In the last math post “Math Stories” I talked about the importance of hands-on activities when introducing and practicing new skills. And in the post “What’s in a number?” I talked about children needing to see number sets represented in many ways. Today, we are going to combine those two important concepts in a counting activity using their fingers.
Search around your house for something that can fit on your child’s fingers (rings, finger puppets, those Halloween fake finger tips, cubes/blocks that are open on one side, etc.)
Make a group of ten finger-sized manipulatives and ask your child to help you count them out. Then explain to your little one that you want to play a game where you will call out a number and they will place that many cubes on their fingers (one on each finger) using both hands. Then you will ask them to show you that same number of cubes in a different way.
Before you play the game you have to show the child on your OWN fingers. This is important because in EVERY lesson, game, or activity you cant just tell your child what you are going to do…you have to 1) SHOW them. Then, you will 2) play it WITH them. Then you will just 3) TELL them.
This is the “I do”, “WE do”, then “YOU do” method to teaching that is really beneficial for the learner.
So, if I were playing this with my child, I would explain the game. Then I would tell them that if I said the number “3” out loud I would place the cubes on my “right hand thumb, left hand thumb, and left hand pointer finger” while I counted aloud: “One, two, Three” and then I would say “Now watch! I can put three cubes on my fingers in a different way…maybe I can put one on my right hand tall finger, stack one on top of that, and then put the other on my left hand ring finger. Do you have an idea of how I can place these three cubes in a different way on my hands? Show me! Can you show me on your fingers next? Let’s try a new number and we can both put that many cubes on our fingers and surprise each other to see if it looks the same or different. Okay! Now it is your turn to try it by yourself while I call out a number…..”
If you have any questions about this activity or any activity for that matter….