Make an Abacus!

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Make an abacus?  Yep!  That is the fun math activity that we are featuring today.  Our Quirky Momma for the day, Amy Brayfield,  hails from Education.com and is here with a super cute tutorial on making an abacus with your kids.

make an abacus featured on Kids Activities Blog

Make an Abacus

Looking for another way to practice basic math skills?

Try an abacus. Many civilizations have been using the abacus for centuries to make math problems easier to tabulate. Even children who claim to hate math will be fascinated by this amazing tool. This abacus is surprisingly easy to make and is great tool for visual and tactile learners.

Gather Your Materials!

  • 9 popsicle sticks
  • 8 4-inch bamboo skewers
  • 56 large pony beads
  • Wood glue
  • Pencil

Let’s Get Started!

1. Lay three popsicle sticks down so they are parallel to each other. Use the pencil to draw eight matching lines on each stick, evenly spaced and centered across the length of the popsicle sticks.

2. Align the bamboo skewers with the pencil marks. There should be one popsicle stick at each end of the skewers. The third popsicle stick should be in the middle, about 1″ away from one the popsicle sticks on each side.

3. Put a thin line of glue on each of the pencil lines you’ve drawn.

4. Carefully thread seven beads on each of the eight skewers.

5. Position the skewers on the glue lines and arrange the beads so that two beads fall into the 1″ spaces between the first two sticks and the other five fall into the space between the middle and end sticks. Let dry.

6. Glue three popsicle sticks on top of the bamboo skewers so they line up with the sticks below. Make sure to keep the beads divided. Let dry.

7. Glue the last three popsicle sticks on top of the sticks you’ve just glued down. Let dry.

8. Flip the abacus over so that the stacked sticks are on the bottom. Depending on the size of the beads, you may have to add more popsicle sticks to the bottom. The stacked sticks let the beads slide smoothly on the skewers and prevent them from dragging along the surface you’re working on.

Your child now has a homemade abacus to practice math!

The abacus is a great tool to teach your child about addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and even place value.

Thanks so much, Amy!  You can find Amy and the other Education editors on Twitter at @Education_com.

If you are like me and not familiar with HOW to use an abacus, I found this abacus tutorial with pictures that can walk us through its use!



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