How To Make Your Own Rekenreks


If you know me, you know how much I value spending time explicitly teaching number sense. Rekenreks are a GREAT way to build number sense in students and provide hands-on support for beginning addition and subtraction.

I really like having a class set of rekenreks for whole group math talks, but I really don’t like spending a lot of money. This set cost me less than $10 and a wonderful parent put them together for me in one evening!


For student rekenreks, I just cut cardstock in half and laminated it (I don’t think laminating it is necessary, but it has helped them last me 2 years so far). Then I punched two holes on each side. I put a pipe cleaner in each hole on one side and knotted them together. Then I put 5 red beads and 5 white beads on both pipe cleaners, strung them through the other side, and knotted.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!


You can use foam boards for durability, they just cost more and require more cutting power than I was willing to put into it.

My teacher rekenrek is made out of a foam board, but another teacher was kind enough to make it for me. 😉


Want to make these yourself or send home with a parent volunteer? You can download the directions for free by clicking here or the picture above!

You can also pin this post for later:


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