In these games, children practice reciting number words in the correct order, using one-to-one correspondence when counting, counting to know how many (cardinality), subitizing, comparing numbers, and composing and decomposing numbers. They also practice several executive function skills: keeping track (working memory), and self-regulation. In the beginning version of this game, children close their eyes while the teacher places tokens or other objects on the table. Children open their eyes and say how many they see. Teachers can vary the number of objects and their configuration (linear, array, scattered, etc). Next, children have to put out 3 to 5 tokens (or other objects). Then children close their eyes and the teacher covers some, all, or none of the tokens. Children open their eyes and say how many they see, then how many are hiding (how many they can’t see). As children gain more practice, teachers can increase the number of objects and speed up the came so children are just naming how many are hiding. Children also enjoy doing the covering—in this case they still need to do the work to make sure their partner gets it right!
How to Play
Formative Assessment: Preschool Math Look Fors
Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews
Classic counting picture book: one black dot makes a sun, 2 black dots the eyes of a fox, and three black dots a snowman, etc. As you read, have the group count the dots on the page together. This book is a great compliment to the dot card games where kids are practicing one-to-one counting and subitizing. As an extension have kids put 1-10 circle stickers on a page and draw their own designs.
You can use this book to extend the idea that numbers are composed of parts by finding the smaller numbers of dots that are part of the whole. For example, on the 6 dot page one hand holds 3 new marbles while the other hand holds 3 old marbles—3 and 3 are 6. The train has 4 pairs of 2 wheels that make 8 wheels (dots) total.
Quack and Count by Keith Baker
The seven ducklings in the books split into all the whole number combinations that make seven. First children count all seven ducks, then the ducks slide, hide, chase, splash, and quack in the combinations 6 + 1; 5 + 2; 4 + 3; 3 + 4; 2 + 5; 1 + 6, and finally all seven fly. This book helps children understand that numbers are composed of smaller numbers. This is the same mathematical idea in the How Many Are Hiding game—numbers are composed of parts that make up the whole.
Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On by Lois Elhert
This counting book is a pleasure to read aloud with beautiful, vivid illustrations. The narrator imagines she has turned into fish and to “flip down rivers and splash in the sea.” One each page, children can count the fish 1 to 10. The little narrator fish includes a simple addition problem on each page such as, “4 striped fish plus me makes 5.” Children enjoy counting the fish or sometimes the fish eyes as you read the book. For a challenge, they can try the “plus one” problem on each page. At the art table, children would enjoy making their own illustration of fish to count. To make their fish, they could glue color bits of paper on to their page or use crayons, markers, or paint. Children enjoy narrating their own picture and having you write down what they say.