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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Quick and Fun Math Practice for Little Kids

As I have been doing this book study on Teach Like a Pirate, I have been thinking a lot about what the author says about creativity and have been trying to capture my creative ideas in a way that makes it easy for me to add creativity to my lessons.  One of the things I really like using in the classroom is a browse box for math.  This is similar to a browse box for literacy but instead of just right books it is full of just right math activities.  It works well with guided math, during transitions and any time there are a few minutes to spare.  They are a great way to get kids to work independently and a huge opportunity for teachers to provide practice.
I also realized I have not yet written a blog post about browse boxes for math so expect more details about them in the coming weeks.  Today I want to show you one of the activities I have been busy creating that will find its way into browse boxes this year.  I have been spending a lot of time with some kids who will be entering Kindergarten in the fall and their thirst for knowledge and interest in number have really helped spark some creative ideas.  

 I am currently calling these counting sticks but am working on coming up with something a little more creative!  I am sure as I use them with more kids, they will get a fun new name.  There are many ways to use these sticks.  So far I have had kids put them in order, read me the numbers, find me a number that I ask for and do the paperclip job like you can see in the picture above.  The sticks are magnetic and the ultimate task for kids who are ready for this to be in their browse box would be to take the sticks out, put them in order and then place the given number of paperclips on each stick.  It is a great way to work on ordering numbers, one to one correspondence, and subitizing.  

If you want to make a set for your classroom or your own children, it is quick and easy!

Colored Craft Sticks: I bought a box of these 3 years ago and keep finding more uses for them!
Half Inch Magnetic Tape
Number Stickers: I got these glittery foam ones at the Dollar Tree
40 small paperclips
Hot glue gun (the stickers magnetic strips are sticky but I glued them just in case!)

It takes about 5 minutes to put these together.  Just stick or glue on the magnetic tape, stick on the stickers and you are ready to go!

Here they are in action!  My tester kiddo was putting the paperclips on vertically.  She figured out that she needed to try something different when she got to the 5 strip. 
These store nicely in a ziploc bag.  

Stay tuned for more great activities for browse boxes and busy bags!

Here is a peak at my next post in this series!
Click here to check out my post about making this ordering numbers caterpillar!  

Want to see how I took these sticks to the next level?  Here are some ideas for using them to work on combinations of numbers.


  1. I really like this idea, Tara. I had a few kids last year who would have benefitted with sticks to 20.

  2. Love these and will be making some!

  3. Cute little idea and I already have those sticks. I think I found them at the dollar store and grabbed a couple of packs (cause that's what teachers do) and now I know what to do with them! Thanks for sharing!
    Teachers Are Terrific!

    1. They are fantastic sticks and definitely worth grabbing a few packs!

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  5. I found you from Monday Made It :) I love these! What a quick and easy project. I will be making some! Thanks!

    Kelley @ Rocky Mountain Kinders

  6. Really easy and CUTE idea! Thanks for sharing!

    The Land of I Can

  7. Great idea! These will be great to have on hand for use during small group intervention..

  8. Saw this on Pinterest and it's scheduled to share on my FB page! Love this idea. Thanks for sharing with the Love to Learn Linky! Best, Sue

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