Rainbow Resource Room
Games That Teach:
NUMBER, COUNTING & EARLY MATH GAMES
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M & M Counting Game
At the end of this counting and color recognition game from Julia F. the children have the opportunity to munch M & M's or snack on vegetable & fruit.
1. A small graph with all
the different colors of M&M's on it for each child.
Cookie Sheet Ten Frame Games
1. A cookie sheet that will hold magnets
2. Electrical tape or another thin sticky tape
3. Small colorful magnets
4. OPTIONAL-- primer and spray paint for the cookie sheet
Description: Making the Ten Frame
First, decide which side of the cookie sheet you will be using to make your ten frame. I have used both sides successfully. The same cookie sheet can do double duty on its opposite side to hold magnetic letters for use with a reading group. Also decide if you like the natural color of the cookie sheet or if you want to
Next, using the electrical
tape create a ten frame on the cookie sheet by dividing the sheet in
half horizontally with the tape, then place two more long strips of
tape along the top and
bottom edges. Frame out the right and left sides, then spacing
the tape as evenly as possible
create 5 spaces in each of the bottom and top rows.
Variation: For the beginning of the year you might want to create a 5 frame using the same technique.
10 Frame Activities
1. Play subtraction games with the ten frame. Do counting rhymes such as 10 In The Bed, or 5 Little Monkeys. Use the 10 frame to take off the counters as you sing or chant.
2. Use the 10 frame to play a listening and counting game. Start with an empty frame. Turn the frame so that no students can see how many magnets you are putting on it. Audibly put the magnets on one by one allowing students to count with their fingers or silently in their heads as you do it. Have them hold up the number of fingers showing how many magnets they think you have put on the 10 frame. Show and re-count.
3. Count up using the ten frame. Play the same listening and counting game-- but start with a number other than one. Have the students put this number "in their heads" and count up from it.
4. Use the 10 frame to explore odd and even. With the upper and lower rows it is easy to move magnets to show which numbers "have friends" and which are alone.
Ladybird Ladybird Fly Away Home
Kate S. shares this counting game saying, "We introduced a ladybird counting game during our circle time which was a great success. This was a very simple game to prepare and can be adapted to suit all age groups. This can also be done in smaller groups as well".
Materials: Large green paper leaf, one large die and a variety of ladybirds with different number of spots, which will correspond to the number of spots on the die. Make sure you have several of each ladybirds.
Description: Place all the ladybirds on the leaf and go around the circle taking turns rolling the die. Ask the children to count the number of spots on the die and then find a ladybird, which has the same amount of spots. Once found they can take that ladybird off the leaf.
You can play it in reverse
and have the ladybirds on the carpet or table and place the ladybirds
on the leaf. To extend the activity at the end of the game
each child can add up how many
spots all the ladybirds have.
Apple Counting Game
Materials: Paper tree (trunk with large green top) laminated for each child. 10 Velcro dots on each tree. 10 poker chips for each tree with an apple sticker on each, velcro on back. A numbered die 1-5, cover number six with masking tape and write 0. A Small cup to represent a basket to collect the apples.
Description: Each child will take turns rolling the die and remove the rolled number of apples from the tree. The first child to have no apples left on the tree wins. You must roll the exact number for the last apples.Jenn's Comments: You can add as many apples to the tree as needed for your group of students. I have made a class tree and done this as a group. I have also used a spinner and "spill the bucket" instead of 0 for students that are able to understand the concept.
Apple Number Game
Claudia P. created this Apple Number Game to reinforce number recognition and counting skills.
Description: This game is
played by 2 children.
Put the apples in a pretty
basket. Two children will take turns picking an apple, counting the
dots, and matching to the corresponding number.
Claudia's Comments: In my
classroom we don't like to make this a competitive game. The
children love to play it over and over! We say, "It doesn't
matter who wins. It's
fun to work together!"
Beanbag Early Math Game
Materials: Poster board or
paper with numbers 1-6 written on it, large enough for all children to
see at circle time.
Description: Have children
sit in a big circle. Show the children the number poster and help them
identify the numbers. Place the poster in the center of the circle and
throw the beanbag onto the poster. Ask the children to name the
number it lands on. While counting out loud, demonstrate jumping
that many times, then have the children do it with you. Throw the
beanbag again, have the children name the number, then jump that many
times. Once they understand the game, let each child take a turn
throwing the beanbag and naming the number before the class
Counting Frogs for Toddlers
Description: Place the mats
on the floor in a semi-circle around you. Have the
Vickie's Comments: This can
change with the counters. I have gotten duck mats that work well
also. The children love this center, and really enjoy the frogs
During this fun gross motor math lesson plan from Tracy E. young children recognize numbers and find out that math does not always have to be done with a pencil and paper.
• Large Motor Development
• Cognitive Development
• Sensory Development – sight & sound
• Social Development – talking, laughing and having fun
• Twister Game ($14.00 at Target or Wal-Mart)
• Marker or tape to make numbers on the Twister mat
• 4-6 children
Space Needed: An area that is at least four feet wide and 6 feet long.
Description: Time needed:
• 5 minutes needed for setup and directions to children
• 30-60 minutes for playing depending on how involved children are.
