Need a math activity? The hungry caterpillar count up, is it!
What do you call pom poms on a craft stick? The hungry caterpillar, of course! Put it all together for the hungry caterpillar count up for a terrific hands-on math activity for preschoolers.
It’s not only fun, but a great way to reinforce counting to ten.
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There is a lot more to understanding numbers than simply recalling a number name.
The truth is that many times we rush preschoolers right on to larger numbers rather than taking the time to understand quantity with counting to ten.
Let’s help build the foundation to understand what ten objects look like while mastering numbers 1-10 will come at different ages for different kids.
Let’s use a number line to help early learners see the stickers increase as they count up.
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When learning numbers, progression typically looks like this:
First, children begin to count. This is simply memorizing a sequence of numbers. You may notice them counting out loud.
Next, they learn one-to-one correspondence. This means they match one and only one number, with each item in a set of objects. Here, we want them to touch as they count each object.
At a higher level, children begin to apply to reason as they understand quantity. They are also beginning to understand the concept of more and less.
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So let’s get this counting activity set up!
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- Pom poms
- Permanent marker
- Seasonal stickers – includes these food stickers!
- Glue stick
- Craft sticks
Set this counting activity up in minutes.
Make your caterpillar by gluing pom poms on your craft stick.
Next, secure your sentence strip on the tabletop with tape.
Use a marker to write the numbers 1-10.
Finally, cut out the food stickers from the sticker book listed above. I like to cut the stickers up into groups of ten to be more comfortable for little hands to move around.
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I invited my four-year-old to feed their hungry caterpillar and begin counting to ten.
I used conversation starters such as:
How many pieces of food does the caterpillar have NOW? Let’s count them. Start at one. One, two, three, four…
I wonder if he can eat one more! One more than five is? Which number comes after five? Let’s see. One, two, three, four, five, SIX! Six! You’re right!
Children need repetition when counting.
Children need to hear your “think aloud” to help them build a stronger understanding of quantity.
Once ten objects have been placed on the sentence strip, remember to count once again as the caterpillar gobbles it up. Here, we are encouraging imaginary play to encourage counting.