Our young son has counting down, but associating the numbers with the numerals is coming slower to him. To help practice, I made a fun game (perfect for a kinesthetic learner!).
It's short, sweet, and simple. And it gets children moving.
This game is geared toward one player, however, you could easily adapt it for siblings or classmates to play along.
What You Need
8-page PDF of the lily pads, flowers, and die (download it free here)
poster tack or tape (optional)
heavy weight cardstock (6 green, 2-4 white)
What to Do
Consider your child's proficiency with numbers. You may want to only play with numbers 0-5. If so, print the first three pages of the 8-page PDF onto green cardstock. Otherwise, if you're playing with the full set of numbers (0-10), print the first six pages onto green cardstock.
Print the pages of water lilies and die onto white cardstock. Again, think of your child's early math skills. If playing with numbers 0-5 print one die. If playing with 0-10, the child will either have to roll the die twice or you can create two dice to have the child roll. The latter is perfect for kids that still need to see the objects to count them. Older kids working on simple addition might enjoy the challenge of adding the two numbers in their head after rolling the same die twice.
Cut out the water lilies, lily pads, and die (or dice, if you printed two). Score the lines on the die with the backside of a butter knife, fold and glue into a cube shape. You can laminate the lily pads and flowers for added durability if desired.
How to Play
Set the lily pads on the floor in a random pattern.
Because we were doing this activity on hardwood floors and I didn't want my son to slip on the lily pads, I used poster tack to secure them in place. I also added a piece of poster tack to the back of each water lily flower.
Here's the play-by-play:
1. Child rolls the die (or dice).
2. Child counts the frog faces that land face up.
3. Child looks for the lily pad with that numeral.
4. Child jumps to the lily pad.
5. Child places a water lily on the lily pad to signal that he/she has already visited there.
6. Play continues until all lily pads have a flower or the child's attention wanes.
Variations: You can time the child to see how many different lily pads they jump to in 5-10 minutes. An opponent can then take their turn and try to beat the first player's score.
Want a great book to pair with this activity? Here's a few counting frog picture books we read. They're all perfect for this fun game.