Sunday, October 31, 2010

Math ideas for Preschool/Kindergarten Age: What to do with a set of 1-20 numbers

Our math learning box is labeled "Fun with Numbers," and that's how we approach math around here.  The nice thing about introducing concepts way early is that there is zero pressure to learn anything on a schedule!  It's all in good fun here.

After making our heart-shaped sunbutter cup treats, I was inspired to cut some heart shapes out of Model Magic for an upcoming playdate this week (our theme is "H," so we used a cookie cutter to cut a bunch of heart shapes out of clay, poked holes in them, and the kids can paint/glitter glue them to decorate and then string them to make bracelets).  If you haven't used Model Magic before, give it a try!  It dries to a nice solid, slightly spongy consistency that can be painted or written on, and the finished product doesn't dry out and crack the way finished play-doh creations do.  We love it for Christmas ornaments and homemade handprints.  Anyway, I may have just gone a little bit overboard with the leftover clay...

I decided to make a set of 1-20 numbers (as well as +, -, and =) for each of the kids.  Later that day, once the Model Magic had dried, the Bibliophile and I had fun playing with his set.  Of course, this could be done with numbers on paper, bottlecaps, stickers, etc. - I'm pretty sure we have a wooden set of numbers from the dollar store around here somewhere - but the novelty of the clay numbers seemed to capture his interest nicely.

Here are 5 ideas of what you can do with a set of 20 numbers:

1.  Put them in order.  We did this once, and he got bored around #15.  But if your child is just learning to count, this would be perfect.

2.  Set up addition and subtraction problems.  This is what we did the most of.  You could even flip the other hearts over to their blank sides and use them as counting aids.

3. Skip counting.  This is one of those concepts that doesn't come naturally to me to teach (like telling time on a clock - "when the little hand is on the 5, that means 25" - huh?).  Anyway, I showed him briefly what counting by 2's meant, but I think we are awhile away from this.

4. Which number is bigger/smaller?   We've been doing it with three-digit numbers, but you can do it with as small a number as you want.  Another variation is: "can you find/make a number bigger than this number?"

5. And, of course, matching your numbers up to your Disney Cars' racing numbers.

Another idea would be to put a few objects out (i.e. five cotton balls) and have the child match the right number to the set.

I will be linking this post up with Math Monday and Carnival of Play.

Comment!  Do you have other ideas to share about what we could do with these numbers?

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MaryAnne said...

These are all great ideas! I should probably do more math activities with my kids...

Raising a Happy Child said...

Those are all great ideas for 1-20 set. You could also do some sort of scavenger hunt where the objective would be to bring only the next number in number line. Right number - he gets the point. Wrong number - you get the point :) It might be more interesting than simple sequencing.

Joyful Learner said...

"The nice thing about introducing concepts way early is that there is zero pressure to learn anything on a schedule!"

I can't agree more! We've introduced concepts way early with no expectation. The purpose was just introduction and fun. Sometimes she surprised me and got it right away. Other times, I learned that it was way above her head and I saved it for later. If she was older, I would have felt pressure to "teach" more and expect her to master things. This way, we just had fun. Kids these days don't care what you do as long as you spend time with them. They think pretty much anything I do is fun. If it isn't, she lets me know. :)

JC just took out Rush Hour and matching the cars up to the pictures. Thank you for sharing!

I also made the sunbutter cups and they came out great! Well, that is after I burned the first batch! I might post what happened for humor sake.

Thanks for linking!

Brimful Curiosities said...

My son would love to match the numbers to those on his Disney Cars! Great idea.

Ticia said...

I agree with Natalie, scavenger hunt, that would be so much fun!

love2teach2day said...

Very fun! ;)

Emily said...

Great number activities!

Christy said...

I like Model Magic too. This reminds me that I should buy some more!

Katie's Nesting Spot said...

Hi Lynn! I really like this post, would you be interested in contributing it to ABC & 123 as a guest post?