I have finally varnished my number rods (using yacht varnish [probably very toxic]) however, this material will only be used with supervision until both girls are old enough to keep things out of their mouths (my eldest is terrible!).
The first activity I did with Lady P was to carefully take the number rods from the shelf and place them gently on the rug (this may seem like a silly step but long sticks of wood and toddlers generally don’t mix). I read about the number rods beforehand and learned that if children handle each rod using two hands (one at either end), they begin to understand the concept of 1 being a small amount and 10 being a larger amount. Once we got to 10, the rod was too long for her to hold at either end. I named each rod as I gave them to her: “this is 1…this is 2…etc”. She usually repeated what I said and took them to the rug (Now, I’m using the number rods in the same way that the red rods would be used. I just didn’t see the point in making two sets of rods for my personal home use. You could, however, paint your rods all red then add the blue stripes when your toddler is ready for them. )
The second lesson we did was ordering the rods from shortest to longest. I made the mistake of trying to get her to order all 10. I should not have done this as she was completely lost. Next time I will focus on 3 or 4 rods then add a few more as she perfects the activity. I used vocabulary like short, shortest, long, longest, longer etc. She could pick out the shortest rod and the longest rod but it got a bit fuzzy after this.
The last activity I did with her, she absolutely loved! We created a ‘maze’ using the rods; then she got to balance and try to walk, one foot in front of another (an impossible feat for a 2 year old), around the ‘maze’. She could not do it without stepping outside of the maze with her other foot but she enjoyed the activity. This activity helps young children learn to balance. Another popular activity that also teaches this is walking the line. But I’ve not done this with Lady P yet.
So far, the number rods are proving a good diy project. You can see how I made them here on my blog.