Beginning ➖ Subtraction (Montessori 🔢 Math 🎥 Lesson)

This DIY lesson on Beginning Subtraction uses materials you probably have at your home. The lesson should be presented to a child who already understands the concept of numbers at least till ten and the concept of addition.

First, you need to make "Number-Jars" - see how below:


For your "Number-Jars" you can use spice jars, jam jars or any other shallow dish for each number (lids are not necessary). So, for example, the "Number -4-Jar" must have the proper number of the following materials since the purpose of every Montessori lesson is to have a control of error:

  • equations (see picture above) - so the "Number -4" Jar will have four equations (unless you would like to add an equation "minus zero"); you can use colored cardstock (buy here) and yourself write down the equations and then cut them out;  we are using wooden Montessori equations (similar here); alternately you can use these wooden numbers to "make" an equation;
  • separate answers for each equation;
  • the same amount of marbles as that Number-Jar, so in "Number -4" Jar, you will have four marbles;
  • a tray (buy here).


For numbers 1-jar and 2-jar, I am using shallow dishes since number "1-jar" will have just one equation with one answer and one marble, and number "2-jar" will have two equations, two answers and two marbles.

DSC_0095Adrian (3.5 years old) is working with the "Number-5-Jar."

DSC_0095The equations should be positioned on one side of the work and the answers on the other side. 

🌽 Corn Sensory Bin with 🔤 Alphabet Letters (Sensorial + Language Activity)

During one of our visits to the farm, children had a chance to stimulate their senses at 🌽 a corn-kingdom.


 So, we were inspired to reproduce a corn sensory play at home, but on a smaller scale. I also added a language twist by mixing in alphabet letter-buttons, and offering Adrian a picker-plucker and tongs to retrieve the letters, spell his name and sort the letters by color.


What you will need:

  • a tray (buy here),
  • filler (we are using 🌽 dried corn); you can also use rice, dried legumes, dried pasta, etc;
  • Alphabet letter -buttons (found at a local craft store),
  • a picker- plucker (buy here),
  • tongs (buy here),
  • tractor toys; Adrian also added PlanToys construction set (buy here).


Sensory play is extremely important for children since manipulation of different textures and fillers, triggers sensory stimulation, which strengthens neuron-connectivity and spurs neuroplasticity (the production of new connections between neurons and new neurons themselves), which in turn increases brain's agility. Also, the clean up is minimal since everything is contained in a tray, tub, tin, box, or any other container.

DSC_0001Using this picker- plucker with just one hand requires finger strength and precision. 
DSC_0001Letters kept "escaping" but Adrian was determined to get them all.
DSC_0001Plucking Alphabet letters.
DSC_0001Tonging letters is another great fine-motor exercise.

DSC_0001Adrian had to pluck and tong all the letters from the corn.

DSC_0001After all the letters were retrieved, Adrian spelled his name and sorted letters by color.

As a result of this sensory invitation to play: 

  • Adrian stimulated tactile sense of touch by feeling the texture of the corn;
  • he also exercised fine-motor skills by incorporating practical life activity such as plucking (see post here) and tonging the letters (more on tonging here);
  • visual sense of sight was also stimulated through a Language work of having to find and spell his name;
  • lastly, sensorial activity of color sorting and matching added another stimulus, 
  • and most importantly, it was fun since Adrian loves the farm and tractors!

This sensorial invitation to play was a true learning through play experience!

For more on Sensorial bins, read here a post "Valentine's inspired Love ❤️️ Sensory Bin", and  here our "Christmas-inspired Shredded Paper Sensory Bin with a Math twist."