Pipe Cleaner Numbers. Playful Maths

Mar 23, 2013

Welcome back to the "Playful Maths" weekly series brought to you by

Together, let's make MATHS FUN!


Last week I shared Bottle Top Number Game.

This week we bring you another 2 Playful Maths Activities using Pipe Cleaners. 

Today's activity from us focuses on "Number Recognition and Number Formation" 

This activity also includes  counting,  orderingnumber writing and fine motor skills. 

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

Materials: Pipe Cleaners, Scissors
(optional fishing line and coat hangers to make a number mobile)

I presented this activity as an Invitation to Play. To promote the idea of making numbers I made a couple of numbers myself and provided some number books.

Snipping Pipe Cleaners is tricky. I provided the scissors in case she needed them but she didn't very often. 
(She just wanted to use them here. I showed her how we could twist the ends around to eliminate the need to cut them)

It wasn't long before we discovered that forming the numbers without assistance was going to be too tricky for my 4 year old. The physical manipulation required along with the fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination is challenging, so to assist with this we wrote the numbers on paper first so that she could bend the pipe cleaners around the shape while holding them in place.

As we made each number we talked about the shapes and formation. 
I encouraged her to start the pipe cleaners at the same point that you would when writing the numbers.

Some of the language used: Straight lines, down, across, diagonal, curved lines, bumps etc.
So, often when talking about writing a 3, you'd say "bump, bump" or writing a 5 would be "straight line across, straight line down, bump"

Twisting and turning and manipulating the pipe cleaners. All the while concentrating and talking about numbers and their formation.

There was continual counting and ordering to see which numbers had been made and which were missing

When we made the numerals 0-10 and had played with them a bit, I tied fishing line (or jewellery line) on them and attached them to some coat hangers to display on the wall.

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by playing a bigger role in assisting your child to form the numbers. This really can be very fiddly for little children so be sure not to insist they complete something that is too difficult. We want children to experience success and feel confident with their learning and that's not going to happen if they are being asked to complete a task that they are incapable of. Try with just a few basic numbers and make the rest yourself or just focus on the numbers 1-3.

- You can Extend this activity in many ways:
  • Make larger numbers
  • Have children thread on corresponding amount of beads to the numbers (eg 4 beads on the number 4)
  • Have children design a cool mobile or other way of displaying their numbers
  • Challenge children to make a number with their eyes closed! 
  • Have the children write the numbers first and then try to form the pipe cleaner numbers

- Mix it Up by creating an artistic canvas using your pipe cleaner numbers and paint. (We're doing this, look out for it on the blog)

- Talk to your child and ask questions as they make their numbers. The discussion and resulting understandings, language development and conclusions that your child can form in this time is very valuable.
For example: (Before starting).."Have a look at all the numbers. Which do you think would be the most difficult to make? Why?"
"You've got the straight line at the top of the 5, where does the next line go? Which direction will you bend your pipecleaner?"
"You've made a 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Which numbers do you still need to make?"

- 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.

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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