How do we get our young children comfortable with numbers? We count things with them. Lots and lots of things. We count the number of forks on the table, the number of grapes on the plate, the number of pennies in our pocket. Counting just becomes something we do.
Here’s a fun, hands-on project that turns counting into a game.
-1-2 empty “cube” tissue boxes (the boxes are not exactly cubes, but close enough)
-colored construction paper
Cover the box(es) with construction paper using the glue. If you like, you can tape the edges together for a nice, crisp finished look. Draw large dots (called ‘pips’) on the faces of the cube to resemble a die. In the photo, I used foam circles that I bought from Michael’s. To begin to abstract the numbers, write on numerals instead of using dots.
Note: When drawing the dots, be sure that the opposite sides of the die add up to 7. In other words, if you have one dot on one side, then the opposite side needs to have 6 dots.
-Take turns rolling the die and jumping/skipping, etc. the number of dots.
-Use the die/dice as a replacement for the dice in a board game.
-Take turns rolling the die. The person with the largest/smallest number is the winner.
-Make a 4 by 4 grid for each player. Take turns rolling the die and filling in the grid with small counters. The one to fill in the grid first is the winner.
-Roll the die. Have your child tell you the number of dots on the opposite side. (Remember, opposite sides add up to 7.)
-To practice addition, roll two dice and add the totals. The person with the largest/smallest number is the winner.
By Karyn Hodgens, Elementary Mathematics Specialist and Creator of Nifty Numbers and Math Medley Family Math Nights.
Karyn is co-founder of Math Unity LLC, an educational company specializing in elementary mathematics. She has a BA in Child Development, a Masters of Arts in Education with a Specialization in Elementary Mathematics and a multiple subjects teaching credential. Her passion is designing real-world lessons that resonate with kids and their interests. Karyn is the creator of Nifty Numbers, Math Medley, Gellin' with Geometry and Play and Take Family Math Night kits. These kits were designed to build strong family-school partnerships and get parents involved in fun and engaging math activities with their children. To find out more, visit www.FamilyMathNight.com