Today’s activity is for all the little ones who have just started to practice counting skills but who are still not quite ready to use number symbols to represent each “set” yet.  Learning to count one object at a time is the first skill of meaningful counting experiences to be mastered before incorporating number symbols.

When I say number symbols I just mean the actual numbers 1, 2, 3, etc.

So today you are going to use cubes (blocks, or LEGOs will work too), but the key is using materials that can be stacked on top of each other to make “towers” that are all the same height when using the same number of blocks.  So if all you have are LEGOs you may need to sort them into groups that are the same size and use only one group.

1. You are going to build pairs of towers, some that are the same, and some that are different.  So you might build one pair of towers that have 5 cubes each, and one pair of towers that has one tower of 5 and one tower of 3.
2. You are going to hide all of your tower pairs together under cups, bowls, baskets, or some other non-transparent item in your house.
3. You are going to ask them to flip one of the bowls over, and decide whether or not the pairs of towers match.  You are watching to learn what techniques your child uses to figure it out.  Does he line them up to see if they are the same height? Does he count each tower?  Does he count the correct number for each tower? Etc.
4. If he/she gets it right or wrong ask “How can you tell?”  Your child’s answers will tell you a lot about whether or not he understands these number concepts or not.
5. Have your child draw a picture afterwards of the game. “Can you draw a picture of us playing this game so I can keep it in my memory book of all the fun things we did together?”  The Binder of FunWork post is a great way to keep these learning milestones.  Don’t forget to write the date and some of the things your child said when learning this on the back of their artwork. 🙂