Spindle box

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Spindle Box.jpg

Counting Household Items

>=== Age ===

3-6 <br>


  1. A wooden box with ten compartments. The numerals 0 to 9 written at the back of the box.
  2. 45 spindles.

Note: The difference between the number rods and the Spindle box is

  • With the Number rods, the quantity is fixed and the numerals are loose.
  • With the Spindle box, the numerals are fixed and the quantities are loose.
  • Zero is introduced.



  1. Directress places the materials on the table.
  2. Directress points and read the numbers at the back on the box, starting from 0 to 9 and the child repeats after her.
  3. Directress and child remove all the spindles from the compartment and place them in front of the box on the table.
  4. Directress takes one spindle, grab hold of it in the left hand and say "1".
  5. Then she places it in the compartment numbered 1.
  6. She repeats the same for 2 and 3.
  7. Directress encourages the child to carry on with the rest of the spindles.
  8. When child finishes, the Directress points to the compartment numbered 0 and say "0 means nothing, so we do not place any spindles in this compartment".

Control Of Error

There are exactly 45 spindles for the box. The child places the number of spindles associated with the numerals at the back of the box. When he reaches 9, and he finds too many or too few spindles to be placed in the compartment, then he will know that he had made a mistake and he can check his work and correct his own error.

Points Of Interest


  1. Place all the spindles correctly in the Spindle box except perhaps 2 compartments. Invite the child to spot the mistake. The child will have to count and check each compartment to find the mistake.
  2. Invite the child to close their eyes. Place a bundle of spindles in their hand. They may use both hands. Ask them to feel and count the spindles and to tell you how many they have in their hands. By closing their eyes and depending on just their feeling of the spindles, it gives them a better feel of the quantity they have in their hand as the number increased.


  • Provides further practice in associating each numeral with the right number situation.
  • Introduce the number and concept of 0.


To give the child further practice in associating each numeral with the right situations and to reinforce the concept of zero.

  1. "Can you clap for me 5 times?"
  2. "Can you come to me 0 times?"