This video is of my preschool aged daughter playing with Cuisenaire rods in an unstructured way. She leads the way in how the play time goes. It is very important to let children have as much time as possible to play with the blocks in order to begin internalizing math concepts. She played with these for 6 months before I began to label them with number names.
Notice how my daughter is learning on her own that 10 tens is 100 and is learning the number bonds for 10 without realizing it.
No matter what age, when first learning about Cuisenaire rods, people should be given plenty of time to use their imagination and just play. Make designs. Build buildings. Make dinosaurs. Anything you can think of!
As you can see, it is helpful to have a set of Base Ten Hundred Flats to go along with the Cuisenaire rods.
Ideas for introducing Cuisenaire rods. These ideas will work for older children, too, not only preschoolers. These should be done after much time spent in unstructured play with the rods.
The rod numbers are based on length and prepare the child to learn about addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions/decimals/percents (as well as negatives and algebra with a few cosmetic changes to the rods).
This is a good activity to help establish the relationship of the white rod to every other rod in the set. Probably not needed more than once for older kids or adults, but good for the preschool age group!
Did you know that square numbers like "7 squared" (with a little 2) actually have to do with SQUARES??? I never did until a few years ago. If you do this activity with your children, square numbers will make complete sense to them when they get to that point in their math education.
This is just fun math play, but she is learning about size, quantity, counting, and internalizing the fact that numbers can be square!