Acorn Number and Balancing Game

May 10, 2013

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

Together, let's make MATHS FUN!


This week we bring you another 2 Playful Maths Activities using Natural Materials. 

In this activity we are focusing on counting and balancing.
Other skills involved include fine motor, coordination, subitising, counting-on, ordering etc.

Ages: 3+ (Maddie is currently 4)
(See the Handy Tips at the bottom to simplify or extend to meet your child's needs)

Materials: Acorns and the caps, die, plasticine/modelling clay/blu tac etc

Our "hats." We had previously decorated some while painting acorns. You can decorate or leave plain.

Set your acorn "people" up by standing them up in some plasticine. You can leave them plain, draw on a simple face like this little guy, or go all out making Acorn Buddies like us. 

When you're set up, roll the die and balance the corresponding amount of "hats" on top

Encourage subitising/subitizing by having your child practice saying and recognising the amount on the die without counting the individual dots.

Counting one-by-one as each cap is balanced

There were plenty of triumphs

And plenty of spills!

Here we attempted some ordering by lining up our little acorn men in a row and putting 1 hat on the 1st, 2 on the 2nd, 3 on the 3rd and so on. This was great as it also meant she discovered that we didn't have enough caps to be able to do all of them and she started figuring out how many extra we would need.

Handy Tips

- Simplify this activity by allowing children to attempt to balance 1-3 hats. You could also use a larger material (perhaps even their own head and real hats) if their fine motor skills aren't up to this challenge.

- Extend this activity by:
  • Adding another die to practice simple addition
  • Challenging them to see how many they can stack on the one acorn
  • Using a number die to encourage number recognition
  • Encouraging children to write about their experience or write the corresponding numbers next to their acorn people.

- Use the mathematical language that goes naturally with this activity, such as balancing, 1st 2nd 3rd, count-on, etc.

- Below are some of the previous Playful Maths posts from us and The Imagination Tree, using various everyday materials. 

Playful Maths with Natural Materials
(Click the pictures to go to the post)
   Symmetrical patterns with shells and natural objects

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

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

You can see the rest of our Playful Maths here

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

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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  1. So fun!! i love her face in the pictures, clearly she loved it too!

    1. More fun and challenging then you'd expect I think. haha. Thanks :)

  2. What a fun game and loving the new header but love her face even more.

    1. haha, cheers Cerys. Just keep snapping is my theory and hopefully I can capture those real moments. :)

  3. ah the concentration!!! Loved the photos in this post, I reckon your girl is a cracker just like her mother!

  4. Very creative with your acorn caps!! And a fun game this is too :-)

  5. Thx for sharing at the Weekly Kid's Co-op. Featuring this in my counting and number games roundup this week :) Krissy

  6. What a creative game. Will have to remember this for if I ever find any acorns. Hannah @ Paint on the ceiling.

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