Friday, March 11, 2011

Mathematics and Preschoolers II

Tactile Numbers
Our set allows us to work from 1-30.

Number Recognition and Numerical Order go hand in hand, in my opinion.  Number recognition comes with working with the numbers.  Handling them (tactile numbers), talking about them, looking at them, singing about them and doing hands-on activities that deal with numerical order.  So, we'll start there.
*  Number Lines:  A number line is a great way to give children a visual regarding how numbers work.  And, it'll come in handy when working with skip counting and adding/subtracting.  You can just simply sticky tack up number flashcards in a line to make a very simple line.  Or you can create an actual "number line" like we did for the month of February.  You can see a picture of that in the Calendar blog.  That one was foam craft hearts with the numerals written on and a piece of yarn stringing them together.
* Make it theme related.  One year we were working with the theme regarding bears.  On the wall I put up a cutout of a bear and the children had "paws" with numerals written on them and they put them in order going away from the bear.  
*  Use sidewalk chalk outside and create a "train track" and put numbers in each section.  Then pretend to be a train, choo-chooing along, stating the numbers as you pass them.
*  Slip in Dot to Dot activities here.  I suggest having a number line available for them to refer to when they need help knowing what number comes next.  A simple way of doing this is to write them on a piece of adding machine paper, then you can roll it up and rubber band it to keep it in good shape until next time.
*  If you have a children's xylophone, put a circle sticker on each one with a number inside.  They can count as they bang on the xylophone. 
*  Shelley Lovette posted a free printable yesterday on her site called Rainbow Learning Links Number Sequence. This address is to her Free Printables page and this particular printable's link is at the bottom.
*  For some reason, young children like paper chains.  :-)  So might as well incorporate some learning there.  If you provide a piece of construction paper with the lines drawn on them, and in each rectangle have a number, your child can get their scissor practice in by cutting out the strips and then gluing/taping them together and creating a number chain.
*  Place your number manipulatives into a sensory tub.  Encourage your child to find them and put them in numerical order before playing with the sensory.  My kiddos enjoyed me putting our magnetic numbers inside of a tub of water and letting them "go fishing".  Then they put them up on the magnetic dry erase board.  (We also did an alphabet/number sort the same way.)
*  I use our linking cubes to encourage numerical order.  They put them in staircase order and then add a number manipulative or sticker.  This shows 1-5 but you child can go higher with the same concept.  My new learners that can't put them in staircase order are given the pattern to help them the first few times.

Numeral Formation/Writing
Similar to the alphabet, you want the children to really recognize the shapes and lines that make up a number.  Here are some ideas that you can incorporate when you wish to practice number formation.
*  Playdough numbers, just like playdough letters.  Provide them cards with the number written on them, and encourage your child to create playdough worms to form the number.  Laminate your cards for extended use.  You can use laminated cards for number tracing with dry erase markers as well for other activities such as making yarn numbers.

It's been a few years since I printed these off and laminated them.  Glanced through the freebies section on the site.  I don't see these exact number posters but they have another set.

* Sensory Writing Trays:  a thin layer of salt, cornmeal, sand, shaving cream, fingerpaint, hair gel, and even yogurt or pudding.
*  Wikki Stix make for nice number formations and they can even make a set of "designs" for each number.  Wikki Stix make nice rubbings also and can be used as tactile numbers.
*  If you have a geoboard, children might enjoy creating numbers out of "geobands"/rubber bands.  You can make your own geoboard by using a square block of wood and hammering nails part of the way in evenly in rows.  I actually like the home-made ones better than the purchased ones because the tops of the nails keep the rubber bands on better.  :-)

*  My rubber dot and trace stamps make it nice to incorporate number formation for activities when the children really don't now how to write their numbers yet.  They can stamp the number and then trace it.  And most kids love stamps.
*  Stamps-that brings me to another activity we've done.  Block numbers and stamping inside the number, following the correct formation.  Our Stamper Assortment from have worked well for these types of activities.  And they've lasted a LONG time. 

*  Magnets.  I created my own theme related magnets by using those lovely die cuts you can buy at teacher's stores or through their catalogs. In this activity, I laminated the apples and added a strip of magnet to the back.  Then I wrote the numeral on the dry-erase board and the children added the magnets as they would write the number.

Oral Counting does have it's place.  Really, if you are doing a lot with counting objects and number recognition/numerical order...oral counting will just fall in line and the children will get it.  After all, it's memorization.  After children can count to ten with no difficulty and you are working on counting higher...then consider mixing it up a bit.  :-)  Teach the children to count backwards from 10-0.    The children enjoyed our Blast Off Rockets we made during our transportation theme.  They cut out the rocket (I had their picture on it like they were looking out the window) and we taped on yarn and number squares from 10-1 down the yarn. 
They also enjoy 10 in the Bed book and activities.  We made a "bed" by folding a piece of construction paper and then slipping in 10 craft sticks. 
When children can count to 20 and higher, consider teaching them to count by 10s and 5s.  Even though my students are unable to count to one makes them so proud to count with me to 100, by 10s.  We use a song to help them remember.  Some fun ways to count:
*  Bounce or roll a ball back and forth with your child and count.
* Ten Little Indians song is a perfect piggyback song.  We've done "1 little 2 little 3 little birdies" for a bird theme as we added flannel or magnetic birds.  You can also do it backwards.  For added number recognition, put the numbers on your birds.
*  Children love flashlights.  An activity from Numbers for Little Learners, another Mailbox publication suggested that you have a set of number cards out of order, say the rhyme.  Then the child counts out loud as they shine the light on each number.  So as you can see, number recognition, numerical order and counting all go hand in hand.
   These numbers are mixed up!
   These numbers aren't right!
   Put them all in order.
   And then shine the light!
*  I have the "Get Up and Go" dice you can purchase from
I have their cards that go with it, action and number/dots, because it's a set.  But the nice thing is you can put your own pictures in there also.  Easy clean so we can use them outside during nice weather.  Sometimes I just use the numbers but sometimes we use the action cards also.  So a child rolls the action dice and then the number dice and count out loud as they perform that action the corresponding number of times.
*  Here are some songs I've used in the past.  (Authors unknown, sorry I can't give credit to those that deserve it!)
   Hop, Hop, Hop
  Find a foot and hop, hop, hop!
  When we're tired we stop, stop, stop.
  Turn around and count to (ten),
  Find a foot and hop again.

  Finger Counting Song
  (tune: Bingo)
   I have five fingers on this hand and I can count them all.
   1-2-3-4-5, 1-2-3-4-5, 1-2-3-4-5.  Yes, I can count them all.
repeat with other hand, then...
   How many finger do I have when I count them all?
   1-2-3 and 4, 5-6-7-more,8-9-10 for sure. I counted 10 in all!

   Tiptoe, Reach, Wiggle
   Stand on your tiptoes
   Reach for the sky.
   Wiggle your nose
   and blink one eye.
   Snap your fingers.
   Okay, then...
   (count) with me from one to ten.
      (You may wish to substitute count with hop, clap, jump, etc)

Skip counting songs:  I vary seldom get past 10 in 2s because it seems "too much" for most of my kiddos but with practice they can do it.  Counting by 2s goes well with talking about the vocab "couple" and "pair".

Our legs, our arms, our hands, our feet
We count in pairs of two.
Our eyes, our ears, our socks, our shoes
We count on me and you.

The Skip Count Song
(Tune:  Skip to My Lou)
Skip count, skip count, count by 2's
Skip count, skip count, count by 2's
Skip count, skip count, count by 2's
We can count to 20.
   (then count, you can change to "count by 5s and so on.)

Happy counting!

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