Blogs I Love Math Literature Freebies About Home

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fun with Numeral Recognition

I have been working on some fun number recognition activities using these super cute number buttons.  I like these buttons because they are bright and colorful and I have already found many ways to use them.  

Number Buttons and Water Beads

Recently, I was at the dollar store looking for a cookie sheet for my magnetic 10 frame project when I stumbled upon water beads.  I had heard a teacher talk about these as a sensory bin material at a conference several months ago so I grabbed a pack to try out with my number  buttons 
I made sure I had at least 1 of each number then grabbed another handful

Dump in the water beads and the number buttons and you are ready to go!

My kids had a great time playing in the water beads and working on recognizing numbers.  Some quick easy things you can do:

1) Have kids find a particular number.  Find me a 7, now a 3 etc.

2) Have kids fish out all the numbers and sort them according to number or color

3) Have kids pick 3 numbers out and put them in numerical order

4) Find one of each number and but them in order from 1-9

5) Build bigger numbers like 74, 109, 1000, etc.

6) Choose 2 numbers and tell which is bigger.  You can also make a greater than/less than symbol to place between the numbers.

Don't these look fun?

We had so much fun with these that I ordered some colored ones.  I can't wait to try them out!

Ice Excavation

Another thing I did with these button numbers is ice excavation.  I took 1 of each number and placed them in a muffin tin.  I then added the corresponding number of gemstones.  I topped it with some water dyed with food coloring.  

I stuck the entire thing in the freezer overnight.  When I was ready to use these, I just let them sit out for a few minutes and they popped right out of the muffin tin.  

It was a very hot day so they started melting right away.  It was good to do this on a nice sunny day because the kids ended up getting a lot of water on themselves.  

We put them in counting order and practiced using words such as greater than and less than.  I also had kids count the gemstones to see if the number of stones matched the numeral.  Then I let the kids have eye droppers and bulb syringes and a dish of warm water.  They picked up the warm water and dropped it on the ice.  They melted well and the kids had a great time counting and exploring the numbers.  If it had not been a hot day, I would have used some salt as well to speed up the melting process if necessary. 

What are your favorite ways to work on number recognition?  Have you used water beads in the classroom? 

When your students are recognizing numbers, a great next step is counting puzzles!  Check out these fun Christmas themed ones!


  1. This post is just full of awesome math ideas! Thanks so much for sharing with the Love to Learn Linky! Best, Sue

  2. That looks like so much fun! I'm pinning the water beads activity!