Very simple to make. I had an old "mooncake box" which was deep enough. Measured and cut strips of corrugated plastic board to make the dividers. Wrote the numbers on an old greeting card and cut it out. The wooden sticks (the size of tongue depressors) was bought from a stationery shop in Tmn Tun.
Simple, attractive and hopefully good enough for the budget conscious. The sticks were sold at Jasema (Rahim Kajai side of Tmn Tun) at RM3.20 for a pack of 25 coloured sticks.
They have plain non-coloured ones too but I was attracted to the multicoloured packet. I also noted that some versions of the spindle box sold start with the number zero and end with the number nine.
It's used to teach the child numbers using concrete materials that they can touch and hold.
My son already knows his numbers until 20, so I made it with the purpose of sensorially showing him what it means when I say the numbers get bigger from 1 to 10. He gets to feel that 10 is a whole lot more sticks than 1. I'm hoping he eventually understands the concept of the number line, in that as you move up or to the right of the number line, the quantity gets bigger.
So far, we've played with it 3 times. He's picked up the message that 10 is much more than 1. He's learnt new maths vocabulary - "least" and "most".
So far, I'm the one counting and picking up the sticks, placing them in his hand for him to place them in the right slot. Even though he's not picking them up and counting them, there is some fine motor work involved for him too cos he's learning how to place them nicely in their slots. He's not so good at that yet.
When he's eventually bored with the sticks, I can substitute it with other materials like seashells, paper stars, straws, beads, cotton balls etc. I could also substitute the box for an old egg carton case that I saved. Perhaps that'll be good for fine motor work too.
I'm including a photo of the commercially available spindle box below.