Ellie is 15 months old
I had seen Montessori red rods on some blogs. I thought they would be a good activity for Ellie soon, as she's started getting into sorting and stacking. But when I went to look to buy a set, they were $40. Other places were upwards of $50. This seemed silly for a home (not a classroom) and for what essentially amounted to painted dowel rods.
So I made my own. From dowel rods.
Total cost: $2. I bought two 3/8" dowel rods and cut them into segments of 2", 3", 4", etc., up to 11" (10 rods total). Then I cut a 12" piece of scrap wood (actually, it's oak from a project I did in 5th grade that was in my mom's garage). I used my grandpa's drill press (on the one year anniversary of his death, which was somehow beautiful and appropriate) to drill 10 holes.
Ellie liked it immediately and was really diligent on trying to get the dowel rods in the holes. We're obviously not working on the size sequencing yet.
"Hey look, I got one!"
Then she discovered that banging on the metal bowl was WAY more fun for now! Hooray for creative play!