Monday, November 2, 2009

Hajj Activity: Introduction to Addition & Subtraction

Assalamu alaikum,

Recently, a few sisters asked to see more posts using the Montessori Method insha'Allah. Alhamdulillah, in this post, I've given a simple activity that is used in Montessori classrooms for children who are 6 to 9 years old, but it is easily modified for children as young as 3 (and as old as 5) insha'Allah. The activity in this post is for children 3 to 5 years old insha'Allah.

This is an introdcution to the concept of addition and subtraction using the familar concpet of making tawaf around the Ka'aba insha'Allah. After the activity, I've also included some books that you may find helpful if your desire is to impliment Montessori in your home. I find that this method of education greatly lends itself to homeschooling masha'Allah.

In this activity, children use a spinner that has either 1-4,1-6 or 1-8 (depending on thier age and knowledge of numbers), to explore the concepts of Addition and Subtraction insha'Allah. You can download a 1-4 spinner here and a 1-8 spinner here insha'Allah.

The child spins the spinner and whatever number it lands on, they add that number of hujjaj to the picture of the Ka'aba. They spin again and add (or subtract - depending on what concept you are covering/teaching) that amount of hujjaj to join (or leave) those  hujjaj that are currently making tawaf around the Ka'aba insha'Allah.

This is the activity

A close-up view of the activity

When the student spins the spinner the first time (and after adding the hujjaj to the picture), he/she writes that number in the first box (in the first column) on the Addition (or subtraction) Chart. The child then spins again to see how many more hujjaj enter the Haram to make their tawaf insha’Allah. The student writes that number on the “Addition (or Subtraction) chart in the third box in the third column insha’Allah. The student then looks at the picture and counts to see how many hujjaj are making tawaf around the ka’aba in total (all together). He/she then writes that number in the fifth box (in the fifth column). The activity continues this way until the student completes the chart insha'Allah.

The Addition Chart (with a sample of what it would look like when the child fills it out insha'Allah)

This is a simple activity that is used to introduce, teach and reinforce the concept of adding and subtracting. It can be played individually or with two people insha'Allah. You can laminate this activity (if being used in a classroom for example) or leave it as is insha'Allah.

If you want to explore how to use the Montessori Method in your homeschool insha'Allah, you might find these books helpful insha'Allah: Montessori From the Start and Teach Me To Do It Myself.  Check your local library to see if they have them but there may be a long waiting list for them.

Enjoy insha'Allah!


  1. assalamu alaykum,

    MashaAllah, we have been collecting hajj related activities (currently working on Fall theme), inshaAllah this will be very good activity for my toddlers inshaAllah.
    Jazakh Allah sister.

    assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah

  2. waalaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

    Wa iyaki and jazakillahu Khayr dear sister Umm Sara. I'd love to see your Hajj and Fall activities insha'Allah! Do you use Montessori for homeschooling or a mixture?

    I hope your toddlers enjoy the activity insha'Allah.

  3. assalamu alaykum,
    Actually, we are very new to homeschooling. I don't know whole lot information on homeschooling methods, but most of our activities are Montessori inspired. My kids like them and they learn things easily through these activities.My eldest is almost 30 months alhamdulillah,

    I was trying to use this hajj activity in our fall theme. We wanted to pick some fall fruits and count the falling leaves/pecans using this game method.
    but I cannot figure out the spinning part :(.After I print out the spins, how do we use them? Sorry for asking, this is our first do this kind of activity.

    Part of our "Fall Book" is here:
    It is written in uzbek though. I'm thinking about writing some information in english too, at least as an introduction inshaAllah.

  4. Waalaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

    No problem at all....of course you can ask if there is a part that is not clear.

    For the spinner: If you have for example, a picture of a tree and you are teaching addition, you would have the leaves on the table (as an example). Have the child spin the spinner once. Let us say that the spinner lands on the number 2. The child then takes 2 leaves and puts them on a branch on the tree. The child then goes to his/her addition chart and writes the number 2 in the first box in the first column insha'Allah. He/she then spins the spinner again and let's say it lands on 1 this time. The child takes one leaf and puts it on another branch on the tree. The child writes the number 1 in the 3rd box in the third column on his/her addition sheet. The child then counts all of the leaves on the tree and writes that number (in this case 3) in the fifth box in the fifth column on the addition chart. So the child has now experienced that 2+1=3 insha'Allah.

    The activity continues this way until the child completes the addition chart. After each addition problem (i.e. 2+1=3) the child would remove all of the leaves and start again going to the second row on the addition chart and spinning again to make a new addition problem insha'Allah.

    Insha'Allah, that helps explain how the spinner is used in this activity. If not, do not hesitate to ask for further explanation insha'Allah (smile).

  5. oh, jazakhAllahu khayr dear sister, you explained all this very nicely.
    The part I could not figure out was how to make the spinner itself. After I printed out the spinner sheet I did not know what to do. But alhamdulillah, i saw a video on youtube that showed how to make a spinner using a cardboard, screw and couple other things. Now I think I know how to make it alhamdulillah.

    assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah

  6. Assalamu alaikum,

    eek! So sorry dear sister. I did not realize that this is what you were asking about. Alhamdulillah, you were able to find the directions for making spinners on Youtube.


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