1, 2, 3. . . number boxes!

Numbers, numbers, numbers. I’m not a math person–it’s just not how I’m wired–so I constantly have to remind myself to work on number learning with my little ones and not to focus entirely on letters and reading. Today, I tried to make that my focus: numbers. We first made visual representations of each number, using–of course–none other than the beloved Foamies that my little ones never seem to grow tired of and then we worked on number writing with watercolors later in the day.

  • Number Chart: Maddy, Owen, and Cora each picked out a piece of colored paper, and I folded each of their papers so that Maddy’s and Owen’s showed 8 boxes and Cora’s had 3.

I numbered and outlined the boxes, and said, Okay, each of these boxes needs a special number of Foamies. The number the box needs is written right here (pointed to the top of the box). How many Foamies does this first box need? You got it. One. Pick out one Foamie and put it in the box. Now how about this (pointed to second one) one? . . .

I really worked with Cora on hers, but Maddy and Owen did fine independently. They were both really proud to show off their finished work. When Owen stuck in an extra snowball in his eighth box, I said, Okay, let’s check our work. (Maddy counted hers out loud first, then Owen.) When we reached the error, I said, Something is not quite right. Look at the number on top of the box, then count again to double-check. He did, and he found his error. Self-checking by children to find mistakes can be more beneficial than a parent or teacher pinpointing errors.

Here are some variations of this same activity that I may try in the next few weeks. I may:

  1. Get a poster board and make any number of spaces, then challenge my kiddos to hunt for things small enough to fit in each box. We have so many Matchbox cars, tiny dinosaurs, bouncy balls, and doll shoes, that it would be fun to see what they can round up and put in each box. And they’d love that the poster was huge compared to their normal-sized sheets.
  2. Make a number “splash” by writing numbers 1-10 on separate sheets of paper, then dropping them around the room. That way, each child be “own” a certain number and put the given number of objects or toys around it. It would be fun to put the numbers in order at the end. This method is a bit more difficult but is worth a try down the road.

It was very simple, didn’t take much time at all, and could be varied according to each of my little students–a perfect fit for our little bit of learning today!




  1. Amy McGlinchey says

    Amy, I am so impressed with your website! This is unbelievable!!! I didn’t realize at first what this was, and then I realized you are doing ALL of this!! You are an incredible teacher and mother. I feel so proud to know you. xoxo, Love Amy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>