Let’s Count to Ten!


The boys were both sick and cooped up in the house. At this moment, the boys are 3 and 2 years of age.  It was a crazy afternoon and wanted them to refocus their minds on something else.  I had a stack of ten foam hands that I used with my youngest to help teach him his colors and counting.  I took out the stack, told the boys to close their eyes as I hid the hands in different places around the house.  Just like doing an egg hunt, we were searching for these foam hands.

Once it was time for the boys to start their search of the hands, I got their chalkboard easel and made three columns.  The first column is one boy’s name, the second column is the other boy’s name, and the third column is the total number of hands.  Since I am not sharing my sons’ names, here is a sample of what that looked like.


The first search for hands, one found seven and the other found three.  They both were asked to put their finds in one pile so that we could count how many total hands we found.  Then the total was written under the third column.  For the second search, one son found six and the other son found four.  Again, they placed all the hands in one pile to count the total number of foam hands.  The third and fourth search results were exactly those numbers as you see above.  I was ecstatic for us to have a result where one found five and so did the other.  The whole point was to show different sum combinations of ten.  Although the equation and actual sums were not on the board, I wanted them to experience the different sum combinations and see it in numbers and in objects.

What if you wanted to show the equations?  Here is what it could look like:


Before anyone makes any comments on how this table was organized, please be aware that we are dealing with a two year old and three year old, maybe a little older.  When working with older children, here is a suggestion as to how to label the columns for this table:

Searching for 10 Stars

Number of Stars found by first child

Number of Stars found by second child

Total number of stars found from both children

Equation to show the Sum of Stars

6 4 10 6+4=10
2 8 10 2+8=10
3 7 10 3+7=10
1 9 10 1+9=10

For some of us who have several children of different ages, this entire activity can be done with a two year old child up to six to seven years of age, roughly.  It is just a matter of how you have the child chart up the results.  The six to seven year old child should be able to write equations like this.  If not, this is an opportunity to try this out!

Where is this on the Schedule of Activities from 18 months to 3 years of age?


Tuesday for Math under Numbers.

For those of us who want to understand exactly where stands for mathematics, this specifically focuses on counting, quantity, combinations of tens, making tables, and writing out equations to describe the given sums.  In all this, the activity only took about 15 to 20 minutes of fun 🙂

Schedule of Activities 18 months to 3 years of age

Something to Think About:

If you also would like to make this a little harder, get more hands or stars.  If you would like to make it easier, use less.  Other objects that you can use around the house could be:

  • Blocks
  • Matchbox cars
  • Dolls
  • Bows
  • Dinosaur toys
  • Buttons (only if these are not a choking hazard of course)
  • Apples/Oranges/Lemons
  • Just about anything that you have more than five of, you can use for this activity.

Before working on ten of something, make sure that your child knows how to count ten of anything.  If the table is a little much at this time, then just do the search and count how many you have in total; start there.  The fact that you are doing this is of great importance.  Trying things out with your child will help you understand how your child thinks and learns.  Remember again and again, it is not who goes to the finish line first, it is more important that you actually get there, eventually.  Just be your child’s best and greatest cheerleader and make it fun!

copyright 2013 learning math with mom

copyright 2013 learning math with mom


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