During our penguin theme we played a quick and easy penguin hop counting game that is great for helping toddlers practice counting and one to one correspondence.
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- Penguin Toob
- Blue food coloring or liquid watercolors
- Ice-you can use fun shapes or just plain old ice from the freezer like we did
- Number cube (optional)
To set up the activity I placed about 1/5 inch of water in the bottom of our plastic bin and added blue food coloring. I placed the bin on a towel to catch splashing water. Then I set some penguins and a number cube to the side of the bin.
When Tinker was ready to play I added some ice cubes to the bin. To get started I asked her to see how many times the penguin had to hop to get all the way across the bin.
She eagerly started helping the penguins hop away and race across to the other side. For younger toddlers who aren’t yet counting on their own, you can help by counting each time they touch an ice cube. Once kids are comfortable counting, they can begin to count each ice cube as they hop.
If your child is saying more than one number as they hop on each ice cube, you can model counting each individual ice cube by taking turns with your child.
To extend the game for older toddlers and preschoolers, you can use a number cube and challenge kids to make it across the bin in the number of hops that is shown on the number cube. We used a dot cube, but you could also use a cube with numerals.
When we were almost done with our game, Tinker made a neat discovery. Look at the neat shapes the ice cubes made as they were melting. Who knew we’d also sneak in a little science with a discussion of the properties of matter? 🙂
And when our counting game was done, we added a fresh batch of ice so all the penguins could take a dive.
What ways do you practice counting with your toddlers?
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