I think Waldorf Math Gnomes are one of the most magical ways to introduce the math processes!  It all begins with a story!

Once, a long time ago, there lived a Gnome King.  He loved the jewels found deep in the earth and asked for special helpers to fill his treasure chest.   Four very special Gnomes came forward offering their services.  The first noble Gnome was Gnome Plus.  Oh how the idea of gathering jewels for the King's treasure chest excited him!  

“Ooo!  I can gather 2 plus 2 plus 4 plus more!” He exclaimed.

The Gnome King asked to see his work.  “Take this jar and fill it with jewels!”

Off ran Gnome Plus.  Every time he found jewels, he added more.  “Here's three. Oooo!  Plus two!  Yes! Plus four.”  It was not long before his jar was brimming with jewels.  He counted his jewels over and over again.  He loved counting his sparkling pile.

Gnome Plus proudly went back to the Gnome King.  “Look my King,  I have a jar of jewels for your treasure chest!”

The Gnome King was thrilled.  Gnome Plus was given a cape and cap of blue and a special sign so that everyone would know his special gift of adding.  Gnome Plus stood proud next to his pile of jewels.  He guarded it and counted it for the King everyday.


Next, I created a Math Gnome set for each student in my class.


Each set has a Gnome Plus, a little glass jar of jewels, a the magic Plus Circle and the math pad (felt square).


I created a Plus Circle worksheet to go along with the set.


The children place jewels on either side of the divided circle. (I started with 12 jewels in the jar – we added more each day.)

They draw circles to represent their jewels on the worksheet.  They have to count the jewels just like Gnome Plus.


And counting these jewels was a treasured activity!


The children loved their Gnomes.  “This one is Sparkly,”  S told me as she counted her jewels.

I will continue with Gnome Plus for the next two weeks until a pesky little gnome (Gnome Minus) appears and creates havoc for Gnome Plus.  Stay tuned!