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Brand: Natural Playgrounds Company
Toxicity: child friendly wood preservative
Age Appropriateness: all ages

Wow! You won’t believe this abacus, and how friendly it is.

The Abacus is also known as a “calculating board” or “calculating table.” The first Chinese abacus was invented around 500 B.C., and the abacus we know today was developed and used in China around 1380 A.D., so there is plenty of history in this simple counting device.

First of all, Abacus is a Latin word that has its origins in the Greek words abax or abakon, meaning “table” or “tablet” and is one of many types of simple devices which are used to count large numbers.

The neat thing about the Abacus is that it is merely a way to keep track of sums. That is, it is not a calculator in the sense that we use the word today, but is a “mechanical aid” used for counting, so that the person operating the Abacus actually has to perform the calculation in their head, but they then use the Abacus as a physical aid to keep track of the sums, the carries, and so on.

The Abacus is still used today by shopkeepers in Asia and also in many cities in North America where there are Asian stores. Children in Asia are still taught to use the abacus and sometimes blind children are taught to use it to perform calculations because they can’t use paper and pencil.

One particular use for this children’s Abacus is teaching them simple mathematics and multiplication. It is an excellent substitute for rote memorization of multiplication tables, something that children really don’t like to do. It is also an excellent tool for teaching other based numbering systems because it easily adapts itself to any base!

And the kids love our Abacus because of the lightweight tennis balls that they can roll back and forth, bounce off of each other so they can see what momentum and inertia does (basic scientific principles), and they’ll have fun learning something while they are playing.

Our playground Abacus was designed to overcome potential issues of large-scale abaci used on playgrounds. Many of them use stones for counting, which are heavy and often pinch fingers. Also, we use readily available and inexpensive tennis balls (tennis balls!) to represent the units. The tennis balls/units slide/roll easily, and can easily be replaced by popping them in or out between the rods.

Note that for a more natural look, we also make the Abacus with wooden balls that have been treated with a child-friendly preservative.

This is an ingenious device that is well worth it for those of you who are interested in teaching your children the simple concepts of math.

This playground Abacus comes mostly pre-assembled, easy to install instructions, made with kid friendly treated lumber, ready for you to use almost out of the box!

By the way, if you have a STEAM program going on at your facility, you need this Inexpensive, very affordable counting device to teach basic math concepts! It’s all about learning on the the playground!

PS if you want feet so the Abacus rests on top of the ground and can be moved, please order the option with feet. if it gets real windy, don’t forget that the Abacus is like a sail, so it can catch the wind and blow over. We suggest that if you get the feet, just move the Abacus close to the building when you’re done using it, or if it’s going to be blustery, you can always lay the Abacus on the ground until the wind dies down!