out how to make an abacus at home–and it’s our first post for Camp Mathematics! We’re joining with What Do We Do All Day? again this summer, but instead of simple science experiments we are sharing 6 weeks of fun math activities!
How to Make an Abacus at Home
- small frame with the backing removed
- 10 pipe cleaners
- 100 beads
This homemade abacus has 10 rows with 10 beads in each row. That way kids can not only practice counting with the beads, they can also work on place value and skip counting. Start by threading 10 beads of the same color onto each of the pipe cleaners.
Once all the beads are on twist the ends of the pipe cleaners around the frame and snip off the ends. Continue until all ten rows of pipe cleaners are finished.
How to Play (and Learn!) with an Abacus
There are so many ways for kids to play with an abacus.
- They can count the beads moving them to the right as they count them one by one.
- They can count by tens by moving an entire row across. This helps to visualize and then internalize the concept of place value.
- As their skills progress they can use the DIY abacus for adding and subtracting and skip counting too.
There’s more math fun coming your way this summer–6 weeks worth to be exact!
This week Erica is keeping the counting action going with a counting game your kids will love. Go see how to play and then stay tuned each week for more math ideas you can do with your kids this summer!
Have you missed a week of Camp Mathematics? Catch up now!
Stay tuned each week for more math ideas you can do with your kids this summer!