Plastic Bottle Number Bowling!

Feb 23, 2013

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Welcome once again to the "Playful Maths" weekly series brought to you by

Together, let's make MATHS FUN!


This week we bring you another 2 Playful Maths Activities using Plastic Bottles. 

Today's activity from us focuses on "Counting, Ordering & Making 10" 

This activity also includes number recognitionone-to-one correspondence, counting-on and number writing.

Maths Jargon:
Making 10 (or knowing the numbers that go together to make 10 eg. 3 and 7, 2 and 8 etc.) is a fundamental skill for children to master for further maths involving our base 10 system.

It's very beneficial to have a good understanding as it will help with mental maths problems in the future!
(For example, If asked what 76 + 5 is? you would instantly know that to make to the nearest 10 (80) needs 4 more. So it's 1 more than that. 81... sounds long winded for something that happens without thinking hey?) :)

Ages: 2+
(M has just turned 4. See the bottom for handy tips to Extend or Simplify to meet your child's needs)

Materials: 10 Plastic Bottles (we used 1.25 litre ones), Paint, Brush, Balls.
(Tip: no time for painting? Just write the numbers on with a permanent marker or use large stickers)

Setup: Paint your bottles with the numbers 1-10 and set aside to dry.

I wanted to make them big and bright so that the numbers really stood out from the clear plastic.

When they were dry I set them up so they were ready for my daughter to get home from kinder

She was right into it straight away. 
(Even wanted to do it before a snack. That's saying something haha)

After each shot she counted how many were still UP and how many were knocked DOWN

As we talked about the numbers that were Up and Down I reinforced the fact that there were 10 bottles-pins all together by asking her, "how many bottles/pins all together?"

I suggested the idea of writing down the amounts that were Up and Down and she was very keen to. 
(Note: If she was not keen I would have left it. 
Forcing the learning would not make it fun and she would not want to play)

On her own she found the bottles with the corresponding numbers that she wanted to write and used them to see how to write the number.

Putting the bottles back up and ordering them was one of her favourite parts that she insisted on doing without assistance.

To help her with positioning I put dot stickers on the floor where the bottle-pins could go.

To assist with ordering and one-to-one correspondence you could write the numbers on the stickers.

Then she bowled (and counted and wrote and ordered and added and counted on....)

... and bowled.

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by just having fun bowling and trying to knock them down. Just being around the numbers and hearing them talked about in a real life and meaningful way like this will reinforce understanding without having to push any learning at all.

- You can Extend this activity in many ways:
  • Having the child paint the numbers on themselves
  • Write the numbers as equations  eg. 3 + 7 = 10
  • Fill the bottles with varying amounts of water and rice to see how easily they can be knocked down or not
  • Make predictions as to the number that will be knocked down and see how close you were.

- Mix it up by trying a variety of different balls. Which type of ball is best for knocking them all down?

- To learn new skills and to consolidate their understanding, children need to experience opportunities to practice these same skills over and over again. You will find many of our Maths activities practice the same skills like counting, number recognition etc. using slightly different materials. This is about making it fun and keeping it interesting for kids. Then, they'll want to learn!

- Below are the Paper Tube Activities from both Learn with Play at home and The Imagination Tree
(click on the pictures to go to the posts)

  maths for kids, fun maths, numeracy, maths activity

- Playful Maths. Below are the Egg Carton Activities from both Learn with Play at home and The Imagination Tree
(click on the pictures to go to the posts)


Don't forget to join us next week for more Playful Maths activities with Plastic Bottles.

Which Everyday Materials do you like using for Maths?

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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  1. very clever!
    Looks fun.
    I love the numbered dots on the ground. That would reinforce the ordering of the numbers for little ones still getting a grasp of counting.

    1. Thanks Rez. Yes, every little bit helps and it very easy to incorporate. :)

  2. That is a playful way to work on these skills. I also really like how you explained following her interest in writing the numbers down, but how you would have left it if she wasn't interested.

    1. I guess for me, playful learning generally is whatever we can do and learn while having fun and willingly participating. Once you start forcing the learning, the less they want to do it. Thanks for reading :)

  3. I love using everyday materials too. You really don't have to buy much for math, do you? Anything can be counted, quantified, added, sorted, endless possibilities. I like to use the things in our nature table, but this looks like a really fun game and great for Jack's physio too.

    1. That's right. Obviously in the classroom we have maths budgets for designated maths supplies, but really, you don't need them all. At home, as you said, you really don't need to buy much at all... if anything! Thanks. I hope Jack enjoys. :)

  4. I can just imagine the squeal of delight when your daughter came home from Kinder to find a bowling alley in her home!

    1. It's so much fun surprising them! Just as much fun for the adults :)

  5. "Making 10 (or knowing the numbers that go together to make 10 eg. 3 and 7, 2 and 8 etc.) is a fundamental skill for children to master for further maths involving our base 10 system." - I love your "teacher take" on these maths ideas. It's helping me to understand how to play "mathsfully". Thanks!

    1. You're welcome Danya. It's all really easy stuff once you get past all the maths jargon :)

  6. Recycling and learning. Off to pin! Oh and this is a great idea for a bowling party too. Hmmm some nice little ideas coming from this.

    1. I love it when ideas inspire further ideas. Let me know if you end up using any, Penny :)

  7. Bowling is always so much fun- plus so many maths concepts to learn.

    P.S. Name and URL option seems to be missing from your blog now.

    1. Thanks for letting me know, Jackie. Any learning you can squeeze into already fun activities without forcing it is likely to be a winner. :)

    2. Oh, I just realised that it's missing because I changed the commenting system back because it wasn't compatible with mobiles or some browsers. haha

  8. I love those pics! She is obviously having so much fun but also learning too! Love the use of recycled materials xx

    1. Thanks Jodie. Sometimes it's really hard to photograph activities without getting in the way or influencing the play. You'd know that haha. Have to be sneaky and quick about it, lol.

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