First off — Congratulations to Lora who was randomly selected for the Playful Learning Spaces Giveaway! You’ll be contacted shortly, Lora. And for the rest of you, there’s still time to sign up for Mariah’s inspiring course.
Today I wanted to share one of my favorite ways to introduce numbers and numeracy concepts with young children. It’s a mix between show and tell and math time. I figured the best way to show you what I mean would be to make a video. Here I’ll show a lot of different options for using the number bag or math bag. You DON’T need to do them all in one sitting, I just wanted you to see all the different concepts you can teach with one type of activity.
What I love most about this activity is that it gets the kids to see numbers and math concepts as they relate to real objects they have a real interest in. Suddenly, math isn’t something you do just with the math manipulatives, but with everything around you!
(You can also view the video directly on YouTube here.)
Here’s the Number Bag Information Sheet you would want to include in your folder inside the bag. Along with it, you’ll want some number cards. If you don’t already have some, the easiest way to create these is to get some index cards, write the number on one side and then attach the corresponding number of dot stickers (from the office supply aisle) on the other side. Ta-da! You have a set of number cards for about $1 and 5 minutes.
As a review, here are some of the concepts you can cover with this activity:
Numeral Recognition (Written representation)
Numbers (Names we use for them)
Rote Counting (Counting in order)
One-to-One Counting (Counting one number for each object)
Comparing – Greater than/Less than (Which is greater/less? By how much?)
Categorizing and Sorting by Changing Qualifiers (Sorting the same group by big and little, then by hard and soft)
What else could you do with the Number Bag?
Thank you for this excellent activity! I plan to use this next year in my preschool class. I truly love your blog Amanda, and think it is the best out there. I learn so much from you, and look forward to weekend reads you share. (There is no way I could find some of the articles you do, and they are great to share with parents.) Sending you lot’s of love as you get ready to have a baby!!!! Thank you again for all the amazing posts!
Also planning on implementing this in my preschool next year. I pretty much echo everything Karen said. You’re the best. Sending love. Best wishes with the new baby!
So glad to hear that! And thank you to you and Karen. You both made my day!
I just discovered your website! I can’t wait to look around. I am definitely including this in my plans for my preschool students next year. I already do a Mystery Letter for their Show and Tell where the child brings in something that starts with a letter that is sent home. I will add the math bag as an additional Show and Tell!
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I pay a visit every day some web pages and sites to read content, but this website gives feature based articles.
I love this Amanda, so many classrooms utilize literacy bags, why not a math bag? I think this can help parents even recognize that math is not all about flashcards and memorization, not just the kids!
I absolutely love this, Amanda! Thank you so much for sharing!
What’s the highest number you would include in the math bag when using this activity with 4 year olds?
Thanks so much, Amy! You kind of have to take your cue from the kids. I generally start with 0-5 for a bit and then grow from there. When 10 and under are really solid, move on to teens and up to 20. I generally wouldn’t go beyond that for fours. You have so many concepts to work on, that even if they recognize and count up to 20, there’s still one to one correspondence, greater than/less than, patterns, and even some basic addition/subtraction that can be incorporated. It’s nice for differentiation because if you stay under 20, then even while some children may have number recognition and counting down and are putting more focus on these other skills, the kids who are still working on recognition/counting get the practice they still need. I hope that makes sense! Enjoy the activity — I’d love to hear how it works for you!
Great idea! I like to introduce show-and-tell to my 3 year old class after Christmas break, now I have a new way to do it that also incorporates math! Thanks a bunch!
How often do you do this? Is it sent home with a different student daily? I have a split PreK class where some of my 3 year olds come Mon./Tues. and the others come Wed./Thurs………….so, I’m trying to decide what the best way to implement this would be. If you send it home daily, have you ever had a problem with it not being returned the next day? I love this idea so THANK YOU for sharing!
I did this once a week when I was doing Tuesday/Thursday preschool. So the bag would go home on Tuesday and come back on Thursday. It really could be done so many different ways to fit your individual goals and needs. I hope it’s useful for you; we really enjoyed it!
I fell down the rabbit hole of your website today, and since I saved, found inspiration, and nodded my head in agreement to so many of your posts, I thought I’d stop in and thank you for the work you put into sharing your strategies on the web. As an early childhood educator, I feel like I now have a resource to point parents to when they ask for the why of a given activity or choice I make in my program. You explain the importance in language parents can understand, and that’s a gift.
Also, this Number Bag idea is one of my favorites. Show and Tell has always been a source of frustration–something that I’ve “endured” for the sake of the skills it helps my students develop rather than enjoyed–but this idea strikes a happy medium of allowing students to practice their listening and speaking skills without turning into twenty minutes of “and I like it…because I love it…”
Vanessa – You made my day! Thanks for the smile you put on my face. I’m so happy to know that what I write is making its way into classrooms and making a difference in the lives of kids and teachers! Thanks so much for what YOU do for children and childhood!
Janet Theilen says
I have been pondering how to add more exposure to numbers without it being so teacher led and rather age inappropriate. Sharing bags are a passion that I tolerate. Using these ideas will help so much. Splendid!
Excelente idea. Gracias.
De nada. Encantado a compartir. :0)
How would I make a lesson plan for this
I love this concept. How can I incorporate science into this
Jill Martin says
Hi. I wanted to share this video with the teachers in my preschool co-op but it is not available. Do you have another link? Thank you! I have loved doing the number bag!
Hi, Jill! The video shows up as embedded in the post on my computer, so there’s a chance you’re running into filter issues. You can also check for the video directly on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSQvjD9-SnY