I was at the art and craft store the other day when I came across a packet of really adorable ladybug buttons. Bright red and black, they instantly caught my eye and fancy and I picked them up certain that i would find some interesting use for them.
And then, this afternoon i did. As i was finishing making the characters for Three Billy Goats Gruff (Sid’s request) for our felt board story collection (https://myfourboysandme.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/felt-board-stories/) I had green felt left over and suddenly thought of making leaves to use with the lady bugs. Came up with a simple counting game for the boys…I already had some felt number cutouts (store bought), so i used the green to make leaves and I lined the leaves up along a felt ‘stalk’ on the felt board. Next I placed a number next to each leaf. The boys then took turns to identify the number and place the corresponding number of ladybugs on the leaf. This is not a super original idea or anything….have seen variations of this in places. It was super simple but lots of fun and the boys wanted to do “more and more”. We had a little ‘help’ from the youngest who decided to engage in a special session on ‘subtraction’ but we managed to cope with his antics and fortunately nobody had any melt downs (which is saying a lot).
This is a good way to practice basic numnbers and for older kids you can also use it for addition and subtraction. It is visual, encourages counting and correlation, involves a tactile experience and it is in the form of a game so it does not seem tedious or abstract.