At the age of six, knowing your numbers is more than just counting by 1’s and writing the numerals.
Children really need to understand numbers on a deeper level.
The Bowl Game is a fabulous and fun activity to help build up a child’s sense of number.
All you need is an empty, medium size yogurt container and twelve foam or wooden cubes. I found my cubes at my local dollar store. A pack of 50 only cost me $1.25
You take off the yogurt container’s lid and put it aside. Then turn the container upside down.
You want to start off with 4 cubes.
The idea is to find all the combinations of 4. You start by placing 3 cubes on the top of the container and 1 cube hiding underneath the container.
The child looks at the top of the container and sees 3 cubes and has to guess how many cubes are hiding underneath the container.
Once they’ve guessed, they try another combination by changing the amount of cubes on top and underneath the container.
2 cubes on top, 2 cubes on the bottom.
Combinations of 4
4 and 0
3 and 1
2 and 2
1 and 3
0 and 4
The game is played using 4 cubes until the combinations are mastered. Then you move to using 5 cubes and finding all the combinations of 5 and so on.
Combinations of 5
5 and 0
4 and 1
1 and 43 and 2
2 and 3
0 and 5
After a while, children start to notice patterns with the number combinations.
Children can even record their number combinations on paper like I listed above.
Eventually, 5 and 0 will transfer to 5 + 0 = 5 or 5 – 0 = 5 and so forth, bringing addition and subtraction into the picture.
The Bowl Game is fun and can be played independently or with a partner.
In teacher jargon, the bowl game is a form of subitizing which is the ability to ‘see’ a small amount of objects and know how many there are without counting.
It’s like how adults can roll dice when playing board games or cards and instantly know how many dots or displayed without counting each one. Over time, we learn/memorize all the dice roll combinations.
The same pertains to The Bowl Game.
It’s math learning made fun!
Try it with your own kids and let me know what you think!