When a child is learning numbers, just showing them the number 3 doesn’t mean they understand what it represents. By using this board, your child then sees the relationship between what the number looks like and how many objects are included with it. But even after your child has learned numbers, they can use the board still for more activities. Here are some ideas for learning through play…
- ODD and EVEN: Notice how even numbers always have a pair at the bottom while odd numbers have a single item by itself.
- DISCOVER: See how 2 is one more than 1. 3 is one more than 2. Or 4 has two sets of 2s. How many sets of 2 are in 6? or 8? Can you see how 7 is 3+4 by looking at each vertical line in the area? Did you notice each number on the bottom is five more than the one above it? 1+5=6. 2+5=7. 3+5=8. Etc. What about adding the bottom with the top from either side—1+10=11, 2+9=11, 3+8=11, 4+7=11, and 5+6=11? Isn’t is fun finding all the different combinations?!
- ADD: Give your child a select amount of balls and discover which numbers they can be divided into, an activity of addition. Six balls can be 1, 2, and 3 added together. But it can also be 2 and 4 or 1 and 5. What if your child has 10 balls and places 7 of them on the board—where do the rest of the balls go?
- TRACE: Demonstrate for your child where to begin tracing and which lines to follow. Use your fingers or the tracing stick. Practice with your dominant hand and for fun, try tracing with your non-dominant hand. With eyes closed, have your child randomly find a number to trace on the board and identify what it is based on the feeling.
- FILL: Place small items into the grooves to fill up each number, another way to focus in on their shapes and keep little hands busy. An activity of concentration, follow through, and creativity. Use dry foods such as beans, corn, grain, flaxseeds, herbs, and rice. Use nature such as flower petals, leaves, sticks, stones, sand, and shells. Use snacks such as cereal, raisins, pretzels, crackers. Use art materials such as bells, beads, pompoms, pipe cleaners, and jewels.
- RUB: Place a sheet of paper over the board (either side) and use a crayon to rub the paper, creating an impression of the board onto the paper. Then trace inside the lines on the paper or colour in the dots.
- MOULD: Press play dough into the board to create impressions of the numbers and dimples. Numbers will come out backwards, but then use scissors to cut around them and have numbers to move around for playing.