Math Play Day with Counters

Happy Friday everyone!  On Fridays we do Math Play Day in lieu of our regular math work.  Mira really seems to grasp numbers and enjoy math so I started math play day as a way for us to keep math fun and interesting.  I am pleased to see Stella showing an active interest in it as well and have been able to incorporate her in some of our games.

I purchased two-sided counters from ETA Cusienaire (along with a plethora of other goodies) back when they were having a big sale.  I was so excited when my box was shipped to me I practically {let’s be honest} I did a jig right there in the hallway.  My excitement was transmitted to my kids and we all squealed with delight as I unwrapped each new manipualtive and tool to add to our homeschooling arsenal.

Stella grew an immediate attraction to these two sided color counters.

Plastic Two-Color Counters

Since I’ve been working on numbers with Stella and Mira’s been working on regrouping, I figured our math play day this week would be an opportune time to take them out again and do a formal introduction.

All I needed for today’s Math Play Day was these colorful counters and a small set of number cards.  I used 0-10 for Stella and 0-20 for Mira.


I would randomly pick a card and have the girls count out the correct number of counters. As an additional step to Mira’s game I would write out a math problem, say 8+6, and she would regroup 8 to make make 10 and then add the leftover single units.  We’ve been working on this concept in our Singapore Primary Mathematics  textbook so it was nice to work out the concept tangibly.

Also, for the last couple of Math Play Days I have been doing readings out of Real Math Thinking Story Books.

I found a couple of these books at our local Goodwill for $1 a piece and even though I had never heard of them I couldn’t pass up the deal and picked up the first three levels.

The books are composed of 1 or 2 page stories that aim to develop the child’s mathematical  abilities by having them work out real world math problems. They are designed to be read by the teacher and are  frequently interjected with questions related to the story.  Each story has numerous built in questions and each chapter ends with additional word problems.  Depending on Mira’s attention span we may or may not do the additional problems at the end.

The stories are a bit old and kind of outdated but it is interesting to see Mira taking the “real world” math and applying what she knows to solve the problems.  It’s a fun way to see what concepts come intuitively and what we may need to work on.

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