My kids love challenges and games!
A recent fabulous, find is “Counting Sticks.”
The game evolved from a table top math activity from our Mother Goose Time preschool curriculum.
The premise is simple: build the best structure you can in the time you have with what you have!
We used play dough and craft sticks, but other materials would work as well 🙂
Counting Sticks Preschool Math Game
To play Counting Sticks you will need the following supplies.
*Our spinner was provided by Mother Goose Time.
How to Play
- Give each child a container of play dough.
- Spin the spinner.
- Each child gets that number of craft sticks.
- Set the timer. (We used 60 seconds.)
- Build a structure using the sticks and play dough in that amount of time.
The kids thought this was so much fun!
The structures they created were also worth both applause and giggles depending on the round.
We had everything from skyscrapers to pigs using a toilet! Love their little imaginations!
My daughter decided to show off some of her sight word skills by spelling out “THE.”
We also had a giant caterpillar join us.
This is the “Leaning Tower of Threezer.” LOL
Open the containers for the kids.
The hardest part of the challenge was opening the containers of play dough. I was happy to help.
Once the kids had the dough in their hands, they had some time for free play (i.e.) getting the dough ready and malleable enough to build!
Take turns with the spinner.
The kids really enjoyed spinning the spinner, so we took turns. Each round a different child spun a number.
We had some minor issues with children strategically half spinning or moving the spinner to get the number they wanted. This provided a great opportunity to talk about following the rules of the game game and being honest in our actions.
Celebrate each structure.
The kids wanted to celebrate after completing each structure and they wanted to know who had won the challenge each round.
So, we took a picture of all the structures each round. We also assigned prizes for each structure. For instance, there was a most unique, tallest, cutest, most real looking, etc. If you really want to make their day, let the kids take the pictures!
Use a stopwatch or other timer.
We used my phone as a timer and the kids were getting pretty good and figuring out when they were running out of time watching the stop watch app. When the timer went off, the kids had to put their hands in the air. This part was hilarious. A couple of times we allowed a little more time, as long as everyone was in agreement.
Be prepared to play more than once!
The game lasted about half an hour, which is an eternity for my preschoolers.
I have been asked to play again several times. Effortlessly adding in some exposure to number concepts makes this game a total win for homeschooling families and those looking to strengthen the math skills of their young children.
Hope you have fun!
If you use this game, I’d love to see what your kids create, please tag me on Instagram @theplayfulscholar