After searching around for discarded boxes, I found several Mooncake and
old Paint Brush boxes that would make a colourful looking abacus.
This would be a great project for primary-aged children I think to
pique an interest in mathematics by learning in a playful way,
improve their visual memory logical thinking and speed up calculations.
For myself, math used to be a mundane event but since learning abacus, I love it!
One of the most helpful softwares I've come across is AbacusMaster -
which is really helpful for visual learners. It includes a digital abacus to practice
on and you can gain a sound knowledge of the lovely abacus method in
no time at all.
A useful step-by-step book with clear pictures and simple
explanations I'd recommend reading online book by Takashi Kojima, Kamie Markarian
and MathSecret (more info step 7) are interesting for children to pick up abacus quickly.
However if you need to pick up on your calculating speed fast, I recommend reading
Speed Math For Kids: The Fast, Fun Way to Do Calculations by Bill Handley. Read
Speed Math: Secret Skills for Lightning Calculation here
Who needs a calculator when the abacus method is in your memory?
Here's how to make one in few minutes and costing next to nothing!
Step 1: Collect Things to Use
Thin wire or strong string such as nylon
Empty cardboard box
Beads (or macaroni would work!)
Nail polish / waterproof paint