Teens Board... of Sorts...

I've been trying to figure out a way to make a teens* board for Robbie, but I have no woodworking tools and very limited resources. I finally thought of a way to put one together and I thought I'd share.

*I have no actual Montessori teacher training and I plan to use this to fit our needs, not necessarily in a traditional way. Please excuse any differences from a "real" one that you find. :)

I used a foam board, plain index cards, craft sticks, an old telephone cable, scissors, Christmas ribbon and a hot glue gun.

First, I wrote 10 number 10's on squares cut from index cards. Then I wrote the numbers 1-9 on rectangles cut to be half the size of the squares mentioned above.

Then, I cut two strips of foam board (longer than I needed) to the width of the 10 squares. I cut the telephone cable into lengths (12 of them) that matched the width of the 10 squares.

I glued the pieces of telephone cable** and the 10's squares in an alternating pattern. I then cut the excess off of the strips of foam board (5 numbers per strip... or you could do one long strip of ten instead). You can only see the first strip in these photos since I've yet to complete the second.

** You can substitute another suitable "spacer" for the telephone cable.

I then glued a strip of Christmas ribbon around the edge to seal off the ragged-looking foam board cuts. I used a very light silver, so it doesn't show up very well in this photo.

Finally, I cut the craft sticks to the width of the strips and glued them on top of the pieces of telephone cable. Now, the small numbers will slide easily into the slots.

Here is a shot of Robbie after working through today's day as part of our Count Up to Christmas. He was not really impressed. I just love it when I work to make something for him and he doesn't share my excitement. ;)

It's okay, I know that this will come in handy as he begins to grasp place value. The numbers 1-9 can also be slid into the other side to make it a tens board.

Do you have a fun way to teach place value to preschoolers? Please feel free to share your links and ideas!!

Check out other (and admittedly, much cooler) math ideas over at


  1. Thanks for posting this! I will be using it :)I have made so many things for my son that he was not impressed with so I know the feeling. I have found that sometimes if I put it away and pull it out after a few months he will become interested.

  2. Bear is often not interested in things I make her. We just use a paper teen and tens board (printed from a printable version) and Bear consistently tells me how hers at school lets her slide the numbers in. So maybe I should add spacers and popsicle sticks to hers! Thanks for the idea.

  3. Okay, that sounds like a ton of work, but that was truly awesome! Good job, and impressed or not, place value is so important, I'm sure this will come in handy when he is a little older!

  4. Actually, it only took about 30 minutes or so to put together. (I already had the number cards ready.) The hardest part was finding something to use as a spacer to keep the craft sticks up.

  5. Yes children often have no appreciation for your hard work unless it sparkles and beeps. :D

    There are a lot of things to help learn place value. Since we use Right Start math, we have a modified abacus, stacking place value cards...and um...popsicle sticks. Among other things. :D

  6. We have the RightStart abacus and popsicle sticks... but my stacking place value cards are in storage. :(

    I miss my stuff that's in storage.


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