After finishing our lollipop lab science experiments we had a few lollipops left over. I decided to set up a math tray for the girls to use for different math activities. We used it to practice counting, comparing, and beginning addition. These activities would be good for preschoolers and kindergarteners.
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To set up the activity we used Dum Dums, small paper cups, and foam numbers. To incorporate some fine motor practice I used a bamboo skewer to poke five holes in the bottom of each paper cup. I spaced the holes out so that the lollipops could easily fit. This also allowed the girls to easily see how many and what color lollipop they already had “in” each cup.
Tinker, age 3, had a lot of fun from the very beginning by poking the lollipop sticks into the holes. I’d recommend letting kids practice this a bit before moving onto any formal math activities.
Counting and Number Recognition
Later we put the foam numbers next to the cups and added the correct number of lollipops to match.
Lovey, age 5, chose two numbers and placed the correct number of lollipops into each cup. Then we discussed which cup had more, greater, less, and fewer. We also discussed how many more lollipops were in the cup with five lollipops than the cup with three lollipops (2 more) and how to easily figure that out (counting on from three to five or counting the number of holes that were empty). Identifying how many more and how many fewer is a concept kids can struggle with in the early elementary grades, so incorporating this skill into math conversations can be helpful.
To practice number combinations (or number bonds), we chose one number. Then we worked together to come up with different ways to make that number. Here we showed 4 can be 4 and 0, 2 and 2, and 3 and 1.
And if you’re wondering if we ate lollipops when we were done, YES! We sure did! But we saved the rest so that we could repeat these math activities a few times for additional practice.
What other math activities would you do with lollipops? Do you find working with edible manipulatives is motivating or distracting for your kids?
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