With that in mind, I wanted to do a game with my Wild Thing (toddler) that would reinforce not only counting, but would also incorporate number identification with counting and would demonstrate the value of numbers (i.e. demonstrating what 3 actually means).
I set out 10 mostly clear and mostly glass containers from smallest to largest. The sizing of the containers was designed to help Wild Thing (he's 2 1/2) begin to understand number values - smaller number, smaller jar.
I labelled each container with its corresponding number, both with the number symbol and with the number spelled out. I would write the number and match it with its container, then Wild Thing would count the corresponding number of raisins and put them in each jar/container (also good for fine motor skills).
|He liked looking in each container --I encouraged this to underscore what 6 looks like.|
I often asked him to find a certain number for me. The major bonus came with clean up time, which he turned into a game deciding it was really fun to get to pick a numbered paper to give to me for clean up -- proudly announcing the number he chose.
I like this activity a lot because we can build on it as he gets older and gains increased knowledge of numerical concepts. We can keep it fresh by coming up with different items to count into the containers and can explore different measurements. These types of containers could work for elementary school aged children learning about greater than and less than. (When I ran an after-school program, I noticed that greater than/less than presented a challenge for some students, and I think having the corresponding visual would really help).
Finally, inspired by Marnie at Carrots Are Orange and her Early Financial Literacy Series, I realized sized containers would be great for exploring coins and money value. Here's the basic concept, though I haven't had time yet for a full activity with Wild Thing.
Larger coin and dollar values would go in larger containers with the containers laid out in the appropriate order. What would be interesting is for kids to sort their coins and dollars and see when the order of the containers would need to change. For example, if they have 6 pennies, the penny container would move to the right of the container holding only 1 nickel because the 6 pennies would now be worth more than that single nickel.
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