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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Skip Counting Number Wheel - Waldorf Math

I could see early on in our homeschool journey that math was going to be a challenge for our son who was fine with 2+2=3. Fortunately, I knew a bit about how math is taught in Waldorf schools and it has saved us from many possible frustrating math moments.  One of our biggest successes with Waldorf math is skip counting, which will make multiplication so much easier.  One technique we us is saying the numbers as we wrap yarn on a ring board that has 10 pegs numbered 0-9. (It is a great fine motor exercise as well.)

skip counting the 1's  (1, 2, 3, etc.)

2's (2, 4, 6, 8, etc.)

3's (3, 6, 9, 12, up to 30) -to wrap for 12 & up use
the single digit number (i.e. 12 wraps on the 2,
15 wraps on the 5, etc)

4's (4, 8 12, etc)

5's (5,10, etc.)

Beyond 5 the numbers become mirror images of earlier numbers (6 wraps around the same numbers as 4, 7 matches 3, 8 matches 2, and 9 matches 1.)

To make your own number wheel, purchase a round wood disc, and a dowel rod, both of which can be found at craft stores  (Ours has a 5" diameter.) To figure out where to drill the holes, wrap a piece of string around the outside diameter of the disc & cut it where the ends meet.  Measure the string and divide it by 10 & you will know how far apart to drill the holes. Drill 10 small holes, glue in 1/2 inch dowel rods, write on the numbers and you are ready to go.

Our kids are fascinated as they wind the yarn around the pegs to find that simple math can lead to beautiful design.

We have several other ways we practice Waldorf math and skip counting that I will be sharing in future posts.


  1. Great idea with a lovely result!

  2. This is wonderful to see! I had read of them but to see one in action is fantastic! Thank you for also including how to make one :) Popping in from TGIF

  3. I've never seen this! My daughter has the hardest time learning her multiplication tables. This might be fun for her to try.

  4. I really like this idea! We just finished doing this with paper plates. We wrote the numbers around the edges and then Nicholas drew lines where you have the strings. He really enjoyed seeing the patterns come to life, but I bet he would like this even more. I should make one of these!

    Thank you for posting on Waldorf Wednesday. Hope to see you back this week!

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. I have been looking for how to do this!

  6. This is fantastic! We are in the process of making one for my son to use in Grade 3 this year (we are only beginning to use the Waldorf method for math). :)

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