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Short Bead Chains & Square


At the Preschool and Kindergarten level, the Chains are primarily practice in linear and skip counting. However, they are also preparatory activities for more advanced work in the Elementary grades, such as “squaring.”


4.5 – 5 years old


  • The Short Chains represent the squares of numbers 1 through 10. They are the same colors as the Short Bead Stair
  • With the Chains are the corresponding squares in the same color as the Chains
  • A series of Arrow, color-coded to the Chains. For example, the Chain of Five has 9 Blue Arrows: 1-5 , 10, 15, 20 and 25.


  1. Introduce the child to the Short Chains where they are displayed in the classroom.
  2. Ask the child to lay out a mat, and to choose any Chain he would like to count; eg, Five. Bring the corresponding Arrows and Square to the mat as well. Show the child how to carry the Chain with palms up (lay the Chain over the child’s hands).
  3. At the mat, lay out the Chain in a zigzag manner, then carefully pull it straight.
  4. Show the child how you can make the Chain into a Square
  5. Superimpose the Blue Bead Square on the folded Chain
  6. Straighten the Chain and place the Square at the end of the Chain
  7. Lay out the Arrows below the Chain, with the Numbers facing up.
  8. Show the child how to count the Beads, and lay the corresponding Arrows beside each Bead in the first link.
  9. Show him how to place the correct Arrow, pointing to the last Bead of each of the remaining links.
  10. Observe the child as he continues counting the Chain and laying out the Arrows
  11. After he has finished, tell him that he may work with any of the other Chains in the above manner
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