• 5 minutes cleanup
In Advance: Teachers find or Buy a Twister board. Get marker or tape to make numbers (1-4 or 1-6, your choice) on the dots on the Twister board AND spinner board.
In the classroom:
Tracy's Comments and
Suggestions: I had a
great time and if I had to do this math game over again I would find a way that the mat would stay in
place more than it did.
Twister: Visual Recognition of Numbers
Materials: Write on square or circle pieces of paper and tape to floor- 4 sets of numbers in 4 rows.
Description: This game works
just like the game twister. Teachers pick 4 numbers to stress or concentrate.
Comments: It worked well.
Some of the kids that had never played twister were confused at first
but otherwise, a lot of fun. Recommend playing twister first.
Materials: Flash cards of numbers 1-10, Bingo grid and a pencil or crayon for each child. If you have access to a copier now is the time to use it.
Description: In advance
Early Counting Game
Materials: Pom poms, 1 or 2 large dice and clothes pins (the kind you squeeze).
Description: In a small group, a child rolls the die. He / she identifies what number comes up and picks up that many pom poms with a clothes pin. You can add variations by having children identify small, medium or large pom poms or by asking them to pick up a specific color. Then the next child takes his / her turn.
Comments: The kids love this
game and it can be used for seriation (small, medium or large) and also
for color recognition. It's great for early counting as children count
all their pom poms at the end.
Number Matching Game
Materials: 10 red construction paper apples with a number on each and 10 little green worms with a number on each.
Description: The children match the worms 1-10 to the apples 1-10.
Comments: The children love
the little worms and
have such a fun time helping the little worms find their apples!
Paper Clip Game
Pumpkin Vine Game
Materials: Paper pumpkins, paper vine and large dice.
Description: Explain to the
children that this is a Pumpkin Vine Game. Invite children to roll a
dice and then count the number of dots on the dice. Have then count independently if possible,
but if not, model the counting and help
Early Math Flannel Graph
Description: Set up the
flannel board. Have available a flat space for displaying
objects for counting.
Decide which numbers you want to focus on. I teach 2's
so we rarely go above 3.
Call a child. When she / he comes forward hold out the
number cards face down.
Instruct her / him to pick a number. When she does, have her identify it. If she can not do
it, tell her or hold up the card for "help". Let the child place the
card onto the flannel graph. Then instruct her to count out the correct number of
items to place on the board with her number. Give as much or as little help as
Chose where you want the children to start from and where they will end.
At the starting point draw a cave with a bear standing in front of it.
At the end, draw a tree with a honey hive and bees flying around it.
Next, draw a winding path all over paper from the cave to the honey tree include bear prints on the path. The children count the bear prints during the game so make lots of prints.
Finally, around the path draw trees, bushes with berries, a mountain side etc. You can be as creative as you like.
Introduce the game, showing the children how to roll the dice and step on the bear prints according to the number on the dice. Allow the children to make up the rules to the game and play during their center time.
Comments: If this is the
first time children are playing with this type of game, they will need
supervision. It takes patience, for children to wait for their
turn so only a few at at time play. It is also best to laminate the game
board before it is used.
Cotton Ball Game
10 strips of heavy paper 1" by 2"
1 drawstring bag
Felt tip markers
1 basket or bowl
1. Number the strips of heavy paper 0-9 and fold in half
2. Place the folded strips of paper in the bag
3. Place the cotton balls in the basket or bowl . The children take turns pulling a slip of paper from the bag, reading the number and counting out the appropriate number of cotton balls from the bowl.
Extensions: Extend this activity by substituting nuts, wooden cubes, plastic animals, beans, or any other object for the cotton balls. The game is over when all the cotton balls have been distributed. The children then count their cotton balls.
The Ring Game
Sue M. promotes counting skills and quantification understanding as children
participate in this easy early math game.
Description: This activity
should be played with no more than six children at a time as it is difficult for young children
to wait for a turn AND have fun.
Each child rolls the die and
can choose that number of rings to place on any finger.
Comments: This is a highly
motivating game for girls and boys. The activity allows the
teacher to evaluate the children's understanding of quantity as well as
helping them compare the number of rings that fit on each child's
finger. It also helps children recognize the diversity of other's
Beat the Teacher
Materials: Jumbo Playing cards
Description: Each child has
an opportunity to draw one of the playing cards and
Variations: For older kids you can make a set of cards with just the numerals on them, or use addition, subtraction, multiplication or division cards.
Comments: My kids love the
idea of beating the teacher!
Materials: Dice and pictures of reindeers with numerals written on them.
Description: Copy pictures
of reindeers and cut them out in square shapes.
Comments: The children
really enjoy this activity, and it was a good way to observe which
children were able to identify the numbers.
Coin Flip Game
Materials: Two Coins, paper and pencil.
Description: Flip one coin.
Every time it says heads the child gets one point and
Mail Carrier Game
Materials: One envelope for each child, poster board, clear contact paper, and pictures related to your theme.
Description: In advance teachers cut poster board into pieces that will fit into the envelopes. Glue or draw a picture, shape, number, etc. on each piece of poster board and place one in each envelope. Write each child's name and address on an envelope and draw a pretend stamp in the corner - do not seal the envelope.
The teacher delivers the
mail to each student and tells each that he / she has
in this theme!
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