In this activity, your child will play a game of counting objects and creating sets of objects.
Learning Area(s): Language and Communication; Math
- 12 small items of the same kind (for example, 12 pom poms, 12 counting chips, 12 small cube-shaped blocks, or 12 small rubber ducks). These will be your ducks.
- Three circles about 8 inches across, cut out of blue construction paper (or white paper colored blue with a crayon or marker). These will be your ponds.
On the floor or table, lay out the three blue circles and explain to your child that the circles are ponds for some ducks. (The ducks are represented by the counters.)
Place one “duck” into each pond. Count the ducks together with your child and explain that you have three ducks, one in each pond (three equal sets of one item each). Next, tell her that the ducks are lonely in their ponds and they each need a friend. Ask your child to add one “duck” to each pond and then count how many are in each pond (two). Then ask her to count how many ducks there are all together (six). Continue by pretending that the other ducks who are not yet in the ponds want to join their friends, but there’s a rule that there have to be the same number of ducks in each pond. Help your child count and compare until he ends up with four ducks in each pond.
- If your child enjoys this game, you can extend it by creating different stories about the “ducks” and moving the counters in and out of the “ponds” to match the story. For example, you could start over and make just two ponds with three “ducks” in each. Then say, “Two ducks in this pond want to visit their friends in this pond.” Have your child move two counters from one pond to the other. Then ask, “Now how many ducks are in each pond?” or say, “Now the pond is getting too crowded. Quack, quack! Three ducks want to go back to the other pond.” Have your child move three counters from the more crowded pond to the less crowded pond, and then ask how many are in each pond.
- Your child may want to start making up her own stories about the ducks to have them move in and out of ponds, add ducks, subtract ponds, etc. Help her use sentences to explain what she has done and what the new sets are, for example: “I moved one duck from this pond to that pond, and now there are three in each pond.”