Driving the streets of London we can end up being in the car a long while. On such days I crank open the ‘child entertainment toolbox’. Every mama, uncle, friend, older brother, grandmother has one. It’s that list of games and songs you have stashed away for when you hear the delightful ‘are we nearly there yet?’
We thought we’d share one of our favourites. Number Hunts.
In the car she number hunts. Shouting out the numbers she spots. Sometimes we hunt for certain numbers, sometimes we hunt for any we can find.
We love numbers.
Once the Minou had could gleefully chant her 1, 2, 3s, to the point of it becoming a bad catchy pop hook, she then began to equate 1 with 1 object/toy/soggy raisin. And 2 with 2 objects/toys/soggy raisins etc.
I wanted to extend our number fun so I got some books from the library, trawled the glorious web and felt a little more confident.
We had a look at what numbers 1-3 look like and in true Montessori style made some number activities.
For a while we had a number table. This is where we have lots of number related things:
→ sandpaper numbers
→ counting books
→ foam numbers
→ tray filled with rice/coffee/grain/sand
→ pompoms, icecube trays & tweezers/pincers of different sizes
→ 2 bowls
→ crayons and paper
I crafted some sandpaper numbers. These are great for learning through touch, practicing how to write the number by tracing the finger over. [If you make your own, place the numbers a little to the right (left if they use their left hand) so that there is room for them to hold the board].
The tray is for another tactile experience for tracing the number, learning how the number is formed. We all learn differently, through different senses and we certainly learn better if its fun and interesting.
Ice Cube Tray & Bowls
The idea here is that they transfer pompoms/beads etc into the containers.
The act of transfering from one place to another helps them with their pincer grip/fine motor skills which is important for manipulating a pencil. The movement of transfering items left to right also begins the principle of reading left to right. Filling and emptying the spaces/bowls encourgages an understanding of less/more, founding principles in maths.
When I first got the activities together Minou was about 18 months old. She didn’t seem that interested when I showed her what to do so I left it out. A couple of days later she spent a good 30 minutes putting the pompoms in and out. She would regularly come back to these games. Over the past year the game has adapted and the icecube tray is now used for making her dollies food.
Number Hunt Grab
Our latest bedtime game is hunting the numbers in a certain time limit. She loves it. We set a timer for 20 seconds. She turns over a number piece, counts the number and then hunt! She has to pick up the same number in the different ‘zones’. She finds it thrilling; beating the timer; satisfaction in pointing out the numbers to me on my turn; feeling confident in the numbers she can gather in one fast swoop. Probably a bit too exciting before bed to be honest! We now set the timer at 15 seconds and have numbers 1-10 to make it more of a challenge. To make this game just collect number cards, dice etc. Start with plenty of time on the timer. Success and confidence are key!
Have fun on your number hunts!