Monday, December 29, 2008

Cuisenaire Discovery Book

Someone recently brought to my attention (thank you Christine!) that when I changed ISPs and retired my old website last winter my Cuisenaire Activity and Exploration Book disappeared from cyberspace. So I've uploaded it again.

It's a booklet I made back when Sophie was 4 and begging for a math book of her own like her older siblings. Though she was very precocious in terms of her mathematical ability, I didn't want to start anything formal with her at that age, even anything as hands-on and discovery-oriented as Miquon. So I decided to create a little booklet for her that would include some math games that would get her familiar with Cuisenaire rods and with some mathematical concepts. I was really trying to slow her down, to distract her away from starting Miquon. As I recall she used the booklet fanatically with me for about 3 weeks until she felt like she'd got an understanding of most of what was in it. And then she asked plaintively "now can I have a real math book?"

I caved in and bought her the Miquon Orange book and she did fine with it. Better than fine. She was far more ready for it than her siblings had been because of the pre-Miquon work we'd done. Much of what was in the Orange book was just a matter of formalizing things she'd already mastered. So while it wasn't successful in terms of slowing down her progress through formal curriculum, I think she really enjoyed it and probably gained some foundational tools and concepts through it. Fiona and I used the booklet from time to time when she was 3 and 4. Several of the games are enjoyable and suitable for much older people and Sophie, then age 8 and almost finished Singapore Primary Math, joined us in playing them again.

If you're interested you can download and print your own copy of the package from the pdf files. You'll need both the booklet and, for many of the games, the cards. If you have a colour printer, you may get reasonable colour reproduction from the colour version of the cards. If you only have a b&w printer, or if you don't find the colours in the colour version match up well enough with your Cuisenaire rods, you can instead print out the B&W cards and colour them with pencil crayons.


  1. Anonymous9:08 pm

    This is so wonderful! Thank you! Thank you for putting this booklet together and sharing it with other HS families. You are amazing!

  2. Anonymous10:40 pm

    Thank you! I was just looking for some activities to do with my four-year-old who loves math and is bored by the holiday vacation. I have a feeling she will love these.

    I have been thinking more and more about dipping my toes into the pool of homeschooling and see if it may be right for our family. I even went so far as to make some counting rods out of playdough to play some addition games. We'll see where it goes!

  3. Thank you Miranda, last time I didn't have the cards to play some of the games with, now I've got the whole download.

    I linked to your blog at

    Thanks again,

  4. I remember this! We used it with our kids and it was a hit!

  5. Thank you! I love your blog and your insightful comments on MDC (is is MDC anymore?) Thank you for the share...

  6. What a gift for me and my 4 yr old! Thank you for sharing it!

  7. Thanks for sharing it, it may come in handy some day!

  8. Thank you for reposting this. I have been using this booklet with my little ones for years, and have saved it to my harddrive for future little ones coming up. However, I was sad to see it gone from cyberspace because then I couldn't direct other moms of preschoolers to it anymore. Now I can, and I just did this morning. Preschoolers and moms all over the world are benefiting from your time and generosity. Thank you.

  9. Thank you so much for this! It's excellent. You are so generous for making this freely available, it is definitely appreciated! :)

  10. Anonymous8:49 am

    Does anyone else notice that the rods do no fit any of the grids? Did this pose a problem?

  11. I am also wondering about the size of the game boards . Do I need to print those larger somehow? The rods don't fit on the ones in my book? Thanks so much for this! I can't wait to get started!

  12. Some printer drivers may shrink the pdf size to fit it within wider page margins (i.e. a smaller area) than the original document has, which will make the grids too small for the rods. If so you will need to over-ride the printer settings and request that the document be printed at 100% size. Hope that helps.

  13. Anonymous10:11 pm

    Thank you so much for this! Can you explain the snakey rods game? I feel like there is a detail about "possible moves" missing. ??


  14. Tasmanian5:53 pm

    Just wanted to say thank you from Melbourne, Australia. We are having great fun with your booklet today!


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