Friday, October 11, 2013

A Few Simple but Effective Games and Routines for Preschool and Kindergarten Children

I have had the privilege of spending some time with some very sweet kindergarten children this week who have not had a great deal of school experiences and are not comfortable with recognizing or writing numerals to 6 or even recognizing small quantities without counting by ones.  I am working with them on a few simple games with a few simple materials that will hep students instantly recognize small quantities (subitize) and recognize numerals.

These games and routines would also work very well with pre-school students as they are preparing to enter Kindergarten.

Match numerals and dot dice

This is a great game for kids to play on their own or with a partner if they are ready for partner work
I start by giving kids the first 6 cards in my numbers to 120 place value deck.  I hand them to them in a random pile and ask them to spread them out and put them in counting order.  This helps kids practice orienting the cards so the numerals are all facing the right way and lets me see which kids can put the numbers in order without counting the place value pieces by ones and which kids still need to count to figure out what the numeral says.  
Once kids have the base 10 cards in order, I give them a dot die and have them roll it.  (I really do take time here to teach how to roll a die if this is the first time they are using them!!!) If they roll a 6, they get to flip over the card with the numeral six on it.   
They continue playing by rolling a die and turning over the corresponding card until all the cards are turned over.  If they roll a 2 and the 2 card has already been turned over, they just move onto the next roll.  This can take longer than it might seem because one number very often stubbornly refuses to come up on the die.  If the game is going on and they keep rolling, I make sure they are still saying the number they rolled and often make them do something like show me that many fingers.
I change this game up just a little to practice going the other way from numerals to picture representations.  I simply use a 1-6 numeral die and a set of dot cards from 1-6 that I made using index cards and dot stickers.  The procedure is the same.  Kids roll the dice and turn over the corresponding card.
Another variation of the game where student rolls a numeral dice and turns over the matching picture.  
I also use these dot cards that I made as flash cards and flash a picture at them and ask them to tell me or show me on their fingers how many they saw.

What early numeracy activities do you use with students who are just starting to think about number?

Want to read about the next activity I did with students to extend this one?  Check out THIS POST!

Here is a sneak peak at the picture of the activity
Want to know more about what is going on here?  Check out this post!

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