Fun Bottle Top Addition Game. Playful Maths

Mar 16, 2013

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

Together, let's make MATHS FUN!


Last week I shared Bottle Top Calculator.

This week we bring you another 2 Playful Maths Activities using Bottle Tops. 

Today's activity from us focuses on "Counting, Number Recognition and Basic Addition" 

This activity also includes  subitisingcounting on and creativity and could include ordering and number writing. 

Ages: 3+
(M has just turned 4. See the bottom for handy tips to Extend or Simplify to meet your child's needs)

Materials: Bottle Tops (as many as you can get), Paper, 2 Dice and a marker.

Have your child create a picture out of bottle tops on a piece of paper

After a bit of playing around with designs she settled on this

Trace around the bottle tops to show the picture
(depending on their age/ability, children could do this part themselves)

Write the numbers between 2-12 in the circles and the same inside the bottle tops
(This is what will work using 2 dice- adjust depending on your amount of dice)

Maddie decided she wanted to order the numbers so they were easier to find.

Now you're ready to start your game with the objective being to fill your picture back in with bottle tops.

Note: This was our first real planned addition experience. Before starting the game we talked about a Die and which was the largest number you could roll etc. (we've had plenty of previous experience with dice). We then talked about how, because we couldn't roll any higher than a 6, in order to get a 7 or higher, we were going to have to use both dice and count the two numbers together to make our one number.

After rolling both dice she counted out the number of bottle tops for 1 die and then the number for the 2nd die and then counted them all together to get her final number.

Note: To make it easier I provided her with 6 bottle tops in 2 different colours (12 extra bottle tops) You could use any type of counter/manipulative.

Once your child has figured out their number, find the corresponding bottle top number and put it on top of the circle number on the page.

She got the hang of it very quickly and I encouraged her to subitise/subitize (see the number from the dots without counting each dot) the dice numbers. 

(We took it in turns rolling the dice together. She did most of the counting but it allowed her to see how I "count-on" from the bigger number)

She then wanted to count-on as well and from then on ditched the extra counters and did all her addition that way.

In very simple terms "Counting-on" is when a child starts their counting from the larger number (instead of starting at 1) and continues from there. 
In the above example she rolled a 4 and a 3. She "counted on" by pointing at the 4, saying "4"... and then pointing at the 3 and saying, "5, 6, 7." The counting did not go, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 but instead, 4, 5, 6, 7. This is very helpful for children to know and an important skill that is taught in school.

This is how delighted she was with herself for counting-on and getting the right answer.

This is how children feel when they succeed. Allow them to experience success and feel like this and they will want to continue and learn because it feels great.

The game ended when the picture was back to how it had started. It took us a lot of rolls to get the last couple of numbers which was fine because each time the child counts and adds, they are reinforcing the learning and their understanding of the combinations of numbers that together make another number.

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by using just one Die and the numbers 1-6. Or, greater still by just allowing your child to create a bottle top picture with numbered bottle tops. The numbers don't have to have a use, just the continued exposure to them is great.

- You can Extend this activity in many ways:
  • Have the child do the tracing of the bottle tops to create the picture
  • Have the child fill in the numbers on the paper and/or bottle tops
  • Add an extra dice for larger number
  • Turn it into a subtraction or multiplication activity etc. depending on what your child is capable of.

- Create some pre-drawn pics for a really quick game.

- Make it a multi-player game by having players each take turns rolling the dice to see what numbers they create. If they roll a number that's already been done the next person continues. The winner is the person who fills in the final bottle top space.

- Have you see the rest of the Playful Maths series from us and The Imagination Tree?
Below are our previous posts using various everyday materials. 

Playful Maths Bottle Top Activities
(click the pictures to go to the posts)

Playful Maths Plastic Bottle Activities
(click the pictures to go to the posts)

   measuring activity, measuring for kids, rice play, sensory play, maths for kids, fun maths, hands-on maths  

Playful Maths Paper Tube Activities
(click on the pictures to go to the posts)

  maths for kids, fun maths, numeracy, maths activity

Playful Maths Egg Carton Activities
(click on the pictures to go to the posts)


Don't forget to join us next week where we're bringing you more Playful Maths activities.

Bottle Tops have so many uses. How do you use them for play?

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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  1. Love it! New camera looks like it's doing a fine job too! :)

  2. What a fun and creative learning idea Deb!

  3. Pictures look great! So vibrant love love. Enjoy your new camera :) Always a fun toy!

    1. yay! That's great coming from you. I wish I'd had my new camera (and your skills) when my children were newborns.

  4. Love this idea! Thanks for sharing it :)

  5. What a great game. I love the way you've used bottle tops. I'm sure my boys will love this game and will definitely try it once I've saved up the bottle tops that is. :o)

    We play something simliar ( but I love the idea of the children creating their own 'board-game'.

    Thanks for sharing this game.

    1. Thanks Susan and you're welcome. Bottle tops have so much potential and make a great manipulative for kids. I'll check out your game for sure! Hope your boys enjoy the game. I made a cool rocket ship out of bottle tops that could make a fun board game.. although, the kids always have the best ideas :)

  6. Love this!! Thanks for sharing!!


    1. You're welcome Caitlin. Thanks for letting me know :)

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