Whenever we can combine a great book, play dough, and hands-on learning I know we’ve got a recipe for a memorable activity that the kids will love. As we’re sailing into summer we’ve been reading some of our favorite fish books. We’re also reviewing teen numbers, so I though this Rainbow Fish counting play dough activity would be a fun way to practice both number recognition and counting.
Materials for Rainbow Fish Counting Play Dough
- The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
- Purple and blue play dough
- Large sequins
- Googly eyes
- Blue glass gems
- Dot stickers (optional)
- Blue or black sharpie
- Fish or heart shapes cookie cutters
Place all items in a tray or display area. I chose to label dot stickers with the numbers 11-20 and then place them on the glass gems. That way I could easily remove the stickers after our activity. You can also write directly on the glass gems but sometimes that can be hard to see unless you use a black sharpie and a very light colored gem. If you do write on the gems you can remove the sharpie with nail polish remover when you want to reuse the gems for another activity like a play dough invitation.
I also chose to use heart cutters instead of the fish since the girls like creating fish that way after doing it with other activities in the past.
Play and Learn
After reading The Rainbow Fish together invite kids to make their own school of rainbow fish and his friends. First they can use dough and cutters to make their own fish. Then choose a glass gem and add the matching number of sequins to decorate the rainbow fish.
Along the way kids will practice fine motor skills, counting, and number recognition. Some kids may even sort the sequins by color or create a pattern on their fish.
And don’t stop with math, The Rainbow Fish is full of themes and concepts that are wonderful for preschoolers. Use the book for a week long study!
What are some additional activities you do to go along with this book?
Hands-on Play with ABCs and 123s
If you’re looking for more hands-on ways to practice counting and early literacy skills with kids, check out our co-authored book ABCs and 123s. Inside you’ll find over 40 kid-tested learning activities that teach beginning literacy and math in a playful way.
Learn more about ABCs and 123s
Last year I used The Rainbow Fish with my preschoolers and we made and decorated Rainbow Fish Cupcakes. We used blue icing to cover the cakes then decorated ontop using mini Smarties as scales. The children loved this activity. I also provided them with a fish outline template, some celery sticks and a range of paint colours to let them explore mark making scales using the celery to print with. Some of the children spent ages on the process of printing one line of each colour.
I love to hear how teachers are integrating other Rainbow Fish activities in their classrooms! Thanks for sharing.