# Starting with Number 1

I had some lovely little learners in our playroom this week and we did some 'school' activities' together!

After playing with our much loved wooden train set I set out the Numicon blocks and boards. I thought this might be a relaxed, open-ended way to start observing their skills in numbers and counting. It easily flowed from our play with the train and the boys were eager to put the shapes down.

At first they just enjoyed choosing pieces to place anywhere on the board. After time I modelled for them how to count the circles in the remaining positions and locate a piece or two that would fill it. I also modelled how the numbers could be flipped, rotated, rearranged and combined to fit. So, a line of 4 circles could be filled with 2 twos or 4 ones.

Next we played a game from my Math Pack 1 - Bears on the Bus

This game has students counting groups of bears to match numerals, dot patterns, finger pattern pictures and numbers words for numbers to 3.

### Before playing:

• I told the boys that the bears wanted to get to school and we needed to put the correct number on each bus
• I reviewed their knowledge of numbers 1-3 by using the playing cards as flashcards and seeing if they could identify them - noting things to work on

### To play

As I just had the 2 boys for this learning activity I spread the cards out and make it a flexible, open ended experience with no specific game-style rules. I showed them how to look at the number in the front of the bus and count the matching number of bears for the back of the bus.

While they worked I observed their counting and 1:1 correspondence.

### After playing

We followed up the game with 2 worksheets about number 1
This gave me the opportunity to observe their fine motor - cutting, gluing and using a pencil.
The worksheets reviewed the skills covered in the game and gave the boys an opportunity to record their learning. They could take the pages home and talk to their family about them - accessing their memories of playing the game and talking about their math experience.

Next we read 1 Big Strong Tree. A number poem from a flip book I used when I taught kindergarten. It is from Schoalstic and called: Counting Poems Flip Chart by Betsy Franco.

We had a big stretch like 1 big tall tree (with one big strong trunk) after so much sitting and clever number thinking.

I also taught the boys my counting finger play- Apple Tree. I asked them to show me number counting using their fingers.

This is a free text in our store if you'd like to use it too!

The boys loved the wooden bus on our toy shelf and combined with the Bears on the Bus math game - provided the perfect opportunity to read this favorite: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

• 1 bus driver
• 1 bus
• 1 pigeon with 1 beak, 1 head and 1 neck

### Art Experience

The boys were eager to 'do craft' so I quickly drew 1 tree (with 1 star) for each of them to paint. Fine motor is an area for development so I encouraged painting on a big page, with a big brush and big arm movement - up and down, top to bottom. We will gradually work towards finer movements, ready for writing - but at the moment - nice and big is perfect!

To further fine motor development I gave the boys each a sheet of stickers and encouraged them to decorate the tree. Aren't they gorgeous!

If you'd like to play Bears on the Bus you can find it in our store:

We had so much fun and can't wait for our next 'school day'!